The Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve is located in the Euro Siberian region, on the Bay of Biscay coast, in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Urdaibai covers an area of 220 km2 with around 45.000 inhabitants, the 80% of them concentrated in the towns of Gernika and Bermeo. The territory is characterized by a hydrographic basin that ends creating a great salt marsh and a coastal landscape with high sheer cliffs and capes.

Declaration Date: 1984
Surface Area: 22,041 ha (core: 11 per cent; buffer: 25 percent; transition: 64 per cent)
Administrative Division: 22 Municipalities have theirterritory in the Biosphere Reserve  

Ecological Characteristics

The Biosphere Reserve is located in a river basin draining into an estuary of the Cantabrian Sea, forming marshlandswith a wide, inter-tidal area, in a region with a temperate ocean climate.

The mean annual rainfall and temperature are 1,400 mm and 14ºC respectively. Natural vegetation is formed by a mosaic of lush forests, scrublands and moorlands, together with anthropic conifer vegetation, meadows and croplands.

It includes a varied zoological community, associated with the different environments. Urdubai, which means “River of the Boars” in Euskera, reflects the abundance of this animal. The marshlands are critical for bird life, both as a nesting area and as a stopping or winteringsite. The coastal wetlands are also a natural nursery of great importance for many marine species that spend their first years in this area.

Protection Classifications

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

Human Activities

Agro-environmental tourism, scientific research, environmental education and forest and livestock uses.

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