Status of wetlands in Spain.

Status of wetlands in Spain.

 Ecologists in Action, Nature, World Wetlands Day, 2015, Spain.

Clearly the situation in which its find most wetlands in Spain, in recent decades have gone 60% of the wetlands of the Spanish State due to desiccation and occupations produced by water extraction farming, of river and groundwater, and discharges of polluted waste waters, construction of transport infrastructure and developments in margins. Currently a very important part of wildlife species that are endangered wetlands depend. Lack of protection favors the ongoing degradation of most of these wetlands and the consequent extinction of species.

On 2 February is World Wetlands Day, when the Convention on Wetlands was signed in 1971, on the Caspian Sea in the Iranian city of Ramsar. One of the main achievements of this Convention, also called Ramsar has been the creation of the list of wetlands of international importance. That list consists of wetlands 2170 in 168 countries with an area of 207,045,355 hectares (January 2014).

The Spanish State acceded to the Convention in 1982, and to date in January 2012 has added to the List of Wetlands of International Importance 74 wetlands covering an area of 303,090 hectares among which national parks such as Doñana and Tablas de Daimiel and as Villafáfila and Gallocanta lagoons.

However, for Ecologists in Action the serious situation in which they find most of our wetlands is obvious, which for centuries has been considered as wastelands and unhealthy areas, which were the subject of ongoing plans drying. Particularly in the last decades have gone 60% of the wetlands of the Spanish State due to desiccation and occupations produced by farming, extraction of river and groundwater discharges of polluted water and waste, and infrastructure construction transport and developments in margins.

Most of the wetlands of international importance protected by the Ramsar Convention, also have other forms of protection (national park, nature park or SPA), yet they suffer serious conservation problems.

Almost half of the wetlands are severely altered. Especially affected are the coastal wetlands, since many of them were once busy extensions populations, tourist facilities and roads. But also inland wetlands are very upset, mainly by crops, since a quarter of the wetlands are surrounded by crops and 20% of them are partially or fully grown. Another serious threat is the bad water regulation, since almost 10% of wetlands dependent on aquifers exploited.

Las Tablas de Daimiel, possibly the most important of the Spanish State with the Doñana marshes wetland, and also declared a National Park, it is a clear example of the serious threats that most wetlands. The overexploitation of the aquifer 23 for agriculture, aggravated by projects to extend irrigation, waste water pollution, or channeling with river Cigüela mark the black destiny of this important wetland.

If insufficient is the conservation status of wetlands of international importance the rest of Spanish wetlands is regrettable. The lack of protection provided for ongoing degradation of most of these wetlands and subsequent extinctions.

Endangered species

Currently a very important part of wildlife species that are endangered depend on wetlands. Specifically three fish species, depend almost entirely on lakes and marshes of the Spanish east, one of the main threats is the destruction of their habitat by drying ponds and lagoons.

The birds are definitely the largest group of species affected by the destruction of wetlands, as almost half of the species currently can be considered endangered depend to a greater or lesser extent of wetlands.

Special mention eight bird species, all of which are endangered, due among other causes progressive alteration and degradation of wetlands. Waterfowl hunting and poisoning of birds ingesting lead shot are other threats linked to the lack of protection of wetlands.

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