Valles del Jubera, Leza, Cidacos y Alhama

Valles del Jubera, Leza, Cidacos and Alhama Biosphere Reserve is located in the Autonomous Province of La Rioja in the central-northern part of Spain. It consists of 119,669 ha of low mountainous landscape, drained by the rivers Leza, Jubera, Cidacos and Alhama, with Mediterranean forests and open grasslands.


Declaration Date: 10 July 2003
Surface Area: 119,669 ha (core: 5 per cent; buffer: 10 percent; transition: 85 per cent)
Administrative Division: 40Municipalities have their territoryin the Biosphere Reserve (27 totally included and 13partially included)*

Human Activities

Traditionally the natural resources of the area have been used for open range livestock-raising (sheep and cattle), dryland farming (cereals, olives, almonds, vines) and fruit and vegetable growing in the few valley-bottom irrigated areas.

Recently, the service sector has increased its importance based on traditional resort tourism in Arnedillo, Cervera del Río Alhama and on incipient rural tourism associated with the natural and cultural heritage (findingsof dinosaur fossils – tracking, mushrooms, truffles, monuments,crafts).

Industrial activity is scant inland and is located in the periphery that is better communicated with the Ebro corridor, such as Arnedo.

There is still some craft production of espadrilles and natural wool. Tradition alorchids have generated a different landscape and their irrigation system is a heritage of Arab presence in this area centuries ago.

Ecological Characteristics

The Biosphere Reserve is located in the south eastern half of La Rioja, a mountain area in the Iberian System where the highest peaks are at 1,600 m.

It includes the Santiago Beech grove, the largest in La Rioja and with the community’s largest and best conserved masses of Holm Oak. Mention should also be made of the highly diverse Mediterranean scrubland (Rosemary, Thyme, Gum Rockrose, Broom).

Among the different and varied landscapes are the rocky outcrops and river canyons, an ideal nesting habitat for birds such as Bonelli’s Eagle, the Griffon Vulture, the Eurasian Eagle Owl, and the Egyptian Vulture, among others.

The forests, scrubland, rivers and streams harbour emblematic species such as the Wild Cat or the Otter and considerable populations of ungulates such as the Roe Deer, Red Deer and Wild Boar.

It is also one of the most important sites of paleontological findings in Europe, with traces and remains of dinosaur fossils and fossils of other species of mammals and flora and is the site of the Cantabrian Celtic-Iberian archaeological findings.

It also includes pyrite mines in Navajun, considered to be the best in the world with the purest crystals.

Protection Classifications

  • Specially Protected Bird Area (SPBA)

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                                                                                                   Last update: April 2014

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