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Natural Protected Spaces in Aragon. Natural heritage in Aragon.

The Natural Spaces and their Conservation

In the highly industrialized societies of our time, for some years now, the concern of citizens and public authorities for the problems related to the conservation of nature has spread. The depletion of natural resources due to uncontrolled economic exploitation, the irreversible disappearance of a large number of species of flora and fauna, and the degradation of those natural spaces that have not been altered so far by human activity have motivated that what once was cause for concern only for the scientific community and socially advanced minorities has become one of the most pressing challenges. Historically exceeded the criteria that advocated a process of industrialization, the need to ensure a decent quality of life for all citizens requires admitting that the policy of conservation of nature is one of the great public tasks of our time.

Explanatory memorandum of Law 4/1989, of March 27,
of Conservation of the Natural Spaces and of the Flora and Wild Fauna.

Conservation in the International and European Field

Since the declaration of the Yosemite State Park (1864) and the Yellowstone National Park (1872) in the United States, the first Protected Natural Spaces have appeared throughout the world with specific legislation, usually at the state level. In Europe, the pioneer conservation states were Sweden, Switzerland and Spain with the declaration of several National Parks before 1920. However, it is not until the mid-twentieth century when the first approaches to the need for interstate collaboration for an adequate conservation of the natural environment, considered as common heritage of humanity and whose evolution is independent of political borders.

Thus, in 1948, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was founded, which brings together numerous Government Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations. Among his many actions, he highlights the publication of the documents on the World Strategy for the Conservation of Nature (1980 and 1990) and the recent Plan of Action for the Protected Areas of Europe known as Parks for Life (1994). On the other hand, the Organization of the United Nations - through UNESCO - declares among others: the Natural World Heritage Sites, the Biosphere Reserves (Program MaB "Man and Biosphere") or the Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR Convention).

For its part, the European Economic Community (EEC), from the summit of Paris in 1972, takes into account the protection of the environment as one of its priorities. Thus, it appears in 1979 which is considered the first community conservationist regulation: DIRECTIVE 79/409 / EEC ON THE CONSERVATION OF WILD BIRDS, commonly known as POULTRY DIRECTIVE. It defines general protection rules for wild birds, limits the list of species that can be hunted, methods of capture and regulates their commercialization. For these species, the member states have the obligation to preserve the most adequate territories, in number and sufficient area, in order to guarantee their survival. These territories are the Areas of Special Protection for Birds (ZEPAs).

In 1992 the European Union promulgates DIRECTIVE 92/43 / EEC ON THE CONSERVATION OF NATURAL HABITATS AND WILDLIFE AND FLORA, commonly known as HABITATS DIRECTIVE and whose main objective is to maintain or restore habitats and species natural areas of Community interest through the creation of a European ecological network - the Natura 2000 Network -, which will be integrated by the Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) -designed according to the criteria of the Directive itself, and the ZEPAs previously declared. It is also suggested the creation of a Network of Ecological Corridors that guarantees the communication and biological exchange between the different European natural areas.

With this Directive, the European Union intends to coordinate the protection measures adopted at the national and regional level of the member states, ensuring the conservation of biodiversity throughout the European territory. Achieving an adequate transmission of our natural heritage to future generations is its ultimate goal.

Conservation in the Spanish State Field

On December 7, 1916, on the initiative of Pedro Pidal and Bernardo de Quirós, Senator and Marquis of Villaviciosa de Asturias, the NATIONAL PARKS LAW was approved. In his preamble it says: "In fact, the walks to urban parks that all cities have tried to have as places of recreation and hygienic exercise are not enough, but it is also required that there be National Parks, that is, large extensions of land dedicated to the sanitation and solace of the race, in which they can be toned, physically and morally, the tired and consumed by the improbable task and by breathing continuously the vitiated air of the populations". Under this Law, the first two Protected Natural Spaces of the Spanish State are declared in 1918: the Covadonga Mountain National Park (July 22) and the Ordesa Valley National Park (August 16).

However, other previous events are also cited as historical antecedents regarding conservation. Thus, some of the old hunting grounds of the Kings of Castile - later converted into recreational gardens and courtly residences, known as Royal Sites -, have been preserved to this day as exceptional Natural Spaces. The Monte del Pardo in the vicinity of Madrid or the Montes de Valsaín in the Guadarrama Segoviano, are good examples of this. On the other hand, the forest masses receive special treatment during the 19th century, following the disentailment, and the Catalog of Public Utility Forests was created at that time, an action of great importance for its conservation.

In 1920 the third Protected Natural Area of the State was declared: the National Site of San Juan de la Peña. Subsequently, a Decree of 1927, defines the figures of Natural Sites and Natural Monument of National Interest. In 1957, the LAW OF MONTES reserves a chapter to the National Parks that will serve as legal framework for the protection of Doñana (1969), the Tables of Daimiel (1973) or Timanfaya (1975). And finally in 1975, the first LAW OF PROTECTED NATURAL SPACES was enacted (Law 15/1975, of May 2), in which the figures of National Park, Natural Park, Integral Reservation of Scientific Interest and Natural Site of National Interest appear. The administration of these Natural Spaces is entrusted to the now extinct ICONA and as consultative bodies that collaborate in the conservation tasks, the Patronages and Governing Boards are created.

At the end of the 80s, new globalizing approaches are imposed on the conservation of the natural environment, considering it as a whole on which it is necessary to establish a gradation of levels of protection. This new approach is legally translated into the current Law 4/1989, of March 27, on the Conservation of Natural Spaces and Wild Flora and Fauna. This law, in addition to regulating the special protection of certain spaces, covers the existing gap in the regulation of the protection and preservation of wild flora and fauna, governed until then by sectoral regulations for the use of resources.

The Law establishes four figures for the protection of Natural Spaces: Natural Reserves, Natural Parks, Natural Monuments and Protected Landscapes.  To cushion the possible impacts that activities developed in the surroundings of each Protected Area could affect it, the Law defines the Peripheral Zones of Protection, to encourage the participation of the inhabitants in the socioeconomic development of the area, the Areas of Socioeconomic Influence are created.

But the most novel contribution of this Law are the Plans of Natural Resources Management (PORN). These are legal planning instruments -not restricted to Protected Natural Spaces and of preparation prior to their declaration-, whose objective is to define and indicate the state of conservation of the resources and ecosystems of the territorial area they study, in order to arrive to specify the basic regulations that must define the management of the Protected Natural Spaces that are declared in the PORN study area.

With these approaches, the regularization of the uses and activities carried out in the protected areas, the compatibility of the conservation of the natural environment with the traditional use of resources and the promotion of socioeconomic development in these areas, become the main objectives of the protection of the Natural Spaces.

Location map of Aragon
Location map of Aragon

The Conservation in the Autonomic Scope: Aragon

In 1984, thanks to the generalized process of transfers of State powers to the Autonomous Communities, they take over almost all of the responsibilities entrusted to ICONA until then, beginning a particular administrative evolution in each autonomy.

On the other hand, Law 4/89 reserves to the State the declaration and management of National Parks, as well as the declaration and coordination of the management of those Protected Natural Spaces that are located in the territory of two or more Autonomous Communities and those that include in its delimitation maritime territory. The rest of the protection figures are managed directly by the Autonomous Communities, contemplating in the Law also the possibility that each Autonomous Community defines new protection figures for the Natural Spaces under its administration. Thus, some communities have declared Autonomous Laws of Protected Natural Spaces.

In Aragon, in 1989, a study was carried out for the creation of the Network of Natural Protected Spaces in Aragon (RENPA), since at the time of the transfers there were only two Protected Natural Spaces: the National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido and the Natural Park of the Dehesa del Moncayo. Other spaces, such as the National Site of San Juan de la Peña and the picturesque places, held old protection figures and had to be reclassified. This work, raised the need to protect especially 68 spaces (11.5% of the regional territory). Although the network does not yet exist as such, in the meantime, there is a preventive protection regime for a series of Natural Spaces of interest: the Areas of Special Urban Protection.

An important milestone in terms of conservation in Aragon, was the creation in 1992 - thanks to a Law Proposal presented by the Promoting Committee of Popular Legislative Initiative - of the Council for the Protection of Nature (CPN). This is an organ of participation that, among other functions, is entrusted with informing about the protection of new Protected Natural Spaces. In addition, for each of the existing ones, there is a specific body -Partronato, Governing Board or Protection Council-, in which various interests are represented.

Lastly, the Draft Law on Natural Protected Areas of Aragon is currently being finalized. Once the corresponding Law has been concluded and approved, Aragón will have a unified reference framework for current and future Protected Natural Spaces.

 

Natural Protected Areas
FIGURE OF
PROTECTION
Surface
in Ha.
% with respect to
to the total of ENP
% respecto
al total de Aragón
Parque11.19273,4302,402
Parque Nacional35.28722,6300,740
Paisaje Protegido3.3352,1400,070
Parque Natural1.3890,8900,029
Reserva Natural7770,4900,016
Monumento Natural3990,2500,008
Sitio Nacional2640,1700,005
Total155.9431003,27
ZEPAs in Aragon
NameAnother Figure
of Protection
Surface
en Ha.
Species
for which ZEPA was declared
La lomaza
de Belchite
Wildlife Refuges961 Caraway, common bargain, ortega, Dupont lark, common terrera, Marismeña terrera, cogujada, Montesina, country bisbita, alzacola, black collalba, rabilarga warbler.
Los VallesNational Hunting Reserve28,757Bonebreaker, snowy partridge, black whistle, dorsiblank whistle, grouse, griffon vulture, eagle owl.
Laguna de GallocantaWildlife Refuge6.720Common crane, piconegra pagoza, stork, cariblanco fumarel
Sierra y Cañones de GuaraPark (includes Peripheral Protection Zone)81.225Bonebreaker, Griffon Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, Pyquirroja Chova.
Galachos de la Alfranca de Pastriz, La Cartuja, y el Burgo de EbroNatural Reserve777Martinete.
Ordesa y Monte PerdidoNational Park (includes Peripheral Protection Zone) and Biosphere Reserve35.287Bonebreaker, golden eagle, snowy partridge, partridge and black whistle.
Posets-Maladeta*Park33.267Bonebreaker, golden eagle, snowy partridge, partridge, grouse, black whistle and tengmalm owl.

* Requested, not declared

Other Natural Spaces of Interest in Aragon
Another Figure of ProtectionSurface
in Ha.
% with respect to the total of Aragon
Wildlife Refuges8.2850,174
Biosphere Reserve51.3961,079
ZEPA153.7273,226
Total213.4084,459

Other Protected Natural Spaces in Aragon:



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The project "Nature in Aragon "is an extension of the previous" Natural and Geological Heritage in Aragon", therefore extend the description of natural places of interest in Aragon such as the already ancient National Parks of Ordesa and Monte Perdido and the National Park of Moncayo with other places such as the Sierra de Guara, exponent of humid places of Half Mountain, Los Galachos del Ebro or the steppe, which in its full aridity it is represented by the Lomaza de Belchite or the wide Monegros
To complement this information, introductions to flora, fauna, fungi, geology, water, landscapes, etc. are added.
Elsewhere in the Pasapues project, reference is made to famous Aragonese naturalists such as Odon de Buen or Felix de Azara, etc.
This project is documented, whenever possible, by graphic material such as photographs, illustrations, maps, etc.

Natural Protected Spaces in Aragon. Natural heritage in Aragon. Pyrenees, Moncayo, Iberian system, mountains, rivers, Beech, Bears, Vertebrates, Animal kingdom, plants, fungi, landscapes, Fauna, zoology, ecology, Water

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