Río Eo, Oscos y Terras de Buron

©Río Eo, Oscos y Terras de Buron biosphere reserve
Río Eo, Oscos y Terras de Buron Biosphere Reserve, Spain

The Río Eo, Oscos y Terras de Buron Biosphere Reserve is located on the border of Asturias and Galicia in the northwest region of Spain. The River Eo is the most extensive river in the reserve, though many others such as the Navia, Porcía and Miño flow through the area. The valleys have fertile soil and agricultural farms are situated along their length. Pico Busbeirón (1,286 metres) is the highest peak and forms part of hills that approach the main axis of the Cantabrian Mountains. The coastal area is primarily characterized by cliffs over 30 metres in height, formed by a combination of climate dynamics, eustatic changes and complex orogenic processes.

Designation Date: 2007
Administrative Authorities: Administración General del Estado; Director-Gerente; Administración autonómica gallega; Mancomunidad de los concejos de Oscos-Eo.
Surface area (terrestrial): 159,588.90 ha
Core area(s): 15,998.40 ha
Buffer area(s): 21,477.80 ha
Transition area(s):
122,112.70 ha


Latitude: 6°47'45.15’’N – 7°17'46.39’’N
Longitude: 42°56'38.23’’W – 43°33'56.5’’W
Centre Point: 7°2'50.42’’N – 43°15'18.48’’W


Ecological characteristics

©Río Eo, Oscos y Terras de Buron biosphere reserve

River Eo encompasses thirty habitat types, while the mainland covers more than twenty-five. Deciduous forests and swamps with Lacerta schreiberi (Schreiber’s green lizard) are the major ecosystem types within the reserve. Ecosystems within the coastal areas can be categorized into three zones, namely littoral, grassland and vegetated. Each zone has a different structure and habitats vary in size due to natural factors such as tides, winds and other abiotic influences.

Forest covers around 40% of the area, while agricultural land makes up 33%. Characteristic flora species include Quercus robur (English oak), Potentilla erecta (Tormentil) and Narcissus asturiensis (perennial bulbous plant), the latter being native to the area; while Anguis fragilis (Slow worm), Gavia arctica (Black-throated loon), Haematopus ostralegus (Eurasian oystercatcher) and Salmo salar (Atlantic salmon) are common fauna species.

Socio-economic characteristics

©Río Eo, Oscos y Terras de Buron biosphere reserve
Río Eo, Oscos y Terras de Buron Biosphere Reserve, Spain

There are 32,974 people living in the Río Eo, Oscos y Terras de Buron Biosphere Reserve (2005 figures). Economic activities consist of traditional livestock farming, the iron industry and agriculture. In recent decades, however, fishery (salmon, shellfish) has become a major source of income.

Forges were very popular in the early seventeenth century, producing kitchenware and farming implements. They also served as an alternative form of income in seasons of agricultural inactivity. The carpet-weaving industry was also of great importance during this period and was found mainly in coastal areas.

Hand axes made of quartzite are the oldest relics of cultural importance and can be found along coastlines. Grave sites and dolmen are distributed throughout the whole biosphere reserve with examples such as Las Medorra de Torbiso in A Fonsagrada, Xudán in A Ponte Nova, and Marco da Pena Verde in Trabada. There is also a diverse range of religious architecture including monasteries and churches from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Examples include Capilla de Santa María del Campo and Iglesia Parroquial de Santiago.

Civil architecture includes houses of former lairds and other castle-like constructions. The mountain landscape is covered with ancient buildings known as pallozas. These are small houses well adapted to the cold weather, which serve as accommodation for people and livestock. The most characteristic elements of these constructions are the roof, which is covered with rye straw, and small stones that form circular windows and doorways.

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                                                                                    Last update: January 2015

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