Marismas del Odiel

The Marismas del Odiel Biosphere Reserve is located in the north-west of Cadiz in the Province of Huelva, at the mouth of the Odiel River. It is also a Ramsar site and a Special zone for birds protection in the European Union.


Declaration Date: 21 April 1983
Surface Area: 7,158 ha (core: 15 per cent; buffer: 85 percent; )
Administrative Division: 4 Municipalities have their territory in the Biosphere Reserve  

Human Activities

Salt works, fishing and shell-fishing in the estuary, openrange livestock-raising, forest harvesting (pine kernels,firewood, honey). Integrated management in the surroundingsof a potentially highly contaminating industrialchemical plant.

Ecological Characteristics

Tidal marshes scattered with islands bordered by many streams, beaches and dune systems. The erosion and sedimentation processes taking place give rise to rapid morphological changes.

The Mediterranean climate is softened by the influence of the ocean with a mean annual rainfall a little above 500 mm. The wetland vegetation is dominated by halophile species (adapted to the high salt content of the soil).

There are also strips of Italian StonePine and Spanish Juniper. The extraordinary wealth of bird life in the area is to be noted and includes species such as the Grey Heron, the Purple Heron, the Western Marsh Harrier and the Spoonbill (one third of the wholeEuropean nesting population is to be found in the Marismasdel Odiel).

After Doñana, with which for reasons of proximity it maintains a continuous link, Marismas del Odiel is considered to be the second most important wetland area for water fowl in Spain based on the diversity of species recorded.

Protection Classifications

  • Natural Landscape
  • Specially Protected Bird Area (SPBA)
  • Internationally Important Wetland (Ramsar Convention)
  • Natural Reserve (2)

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                                                                                                   Last update: April 2014

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