Mancha Húmeda

La Mancha Húmeda Biosphere Reserve comprises the Tablas de Daimiel National Park, which corresponds to the core area, and the Alcázar Lake, and the Lagunas de Ruidera National Park, which is a refuge for aquatic birds.


Declaration Date: 1980
Surface Area: 25,000 ha (core: 8 per cent; buffer: 22 percent; transition: 70 per cent)
Administrative Division: 19 Municipalities have theirterritories within the Biosphere Reserve

Human Activities

Agriculture and animal husbandry. Incipient developmentof agro-tourism.

Ecological Characteristics

A gently rolling plain located at between 600 and 700 m above sea level, full of Tertiary deposits and scattered with a great number of wetlands arising from the seasonal flooding of rivers such as the Guadiana, Cigüela, Záncara and Riánsares, and from the numerous upwelling of the Manchego aquifer in the depressions, known in the area as“eyes.”

The Tablas de Damiel National Park is noteworthy as is a complex of fifteen staggered lagoons comprising the Lagunas de Ruidera National Park.

The boundaries of the Reserve are imprecise as they cover the maximum extensionof the wetlands during the rainy season, at the time the Biosphere Reserve was declared. In fact, irregular rainfall, characteristic of a Mediterranean climate, makes its surfacearea very variable.

To this must be added that the aquifer is over-exploited for irrigation, surpassing the level of natural replenishment by rainfall.

An attempt is being made tocompensate this with the implementation of the Special Plan for Alto Guadiana. The typical lagoon vegetation comprising wetland plants such as the Mediterranean TallRush, Blue Sedge, Yellow Flag and many other reeds and sedges, together with small woodlands of water-lovingtrees such as Tamarisk, Willow and Aspen.

But the concentration of thousands of anatidae and other waterfowl is what gives this area a special value. Special mention maybe made of the Pochards, Lesser Scaup and the Red crested Pochards which feed in the vast flooded grasslands in these shallow waters.

Protection Classifications

  • National Park
  • Natural Park
  • Specially Protected Bird Area (SPBA)
  • Internationally Important Wetland (Ramsar Convention)

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                                                                                                   Last update: April 2014

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