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Espacio Natural de Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada Natural Space

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First Listed

2014

Area
1,723.18km2

Pilot Site

This site is undergoing the renewal of its IUCN Green List Certification

Why is it Green Listed?

Sierra Nevada Natural Space was added to the Green List during the Pilot Phase in 2014. It consists of 2 parts: Sierra Nevada National Park and Sierra Nevada Nature Park . The National Park acts as the Nuclear zone, the Nature Park as the Buffer zone and the Socio-Economic Influence Area as the Transition zone.

Its strategic position, midway to the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and between the Palaerctic and Palaeotropical worlds, makes it into a croosroad of multiple wildlife migrations througout the time and the space. This mountain hosts Alpine, African, Atlantic, and mid-Eastern elements, but above all, Sierra Nevada is the paradigm of the Mediterranean Mountain. Sierra Nevada is considered one of the richest biological areas at Iberian Peninsula and also at European scale.

Site Attributes

WDPA ID

Size
1,723.18km2

Designation(s)
Natioonal Park and Nature Park

IUCN Category
II and V

Year Established
1999

Marine Protected Area
No

Governance Type
Federal or national ministry or agency

Site Summary

Sierra Nevada Natural Space was added to the Green List during the Pilot Phase in 2014. It consists of 2 parts: Sierra Nevada National Park (WDPA ID 389011) and Sierra Nevada Nature Park (WDPA ID 349467). The first protection category granted to Sierra Nevada was its declaration as Biosphere Reserve in 1986. Shortly after, the Regional Government enacted the Law 2/1989 on the Inventory of Natural Protected Areas in Andalusia by which the mountain range was declared Nature Park, with 140.200 ha.

The importance of its natural values led to the declaration of the highest areas as National Park by means of the National Law 3/1999. The three categories co-exist, in agreement with the philosophy of MaB Biosphere Reserves: The National Park acts as the Nuclear zone, the Nature Park as the Buffer zone and the Socio-Economic Influence Area as the Transition zone. In July 2006, the Regional Government received from the National the competences related to ordinary management of National Parks. Since then, the Consejería de Medio Ambiente (Council of the Environment) is responsible for the management and conservation of the two Andalusian National Parks, Doñana and Sierra Nevada.

Each site is then called Espacio Natural, meaning the addition of the Nature and the National Parks, and their respective management staff merged into a single one, responsible for the management and conservation of both Parks. Nonetheless, the National Ministry is still responsible for coordination tasks and common issues concerning the National Network, like their representation at international scale. Sierra Nevada mountain range is located SE to the Iberian Peninsula, close to the mediterranean coast.

It encompasses the highest peaks of the Iberian Peninsula: Mulhacén (3.482 meters above sea level) and Veleta (3.392 m.a.s.l.), only exceeded at European scale by the French Alps (Mont Blanc, 4.810 m.a.s.l.) It is protected by a wide body of regulations passed by the highest authorities in the Kingdom of Spain and the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. Its designation as a National Park (IUCN category II) and a Nature Park (IUCN Category V) ensure the highest standards of protection at national and regional scale; on the other hand, its declaration as a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) integrate it in the Natura 2000 European ecological network, based on Council Directive 92/43/EEC of the European Union, which is mandatory for all EU member states. Its vast protected area (over 170,000 hectares) includes exceptional natural values.

Its strategic position, midway to the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and between the Palaerctic and Palaeotropical worlds, makes it into a croosroad of multiple wildlife migrations througout the time and the space. This mountain hosts Alpine, African, Atlantic, and mid-Eastern elements, but above all, Sierra Nevada is the paradigm of the Mediterranean Mountain. Sierra Nevada is considered one of the richest biological areas at Iberian Peninsula and also at European scale. It is particularly rich in endemic species, with more than 2.100 plant taxa catalogued in 154 communities inventoried so far.

Amongst the fauna species it is worth to highlight the Iberian endemic Mountain Goat (Capra pyrenaica), having in Sierra Nevada its biggest world population. The group of Insects show also a high degree of endemic species. Its geological origin and evolution explain the great importance of its geological resources, some of which are extremely rare. Progress has been made in recent years in the process of increasing transparency, accountability and public participation in the management of this protected area.

The consolidation of the Sierra Nevada Participation Council has been central in this task, since this ample participative body represents a valuable forum for putting together the views of rightholders, stakeholders and administrations linked to the management and conservation of the protected area. Granada University has traditionally been very active in researching the numerous natural values of this area, followed by some other institutions of the Upper Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Almería University. Their scientists, often experts at world scale in Biology and geology, not only have created a consistent scientific Corpus, they have also shown a lot of interest in cooperating with the site managers. This has been crucial for the creation and development of the Sierra Nevada Observatory of Global Change, a unique exercice of mutual feed-back between scientists and managers to design new paradigms on site management and conservation, to include adaptation approaches increasing ecosystem and species resilience. Finally, Sierra Nevada counts with human, material and financial resources that are stable and sufficient to ensure proper management and the conservation of its natural and cultural values.

The existing legislation provides mechanisms ensuring the rights of stakeholders affected by the protection of the area and there is a decided will to promote models of sustainable progress in the SocioEconomic Influence Area.

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