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      Biosphere Reserve Information



© Photo: Antton Aranburu
  General Description   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. The craggy inside countryside is occupied by meadow land, oak groves, leafy woods and specially by fast-growing conifers. The coastal landscape is covered with cantabrian woods of holm oak and strawberry trees, along the edges of the Mundaka estuary. In Urdaibai have been described 615 species of vascular plants, 318 species of vertebrates, 245 of this species are birds. Along with the rich Basque culture, the site has a particular interest, since it contains various remnants of the prehistoric, roman and Middle ages. The economy leans heavily on metallurgy, fishing/ maritime activities and forestry, and on the exploitation of local resources (arable and cattle farming). There is also a tourist trade, centred mainly on the local beaches, the historical towns (Gernika) and the natural environment. The area is implementing a management and land use plan and a development plan including socio-economic aspects and promoting sustainable activities such as quality tourism, agriculture and forestry.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate broadleaf forests or woodlands; coastal/marine wetlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Cantabrian woods composed of holm oak (Quercus ilex) and strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo); mixed cantabrian woods with Fraxinus excelsior, Castanea sativa, Betula sp. etc.; heathlands consisting of Ulex europaeus, U. galli, Calluna vulgaris, Erica cinerea, E. vagans and Daboecia cantabrica; coastal habitats with Genista hispanica, Erica vagans, Daucus carota etc.; rocky habitats; sandy littoral with Phragmites australis, Typha latifolia, Juncus conglomeratus etc.; estuaries; salt marshes with Spartina maritima, Zoostera noltii, Salicornia ramossisima etc.; eucalyptus plantations; pine plantations (Pinus radiata and P. pinaster); agroecosystems
  Location   43°40'N; 02°20'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   21,992
  Core area(s)   2,485
  Buffer zone(s)   5,414
  Transition area(s) when given   14,093
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +810
  Year designated   1984
  Administrative authorities   Gobierno Vasco (Departamento de Ordenación del Territorio, Vivienda y Medio Ambiente), represented by Urdaibai administrations, by organizations and associations involved in the study and conservation of natural resources, and by Director-Conservador (responsible for the administration of the biosphere reserve).
  Brief description   Environmental monitoring of the estuaries
Analysis of fresh water quality
Benthic-pelagic exchange in estuaries (bivalves)
Study and evaluation of biodiversity, landscaping and its perception
Changes in the environment - Contamination, evaluation and effects, Rehabilitation
Modelization of the functioning of different ecosystems
Archeology and history
Sustainability and development
Indicators of sustainability
Models of management
Formulas for implementing a model for a sustainable development in the biosphere reserve
Solving social conflicts in the matter of the environment
Social mobilization, with special emphasis on environmental education
Role of women in agriculture
Sustainable management of natural resources
Database on scientific studies at: http://www1.euskadi.net/vima_urdaibai/bdformurdaibai.asp
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Contaminants, hydrology.
  Biodiversity   Benthos, biodiversity, coastal/marine, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, invertebrates/insects/spiders, modelling, natural resources, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, archaeology/paleontology, capacity building, indicators of sustainability, people-nature relations/man/nature, resource use, role of women/gender, social/socio-economic aspects.
  Integrated monitoring   Conflict, education and public awareness, environmental change, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, landscape inventorying/monitoring, management issues, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, sustainable development/sustainable use.
  Contact address   Francisco Álvarez Dávila
Director, Oficina Reserva de la Biosfera de Urdaibai
Palacio de Udetxea, Apdo. Correos 130
48300 Gernika-Lumo Vizcaya
  Telephone   (34.94) 625 7125
  Fax   (34.94) 625 7253
  E-mail   k-alvarez@ej-gv.es
  Web site   www.ingurumena.ejgv.euskadi.net/r49-12892/en/

Last updated: 15/04/2008

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