Donana: Water and Biosphere

Page 1

Do単ana Water and Biosphere

Doñana Water and Biosphere Francisco García Novo Cipriano Marín Cabrera with the assistance of:

Eva Mª Alonso Vizcaíno contributions from: Regla Alonso Miura - Elena Angulo Aguado - Salvatore Arico - Sarat Babu Gidda Benigno Bayán Jardín - Juan Bautista Gallego - Ernest Bladé Castellet - Francisco Borja Barrera Miguel Ángel Bravo - Juan Calderón Rubiales - Jesus Casas Grande Eloy M. Castellanos- David Coates - José Juan Chans Pousada - Josefina Cruz Villalón Emilio Custodio Gimena - Miguel Delibes de Castro - Maguelon Déjeant-Pons Ricardo Díaz-Delgado - Mari Cruz Díaz Antunes Barradas - Carmen Díaz Paniagua Mari Paz Esquivias Segura- María Ángeles Fernández - Carlos Fernández Delgado- Andy J. Green Juan Fernández Haeger - Josep Dolz Ripollés - Rodrigo Gámez Lobo - Pablo García Murillo Josep A. Gili Ripoll - José González Delgado - Mauricio González Gordon - Fernando Hiraldo Cano Mireille Jardin - Pierre Lasserre - Marisol Manzano Arellano - Juan Ángel Mintegui Aguirre Carlos Montes del Olmo - Kalemani Jo Mulongoy - Juan F. Ojeda Rivera Félix Manuel Pérez Miyares - Joaquín Rodríguez Vidal - Alberto Ruíz de Larramendi Laura Serrano Martín - Ramón C. Soriguer Escofet- Luis E. Santamaría Galdon Julia Toja Santillana - Carlos Urdiales Alonso - María Zunzunegui González Published contributions by Ramón Margalef and José Antonio Valverde Revised by: Giuseppe Orlando

The Editors would like to thank: Félix Manuel Pérez Miyares, Benigno Bayán Jardín, and Fernando Hiraldo for having been the true supporters and driving force of this editorial project. José María Pérez de Ayala for generously contributing with his magnificient photographs. The Doñana Biological Station and the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology of the University of Seville for their support, scientific contribution, and supply of information. Mauricio González-Gordon, for opening the door to choice information on the events that lead to the creation of the Doñana National Park. CENEAM and the Spanish Autonomous Park Authority for their graphical and informative support. Mireille Jardin, Salvatore Arico, Jane Robertson and the Secretariat of the UNESCO MaB Programme, as well as Pierre Lasserre for their key guidance that was determining for carrying out this work. Dionysis Assimacopoulos for his advice on the new water paradigms. José María Romero for his support and for contributing with contents and technical data on the Doñana 2005 project. Jesús Casas Grande for his advice and orientation on the conception and strategy of the Doñana 2005 project. Carlos Urdiales for his comments, for contributing with his great experience on Doñana, and for his suggestions on the contents. Andrew J. Green, Miguel Delibes de Castro, José Dolz Ripollés, Carlos Fernández Delgado, Juan Mintegui Aguirre, José González Delgado, Fernando Díaz del Olmo, Javier Cobos Aguirre, Carlos Montes del Olmo, Francisco Borja Barrera, Marisol Manzano Arellano, Jose Mª Fernández Palacios, Francisco Quirós Herruzo, José Juan Chan, Alberto Ruíz de Larramendi, and José Mª Arenas Cabello, for their guidance as members or participants of the Doñana 2005 Scientific Committee and, in particular, the Coordinator of the Committee, Hermelindo Castro Nogueira. But our acknowledgements are also addressed to all those anonymous authors that are protagonists of this unique place, to the hundreds of researchers and defenders of nature who have studied, worked, and fought for Doñana to succeed in the conservation of this gem of nature, an actual legacy for future generations. Published by: Doñana 2005 Project - Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir (Guadalquivir Hydrologic Basin Authority), Spanish Ministry of the Environment. Madrid, 2006. This English edition is a translation of the former Spanish edition published in 2005, updated with new data and the addition of 2 new chapters. With the support of: UNESCO - MaB (Man and Biosphere Programme), Junta de Andalucía (Consejería de Medio Ambiente) Edited by: Cipriano Marín Cabrera - Francisco García Novo Design and Layout: Francisco Martín García Photography: José María Pérez de Ayala, Antonio Sabater. Doñana Biological Station, CENEAM ,and Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority. Paisajes Españoles S.A., AYESA, Miguel G. Muñoz Sariot, Eva Mª Alonso Vizcaíno, Nassima Aghanim, Luciana Bartolini, Andrés Ceballos, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Oscar Contreras Navarro, J.L. González Grande, Carlos Fernández Delgado, Tom Fritts, Bárbara García Moreda, Cipriano Marín, Juan A. Mintegui Aguirre, A. Portheault, Gordon Rodd, Tobias Salathé, Yolanda Vento, W. de Vries, Aurora Suárez, Ziesle, Alberto Luengo Barreto, Adam Petrusek, Adam Petrusek, Carlos Urdiales.. Authors of the photographs kindly provided by CENEAM - Spanish Autonomous Park Authority: Carlos Sanz, Antonio Camoyán, J.M. Pérez de Ayala, J.M. Reyero, Vicente García Canseco, Fernando Cámara Orgaz, Jesús Huertas Muñóz, Jorge Remacha, J.L. Perea, Antonio Moreno Rodríguez, Carlos Sánchez, J.C. Dueñas, FON-3, Miguel Angel de la Cruz Alemán. Illustrations, water colours and pictures: Regla Alonso Miura, Rosalía Martín Franquelo, Luis Mir Payá., Francisco Martín García. Revision of texts: Patricia Marín Garavito, Giuseppe Orlando, Carlos Urdiales. Juan Bautista Gallego, Mari Cruz Díaz, Carlos García Gómez, Luis Gortázar Díaz-Llanos, Angel Martín, J. Carlos Muñoz, José Marrero y Castro, Laura Serrano, María Zunzunegui. Revision of the English translation (Introductions to chapters): Tony Corballis. Translation of texts: GABINETE ERASMUS - Consuelo Giansante. Maps and graphics: GAIA. S.L. Photomecanics: TENYDEA S.L. Printed by: MATEU CROMO ARTES GRÁFICAS S.A. - Madrid / D.L. M-10992-2006 ISBN 84-609-6326-8


Water and the Biosphere

Minister of the Environment

Man is the first technological species, the first product of evolution, capable of re-thinking the meaning of his existence, of converting his dreams into ideas, and his ideas into technological devices.Along this road, he has found improvements and facilities, but there has also been sadness. He has produced gems of thought and action, but he has also brought about much poverty, his share of disasters and an appreciable amount of hardship and desolation. With the passing of the centuries, we have become a global species capable of making significant changes on a general scale. We can transform more than just the immediate horizon on which we believe our actions have an impact. Our species walks the earth, bearing an obsession to grow, reproduce, transform and change everything around us into a recreated space, into a de-naturalised territory at our service and tailor made exclusively to meet only our needs.We have become a race of planet manipulators, manipulators of our planet, and we even aspire to being able to manipulate other planets. Perhaps for the first time in the course of this long journey, we are realising just how alone we are in an empty cosmos.We are like stowaways on a small planet that is no longer unknown territory to explore and settle; it has become our salvation, the fragile life raft of the castaway in which we sail through the universe. This planet, our only home, is finite. There is no other earth. It would be a good idea to consider how we can all continue to live here in dignity. That is an important project, to forge a bond of commitments with men and with the land. Opting for solidarity and common sense. Opting for a more sustainable development; i.e. opting for a fairer, more intelligent and more responsible development. A growing number of our ranks want to change our world, so that the world does not change.We want to ignite a revolution to curb our current rush to the very edge of what is possible. We want to rationalise our habits and our tireless consumption. We want to put an end to the leading environmental problem that is poverty, ignorance and fanaticism. In short, we want this to remain a friendly and habitable planet. And we have to start doing this now, and we have to do it properly. That is why it is important for us to be able to put examples, real situations, on the table. Examples that show that


rationality is not incompatible with improving our quality of life; on the contrary, this is the best argument for fair, balanced and equitable development. Our world, our very existence, hangs by a thin thread of water. Everything that happens, everything wonderful in life, happens in the water. Life exists thanks to water.Water is the life blood of the planet. Water that remains ever changeless, flowing from the sky to earth, and from the earth back to the sky in an unbroken cycle to feed dreams, forge landscapes and sculpt architectures with names of life forms. Learning to move to the rhythm of water is to understand something more than the mere existence of each of us. Accepting this continual and infinite flow is the best guarantee that tomorrow other water, but the same water in the end, will continue to flow. Our lives are not rivers that run down to the sea to die; our lives are moments of dreams that the water amalgamates with the shadows of still waters. The history of Do単ana is a good example of waters that merge and separate, of improbable wishes, unacceptable circumstances and unforeseeable realities. It is a good story of water and life. A good example. What for centuries was a wilderness underwent many changes and opposing attitudes last century. A wilderness, inhabited by fears and impossible expectations, became a playing field on which the great arguments that moved, and move, our society clash.This was a land that has demonstrated that not everything has a price, and that the price should not always be paid, even if we can afford it.The result of decades of conflict between alleged promoters of development and conservationist "romantics" in a space in which the conservation of the biodiversity, enhancing the value of endogenous resources and a rational use of its potential has become the overarching argument for ensuring the quality of life of our people.Today, the district of Do単ana speaks the language of sustainable development, its people are prepared to accept the challenge of moving forward in that direction. In this kaleidoscope of situations, in this succession of alternatives, the watercourses were blocked up, to the detriment of


the marshes and many horizons became routine and uniform. In this succession of events, some took decisions that are now considered as vital and visionary, but there were unacceptable accidents too and reproachable or, at the very least, inappropriate, behaviour.The marks are still there, and our mission for the future should be to patiently and lovingly suture the wounds of both the land and its people. Restore the bonds between man and his environment; allow the watercourses to flow once more and the horizons to recover their variation and their leading role.We must learn to leave the mark of the memories of our elders in the gaze of our children. We must recover the lost landscapes before the last of those who remember them disappear for ever. To attain this, the work of reconstruction and restoration will have to continue. This is a process that will have a diminishing content of technological argument and an increasing content of social sensitivity. Restoring nature and recovering territories for the environment is far more than just a well presented technique. It is a process that represents a new way of galvanising public action. It is as important as the watercourses that are restored, as the hectares of marshes that are recovered; it is the measured protocol that provides the context for action and that gradually accumulates friends, forges alliances, creates complicity and, with all the simplicity of words, adds vectors and efforts in our need to start thinking and acting differently. By restoring Do単ana, by recovering its waters, returning what should never have ceased to be wetlands to the domain of the swamps, we are doing far more than just recovering a wetland, however valuable this may be. What we are really doing is to draw a symbolic sign pointing to a future in which water works blend in with and are hidden in the vital womb of the land, acting as a dressing wherever they are needed, rather than an argument or a rationale.We are opening up the hearts of the people, of the good people, showing them that this can be done, must be done and, moreover, that this is the only ethical way of doing it.


UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Water-dependent ecosystems and associated services are crucial to the well being of humans, other species and ecosystems. Indeed, these important ecosystems play a key role in maintaining global ecological, economic, social and cultural balances. Examples of this type of ecosystems are, inter alia, wetlands, peatlands, brackish ecosystems such as coastal lagoons, marshes, streams and rivers. Water is the basis for the sound development of ecological interactions among the components of these ecosystems, for their organization, and their full functioning. In turn water provision as a service would not be possible without the ecological processes that take place within these ecosystems.This was the conceptual basis that led the Organization to establish "water and associated ecosystems" as its principal programme priority for the natural sciences for the period of its MediumTerm Strategy 2002-2007. UNESCO is keenly interested in the role of science in policy-making. The work of UNESCO in coordinating research, monitoring and scientific assessment programmes is complemented by its work in the areas of human rights and social transformation, information and communication technologies and the further development of a knowledge society, preservation of cultural heritage and promotion of cultural diversity, and education, training and public awareness. The overarching goal of UNESCO is to promote peace through cooperation on matters that relate to education, science and culture. I am therefore pleased and honoured to introduce readers to this new and truly innovative book on "DoĂąana:Water and Biosphere". This emblematic publication symbolizes in a nutshell how humans strive to reach equilibrium with nature - an attempt which in many cases, as in the case of DoĂąana, can indeed be reached.The book is therefore an example of how, although this sometimes entails making hard choices, humans can turn ecosystems to their advantage in a manner entirely compatible with the principles of sustainable development, including taking into due account social responsibility, respect for cultural identities and the awareness of the importance of conserving biological diversity and its sustainable use. This book also bears witness to the longstanding collaboration between UNESCO and the Spanish Authorities, including the Ambassador of Spain to UNESCO, the Spanish National


Commission for UNESCO, the Spanish National Committee for UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme, and the Do単ana 2005 Project. I do hope that, after reading this important book, we can all be inspired in our views and practices on how water and the biosphere interact.


PETER BRIDGEWATER Secretary Generall

Ramsar Convention Secretariat (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

Designated on 04/05/82 and covering 50,720 ha, Parque Nacional de Do単ana Ramsar site is one of the most important Ramsar sites in the western Mediterranean, and Spain's first Ramsar site. Although it has been affected by a number of human activities that have reduced its integrity, Parque Nacional de Do単ana Ramsar site is a resilient system with many parts retaining natural appearances and functions. The special features of the site are: its high diversity of habitats: as well as wetlands of many types, coastal dunes, Mediterranean scrub, pine, juniper, and cork oak/olive woodlands; its high ornithological values with habitat for five endangered breeding species, one of the largest heronries in the Mediterranean supporting over half a million wintering waterfowl, and as a critical link in the migration route for palearctic waders, and its status as one of the remaining sites for the Iberian lynx, Lynx pardinus. Yet despite all these attributes, it was also placed on the Montreux Record on 04/07/90, due to possible effects from changing hydrological regimes. In 1998 there was also the spill from the Boliden Apirsa pyrite mine, some 60 km upstream, where some 6 million m3 of toxic sludge and acid waters were released along the Guadiamar river bed, downstream to the very edge of the National Park, and into the core zone of the wetland area. This ecological disaster proved a tipping point in provoking government action. Finally, after many efforts and committees established over the years, the long awaited and clearly focused programme of priority actions for Do単ana were initiated. With respect to the accident, the Andalusian authorities worked tirelessly to remove the large amounts of toxic sludge and restore the Guadiamar river basin. A strategy "Corredor verde del Guadiamar", aimed at restoring the natural riverbed and its riverine forests, was started in 1999 and has progressed substantially since. The Spanish government has an ambitious restoration strategy, "Do単ana 2005", to restore the damaged ecosystems and to solve the remaining management problems. This is an innovative and welcome approach to a clearly difficult problem. But


an approach which is needed if the Ramsar keystone concept of wise use is ever to prevail. Two concurrent programmes aim to restore the main water inflows to the Guadalquivir Marsh in terms of quantity and quality, to re-establish the necessary water exchanges between the freshwater marshes and the Guadalquivir estuary, to create more than 4000 ha of natural landscapes on formerly drained and cultivated areas, and to establish a programme of monitoring of ecological health and for the prevention of further accidents. Progress with this substantial programme of actions and investments is already well underway, as noted by the Ramsar Advisory Mission during its first field visit, in 2002. The relevant authorities are to be congratulated on instigating this complex programme, which will undoubtedly result in a more effective conservation and management strategy for this wetland dominated landscape. In conclusion, this book will play an important role in bringing together the existing information, and showing where we need further work and information. Eventually, we hope to see Do単ana as a leading example of a Montreaux listed site which has been rehabilitated and restored to ecological viability, allowing genuine sustainable development to occur.


HAMDALLAH ZEDAN Executive Secretary

Convention on Biological Diversity

It is a great pleasure for me to present this brief prologue to this auspicious publication. Water is central to life and nowhere is this more apparent than in wetlands. Wetland ecosystems are physically, chemically, biologically and socio-culturally complex and support an incredible variety of biodiversity as well as provide immeasurable goods and services to human populations. Yet despite their value they remain amongst the world's most threatened ecosystems. Water is a valuable and sought after resource, in increasingly short supply globally, yet world-wide we continue to squander and abuse its bounty.The biodiversity it supports, and the livelihoods of people who depend upon it, are the first casualties in this process. The message is clear - we must learn to manage water better. There are encouraging signs that we are starting to take serious notice of this situation and do something about it. Whilst the decline in the health of wetlands in many regions continues to be alarming, in other areas societies have begun to not only recognize their value better but to demand that they be conserved, rehabilitated or restored.The present publication illustrates the complexities of the problems at hand and the challenges ahead, but also that when we try hard enough we can achieve much. The Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) covers multiple ecosystem types in all geographical regions. It was quick to identify water and wetlands as important areas through its thematic programmes of work on the biological diversity of inland water and marine and coastal ecosystems. These were comprehensively revised, or up-dated, at the seventh Conference of the Parties to the CBD in February 2004 and are complemented by work programmes in a number of other areas, most of which also have direct or indirect impacts upon aquatic ecosystems.The CBD work programmes lay down the framework for what needs to be done by Parties and other stakeholders, in order to meet the objectives of the Convention - to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and equitably share the benefits of the genetic resources that these ecosystems support. A critical test is, of course, the extent to which the work programmes are implemented. On this front I am pleased to make two important observations. First, that the CBD process has shifted recently from a phase of policy/strategy development towards implementation. Second, the


Strategic Plan of the Convention is now accompanied by the important target of achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biodiversity at the global, regional and national levels.The target has been widely endorsed and its importance to related human development goals (such as the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals) clearly recognized. Sub-targets have been set for various focal areas and viable indicators for assessing progress towards them identified. These will help to assess whether the activities carried out to reach the target are effective. The Parties to the CBD have also re-iterated their commitment to fostering improved partnerships with other conventions, organizations, institutions and processes. Regarding water and biodiversity, we have many valued partners.We are proud to mention specifically our long-standing collaboration with the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which has always been the lead partner on matters relating to wetlands under the CBD.We intend to continue to forge partnerships with all others with whom we share common interests and goals, towards a truly global partnership for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. In no other field than water is this so urgent or important. In this issue of Do単ana I am pleased to see these principles and approaches embodied in practice. I congratulate the authors and contributors who have so eloquently and artistically conveyed such a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject. But what impresses me most is not only the content but also the sense of common purpose it portrays - to recognize and promote the value of these ecosystems and collectively help sustain them by managing our activities better. The CBD stands by to support all such efforts wherever and whenever they occur.This is, after all, what the CBD is about.



The ties of the world

President Spanish National Commission for UNESCO

One of the leading characters of a Saul Bellows book expressed the following thoughts: "I fully agree with Hegel (lectures in Jena, 1806) in that all the mass of ideas that have been in use to date, the very ties of the world, are dissolving and collapsing like a vision in a dream.A new spirit is about to emerge - or it better had do". This character has his doubts about the imminent reality of this new spirit that will re-make the ties: "for a long time, mankind was sustained by an unheard music that kept them afloat and gave him continuity, coherence. But this music has stopped and a new, different and barbaric music is emerging: the cosmic orchestra that sends the music has suddenly cancelled its concert, and where does that leave us?" (*). A general feeling of progress and modernity seems to dominate our horizons; but a feeling of loss and loneliness seeps in from time to time, an underlying sadness and desperation that dulls the mind and festers as an indicator of a certain cosmic pessimism. Are we playing with the fire that Prometheus gave us? We seem to be resigned to watch some black prophecies become self-fulfilling, like, for instance, the evidence that predatory gains in the short term (very often as short as the deadline itself) to the benefit of tiny segments of present generations always prevail over the common good in the longer term. Beyond the frustrating limits of each life, we seem to be stalked by a basic nihilism that reproduces, to a lesser extent, the distant lament of the cynical Greek poet: "the best thing for man is not to have been born". In the end, we are neither at home nor are we entirely happy with our inn.This is the new barbaric music, the murmur of the anti-cosmos. For those of us who wish to listen to a new musical score (new and different, but not barbaric), we feel comforted by the work offered by the authors of "Do単ana, Water and Biosphere". Far from inviting us to share a mere erudite essay, or an ecological-technical treatise about a biosphere reserve, which is well worth the effort, they offer us an outstanding testimony of the enormous integrating effort being made, based on the reality of Do単ana, in which contributions from very different fields are tied together with a coherence, aesthetic and a joie de vivre that not only impregnates the work with sense; it also projects them towards a new vision of the world. In this carefully crafted choreographic work on one of Spain's great-


est treasures, time, geography, history, ecology, the natural sciences, biology, photography, planning, engineering, sociology and culture are both an illustration of what Doñana is today and an announcement of what we are called upon to do with her. This work strikes a balance between present rigour and future will that goes beyond mere information, it is spiritually moving. It is as if one could feel and see the cosmic ties we form part of in the natural and social micro-world of Doñana. According to Bellow's tale, Hegel's question for us was where does that leave us? in the face of the perceived silence of the old, secular music. The authors of "Doñana: Water and Biosphere" bring us the chords of the new cosmic orchestra, or rather, they enable us to listen to the cosmic orchestra once again, as it had only appeared to stop playing in a time of profound collective deafness among mankind, but they now delight us with the gift of a renewed music that, with conditions, promises the hope of continuity and coherence.

* “Cousins”, a short story by Saul Bellow, was firstly published in his collection “Him with His Foot in His Mouth and Other Stories” (1984).



Doñana 2005

General Coordinator Doñana 2005 Scientific Commission

The complexity of Doñana goes beyond the fact that it is one of the most important protected areas in Europe. Since it was declared a National Park in 1969, it has attracted continuous international acclaim that has given rise to a series of measures aimed at providing international recognition and protection by extending the management criteria for this protected area. Thus, Doñana forms part of the MaB Programme as a Biosphere Reserve; it has been included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance as a wild fowl habitat under the Ramsar Convention; it is the only place in Andalusia that has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO; it forms part of the Natura Network as a Special Protection Area for Birds and has been proposed as a Site of Community Interest for Andalusia and has won a European Diploma from the Council of Europe. Apart from sheltering important natural and cultural values, the Doñana Nature Park plays an essential role as a buffer against potential human impacts on the National Park. By the same token, the Guadiamar Green Corridor Protected Landscape plays an important function as an ecological corridor and a social and economic catalyst connecting Doñana with the protected areas of Sierra Morena. Moreover, three of the 35 Natural Monuments included in the RENPA are situated in the district of Doñana: the El Rocio Wild Olives, the Asperillo Cliffs and the Hundred year old Pine of the Parador de Mazagon. Hence, from an ecological and functional point of view, each of the protected areas in Doñana is more than an individual piece, as they form part of a larger area, beyond its administrative borders, with which they share essential biophysical processes. So, Doñana is seen not only as a fundamental component of the National Parks Network, whose guidelines, recommendations, criteria and management and planning objectives it has to meet; it is also a basic and essential element of RENPA (Network of Protected Sites of Andalusia), making an important contribution to its internal coherence and ecological, social and cultural functionality. Doñana is obviously not a pristine area and many of the values that justify its international reputation are the result of the uses to which this region has been put over the centuries. But the economic boom of recent years, focussed on irrigation farming and tourism, has had a significant impact on the water


resources of the area and, in consequence, on the associated natural systems. Furthermore, if we bear in mind that Do単ana is laid out over the bottom of a basin, we will realise that its ecosystems are especially sensitive to the man's actions beyond the borders of the protected areas and of the district itself, especially with regard to the quality and quantity of surface and groundwater, as was made painfully clear after the Aznalcollar accident. It is therefore undeniable that the survival of the values that make Do単ana an eco-cultural heritage that is unique in Europe require a management strategy that is anchored in the reality of its territorial environment. For this reason, it is essential not only to adopt an integral management of the different forms of protection and recognition that have the area has been endowed with; it is just as important to manage the region in a co-ordinated fashion, based on shared responsibility and on building a consensus among the different authorities and sectors involved. In recent years, much progress has been made in this direction and the main instruments used in the fields of conservation, regional planning and development in Do単ana have been created on the basis of accepting the need to strike a balance between the different interests that overlap in this region, based on the foundation of consensus and an active commitment by all those involved in the day to day work. Hence, all concerned recognise that the economic development modal for the district and the conservation of its ecological and cultural values are interdependent. Further progress is needed along these lines, promoted by a common effort on the part of the public administrations and society, so that the full integration of Do単ana with its environment, protected or not, becomes the principle paradigm of sustainability and conservation on a broad scale.


Index 1 A changing world Water for all, water for life The importance of Biodiversity Wetlands and Biosphere Reserves


23 45

laboratories of Sustainable Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Wetlands and Science ........................................................

53 59



scientists to help nature conservation practitioners and society to set priorities in wetlands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wetlands and the European Landscape Convention Protected areas, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in wetlands issues and prospects

2 The evolution of Doñana The time of the Marshes lands marked by water and diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The decisive years The role of Doñana in the history of conservation



Research in Doñana the necessary relations between science and natural resource conservation

The milestones that made Doñana a National Park



3 Watery landscapes Water as the main player The geomorphological evolution of Doñana The Doñana aquifer and its relations with the natural environment The paths of water in the Marshes


119 137 141





changes in the hydrological network

101 107

A Numerical Hydrodynamic Model for the Marshes of Doñana National Park El Partido stream



an example of the challenges posed by hydrological restoration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Man and water in the history of Doñana different approaches to water management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


A Doñana with clean and transparent waters for life The agricultural commitment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Marshes and ponds the graphic expression of water


4 The biological heritage of Doñana The performance of nature and the worlds of biodiversity within Doñana The aquatic systems of Doñana The ecology of Doñana scrub Freshwater algae of Doñana Birds and Hunting Doñana fish species






threat factors affecting a community in decline

The amphibians of Doñana




175 213 221 225 231 237 243


The uniqueness of marsh butterflies The rabbit in Doñana


the tale of two different tales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

247 251

The Iberian lynx rescuing a species for Doñana and for the world


5 The challenges of restoration The context of restoration and the new paradigms of Doñana The agricultural development in the surroundings of Doñana





275 281

a referent model for environmental restoration in Doñana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


spatial and landscape changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Co-existence of livestock in the marshes of Doñana Reconstruction of the Abalario landscape The Guadiamar Green Corridor

a research programme, example of science's social responsibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Doñana and its district, on the same path


289 293

6 The Doñana 2005 Project Water regeneration of the basins and water courses feeding the marshes of the Doñana National Park

The Doñana 2005 Project Caracoles



a new laboratory for science and wetland restoration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Extending Doñana an important step towards regenerating the water system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Monitoring and Evaluation the key to the Doñana 2005 Restoration Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

7 The biological diversity of Doñana Doñana species checklist


8 Epílogue Doñana 2005, a forward looking project by Felix Manuel Pérez Miyares






Water for All, Water for Life


n the fourth day, Isis was born among the marshes.This is how most of the tales of Egyptian mythology begin, by linking one of their most important Gods with the waters of the great Nile Delta. "The Egyptians say that Isis is crying to Osiris when the river starts to rise; and they claim that the fields flooding are, in fact, her tears"1. Isis was an ambivalent Goddess who, through the centuries, represented fertility, maternity, the symbol of growth and the safety of life; she was also worshipped as the Goddess of the hidden knowledge of nature and of magic, and because of these attributes, she is possibly the best symbol of many of the world's wetlands. She is, after all, the Goddess of the water enclosed in the earth, capable of creating new life and of returning her hus-

band, Osiris, to life, after rescuing his coffin from among the bulrushes of the delta.The Goddess Isis protected her son, Horus, the fruit of her relations with the resuscitated Osiris, from the aggressions of his uncle Sept, bringing him up in the depths of the marshes. In the end, Horus took the form of a peregrine falcon in the Egyptian skies, his divinity evident by his proximity to the sun. And so it seems that this facet of mythology was dreamed up to describe the eventful biological and human history that these bodies of water on the edge of the sea have sustained. But, coming back down to earth, and before getting into watery landscapes, one must also remember that the origins of the modern world also very much depend on the previous existence of wetlands. In the carboniferous age, these were the areas

Wetlands stand out as hotspots of biological diversity. However, this productive capacity is especially true in coastal marshes and swamps, which often host unique and endangered species and ecosystems. The picture shows an Iberian lynx hunting a mallard among the rushes of Do単ana. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.


Several societies have been living in harmony with wetlands since ancient times. Above, the lagoon of Porto Novo, a Ramsar site close to Cotonou, Benin. Photograph by Nassima Aghanim - Ramsar. January 2004.

that generated and created most of the fossil resources now used in the form of oil-resources that define the wealth fought over in unending wars, in effect bringing the dramas of the Egyptian Gods back to life. We must also remember that a great part of our modern society is once again becoming aware of the practical and cultural importance of these wetlands, especially those that are situated on the edge of the seas: places that used to be remote and deserted, reviled as the source of epidemics, but, at the same time, appreciated for their incredible wealth in producing unlimited reserves of life.They are the final refuge of Isis, the Goddess of life. And so, thousands of years on, the scientific community has lashed out in astonishing force in defence of the wetlands. In recent years, these surviving aquatic environments are rightly valued as sources, channels and transformers of a multitude of chemical, biological and genetic materials, revealing a new, waterdependent cosmos. Our knowledge of this cosmos remains extremely limited, but wetlands are now generally considered as the most important ecosystems on Earth, not only because of their important role as refuge or habitat to protected or endangered species, or as a major source of resources, but also because they are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet in terms of biomass and species.They are bastions of biological generation that continue to offset a systematic loss of biodiversity. Wetlands can be found in all countries, from the tundra to the tropics, although the exact percentage of the Earth's surface that flood plains make up is not known. Most international scientific agencies estimate that these territories, in all their forms, encompass close to 600 million hectares, approximately 4% of


the planet's dry land. In terms of area, the most important of these are the peat bogs, accounting for almost one third of all wetlands, followed by swamps, marshes and flood plains, with lakes accounting for a mere 2%. Wetlands stand out as hotspots of biological diversity. However, this productive capacity is especially true in coastal marshes and swamps, as they are exceptional ecotones between the sea and the land that many adjacent ecosystems depend on. These are boundary or frontier zones, sharing both land and aquatic systems, providing protection for both which confers on them supreme importance in conservation. This new view has enabled us to rediscover the value of the fragile and sometimes temporary aquatic landscapes that represent a refuge for countless forms of life, related in the myths of civilisations that existed long before our own. The value of bodies of water close to the sea can be seen in their subtlety, like in some outstanding manifestations of art.The slightest variation in the water level can be a determining factor in how we ultimately define its biological and scenic features. Maintaining the artistic simile, the presence and character of the wetlands is sometimes ephemeral, in geological terms of course. Many of these features in temperate and sub-arctic zones are no older than 12,000 years, a mere second on the geological scale of history, when they started to consolidate after the ice melted, changing the sea level at the end of the Ice Age.The continuous variations in sea level during recent ages (known as eustatic effects), some tectonic effects, the transference of sediments, and the power of the wind transporting sand and other materials resulted in the emergence of deltas and estuaries, creating intricate and varied coastal marshlands as they silted up. With the passage of time, mankind sometimes contributed towards environmental diversification even further, rather than compromising it. Archaeological and documentary evidence shows us that the final configuration of the deltas and estuaries of Norfolk, in the east of England, is the product of digging peat 500 to 700 years ago, and in many places, the mining of gravel from the alluvial plains over the last 200 years has been followed by the appearance of lakes and swamps. These close relations between human activity and fresh or brackish water on the edge of the sea are repeated throughout the world, at different times and to varying degrees


The latest threats to zones essential for life on the planet are, firstly, the remarkable shift of the world's population in recent decades to coastal areas, and secondly, the exponential

Mar Menor is a Ramsar site close to Murcia (Spain). It is a good example of the difficulties faced by wetlands under the pressure of human expansion along coastal areas. Here irrigation for agriculture, tourist development, old salt works, fishing, and nautical activities co-exist. Photograph: Paisajes Espa単oles S.A.

increase in new activities that use these delicate maritime strips, such as the development of coastal tourism or the creation of industrial estates based on a port. Whole cities like Belize or Panama City have spread over wetlands. The co-existence, or conflict, between human activity and the wetland areas, however, dates back much further, especially in the coastal zones. Wetland birds have been hunted since the dawn of time as the staple diet of early human societies, using nets, bows and arrows, and trained cats and birds of prey, among a long list of other techniques. In the bas reliefs of the temple of Esna, from the fifth dynasty of Egypt, there are paintings of complex methods of catching waterfowl, including the use of domestic geese as bait and decoys made from clay and leaves for hidden hunters to attract migrating birds.The relationship between man and the wetlands is also seen in the use of the many species of rushes

and fresh water reeds that have been used for centuries in building canoes and rafts, the world over.These practises still survive, for instance in the wetlands of the Tigris and the Euphrates where reeds are utilized, in South America where totora reeds or bulrushes are used, and in Africa, where papyrus is still made use of2. In Belize and Guatemala, the Maya used to drain marshes for growing crops 3,000 years ago. In Papua New Guinea, research carried out along the Waghi River in the highlands, has uncovered evidence from earlier ages of irrigation ditch systems and mounds the size of an orchard built to grow different plants 9,000 years ago.These, with the passage of millennia, have been turned into the intensive production of marsh taro that still survives. In Japan, marshes have been cultivated for at least 2,500 years; rice paddies were constructed in marshes, with basins sur-


Among the ancient Gods, Isis can be considered the Goddess of wetlands. Her symbol in the sky was the star Sirius, whose appearance heralded Nile’s awaited annual floods.

rounded by palisades and wood lined terraces. In medieval Europe, many wetlands were partially drained to improve grazing and to grow hay in the marshes, as sheep could graze there free from the distomatosis parasite. Dating tells us that many wetlands developed at the hands of our forefathers; a variety of cultures had an impact on such ecosystems that we are actually now trying to protect. Of all human intervention, one of the most important modifications of the wetlands throughout history was rice growing in China 6,000 years ago.This has had a major effect on the transformation of costal and delta areas that has increased over the centuries. Rice paddies gradually consumed a significant part of these habitats, progressively covering them. The expansion of rice growing over the last five hundred years has been spectacular.Yet, in the Mediterranean basin, rice fields only reached their peak relatively recently, in the mid 20th century, when they covered almost a million hectares. This is a good example of the clash between human activity and the survival of marshes and coastal wetland zones, although it is often thought that their existence helps floodable lands to be maintained, having a positive effect on waterfowl. The problem is that, on a small scale, rice paddies have not been very aggressive in ecological terms, but on the larger scale, they work in contradiction to the dynamics of coastal marshlands and estuaries.The clash lies in that the need for fresh water for irrigating the rice is out of synchronisation with the water cycle of the natural wetland zones.As in the case of DoĂąana, this has meant a radical change in handling the original hydrological system3. Not all human needs directly challenge the wetlands water cycle. Another Mediterranean example shows the symbiosis between human activity and the marshlands. Countless small salt


flats of immense strategic value since Roman times consolidated to become water engineering, prompting the transformation of coastal areas in successive episodes throughout history. Salt, considered by Aristotle as the fifth element, became the symbol of power and economic strength of the great civilisations, from Carthage to Venice. But salt works rarely needed modification to the water cycle, as all they needed was brackish water and large areas of flat ground.Although they have been abandoned for all intents and purposes in the Mediterranean basin now, the enormous cultural and economic value they had up until the early 20th century meant that they could be maintained and conserved along with many of their associated wetlands. However, the utilization of the wetlands over the course of the millennia is nothing compared to what has happened in the last one hundred and fifty years and, more specifically, with the major transformations imposed in the 20th century to the 1970s. The loss of wetlands, in particular coastal swamps and marshes, occurred at a dizzying speed during recent times. Even admitting that historic data on the wetlands worldwide are far from reliable, it is generally accepted that practically 50% of the total estimated area of these zones at the beginning of the 20th century has now disappeared.This gives us a very rough idea of the global conflict of interests that affects their conservation, either because of the spread of irrigated farmlands, or of tourism and urban development, or because of draining to prevent malaria. In the example of the Mediterranean, records show that 73% of the marshes of northern Greece have been drained since 1930; most of the major flood plains of France have deteriorated thanks to the application of official public regional planning policies between 1960 and 1994; Spain has lost nearly 60% of the original area of wetlands it enjoyed at the beginning of the 20th century; while 84% of the floodable lands of the Medjerdah, in Tunisia, were lost between 1881 and 1987.Table 1 shows alarming percentages of wetlands lost forever in OECD countries during certain periods of the 20th century4. The case of the United States of America is especially signifTABLE 1 Significant wetland areas lost during the XX century compared with those existing at the beginning of the each period. COUNTRY















The Netherlands









World estimation



Wetlands are found worldwide, in all situations and at all latitudes, creating incredibly diverse environments. In the picture, marshlands inside the crater of a volcanic island in the Galapagos archipelago, an emblematic World Heritage Site. Photograph by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Earth from above/UNESCO.

icant and well documented. In colonial times, there were over 159 million hectares of wetlands in North America. During the 19th century, these were identified as a threat due to the spread of malaria, apart from being considered an obstacle in opening up new farmlands. As a consequence, the policy of eradicating wetlands was consolidated through a series of laws enacted specifically for swamp areas between 1849 and 1860. Congress granted all these lands to the States with a mandate for cleaning them up. Hence, in a 200-year period from the first documented interventions in 1780, the country as a whole lost 53% of its flooded areas, which is equivalent to a continuous loss of 25 ha of wetlands per hour5. Several places that have sustained significant losses are worthy of mention. New Zealand is a fitting example, with 90% of its boggy lands also lost in this same period. Similarly, the immense peat bogs of England and Ireland were seen as an inexhaustible source of fuel and have been reduced to a mere 10% of their original surface area.What's more, since the beginning of the 20th century, over 80% of the wetlands that used to exist in the mouth of the Danube have been destroyed6.

The situation in Spain was similar to many other countries in the 19th century such as the aforementioned case of the United States. Draining swampy lands became an obligation of the rural health authorities, implemented mainly by the municipal authorities, who considered marshy areas close to towns as sources of

Wetlands are essential refuges for the survival of an important part of world’s bird populations. Above, flamingoes at Cayo Caguanes National Park, Cuba. Photograph by Bårbara García Moreda.


Salt pans and rice fields are millennia-old typical uses of marshlands. In the picture, Janubio salt-pans, Lanzarote (Canary Islands). Photograph by Alberto Luengo.

infection -hazardous, unhealthy areas. Hence, as towns grew, any swampy area was immediately eliminated.This trend was made official in a circular on the prevention of typhus dated the 28th of April 1869 and in the Royal Order of the 7th of January 1878, giving instructions for reversing the spread of leprosy. Some marshlands partially escaped these interventions because they were considered useful, once cleaned up and transformed into rice paddies.The work of clearing and draining the wetlands was soon considered as public works, as seen in the General Public Works Act of 18777. The Inventory of Wetlands, drawn up in 1991 by the TABLE 2 Evolution of the area of Spanish wetlands and lakes included in the DGOH inventory (1991). Type of wetland Interior wetlands Mountain Carstic Interior freshwater Interior brackish Flood plains


Original area in ha

Present area in ha

% Superficie present/original






96.9 89.7








77.2 20.3



Coastal wetlands








Directorate General of Hydraulic Works of what was at the time the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (Table 2), shows that practically 60% of the surface area of wetlands and natural lakes had disappeared, most of it between 1950 and 1990. Some 114,100 ha remained when the inventory was drawn up, of an estimated total area of 280,228 ha documented at the beginning of the century. Proportionally, the most affected areas were the flood plains, with only one fifth of their original area surviving the conversion to farmland. Inland freshwater wetlands followed, with only one third of their estimated original area surviving. But in quantitative terms, the coastal wetlands are the worst affected by this process, loosing 59% of their original surface area.This means that 141,949 ha, or 50% of the total surface area of wetland coastal areas at the beginning of the 20th century, were lost in the 20th century, although they still represent a large proportion of the total surface area of aquatic environments.This is why Do単ana is so important in the overall count, as its floodable area alone (27,000 ha) accounts for one fifth of the natural salt marsh areas that now survive in Spain8. However, a simple analysis of surface area losses, although illustrative per se, does not give a complete picture of the threats that still endanger these enclaves and the urgent need to protect them at all costs. Although pressure on wetlands has diminished significantly since 1980, most of the factors that trigger their transformation and degradation remain dormant in many places. A long list of activities and actions could lead to direct or indirect changes in the physical, chemical and biological components of the aquatic ecosystems, with serious consequences like them drying out.The most common types of alteration can be divided into four main groups: - Alteration to the physical structure of the wetland, due to the frequent changes made to natural branches, canals, streams and brooks, turning them into artificial waterways because of building or water works that change their topography. This is the case in certain symbolic areas like the Everglades, or even Do単ana. In the Everglades case, the restoration of its hydrological system, approved almost a decade ago, has been a major operation costing almost 1.5 billion dollars. On a different scale geographically, the restoration of the Do単ana water system faces similar problems, arising from the interventions carried out in the second half of the 20th century. Alterations to hydrological systems and infrastructures usually have the effect of fragmenting habitats. - Alteration to the hydrological regime, or the quantity of water in the wetland; in other words, of the water inputs, both surface and subterranean, that feed it. A good example


of this is Lake Ichkeul in Tunisia, a Ramsar wetland that is rapidly salting up due to restrictions in the water flow caused by damns situated at the head of the drainage basin.This creates water quality problems that affect water plants, zooplankton and the complex food chain9. Reservoirs have also caused degradation to the great coastal wetlands in the mouth of the Parana-Plata Delta, causing overall change to its water cycle rhythms. Major water works transporting water from one basin to another and hydroelectric plants are another danger factor.The Arenal-Corobici-Sandilla project in Costa Rica is a good example of this, with direct consequences on the coastal mangrove swamps. Alteration to the quality of the wetland water, especially by contaminating inputs, either directly or diluted, or by sediments brought down from catchment areas. This has increased exponentially in recent decades.An example of the dangers inherent in urban pollution is found in the difficult situation of the coastal wetlands of the Yellow Sea and the mouth of the Yangtze. There is a similar risk in San Francisco Bay, where the presence of high concentrations of pesticides used in the surrounding agriculture and serious sedimentation problems have been detected. The input of sediments from deforestation in areas far from the coastal wetlands has become the most TABLE 3 Main causes of wetland loss or degradation.

- Drainage for agriculture. - Salinisation due to over-exploitation or changes in the hydrologic balance of associated aquifers. - Diversion of water for irrigation. - Drainage to avoid foci of diseases. - Urban development of coastal araes . - Tourist occupation of the coast. - Regulatory dams, hydroelectric power stations. - Transfers between river basins. - Changes in the hydrologic system to favour navigation or protect occupied lands. - Pollution caused by discharge of untreated urban waste water. - Pollution caused by industry and agriculture. - Mining in the wetland upper basin. - Large-scale agriculture and fishery over-exploitation. - Pastures and fire practices. - Introduction of exotic species. - Fragmentation of habitats.

critical aspect for those in the Philippines. Lastly, we find an extreme example of pollution in Cambodia, in this case caused by the widespread use of the enduring chemical DDT in the past to eradicate mosquitoes, plus the devastating effects of bombing and defo-

Introduction of exotic and invasive species is one of presentday greatest risks for wetlands and for coastal wetlands in particular, causing considerable alterations of biological communities and leading to a large number of extinctions. In the photograph, the brown tree snake Boiga irregularis, an invasive species that played havoc with several species of birds in the Pacific area. Photograph: USGS, Tom Fritts/Gordon Rodd.

liants used during the Vietnam War. - Alteration to the biological communities associated with the wetland, either from overexploitation of resources (hunting, grazing, fishing, farming), or the introduction of exotic species.The traditional threats that hung over these areas from highly intensive land use that exceeded its carrying capacity, have given way to new forms, such as fish farming.The expansion of nurseries for crustaceans in mangrove swamps and marshes is a good example of new factors contributing to the degradation of the wetlands. The floodable coasts of South America, on both the Pacific and the Atlantic sides, find themselves caught in this new dilemma. It is most endemic in places like Bahia, in mangrove swamps like those of the Gulf of Fonseca, and along long stretches of the coast from Ecuador to southern Chile. But the great mobility and interconnectedness of the modern world brings another risk of incalculable consequence. It facilitates the accidental or voluntary introduction of countless invading exotic species of all kinds. Every day, fish such as tilapias and gambusias, crustaceans such as red crabs, algae, tortoises, snakes, insects, molluscs, mammals and birds are introduced to wetlands around the world far from their original habitats, with consequences that are sometimes devastating and usually, as yet, unknown.There are countless means of accidental transport: species that travel encrusted on the hulls of ships, bilge water discharge in estuaries, zoos, air freight transport, the pet trade, etc.



Alarming statistics on wetlands destruction have been gradually put together over the second half of the twentieth century, spurring a long overdue concerted effort among nature conservationists and the global scientific community. This has involved as many countries as possible in order to curb one of the most serious processes of environmental degradation affecting the planet. The first major precedent in pulling together this global initiative emerged in 1960, when the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) joined the International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau (IWRB) and the International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP) to launch the MAR Project, with a view to conservation of the wetlands and disseminating such values. This initiative was followed by other projects like AQUA and TERMA, tackling the protection of inland waters and peat bogs. But it was during a conference held in the French town of Sainte Marie in 1962, promoted by the MAR project, that an idea for a convention took shape.A process was initiated to convene an international conference based on a document that was to be the foundation of the wetland convention. The MAR conference was organised at the time with the participation of the IUCN, ICBP10 (currently BirdLife International) and IWRB11 (now Wetlands International).

TABLE 4 Main figures of Ramsar sites in the European Union (EU 15). COUNTRIES

Total area by country (km2) in 1994

Date of ratification

Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy Netherlands Norway Portugal Spain Sweden UK Total UE

83 858 30 518 43 094 338 145 543 965 356 970 131 957 70 285 301 323 41 526 323 880 91 905 505 990 449 964 244 101

1983 1986 1978 1975 1986 1976 1975 1985 1977 1980 1975 1981 1982 1975 1976

Total Ramsar Total area number (including of Ramsar marine areas) Sites (km2) in 1998 1 028 9 79 6 7 390 27 1 013 11 5 791 15 6 712 32 1 635 10 697 45 569 46 3 249 18 697 18 658 10 1 579 38 3 828 30 4 843 129 39 049 427

Note: The first column (total area by country) does not take into account marine areas, but it includes estuaries. This table does not include the new accession countries which joined the EU in 2004. Photograph: Wetland International, Ramsar Bureau. Data source: EIONET; Eurostat.


Over the following eight years, the wording of the future convention was developed in a series of international technical meetings (St. Andrews, 1963; Noordwijk, 1966; Morges, 1967; Vienna, 1969; Moscow, 1969; Espoo, 1970) with the firm support of the IWRB11 and the Dutch government. Originally, the proposal's main idea was to promote the protection of waterfowl habitats. However, as the wording developed, the conservation of wetlands as whole ecosystems started to take shape instead of merely protecting the species that inhabited them. This preparation took place in parallel with other important initiatives that have converged in time and space. In the same decade, foundations were also laid for the MaB Programme12 (Man and Biosphere) introducing the concept of the Biosphere Reserve as a practical step forward towards the fundamentals of sustainable development. From the outset, it paid special attention to wetlands as scientific laboratories and fields for experimenting with the constructive relationship between humanity and its environment. This productive period also saw the first steps of the International Hydrological Programme - stemming from the International Hydrological Decade (IHD, 1965-1974) with one of its main tasks to gauge the situation of the world's aquifers and their interactions with the activities of man.There were also other important precedents like the Programme for Protecting Habitats and Endangered Species promoted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), or the important role played by the Council of Europe in the launch of the European Water Charter in 1967. All this preparatory work for a wetlands convention finally came together in a conference organised by the Iranian Department of Hunting and Fishing, in the city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.The original wording of what is now commonly known as the Ramsar Convention was produced, agreed upon and signed by the delegates of 18 countries on the 3rd of February 1971. Under the auspices of UNESCO as the holding body for the initiative, the Convention came into force in December 1975, and currently has 1,469 areas entered in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, also known as the Ramsar List. The wetlands entered account for almost ten per cent of all the world's wetlands, approximately 128.9 million hectares - an area slightly smaller than Greece. Moreover, the contracted parties signed up the Convention have increased significantly, including practically all countries around the world; the thirteen original signatories have grown to 146 signatories today. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is now the only environmental treaty for a specific ecosystem and it is the first to link the conservation of natural resources with their sustainable use, along the same lines as the philosophy developed for the

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is now the only environmental treaty for a specific ecosystem and it is the first to link the conservation of natural resources with their sustainable use, along the same lines as the philosophy developed for the Biosphere Reserves. In the above picture, a purple heron and a black-winged stilt in the marshes of the Doñana National Park, declared Ramsar Site, Biosphere Reserve, and World Heritage Site. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

Biosphere Reserves. Moving on from the original idea of conserving wildfowl habitats, the scope of the Convention has been extended over the years to include coastal wetlands like mangrove swamps, coral reefs and marine plant beds, valuing their biodiversity and the beneficial role they play in human communities. The range of situations dealt with in the Convention becomes clear from Article 1.1 of the text, which defines wetlands as: "Areas of marsh, fens, peat land or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water static or flowing, brackish or salty, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres". It is important to note that the inclusion of a wetland in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, or Ramsar List, does not automatically guarantee its protection, as many countries unfortunately do not meet their commitments, or because of major external factors affecting their integrity. A recent study of a sample of 344 sites from the Ramsar List - including wetland and lake ecosystems - concluded that an alarming 84% of them suffered serious ecological changes caused by drainage for conversion to farmland, urban development, pollution, invading species and the input of sediments. Adverse changes to the ecological characteristics recorded in many Ramsar sites have forced the signatories to introduce a series of amendments to the Convention. Examples include the Paris amendment of 1982 and the decisions taken by the parties to the 1987 Regina Conference. As the Convention was progressively applied, a significant number of sites included in the

List had been damaged or were facing serious threats that accelerated their degradation. There was, therefore, an urgent need to take fast and efficient action to prevent these processes of wetland destruction accelerating, and promoting the restoration of damaged sites at the same time. Thus, when parties met in Montreux in 1990, a resolution was passed to investigate sites that have suffered attacks or in which undesirable changes are likely to occur, so that preventative or restorative actions are clearly outlined in these places and the appropriate consultations and monitoring is established with any stakeholders.There are presently 55 sites included in this category that has come to be known as the Montreux Register. Because of the possible

The Ramsar Convention came into force in December 1975, and currently has 1,469 wetland sites entered in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, also known as the Ramsar List. Above, Kakadu National Park (Australia), Ramsar site.


TABLE 5 Main Conventions, Conferences and Milestones related to freshawater and wetlands, coastal wetlands in particular, in Europe and the World. YEAR




Start of the International Hydrological Decade

Start of the International Hydrological Programme . UNESCO.


European Water Charter

Launching of the Charter by the Council of Europe.


Ramsar Conference, Iran

Launching of the Ramsar Convention.

MaB (Man and Biosphere) Programme

Constitution of the MaB Programme and of the first Biosphere Reserves.

UNESCO, Paris 1972

United Nations Conference

Declaration of the UN Conference on the Human Environment.

on the Human Environment, Stockholm 1973

MARPOL Convention

Allows to declare wetlands and nearby sea areas as “sensitive areas”.


Ramsar Convention

Coming into force of the Convention under the auspices of UNESCO.


CITES Convention,

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It concerns wetlands both in the field


of species protection and in introduction of alien species.

United Nations Water Conference,

Mar del Plata Plan of Action (PAMP)

Mar del Plata 1979 1981

Berna Convention, Council of Europe

Convention dealing with the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.

Birds Directive, European Union

Protection of birds and classify as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) the most suitable territories for migratory birds, such as wetlands.

International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade

Global, balanced focus on problems related with water and sanitation specific of each country. Links with protected areas.


European Charter of the Littoral, Chania, Crete.

Preserving valuable littoral ecosystems such as coastal wetlands.

United Nations Convention

Links between coastal wetlands, fisheries and reproduction of economically productive species.

on the Law of the Sea. Montego Bay, Jamaica. 1990

Global Consultation on Safe Water

New Delhi Statement:“Some for all rather than more for some” - Sharing water equitably. Integrated water resources management.

and Sanitation for the 1990's, New Delhi 1992

International Conference on

Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development. Fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource. Economic value of water,

Water and the Environment, Dublin

solution of conflicts, natural disasters, sensitisation.

UN Conference on Environment and

Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.Agenda 21, Chapter 18.

Development (UNCED Earth Summit) Río de Janeiro OSPAR Convention

Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic.Annex V: Protection and Conservation of of Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystems.

Habitats Directive, European Union

On the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. Natura 2000 and wetlands Network.


Convention on Biological Diversity

Wetlands as world biologiical diversity hotspots.


World Summit for Social Development,

Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development.“Poverty, water supply, sanitation and natural systems”.

Copenhagen Conference of the UEU Ministers of Environment.

Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy .

Sofia, Bulgaria. Jakarta Mandate

Enlargement of the objectives of the Biological Diversity Convention to coastal and sea environments with particular incidence on coastal wetlands.


UN Conference on Human Settlements

Development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.“Making the creation of new healthy environments compatible

(Habitat II), Istanbul.

with the maintenance of essential wetland resources and ecosystems”.


1st World Water Forum, Marrakech.

Marrakech Declaration “Water and sanitation, management of shared waters, preserving ecosystems,


2nd World Water Forum,The Hague.

World Water Vision:“Making Water Everybody's Business”.The challenges: satisfying basic needs, ensuring

efficient use of waters”. food supply, protecting ecosystems, sharing water resources, valuing water and administrating it in a responsible way . Ministerial Conference on Water Security

Launching of the Report on World Water Resource Development.

in the 21st Century,The Hague European Landscape Charter

Adoption of the definitive text in Florence. Inclusion of the landscape dimension in the protection of wetlands. Launching of the European Landscape Convention.

2001 2002

Water Framework Directive

Inclusion of the “basin” concept for water ecosystems, prevention and water quality.

European Union

Promotion of restoration.

International Conference on Freshwater,

Water: the key of sustainable development, good governance, mobilisation of financial resources, development of capabilities,

(Dublin + 10), Bonn

exchange of know-how.

World Summit on Sustainable development,

Plan of Action. Integrated management of water resources.

(Rio + 10), Johannesburg 2003



International Year of Freshwater

Governability, integrated management of water resources, efficient use of water, water quality for ecosystems,

3rd World Water Forum, Kyoto

restoration, legislative framework.

Start of the International Decade "Water for Life"

Resolution approved by the UN General Assembly for the decade 2005-2015.

effects brought about by changes in the hydrological regimes, Do単ana was added to this register on the 4th of July 1990, and the Do単ana 2005 Project is one way to address this high-risk situation.The Everglades, added in 1993, was treated similarly. Coinciding with goals set by the Ramsar Convention, a large number of international provisions, agreements, treaties and programmes have come about since the 1970s, dealing directly or indirectly with protecting wetlands.These were particularly in the protection of the coastal wetlands, which helped bring about a constructive framework on the world stage for the survival of waterscapes. The "International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships" of the 2nd of November 1973, widely known as the MARPOL Convention, was such a case. It made it possible to declare certain marine spaces special zones that are particularly sensitive.These included recent declarations like the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Sabana-Camag端ey (CubaBiosphere Reserve) and the Wadden Sea, all of which are wholly or partially Ramsar sites. In the same year that Ramsar was established, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) came into force, which has and will continue to have particular impact on the protected wetlands and the endangered species they shelter, and its sphere of action will have to be considerably increased in the face of the growing threat from exotic species in these areas. In 1979, the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Wild Species, known as the Bonn Convention, was adopted, which aims to ensure the stringent protection of endangered migratory species throughout all or part of their range of distribution. In this case, a major proportion of the species mentioned in the two appendices of the Convention are directly associated with the coastal wetland zones. Three years later, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was adopted in April 1982 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Some aspects of this Convention cover the same matters, but in this case, it referred to the need to preserve the great hubs of marine bio-diversity and areas that produce hatchlings to maintain fishing resources. This clearly highlighted many areas of canals and streams in salt marshes, estuaries, coastal lagoons connected to the sea, and the highly productive mangrove swamps. It is curious that this recognition should once again validate the ancient Roman view, two thousand years on, that places like Estany des Peix in Formentera and San Antioco in Sardinia should be seen as strategic enclaves.They played a valuable role as reserves for guaranteeing fishing in the surrounding areas. Well into the eighties, the term biological diversity with all it represents started to circulate, together with concepts like sustainable development. The two concepts had been tested at a

practical level through the running of programmes like MaB. At this time the UNEP13 eestablished a series of task forces of experts with a mandate to prepare an international legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. In 1991, the group became the Inter-governmental Negotiating Committee that prepared the wording to be signed in 1992 during the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro. This is how the Convention on Biological Diversity, finally adopted in 1993, appeared on the scene as one of the great accords to come out of the Rio Conference. It recognised for the first time that conserving biological diversity is a common concern for mankind and forms part of the process of development.Two years later, during the Second Meeting of the Parties in 1995, the programme called the "Jakarta Mandate on Coastal and Marine Biodiversity" was approved, aimed at specifically implementing this aspect, in the spirit of the Convention on Biological

Combining a sustainable use of wetlands with the guarantee of conservation of their ecosystems, species and water quality, is one of the biggest challenges in nature conservation. In the photograph, fishing huts in the "Ortazzo e Ortazzino" Ramsar Site, located in the Po river delta (Italy). Photograph by Tobias Salath辿, Ramsar.

Diversity (CBD). The importance that the CBD has placed on coastal wetlands is reflected both in the aforesaid Mandate and in the areas of co-operation that have been developed in recent years concerning Ramsar. Priority has been given to aspects such as "improving the conservation and rational use of wetlands situated in the inter-tidal zones" and the "integrated management of coastal zones that include wetlands". Initiatives in the conservation of wetlands within a specifically European framework have followed a very similar pattern. In 1974, the former European Commission established the first Recommendation on Protecting Birds and their Vital Spaces, where the decline of many species was highlighted, calling on member states to sign up to the Ramsar Convention. Five years later in 1979, the member states of the European Union adopted the "Birds Directive", which was the first European regulation dedicated to bird conservation. The Birds Directive, binding on all E.U. member states, proclaimed the need to conserve and


The coverage of the Ramsar Convention extends to an impressively wide variety of wetlands. For the purpose of this Convention wetlands are "marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres". In the photograph, aerial view of the Do単ana Marshes. Photograph: Paisajes Espa単oles.

suitably manage populations of wild birds. It established the SPA (Special Protection Areas for Birds) network to this end, an instrument aimed at protecting 181 of the most endangered bird species in Europe, especially migratory birds. A considerable proportion of the SPA zones were obviously wetlands.And yet, as was happening globally, the various programmes within the European framework and the directive started to consider not only conserving the species, but also protecting their habitats. Along the same lines, the so-called Habitats Directive was finally published in 1992, on the conservation of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna. The transfer of territory within this directive led to the creation of the Natura 2000 Network that encompasses the SPAs and includes all the other important areas, such as the Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), developing a coherent network aimed at guaranteeing the biodiversity of natural habitats and wildlife throughout the European Union. The importance for the wetlands of the Directive and of creating the Natura 2000 Network was clearly articulated in the European Union's 5th Framework Programme when it established the need for identifying a set of specific protection measures for these territories.These measures include integrating the largest and most important wetland areas in the Natura 2000 Network, integrated management of water resources with regard to both quality and quantity, the inclusion of European Union criteria on wetlands14 in the strategic management of land use, and major financial support for programmes that include ecological use of these zones. Furthermore, member states and the Commission are called upon to guarantee that the measures


promoted by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) do not come into conflict with the European Union policy on the appropriate use and conservation of the wetlands. Thus, a new point of view - seeing the wetlands politically and socially - opened up. New directives and recommendations came into play, either directly or indirectly related to the wetlands, characterised by their innovative stance. Water began to take on a central role. Waterscapes started to become integrated, or better still, recognised as final users: with all the necessary guarantees, in directives like the "Urban waste water treatment" or the "Protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources". On the 22nd of December 2000, this new vision took shape with the European Parliament adopting the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The wetlands took a leading role in an historic debate about the necessary new water culture. In fact, the provisions of Article 1 of the Directive include the following15: "The purpose of this Directive is to establish a framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater which: a) prevents further deterioration and protects and enhances the status of aquatic ecosystems and, with regard to their water needs, terrestrial ecosystems and wetlands directly depending on the aquatic ecosystems; b) promotes sustainable water use based on a long-term protection of available water resources; ...". The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) recognises the European wetland zones as such. Moreover, the articles of the

"To ensure a sustainable water supply of good quality, we should protect and use in a sustainable manner the ecosystems that naturally capture, filter, store, and release water, such as rivers, wetlands, forests, and soils". Paragraph 24 of the Ministerial Declaration of the 3rd World Water Forum, Kyoto, 2003.

directive promote an awareness of catchment areas in establishing sustainable water use strategies and it highlights the fundamental role of ggroundwater. It also introduces water quality as an essential factor. It gives priority to the entitlement to the sustainable use of water, in appropriate conditions.This could be for human activities as a whole or for maintaining essential ecosystems like wetlands. The list of supplementary measures which Member States may choose to adopt for implementing the WFD, in its Part B it reads, "recreation and restoration of wetlands areas". Hence, the recommendation is based on the fact that wetland protection is sufficiently covered in European legal regulations. The new Directive provides a model of prevention and draws up future strategy centred on the major challenge of restoring modified wetlands. It also introduces the concept of "creating" new wetlands. As this publication shows, the history of Doñana, like many other emblematic wetlands, runs in parallel with the evolution of events in Europe and the rest of the world, by truly and effectively facing up to these new challenges that were first identified by the scientific community and by certain managers of the Doñana Park years ago. The inclusion of an environmental variable in the management of water resources for human use, in other words, the securing of a holistic way of seeing water management, and especially the role of wetlands and other important ecosystems, is starting to become the basis of many WFD projects as it unfolds. In the case of Doñana or the Larnaka wetlands in Cyprus, for example, initiatives like WSM (Water Strategy Man Project) are included.This is a European Commission project aimed at defining new exemplars of water management and its future strategies. Now moving back to the world stage, having reviewed the trend of events in Europe, we can see that the same phenomenon has occurred world wide with the recognition of the essential role of wetlands and aquatic ecosystems. At the same time, there is a call to integrate this dimension of conservation into general water policies (see Table 5). The first references start with the United Nations Water Conference of 1977, in Mar de Plata, and they continue with important international milestones and rulings like those of 1992, the year in which the Rio Summit and the Dublin International Conference on Water and the Environment were held. More recently, this common thread of international concern for the state of water resources has brought us the appearance of new policies on sustainable water use at the Conferences on Water and Sustainable Development (Paris 1998) and the World Water Forum held in The Hague (2000).

Finally, 2003 was a crucial year for water with the appearance of the ambitious World Water Development Report. It was launched at the Third World Water Forum, organised in Kyoto, Japan.All the United Nations agencies and committees devoted to dealing with the water issue worked together for the first time in drawing up this report, in order to examine the progress made in pursuit of water-related objectives.These included areas like health, food, conservation of ecosystems, cities, industry and energy, as well as a financial evaluation, shared use and good administration of water resources. An extensive network of interlocutors, broadly from the United Nations, has taken part in creating the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), whose secretariat is run by UNESCO. For the first time ever, twenty three agencies and secretariats of United Nations conventions have joined forces and shared experiences to produce the most complete and up-to-date report on the situation of the world's fresh water. Some of the wake-up calls reported include those concerning the increase in pollution, over-exploitation of groundwater, and a progressive disappearance or alteration of lakes and wetlands. In the face of these risks, a new vision is taking root that complements the protection of waterscapes. It includes the integrated management of water resources, promoting efficiency in water use, focussing more on the quality of aquatic ecosystem waters, fostering research and the promotion of large scale restorative action, and creating satisfactory legislative frameworks.

In 1979, the member states of the European Union adopted the "Birds Directive", which was the first European regulation dedicated to bird conservation. After it, the so-called Habitats Directive was finally published in 1992 developing a coherent network that encompasses the SPAs, aimed at guaranteeing the biodiversity of natural habitats and wildlife throughout the European Union. Above, a water rail (Rallus aquaticus) in Doñana. Photograph: Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales.



Doñana belongs to an extremely select group of coastal wetlands that have been classed as Biosphere Reserves by the international community, in other words, laboratories of conservation and sustainable development, and furthermore, as World Heritage sites. This is a set of exceptional ecotones that also form part of the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Very few places in the world meet the triple conditions of being recognised as a World Heritage site, Biosphere Reserve and a Wetland of International Importance.They are a very special group of seventeen territories that includes such emblematic places as the Pantanal (Brazil), Boeng Chmar (Cambodia), the "W" Region of the Níger, San San-Pond Sak (Panama), and Palawan (Philippines). If we restrict our selection to coastal areas with these characteristics, the list would be further restricted to include only Ichkeul (Tunisia),The Everglades (USA), El Vizcaíno (Mexico), the Danube Delta (Romania-Ukraine) and, of course, Doñana National Park. There are a few particular settings that should be added to these, in which the flooded area represents only a small part of larger reserves, such as the South Isabela Wetlands in the Galapagos Islands. Table 6 lists the world's coastal wetlands that have been declared Biosphere Reserves or recognised as World Heritage sites, with the corresponding named sites or Ramsar sites having been added. On analysing each of these cases in detail, the most surprising aspect is that the alteration of their hydrological systems is the main impact and the principle threat to the survival of all of

Before the arrival of European settlers in Florida, the Everglades were really a wide shallow river running across an extensive prairie. Over the years over 2,400 km of drainage canals were built, which radically transformed the hydrological system, and until a few years ago, were diverting an average of 600 hm3 per day of fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean. Photograph by Eva Mª Alonso Vizcaino.


them.With the exception of El Vizcaino, these cases are currently undergoing major restoration programmes related to their hydrological functionality. This is the fundamental aspect of the new challenges of conserving aquatic ecosystems of international importance. Lake Ichkeul, covering an area of 12,600 ha, is situated in the Bizerte region, in the north of Tunisia. It is connected to the Mediterranean by the four-kilometre-long Tinaja Wadi (watercourse) and is a sublittoral saltwater lagoon, surrounded by a permanent fresh water wetland. The main threat hanging over this area at the moment is the construction of dykes to collect water in three of the lake's tributaries, including the main ones (Djoumine and Sedjennane). This lowers the water level and increases salinity with a significant impact on flora and fauna.The restrictions to the water supply led to the draining of the marshy rim of the lake, triggering a chain of harmful effects such as the rapid disappearance of Scirpus maritimus (staple diet of the common goose, that winters here), which has been progressively replaced by invading plant species (Ammi visnaga and Scolymus maculatus). Following that, the pronounced and prolonged fall in the water levels of Lake Ichkeul, whose maximum depth never exceeds 1.5 m, provides access for livestock to previously inaccessible areas and causes a progressive increase in salinity, with a resulting radical transformation of the aquatic ecosystems. In the current situation, the restoration plans designed by international agencies and bodies like the GEF and IUCN inevitably depend on guaranteeing sufficient water input of at least 20 million cubic metres per year.16 Due to these circumstances, Ichkeul has been on the List of World Heritage in Danger since 1996. Apart from the obvious differences of scale and bio-geographic characteristics, both this case and Doñana are very similar to what happened in the Everglades, which is in the same category of endangered heritage. The size of the Everglades Biosphere Reserve is slightly larger, with a floodable area included in the Ramsar list of 566,143 ha, which is twenty times larger than Doñana, although this is only half the original wetland area of 1800. Before the arrival of European settlers in Florida, the water of the immense Okeechobee Lake flowed slowly south, along a watercourse that was wide enough, at some points, to cover up to one hundred kilometres of surrounding flood plain. The Everglades were really a wide shallow river running across an extensive prairie. But an extensive network of canals was dug in the early 19th century to drain the area to turn it into farmland. Over the years, arable land beyond measure was cleared between the great upper lake and the immense mouth of the

This image, taken by the Terra satellite, shows two coastal wetlands of the Baja California peninsula. The darker circle shows the San Ignacio Lagoon, a World Heritage Site part of the El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve that also includes the lagoon system Ojo de Liebre at the top-right of the image. Social pressure, determination of environmental authorities and the involvment of international organisations allowed the integral conservation of these salt marshes unique in the world. The UNESCO’s mission charged by the World Heritage Centre to prepare the report on this threatened area was made up by Mechtild Rössler (UNESCO), Cipriano Marín (INSULA), Randall R. Reeves (Canada) and Pedro Manuel Rosabal González (IUCN). Photograph: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC.

coastal marshes, drained by over 2,400 km of canals that radically transformed the hydrological system.This massive transformation grew exponentially after 1948 until it reached the point where, until a few years ago, the canals were diverting an average of 600 hm3 per day of fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean. The efforts that have been made with the Everglades hydrological restoration plan, perhaps the most expensive and complicated wetland conservation operation in the world, show that this is no time for making irresponsible decisions as made in the past.This is because the cost of restoration, not to mention the irreplaceable loss of biological capital, is a heavy burden on future generations. The apparent social and political impossibility of curbing farmland expansion, and the need to "protect" the waterside urban spread of Miami's mass conurbation from the waters themselves, forced the authorities to develop an impressive mechanism of water storage, diversion and pumping. This ended in restricting the traditional inputs into the surviving wetlands. In practise, input quantities are presently being guaranteed with an unprecedented investment in energy, infrastructure and maintenance. At the same time, the colossal restoration programme, consisting of 52 actions over a period of 20 years, faces new problems similar to those of Doñana, such as the need to treat waters laden with nutrients from industry or agriculture, or to mitigate the effects arising from the contamination of underground aquifers. Maintaining ecosystems also needs measures established to guarantee the level and behaviour of bodies of water, in a terrain in which centimetres turn into mountains17.

The relative similarity between the risk factors was the basis on which the members of the Doñana 2005 Project Committee of Experts sent a mission to the Everglades in 2003 to seek points in common for facing the complex task of restoring Doñana. The case of the Danube Delta rests on similar assumptions. All the conflict involved in conserving its immense basin and associated wetlands in the many countries along its course culminates in this delta.This is a conflict that also exists upstream, as can be seen from the inclusion of the Donau-March-Auen Ramsar site (Austria) in the Montreux Register in 1990. The delta of the Danube is the largest in Europe, encompassing about 580,000 hectares, 113,000 of which are permanently covered by water. Its survival is currently threatened by mistakes made and decisions taken similar to those made last century in Doñana and the Everglades, with the difference that we now have the technical and scientific capacity to prevent the consequences of major hydrological alterations. A shipping channel that the Ukraine is dredging in the delta threatens the survival of over 500 species of birds and fish that inhabit this Biosphere Reserve. Countries like Germany and Romania, the principal victims, and international agencies like UNESCO and the Ramsar Convention, asked for the works to be stopped and for an environmental impact assessment be carried out on the project. But the authorities of Kiev started building this channel on the Bistroe Arm in May 2004, without informing Romania, where 80% of the vast marshland area is located.Their intention is to open a link with the Black Sea.The Ukrainian government, which


has ignored all the complaints presented to them, justifies the project by the fact that they need their own maritime-fluvial channel in the region; a channel 120 kilometres long, with a depth of 10 metres and a width of between 100 and 500 metres to ensure that it is navigable. The other side of the coin is represented by the case of El Vizcaino. In an act without precedent in the Mexican Government's management of the environment, President Ernesto Zedillo announced the decision to completely cancel the ESSA project during the "Evaluation of National Bio-diversity Conservation Policy" meeting, held on the 2nd of March 2000. Backed by Mitsubishi, the ESSA project surrounded the San Ignacio lagoon; a whale sanctuary declared a World Heritage site and part of the Biosphere Reserve of the same name enclosing one of the most interesting virgin marshlands on the planet.The project consisted of developing a great industrial salt works that

Marshes and lagoons have always been a mysterious source of inspiration for artists in several cultures. In the image, a reproduction of the painting "Crossing the Styx", by the Flamish peinter Joachim Patinir born in Bouvignes in 1485. Prado Museum. Madrid.

would directly affect some 30,000 ha of land bordering on the natural salt flats and would represent a major alteration to their hydrological regime. The decision of the government was the conclusive response to a report drafted by the Mission and sent by UNESCO18 to evaluate the impact of the project on the natural values of the site. It was presented at the 23rd Session of the World Heritage Committee held in Marrakech in November 1999. The UNESCO Mission's ruling explicitly recognised that traditional salt production is not exactly an very aggressive activity with this kind of habitat and that the grey whale sanctuary would not be seriously affected by it, but at the same time it did warn that what made this project extremely dangerous was its scale and the influence it would have on the hydrology of the marshes. For the first time, a decision of this kind included two concepts put forward to justify its rejection, breaking the boundaries of how losses in biological diversity would traditionally be


dealt with.The ruling argued that the activity should be an integral part of a sustainable development strategy in which water was a central player, which was not the case, especially as the project was within a Biosphere Reserve. Moreover, it included a new social dimension in that there was a lack of provisos for altering the existing natural landscape, resources that are increasingly rare on the planet. It questioned the legal grounds that made it possible to alter this common heritage, just when other activities and economies that were far more environmentally friendly were being developed in the area (selective fishing, pharmacology, responsible tourism, and agriculture of native products). For the first time, a whole coastal wetland of this size has been rescued because of the convergence of several factors that mobilised society and the scientific community: integrated conservation of a wetland, non-intervention when there is a high degree of uncertainty, strict application of sustainable development criteria, and recognition of these areas as the heritage of society as a whole. Some months later, James E. Brumm, Vice President of Mitsubishi, declared in a public appearance that "the preservation of the area in its natural condition is more important that proceeding with the salt works". As with the above cases, the Do単ana Ramsar site was included in the Montreux Register in 1990, following Recommendation 4.9.1, which noted that "despite positive actions, there is still a risk of changes to the ecological character of the Ramsar site as a result of water being drawn for farming and the development of tourism, among other problems". The reasons for including the site in the Montreux Register are grounded on the reasonable doubt that these activities would over-exploit the regional aquifer, hence diminishing the levels of groundwater, causing a reduction in the duration and the level of seasonal flooding in the Do単ana Marshes. But, unlike Do単ana, the other sites mentioned as benchmark sites are included in the List of World Heritage in Danger. This brief description of the planet's most emblematic coastal wetlands, or at least those considered as included in the leading international natural environment protection conventions and programmes, enables us to put forward a new exemplar that shapes their survival.This is based on their hydrological restoration as the fundamental challenge and the crux of all actions. In fact, the World Water Development Report (2004) explicitly recognises the essential role that these "living water laboratories" play. In addition to the above cases, it mentions other coastal wetlands of world importance like the Camargue. The Report corresponds with the above views, encouraging the development of international co-operation based on knowing what can be implemented in these benchmark cases. It not only

highlights the importance of conservation policies, but also the new challenges of generating innovation in the area of integrated management of water resources, the restoration of degraded systems and the maintenance of acceptable water quality standards.The challenge is not so much to overcome the negative perceptions provoked by an alert ruling on the conservation of an area, but rather to recognise that critical situations have come about in these territories that have generated solutions, be they right or wrong, and that all the cases together as a whole provide an enormous potential for scientific knowledge and management know-how that could be harnessed or replicated in many other coastal wetlands.

BENEFITS BEYOND THEIR BORDERS Enhancing skills and exchanging experiences on the management and conservation of these waterscapes will add value, as we gain a better insight into the future benefits that the wetlands provide for mankind. The known beneficial functions of the wetlands include: - Export of biomass. Wetlands are systems that offer an enormous wealth of flora and fauna that are directly or indirectly usable by man. These include both wild species (fish, birds, plants) and domestic species (rice, livestock, reeds, etc.) Apart from this production, nutrients are carried by watercourses, and the run-off or re-charging of aquifers feeds other freshwater or marine environments, where they enter the food chain and are re-cycled and reused. - Re-charging aquifers. This occurs when the water filters from the wetland to the aquifers below ground. The water that reaches the aquifer is usually of higher quality than the water originally entering the wetland thanks to its capacity to purify. Once in the aquifer, the water can be drawn off for human consumption, or it can be left to follow the subterranean flow until it rises to the surface again in another wetland, in the form of aquifer discharge. - Nutrient retention. In certain conditions, nutrients - especially nitrogen and phosphorus - are retained by the plants and sediments of the wetlands, improving water quality and preventing

eutrophication. The nitrates can be reconverted into nitrogen gas and fed back into the atmosphere as a result of denitrification. The wetlands may sometimes act as natural water treatment plants. On the other hand, some wetlands play an important role in retaining CO2.The masses of marsh plants, and especially the peaty organic deposits produced by the accumulation of the plants remains, account for a large proportion of the carbon fixed as organic matter. This capacity to retain nutrients make many wetlands some of the most productive ecosystems known to man, to the extent that they can compete with systems of intensive agriculture. In some African wetlands, annual primary production of papyrus amounts to 100 tonnes per hectare and typha (bulrushes) varies between 30 and 70 tonnes per hectare. These figures are similar to and even exceed the commercial production figures for maize (63 Waterwheels, windmills, stone walls and tonnes per hectare) and particular buildings sugar cane (60 tonnes such as pile dwellings, make up per hectare). the incredibly varied list of constructive - Fisheries and shellfish elements associated production. Marine to coastal wetlands throughout the species provide 20% of world. In the image, all the animal protein engraving of an old wind-mill of the consumed on the Janubio salt-works. planet. Two thirds of Lanzarote. Engraving: Antonio Ramos the fish eaten worldwide depend on coastal wetlands at some stage in their biological cycle, so this is an extremely important function for mankind that goes way beyond the fixed borders of these threatened zones. Our knowledge of the role that wetlands play as critical habitats necessary for the development of many wild species in their larval and juvenile stages grows day by day, and


False coloured image of Southern Florida taken by the Terra satellite. It clearly shows the big Okeechobee lake which once fed Everglades. The large, green-dotted brown area is the present wetland area, evidently squeezed between a large strip opf cultivated lands and the Miami huge urbanised area that stretches along the eastern coast. These main features are sufficient to understand the complexity of one of the most ambitious hydrological restorations ever made. Photograph: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC.

This painting was produced in Costa Rica during the 7th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP) to the Ramsar Convention, May 1999. The 7 indigenous artists, from the Solentiname archipelago in the south-east corner of Lake Cocibolca, Nicaragua, live in fishing and farming communities that are closely linked to their wetland environment. Their presence at the Conference was part of a much larger project organized by IUCN-Mesoamerica that brought together local groups in several countries to discuss the importance of wetlands in their lives; an outcome of the meeting was a "People's declaration on wetlands", which was subsequently presented at the Conference. As part of the project, a workshop for artists in Solentiname encouraged an artistic expression of the close relationship between the people and their wetlands, and a group of these artists, working during the COP in Costa Rica, produced this painting of their Solentiname environment. The painting is currently displayed in the office of the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention in Switzerland. The 7 artists: F ernando Altamirano, Paula Clarisa Arellano, Rodolfo Arellano, Silvia Arellano, Gloria Guevara, Elba JimĂŠnez, Rosa Pineda


some of these species are of great commercial value. In the early stages of their life, these species use wetlands temporarily, before moving to the surrounding habitats. For example, the mangrove swamps of the Pacific coastlines maintain an average of over one hundred species of fish that grow there before leaving for coastal waters. - Plant food. Wetlands are the natural habitat of rice, a principal food cereal. Most varieties are grown in modified wetland habitats. It is estimated that in Asia alone, over two billion people depend on the sources of protein provided by wetland agricultural production and fish. - Biodiversity and genetic resources. From the point of view of ecosystems, coastal wetlands are a basic source of genetic resources that include potentially essential basic products, for key industries like pharmacology in the future. One example of such potential is found in the alga Dunaliella salina, from which basic substances are extracted for treating cancer. Some wetlands are also valuable for the conservation of certain native breeds and varieties of organism, like the Mostrenca cows and the Lebrijana sheep of the Guadalquivir marshes, or the drum rice that is still grown in the "veles" of s'Albufera, in Majorca. - Protection from storms. Coastal wetlands help to dissipate the force of the wind and the waves and often reduce the damage caused by storms, which is especially important in tropical

regions. - Stabilising the coast and controlling erosion. Typical wetland vegetation can stabilise the coastline by reducing the energy of waves, currents and other forces of erosion. At the same time, the roots of the plants sustain seabed sediments.The vegetation of riverbank wetlands, in turn, stabilises the banks of these rivers and thus, reduces erosion. - Climate change. It is suspected that the wetlands play an important part in the earth's carbon cycle, although it is not known to what extent.What is beyond all doubt is that draining, converting swamps into farmlands and the widespread degradation of the wetlands releases large quantities of carbon dioxide and other green house gasses that could make a substantial contribution to climate change. Despite the way they have been treated, other clear contributions that these zones have made to human survival should be assessed objectively.The constant supply of plant products for a wide range of purposes other than food would be such a case: for building related purposes (wood, reeds, cane), for making utensils (bulrushes), for making furniture (wood, reeds), for making chemicals (lime), or for making fuel (firewood, peat). The coastal marshes have also been a major source of salt for centuries, a basic commodity in our civilisation that countless activities and applications depend on. Finally, in today's knowledge society, wetlands have become hubs of economic development with the appearance of new activities like tourism. DoĂąana, Kakadu, the Everglades and the Pantanal are good examples of a different way of making a healthy profit from these zones, creating a new form of cultural co-existence. In this process of change, a new way of seeing the wetlands is taking root.They have managed to survive the passage of civilisation, and the accumulated cultural heritage to be found in these waters should not be forgotten. Some wetlands sustain traditional activities that form part of the history of entire peoples. For example, the Mai Po swamps are the only place left where the residents of Hong Kong can see how the Gei Wai (nurseries) work, where the local community uses a centuriesold traditional method for breeding prawns19. In Australia, many wetlands are of enormous social and cultural value for their traditional aboriginal owners. They still lead an active ceremonial life and still use semi-traditional hunting and gathering practices in the marshes of the Coburg Peninsula (the world's first Ramsar site). Other wetlands are of outstanding archaeological importance, like the Stavns Fjord Ramsar site (Denmark), well known for its archaeological remains, and one of the first Bronze Age settlements to include buildings from the time of the Vikings. On the other side of the world, the Kakadu National Park, in the

History repeats itself. The opening of a new navigable canal threatens again the survival of large areas of the Danubio delta, completely changing its hydrological system. Photograph : Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC.

Northern Territory of Australia, offers a landscape in which extensive swamp alternates with rugged mountain relief, with caves full of prehistoric rock paintings. 196 archaeological Human activity in coastal wetlands has created a yet little-known cultural, industrial sites have been identi- and ethnographic heritage. In the photofied in Kakadu, many of graph, an ancient wind-mill of the saltworks in the Secovlje Ramsar site which are at least (Slovenia). Photograph by Emil Hilje. 10,000 years old20. Concerning architectural heritage, lagoons and coastal marshes have been the setting for some incredible works in which man has adapted to his environment, some of which still survive. One only has to mention the "Stazione da Pesca" (Fishing Posts) of the Venice lagoon, the "corrales" making harmonious shapes in the shallow waters of the Atlantic estuaries, the "fish houses" forming labyrinths on the coasts of Kerkennah, the old mussel farms of "Étang de Thau", or the incredible salt pans of GuÊrande.These blend perfectly with the topography of the marsh, in contrast with the Roman linear design of the thousand-year-old salt works of Trapani, Marsala and Ibiza21. All of these are expressions that give food for thought about the capacity we used to have for harnessing and adapting to our environment. They are highly imaginative projects, like the Palafittes, that have flourished in shallow waters throughout the world. In some places, they provide shelter for ethnic cultures surviving from former times, like the Warao of the Orinoco Delta, where a sustainable development programme has been started to maintain this ancient symbiosis22. The power of coastal waterscapes not only reaches the tangible world, it is also relayed in traditions, myths, customs, arts


The Kakadu National Park, in the Northern Territory of Australia, offers a landscape in which extensive swamp alternates with rugged mountain relief, with caves full of prehistoric rock paintings. 196 archaeological sites have been identified in Kakadu, many of which are at least 10,000 years old. It is undoubtedly an emblematic example of fusion between cultural and natural heritage in the same wetland. Photograph: Kakadu National Park.

and crafts, building up an intangible cultural heritage that emulates the diverse biological heritage that inhabits it. In this publication, J.A.Valverde offers a magnificent sketch of this aspect in Do単ana. Not in vain, preferential attention has been paid to the marshes and lagoons that dot the shoreline, as much by the World Heritage Centre, defining them as "Cultural Landscapes", as by the European Landscape Convention. Both international conventions emphasise the power of spaces in which the work of nature has been wisely combined with the work of man. Given all of this, and if we merge the scientific perspective with the environmental and cultural points of view, a large part of the world's coastal wetlands have become, without a shadow of doubt, genuine laboratories of innovation for sustainable development.These places that are so significant for science, the environment and for biodiversity, can and should become melting pots of experience and problem solving that may prevent what we are seeing today in former Mesopotamia. Over 20,000 km2 of wetlands surrounding the confluence of the Tigris and the Euphrates in the south of Iraq were the cradle of an important branch of world civilisation. 5,000 years ago, at the dawn of the Sumerian culture, extensive natural marshes lived in harmony with a society that worshipped water and created artificial islands. Birds and shallow waters were used as calming images throughout history, permeating art, music and alphabets. In a mere two decades, thoughtless waterworks have wiped out unique areas of this cultural and ecological jewel that will end up being buried by this senseless oil war - a war that does not even respect the waterscapes that were the ancestral origins of the cultures that its promoters claim to defend.


During the last decades, experience showed that conservation of threatened species living in wetlands is increasingly linked with the amount of water resources that support these landscapes and to the functional restoration of their disturbed hydrological systems. Above, an imperial eagle, one of the symbols of Do単ana. Photograph: Do単ana 2005 files.

TABLE 6 Coastal wetlands conatained in areas declared Biosphere Reserves or included in the World Heritage list and their coincidence with the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance. COUNTRY


Algeria Germany

El Kala Waddensea of Schleswig-Holstein Waddensea of Hamburg Waddensea of Lower Saxony




RAMSAR SITE Marais de la Mekhada Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer Hamburgisches Wattenmeer Wattenmeer, Elbe-Weser-Dreieck Wattenmeer, Jadebusen & westliche Wesermündung Wattenmeer, Ostfriesisches Wattenmeer & Dollart

Rügen Delta del Paraná Costero del Sur Mar Chiquita Croajingolong Mornington Peninsula and Western Port

Bahía de Samborombón

Fraser Island Kakadu National Park

Western Port Great Sandy Strait Kakadu National Park

Wet Tropics of Queensland Bangladesh Belize Burkina Faso Brazil


Chile China

Colombia Costa Rica Cuba

Sundarbans Belize Barrier-Reef Reserve System La Mare aux hippopotames Mata Atlántica

Clayoquot Sound Charlevoix Grand Codroy Estuary Laguna San Rafael Shankou Mangrove Yancheng

Sistema Delta Estuarino del Río Magdalena Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta. Area de Conservación Guanacaste




India Indonesia

Archipel de la Guadeloupe Sundarbans Komodo


Hara Miankaleh

Ireland Mauritania Mexico

North Bull Island


Alto Golfo de California El Vizcaino Islas del Golfo de California Sian Ka'an Waddensea Area

Nicaragua Philippines

Río San Juan Palawan

Polonia Rumania Russian Federation

Slowinski Delta del Danubio Astrakhanskiy Commander Islands Delta du Saloum


Ciénaga de Zapata

Archipelago de Galápagos Parque Nacional de Doñana

South Africa

Cape West Coast

Tunisia Ukraina United Kingdom

Ichkeul Chernomorskiy Dyfi Loch Druidibeg North Norfolk Coast Braunton Burrows Silver Flowe-Merrick Kells Everglades & Dry Tortugas Carolinian-South Atlantic Virginia Coast Central Gulf Coast Plain Channel Islands California Coast Ranges Cascade Head Bañados del Este

Uruguay Vietnam

Humedales del Sur de Isabela Parque Nacional de Doñana Ria de Mundaka-Guernika Salinas del Cabo de Gata Marismas del Odiel Hiiumaa Islets & Käina Bay Vilsandi - National Park Laidevahe - Natural Reserve Camargue La Petite Camargue Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin de la Guadeloupe

Sundarbans Parque Nacional de Komodo Ujung Kulon

Banc d'Arguin

Khouran Straits Miankaleh Peninsula, Gorgan Bay Lapoo-Zaghmaz Ab-bandan North Bull Island Banc d'Arguin

Santuario Ballenero El Vizcaíno

Laguna San Ignacio

Sian Ka'an

Tubbataha Reef Marine Park

Danubio Delta


United States of America

La Mare aux hippopotames Baixada Maranhense Reentrâncias Maranhenses

Shankou Mangrove Nature Reserve Dafeng National Nature Reserve Yancheng National Nature Reserve

Nanji Islands Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta

Ciénaga de Zapata Península de Guanahacabibes Baconao Buenavista Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Archipelago de Galápagos Doñana Urdaibai Cabo de Gata-Nijar Marismas del Odiel Lanzarote West Estonian Archipelago

Dominicana Republic Ecuador Spain

Atlantic Forest Southeast Reserves Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves


Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park Ichkeul

Boschplaat Griend Waddenzee Refugio de Vida Silvestre Río San Juan Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park Parque Nacional Slowinski Danubio River Delta Volga River Delta Delta du Saloum Djoudj Langebaan Upper Kwa Zulu Natal Ichkeul Cors Fochno & Dyfi Loch Druidibeg, Loch à Machair and Loch Stilligarry North Norfolk Coast

Everglades National Park

Silver Flowe Everglades

Bañados del Este y Franja Costera Ha Long Bay


The importance of Biodiversity


Scientists analyse Biodiversity on several different levels of organisation, such as communities, species, and genes. In the picture, flock of terns in Doñana National Park. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


he term Biodiversity, synonymous of Biological Diversity, has become globally popular since the proceedings of the National Biodiversity Forum, organised by the American National Academy of Sciences and held in Washington D.C. in 1986, were published in 1988 (Wilson, 1988). Biodiversity appeared in scientific literature nearly 20 years ago (Lovejoy, 1980), and it was already being used in Costa Rica in scientific and conservationist circles since1996. The Convention on Biological Diversity, a result of the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development held at Rio in 1992, made a significant contribution to spreading the concept on a global scale, introducing the term Biodiversity to the general public. In simple terms, the diversity of life forms that live in the biosphere is what we understand as Biodiversity. One quality of living beings is that they are all different from each others. This gives them the ability to occupy the most diverse forms of niches in the biosphere, wherever they may find available energy, giving them, in turn, the particular characteristics of the landscapes of the places they occupy. We can see this in the full range of the Earth's natural formations, from the depths of the oceans to the summits of the highest mountain ranges, and from the tropical rain forests to the most arid and driest of deserts. We can appreciate it in the immense and fascinating variety of shapes and sizes of living organ-

* National Biodiversity Institute. Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica.

isms, from single cell microbes only visible to a microscope, to giant trees, enormous whales and elephants. Strictly speaking, Biodiversity is a quality or characteristic of living entities, but the sense of the meaning has been broadened in the literature, to include not only the very diversity of life on Earth, but also to encompass all life itself, as an entity or a resource (Heywood and Watson, 1995;Wilson, 1992). Scientists distinguish and analyse Biodiversity at least on three different levels of organisation: ecosystems, species and genes, the traits and qualities of which have been defined and described by different authors, (Heywood and Watson, 1995; Raven, 1997;Wilson, 1992, 1988, 1997) and which are summarised in broad terms below. An ecosystem is commonly known as a community of species of organisms that interact between themselves and with the physical environment around them. Some macro-types of ecosystems can be defined in general terms, as a tropical forest, a wetland or a moor. But despite of the fact that ecosystems of a certain macrotype may share certain features, they are always different, they are never identical, due to differences in the identity of the species that they consist of, or in the characteristics of the physical environment around them. Some ecosystems, in turn, shelter unique, endemic species that only exist in certain places and environments and which can be found nowhere else. One of the major problems facing biodiversity lies in these unique features of an ecosystem and in the destruction and disappearance of ecosystems with unique qualities, which are not even


The diversity of life forms that live in the biosphere is what we understand as the Biodiversity. One quality of living beings is that they are all different from each others. This gives them the ability to occupy the most diverse forms of niches in the biosphere. Pine trees emerging from a “corral” surrounded by dunes in Doñana. Photograph: CENEAM Files.

shared by other ecosystems close by, which may be similar, but not the same. Ecosystems are naturally difficult to classify and define, or even to delimit geographically. Species, on the other hand, are easier to define and describe, which is why they have become the focus of attention of biologists for several hundred years, used as basic elements in dealing with taxonomic and phylo-genetic issues or studies of a bio-geographic nature. But the definition of species too, faces problems. Biologists define a species as a population of individuals capable of breeding with each other, of freely exchanging their genes among the population, under natural conditions.This concept is highly applicable to most animals and plants, but it is unsure as to whether it is applicable to populations of organisms that occupy different geographic ranges. Where the difficulty in using this concept of species becomes most evident is in the case of organisms that do not reproduce sexually, or in species in which sexual reproduction is unimportant in their life cycle. This is the case of bacteria and archi-bacteria,

The knowledge that we have of the biodiversity is still very limited. There is no consensus among scientists concerning the number of species that exist on the planet. Nearly 1.9 million have been described scientifically, but estimations of the total number of species vary from 3 to 100 million. Photograph: CENEAM files.


which are the most primitive and most abundant forms of life on Earth. In these cases, other criteria are used for characterising and classifying them, mainly bio-chemical and molecular in nature. Biological diversity on a genetic level deals with the variability caused by the appearance of different forms of the same gene, that is, of the alleles, the product of mutations that, in turn, cause variations in the sequences of nucleotides of the DNA macro-molecules. Sexual reproduction clearly also leads to a mixture of alleles by recombination.There are also other processes that cause mutations but, in the end, and regardless of their origin, it is the mutations that directly affect the basic characteristics that determine an individual and, in turn, a population. The knowledge that we have of the biodiversity is still very limited.There is no consensus among scientists concerning the number of species that exist on the planet. Nearly 1.9 million of them have been described scientifically, but estimations of the total number of species vary from 3 to 100 million, and 5 to 15 million is considered a plausible range. Our ignorance of Biodiversity at an ecological and genetic level is even greater. Given the nature of the processes that lead to its creation, biodiversity is the product of millions of years of evolution that occur in a given place at a given time. This is something that we human beings should appreciate and value, as a form of wealth of a nation, just as we do with material and cultural wealth, and this is one of the most precious legacies to be found in Doñana (Wilson, 1992). Mankind has taken de facto control of the biosphere and the tragedy that we face is that we are irrationally destroying this wonderful work of nature.We have triggered the sixth great extinction faced by biodiversity without yet understanding its origin and its formation, characteristics or how it works. Moreover, we do not understand the vital role that it plays for mankind, for our own welfare.

Wetlands and Biosphere Reserves


laboratories of sustainable development

nder UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MaB) Programme, at least 60 'biosphere reserves' in some 38 countries, out of a total number of 440 biosphere reserves in 97 countries, host wetland systems. These are sites dominated by wetland ecosystems and where wetlands are the subject of research and monitoring activities. Moreover, sites listed both under the MaB Programme and the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, 1971) - the Ramsar Convention - count at least 74 MaB biosphere reserves and 85 sites under the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International importance, in 43 countries. These slight differences in counting can be attributed to the fact that certain biosphere reserves may include more than one Ramsar site. In any event, these figures show that there is a significant number of biosphere reserves having wetlands as their dominant ecosystem type in all parts of the world. The global distribution of wetland biosphere reserves is representative both from the point of view of geographic and biogeographic features, which determine different wetland types.Wetland biosphere reserves cover: wetlands in arid and semi-arid lands such as wadis, gueltas or saline and intermittent lakes; wetland systems associated with coral reefs, mangroves, lagoons, inter-tidal mudflats and other types of coastal systems; wetlands in mountain and highland systems, including high altitude lakes; wetlands in tropical humid systems, sub-tropical and temperate wetland systems; boreal wetlands, including different bog, fen and mire systems; etc. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, as a whole, these wetland sites are subject to most of the socioeconomic drivers of environmental use and change that have an effect on these


* UNESCO's Division of Ecological Sciences and Man and the Biosphere Programme Secretariat, UNESCO. The authors thank J. Robertson of UNESCO-MAB for her revision of the manuscript.

ecosystems worldwide. Such driving forces include: demographic factors; economic factors (e.g. trade); institutional, legal and other governance factors; development and the use of new technologies; climate change; natural hazards; land use changes; environmental policies (e.g., on use of fertilizers, biological control, etc.); access to resources and use; etc.24. The number of wetland biosphere reserves worldwide is relatively small - compared with, for example, the total number of wetland sites in the world. However, they are important due to their role as 'living laboratories' for demonstrating workable, participatory solutions to achieving sustainable development. The Do単ana Biosphere Reserve is one of such 'laboratories'. Here, the tremendous ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the site after the Aznalcollar mine spill in 1998 will serve as a 'learning case' for many other sites with similar problems.

THE 'BIOSPHERE RESERVE' CONCEPT Biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems under a particular set of management regimes known as the 'biosphere reserve concept.' They are internationally recognized within the framework of the UNESCO's intergovernmental programme on Man and the Biosphere (MaB), and remain under sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located. Biosphere reserves are united globally into the World Network of Biosphere Reserves: and currently there are 440 sites established in 97 countries. Although biosphere reserves are found in very different geographical, economic and cultural contexts, they do have a common interest in seeking concrete solutions to reconcile biodiversity conservation with sustainable use of natural resources, for the benefit of local people, based on commonly agreed approaches.


Ideally, fully functioning biosphere reserves perform three main roles: - conservation in situ of ecosystems and landscapes, as well as their inherent diversity; - the establishment of demonstration areas for ecologically and socio-culturally sustainable land and water resource use; and - the provision of logistic support for research, monitoring, education, training and information exchange related to conservation and sustainable development issues. These functions are associated through a zonation system (see Figure 1) consisting of a core area with minimal human activities such as non-extractive research and monitoring (there may be several patchy core areas within in a single biosphere reserve). The surrounding area acts as a buffer for the core and accommodates more interventionist human activities such as environmental education, training, as well as tourism and recreation.An outer transition area, or area of cooperation, extends outwards and serves as a liaison with the larger region in which the biosphere reserve lies, and promotes in particular the development role with activities such as, traditional use or rehabilitation of ecosystems, human settlements, agriculture, fisheries, etc. It is here that research is applied to resolve resource use problems.

Initially, the three zones were presented schematically as a series of concentric rings. However, the zonation is usually implemented in many different ways to accommodate local geographic conditions and constraints (see Figure 1).This flexibility allows for creativity and adaptability, and is one of the strengths of the concept. In particular, the logistic function of biosphere reserves described above aims to promote scientific research and monitoring in biosphere reserves, which in some ways serve as 'living laboratories' for testing out and demonstrating integrated management of land, water and biodiversity. The way in which biosphere reserves are organized and run differs from site to site but the key idea is that a mechanism is set up fostering cooperation amongst the participating institutions, which agree upon an overall management policy for the whole biosphere reserve. Such an overall policy or vision is particularly important for wetland biosphere reserves, with their interconnectivity of upstream and downstream actions. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves serves to foster exchanges among sites, for example, knowledge about, or experience in resolving, specific issues (such as conflicts over access to resources), and to facilitate cooperative activities, including scientific research and monitoring, environmental education and specialist training.The World Network itself is com-

FIGURE 1 Theoretical zonation scheme for biosphere reserves.

CORE AREA(S) BUFFER AREA(S) TRANSITION AREA(S) Research Station Monitoring Education/training Tourism


The global distribution of wetland biosphere reserves is representative both from the point of view of geographic and biogeographic features, which determine different wetland types. Wetland biosphere reserves cover: wetlands in arid and semi-arid lands such as wadis, gueltas or saline and intermittent lakes; wetland systems associated with coral reefs, mangroves, lagoons, inter-tidal mudflats and other types of coastal systems; wetlands in mountain and highland systems, including high altitude lakes; wetlands in tropical humid systems, sub-tropical and temperate wetland systems; boreal wetlands, including different bog, fen and mire systems. In the phortograph, Trinitario River wetlands, Cuba. Photograph by BĂĄrbara GarcĂ­a Moreda.

posed of a number of geographic regional and thematic sub-networks.The provisions pertaining to the establishment and management of biosphere reserves are spelled out in the Seville Strategy for Biosphere Reserves and the Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves25.


Wetland systems stabilize mobile substrata through the mechanical action of wetland plant species, which thus reduce soil or sediment erosion and allow other species to establish themselves.They are a source of organic matter, which is the basis for complex trophic (food and energy) interactions, and which makes wetlands among the most productive ecosystems in the world. They provide home and shelter to many species, including humankind.They also provide many other services, including supplies of freshwater, maintenance of water quality, fibers for clothing, medicinal plants and animals, active compounds for pharmaceuticals, etc. Yet, wetland systems worldwide are subject to unsustainable human impacts, which continue increasing in frequency and intensity. Habitat fragmentation and loss, over-harvesting of species and

populations, introductions of invasive species, pollution, climate change - all these factors affect negatively the sustainability of wetlands and their continued provision of ecological services that are a precept to human well-being. In particular, wetlands are particularly prone to receiving discharges and toxic material from activities upstream (as was the case with the DoĂąana with the mine spill): this underlines the need to publicize the results of rehabilitation work for the benefit of other countries. Although neither science nor policy, nor their combined efforts have succeeded in formulating a 'magic' cocktail of ingredients for ensuring sustainability in man's interaction with nature, there are lessons that start emerging in the context of specific disciplines with respect to what makes sustainable development possible, including lessons relating to wetland systems. As one example, there is evidence that the success of education programmes depends on proper programme design, on approaches which ensure a high degree of engagement of participants, on the degree of impact of the programme on increasing knowledge about the issues being dealt with, on the respect for the specificity of local perceptions, etc., as shown in Example 1 below. In addition, education programmes need to regularly evaluated and monitored, so that they can be adapted to changing conditions.


Wetlands are a source of organic matter, which is the basis for complex trophic (food and energy) interactions, and which makes wetlands among the most productive ecosystems in the world. In the image, false coloured satellite view of the Lena River delta, the largest protected area in Russia. Image: Landsat 7 TM, USGS-NASA (7/27/2000).

Experiences gathered in the case of wetland biosphere reserves, examples of which are contained in Box 1 below, have demonstrated that sustainable development requires, inter alia23: - undertaking conservation actions of key ecological services and of the biodiversity within those ecosystems, and aligning local conservation efforts with national and international objectives, including through transboundary conservation measures (see Example 2); - ensuring sustainable economies, through the promotion of 'quality economies' (see Example 3) and/or of measures for the sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of the resources under consideration; - ensuring social and cultural sustainability of the human populations inhabiting biosphere reserves (see Example 4); - using scientific research and monitoring to tailor sustainable development actions to local conditions and needs (see Example 5).


CONCLUSIONS Biosphere reserves provide a tool for sustainable development, including of wetlands, in that they strive for a balance between conservation of biodiversity and of key ecological services, sustainable use of resources, and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of those resources and biodiversity.They are adapted, both in their purpose and structure, to cushion changes and to provide means to adapt to them.They provide an array of mechanisms for all relevant stakeholders for discussing, negotiating and responding to present and emerging pressures and issues. Not less importantly, they provide a tool for preventing conflicts over access to and use of natural resources and geographical space. In short, biosphere reserves, including wetland biosphere reserves, can help a great deal in consolidating and linking the environmental, economic, social and cultural pillars of sustainable development.

order to reach a compromise between ecological and social sustainability in the biosphere reserve, a combination of natural and social science studies are conducted, and the information collected used for adapting local economic activities to the features of the wetland system in the area, so as to promote appropriate technologies and habitat management measures.


EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES IN THE WETLAND CAPE WEST COAST BIOSPHERE RESERVE. The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve lies on the coast to the north of Cape Town in South Africa. It is characterized by the local dominant biome - the fynbos (Mediterranean sclerophyllous shrublands), with specific coastal marine areas and wetland systems.The area is an important nursery for several fish species as well as a haven for birds (the area hosts the largest colony of gulls in South Africa): people are also very much present, engaged in farming and fisheries.The active local environmental education center has played an important role in achieving a balance between the ecologically and economic supporting functions of this wetland site. EXAMPLE 4

ENSURING SOCIAL STABILITY IN THE WETLAND LOBAU BIOSPHERE RESERVE. The Lobau Biosphere Reserve in Austria Major is a multi-habitat site, which is characterized by hardwood forest systems (including partly artificial tree monocultures), rivers, lakes, and wet meadows.The area is subject to human activities such as small-scale fishing, timber production and recreation. However, because of its important role as the area that provides groundwater resources for the city of Vienna, the area has been protected since the early last century so that it can perform this function sustainably (the area has been significantly man-managed and adapted to this end ). As access to water can be one key factor of social sustainability (as demonstrated by the numerous conflicts over access to water resources worldwide), the sustainable management of this wetland area guarantees, in addition to ecological sustainability, also the sustainability of a non-negligible portion of Austrian society. EXAMPLE 2

CONSERVATION ACTIVITIES IN THE WETLAND TONLE SAP BIOSPHERE RESERVE. The Great Tonle Sap Lake, located in central Cambodia, is the largest freshwater body in South-East Asia. The Biosphere Reserve covers the lake as well as the flood plains, which play a key economic role for the region, in that they provide 80% of the proteins consumed within the country.The area is a living demonstration on how combined ecohydrological and ecological conservation approaches can sustain the key ecological functions and services of his huge wetland system, on which several million people depend.


PROMOTION OF SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIES IN THE WETLAND YANCHENG BIOSPHERE RESERVE. The Yancheng Biosphere Reserve is located in the central part of the east coast of China and covers an area of 280,000 hectares. Some 90,000 people live in this site, plus some 20,000 visitors every year. Increasing demand for land puts great pressure on the wetland systems in the area, with wetlands being normally replaced with managed fishponds. In

RESEARCH & MONITORING IN THE WETLAND CIÉNAGA GRANDE DE SANTA MARTA BIOSPHERE RESERVE. The CiÊnaga Grande de Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve is located in the northern part of Colombia and covers an area considered to be one of the main coastal wetlands in South America. Research activities in this biosphere reserves are very developed and span from fundamental studies, aimed at the collection of baseline data for future reference, to applied research on monitoring of water quality, biodiversity studEXAMPLE 5 ies at the species and ecosystem levels, environmental and strategic impact assessments, and socioeconomic studies.The information collected is used for sustainably managing the fisheries in the local coral reef and mangrove systems, and to plan local agricultural activities (banana and African palm plantations).


Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) in Do単ana Photograph by Antonio Sabater

Wetlands and Science


scientists to help nature conservation practitioners and society to set priorities in wetlands FUNCTION AND VALUE OF WETLANDS: NEED FOR SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE

The function and value of wetlands raise problems not just aesthetic and moral (nature conservation). Wetlands play a crucial role in almost all biogeochemical processes that sustain the biosphere, and provide a variety of products (goods) and functions (services), which are essential to mankind's well being, including the production of food and natural substances, the assimilation of wastes, the remineralization of organic matter and a significant contribution to the regulation of the world's climate. Wetlands act as natural traps, for organic materials produced within their fertile waters as well as for materials entering from surrounding terrestrial, aquatic and coastal environments. The * University “Pierre et Marie Curie” - Paris, France. Former Director of the UNESCO’s Division of Ecological Sciences and Secretary of the MaB Programme.

resulting organic-rich sediments are the sites of intense microbially mediated degradation processes, which control sedimentary geochemical distribution and recycle vital nutrient elements and other mobile chemical end-products to overlying waters. In this context, in order to understand and to better control the seasonally variable eutrophication process, it is important to examine the mechanisms and rates of sediment-water recycling systems driven by the degradation reactions, eventually leading to reducing conditions and anoxia. The structure of benthic communities has a strong influence on the fluxes of nutrients from the sediment to the water column, and therefore, on the whole wetland productivity. Quantitative measurements of such processes are still sparse so that those global estimates of sources and sinks or of compounds of climatic and ecological importance remain uncertain. The presence of human activity on wetlands is not necessarily incompatible with the maintenance of rich biodiversity

Wetland ecosystems are intrinsically dynamic, and many features that are most valuable for human activities are naturally variable, with a complex interplay of biological, chemical and physical factors over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. The scientific challenge is therefore to gain sufficient knowledge of environmental processes to assess the consequences of current patterns of human interferences and their future trajectories. In the image, a view of the Odiel Marshes protected area, one of the Biosphere Reserves of SW Spain seated in the scope of Doñana. Photograph: Paisajes Españoles S.A.


and healthy ecosystems. Nevertheless, in many wetlands, native endemic species and communities have been destroyed or replaced due to inadequate conservation measures, ill-advised agricultural mono-cultures, or inappropriate intensive aquaculture. Expanding tourism and the intensification of agriculture place considerable pressure on freshwater and coastal wetland ecosystems. In the Parc Natural s'Albufera, a coastal wetland in the Northeast of Mallorca, Spain, freshwater supply to the wetland decreased significantly in the catchment, as a result saltwater intrusion increased with considerable impact on the wetland biodiversity.A long term monitoring of abundance and diversity of submerged vegetation community provides useful information to evaluate the sustainability of current tourist developments and land use in the s'Albufera catchment, and offers a common framework to assess opportunities and constraints for linking socio-economic and conservation interests26. In addition, the invasion of alien species is now recognized as one of the major threats to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning27. In Europe, the current piecemeal invasion legislation lends itself, moreover, to the unfortunate management of introduced species in a growing number of wetlands, saltmarshes and lagoons. Typical examples are invasion of aquatic vascular plants, such as Myriophyllum sp., Lagarosiphon sp., and Ludwigia spp., originally from South America that have been introduced into European wetlands, e.g. the "marais" and lakes of the South West coast of France and the Spanish wetlands, including Do単ana28.

Wetland's conservation and management requires research initiatives at scale in space and time that cannot be encompassed by any single country or loose consortium of countries. Knowledge exchange and creation of reseaerch networks are among the best tools to establish sound conservation bases. In the image, birds-of-prey radio monitoring in the Do単ana National Park. Photograph: Antonio Sabater.


The spread of the invasive native clonal grass Elymus athericus is one of the most significant changes that have affected the plant communities of European salt marshes in the last decade29. The idea of broad distributional ranges of aquatic plants colonizing wetlands and their limited taxonomic differentiation, need reappraisal. With the application of new taxonomic criteria, for example, the combination of reproductive isolation and ecological differentiation proposed in the ecogenetic concept30, and tools such as molecular markers and genomics, broadly distributed species will be shown to be composed of groups of sibling species. Recent work has revealed limited genetic variation within aquatic plant species.Variation within populations is particularly low. In contrast, variation among populations seems to be rather high, mainly due to the persistence of long-lived clones. According to Santamaria31, the alleged uniformity and "benign" character of the aquatic environment is a misrepresentation of this type of habitat.Aquatic habitats are heterogeneous environments, but this heterogeneity largely occur at relatively small scales (within water bodies and among neighbouring ones). This small-scale environmental mosaic tends to be repeated regionally, and it is only in this sense that the wetland environment should be considered uniform. We should recognize that the vast majority of wetland microbes, both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, remain uncharacterized. Their role should be studied using the innovative tools of genomics, in particular with respect to key processes such as degradation of organic matter, nitrogen fixation, or even photosynthesis. Until this is better understood, there is little hope of developing realistic models of ecosystem functioning. A further example is our lack of understanding of how marine organisms (from bacteria to fishes and algae) respond to stress. Such knowledge is critical if we are to predict the response of marine communities to factors such as pollution or coastal engineering. Given the complexity of these challenges, there is an urgent need for the scientific community to help conservation practitioners, decision-makers and society to take appropriate measures that go beyond the obvious impulse to protect economically valuable species and landscapes providing services, or aesthetically appealing ones. Classical plans established for wetlands and their surrounding terrestrial and coastal-marine areas, however, are mostly oriented towards local measures of conservation and pollution prevention, with little tangible effort being directed on large scale inventories and long term monitoring. Furthermore, data collection and monitoring networks are often embedded in fragmented institutional framework. A high level of international scientific expertise is needed in order to develop methodologies for the better understanding

Scientific research in the marine areas surrounding coastal wetlands requires special attention. Knowing and understanding their key-processes is critical if we are to predict the response of marine communities to factors such as pollution or coastal engineering. In the image, Astroides calycularis, a threatened coral species living near the coast of Doñana. Photograph: José María Pérez de Ayala.

and detection of ecosystem change, as well as the evaluation of ecological functions. Modelling work, monitoring and indicator work and scientific experimentation all need to be better integrated, given the current high level of uncertainty and ignorance32. During the 1990s, ecological science increasingly turned its attention to environmental problems and the challenge of protecting biodiversity. For example, in 1991, the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative laid out a research programme aiming at providing answers to critical questions regarding environmental management33. The involvement of distinguished scientists as Robert Paine in the scientific review of the Exxon Valdez spill pushed him to review the monitoring programme that followed the spill, and to suggest ways in which environmental monitoring should be improved34. Another significant action refers to the capacity to provide sound guidance on biodiversity knowledge and conservation priorities in coastal and marine areas35,36. Initiated by the Network of European Marine Research Stations (MARS), the EU Scientific Network of Excellence MARBEF can be taken as a demonstrative successful example of integration in research and monitoring of marine/coastal biodiversity. Activities are centred around three themes: a) global pattern of biodiversity across spatial and temporal scales; b) biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, assessed at different

levels of organization (genes, species and functional groups), ecosystem modelling, and experimental tests; c) economic, social and cultural value of biodiversity, including theoretical and practical aspects of sustainable management, and monitoring of the health of ecosystems.

ARE WE ACHIEVING SUSTAINABILITY EUROPEAN WETLANDS? SCIENCE-POLICY INTERACTIONS Wetland ecosystems are intrinsically dynamic, and many features that are most valuable for human activities are naturally variable, with a complex interplay of biological, chemical and physical factors over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. The scientific challenge is therefore to gain sufficient knowledge of environmental processes to assess the consequences of current patterns of human interferences and their future trajectories. Since research advances, policy-making, and changes in societal behaviour can each take several years or decades to achieve, therefore, many decisions must be made on the basis of imperfect evidence. Managers and decision-makers must work hand-in-hand with scientists and better make known their needs, thus making research in phase with the demand of society. It is axiomatic that sound environmental policies must be based on sound environFOR


Initiated by the Network of European Marine Research Stations (MARS), the EU Scientific Network of Excellence MARBEF can be taken as a demonstrative successful example of integration in research and monitoring of marine/coastal biodiversity. Photograph: CENEAM.

mental science. There are problems, however, in that relationship. Thus cultural differences between researchers and policy-makers reduce the efficiency of communications between them, affecting the flow and use of scientific information37. Since complex, dynamic systems are likely to change during the time between information gathering and the policy response, knowledge deficiencies are near-inevitable. Policy decisions cannot therefore be post-poned until science produces certain answers, but must necessarily be made on the basis of risk assessments and the much-discussed precautionary principle38. These considerations are fully applicable to wetlands. Scientists need to recognize that policy decisions within democracies are essentially pragmatic constructs, taking account of public acceptability, cultural perception, business interests and media attention. In contrast, policy-makers need to recognise that scientific information is inherently incomplete and unknown, albeit that fundamental "natural laws" are universal and unchanging.There is an extensive literature on this relationship for a range of environmental areas39,40.The initial outcome of environmental research is the acquisition of information on the status and behaviour of wetland ecosystems. Such effort is funded by public bodies primarily with the expectation of direct societal benefit: the information gained has the potential to change the behaviour of society (via legislature and/or management practices) in ways that improve the human use of natural resources and nature conservation.


THE MELDING OF SCIENCE AND SOCIETY: RESEARCH SITES AND BIOSPHERE RESERVES In the evolution of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MaB) Programme, launched in 1971, it was unquestioned excellence of participating scientists which elevated applied research to its proper status. The connection between basic and more applied environmental research has emerged in several aspects of the MaB approach and of the highly successful Biosphere reserve concept that emerged from it41. Recent trends in modern conservation ecology include a mix of: (1) controlled experimental removal of species and manipulations of ecosystems, (2) ecosystem approach, and (3) natural history and monitoring. The lessons learned from field experiments and recent research emphasizing the functions of species in biogeochemical or ecosystem processes and their role in ensuring reliable ecosystem functioning42,43,44, have been impressive and are reshaping our understanding of ecological systems and ecosystem functioning.Therefore, the fundamental ecological science has the capacity to provide sound guidance on conservation priorities in wetlands. Policy-makers and managers require practical, defensible recommendations now.They are usually forced to proposing quick partial solutions, often based on very local scientific observations. What can scientists offer? They can provide theoretical and practical elements for evaluating the complex compromise involved in managing wetlands for either biodiversity conservation, selecting indicators and criteria to assess effects of freshwater use in wetlands, safeguarding ecosystem services. Moreover, the scientists typically work to the rhythm of multi-annual funding and project cycles. They track complex phenomena whose changes may sometimes be confirmed only after many years or event decades have elapsed. Therefore, biodiversity scientists being asked for advice by managers and policy-makers are confronted to a dilemma: - should they respond by providing the "best practice" scenario? or, - should they reply that they cannot provide advice in the absence of data, or reliable records? WETLAND SCIENTIFIC NETWORKS OF EXCELLENCE: A EUROPEAN RESPONSE TO A PRESSING DEMAND Wetland's conservation and management requires research initiatives at scale in space and time that cannot be encompassed by any single country or loose consortium of countries. Widespread realisation that wetland habitats are strongly influenced by accelerating changes, largely derived from human activ-

ity, whether stemming from local pressure or from climate change, should foster plans: - to protect their highly important biodiversity from the spread of invasive species, - to focus on the characteristics of adjacent watershed features and prevent pollution, - to integrate, in addition to the recognised resting area function for a wide array of migratory birds, the many physical and other ecological functions and socio-economic values, - to improve understanding of wetland processes and dynamics, and of how climate change in combination with other human induced pressures is likely to become a main critical factor in wetland degradation and loss. Achieving these ambitious goals require a diversity of skills, expertise, resource and networks of researchers and sites. A critical mass of research workers and wetland conservation managers, and decision-makers needs to be reached. Once attained, this should significantly boost appropriate basic scientific studies and applied measures for appropriate conservation and regional development of wetlands and their surrounding terrestrial and coastal-marine biota.This can be done by: - producing communication tools for scientists and managers involved in wetland research within and outside their region; - developing strong training programmes designed to spread excellence; - creating data banks of primary data and metadata; - producing high-impact scientific publications, and promoting public information; - promoting submission of collaborative proposals for joint research by natural and socio-economic scientists;

In this context, the scientist today has more than ever the responsibility of entering into the "social demand" arena, of probing into how decisions regarding nature conservation and regional development are made, and who they affect.There are now strong reasons for reinforcing cooperative initiatives between existing networks with complementary targets and geographical distribution. Progress through integrated wetland management will be conditioned by the degree to which "accountability" and "trust" issues are successfully tackled. No process of integrated wetland management can produce legitimate answers and effective solutions to the challenges posed without meaningful public (i.e. a full range of interest holders) inclusions in the procedures.The public need to be incorporated in a proactive, participatory and conflict minimising fashion. The need for "balancing the scales", policies for increasing biodiversity's chances through bioregional management has been widely recognized and discussed these last 10 years, and integrated in the range of classifications and networks of protected areas of outstanding national and regional cultural and biological value (e.g. EU Habitat 2000, Council of Europe, RAMSAR, UNESCO MaB biosphere reserves) as contasted to the World Heritage sites for identifying areas of outstanding global importance. The biosphere reserve concept (UNESCO-MaB Seville Strategy, 1995), attempts to integrate, through appropriate land zonation (i.e. core areas, buffer zones, transition areas) and active participation of local people to activities which are compatible with the preservation of wildlife values. Presently, a total of 78 biosphere reserves in 45 countries (UNESCO data 2002) are The Biosphere Reserve concept (UNESCO-MaB Seville Strategy, 1995), attempts to integrate, through appropriate land zonation (i.e. core areas, buffer zones, transition areas) and active participation of local people to activities which are compatible with the preservation of wildlife values. Presently, a total of 78 biosphere reserves in 45 countries are wholly or partially RAMSAR wetlands In the image Azurewinged Magpie, an Asian species introduced into Spain. Photograph by JosĂŠ MarĂ­a PĂŠrez de Ayala.


wholly or partially RAMSAR wetlands. These programmes are ideally linked to strong education and training programmes, and are usually driven by science and government needs to provide experimental sites where planning, monitoring and research can be achieved on the ground. European-wide collaboration will allow us to effectively address the effects of global change on wetland ecosystems over a nested array of relevant sales, both in terms of spatial (local to regional), biogeochemical structures, and biological (molecular to ecosystem) levels of organization.The European dimension of organized cooperation is even more imperative because of the contiguous and open nature our wetlands, including the dangers of transfer and introduction of invasive species.There is a critical need to develop networks of field infrastructures acting as wetland observatories, in reference sites, encouraging the development of a more effective interplay between research, conservation and management processes at regional and sub-regional levels. It is clear that conservation and sustainable use of European wetlands will require research and management plans at unprecedented geographic scales. There are clear provisions (following in particular the decision of Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002) on the need to establish networks of representative protected areas that include wetlands. In 1995 (Sofia, Bulgaria), the Environment Ministers of 54 European countries

An old, deep, and complex co-existence of human action and natural environment makes of Doñana National Park an extraordinary e reference for wetland conservation


View of the River Gualdalquivir and the Doñana marshes. Photograph kindly provided by the Seville Port Authority:

endorsed the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy. Following the recommendations of the Dubronik Symposium (October 2003) on marine and coastal biodiversity, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (May 5th, 2004) underlined that "research networks be encouraged, such as the European Union's Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (MARBEF) Network of Excellence, which aim to integrate the most reliable scientific knowledge into policy-making and management decisions" (Council of Europe, 2004). Of a total of 100 "reference" and "focal" sites selected all over Europe, for intensive and comparative research activities and several salt marshes have been identified45. Conceptual and field oriented cooperation between MARBEF Network of Excellence and UNESCO-MaB is now envisaged to help nature conservation practitioners and society to set priorities in coastal and marine areas42. In this context, biosphere reserves, wholly or partially RAMSAR wetlands, offer privileged biodiversity observatories and arenas for the study of multi-purpose management melding science and society. In conclusion, maintaining and enhancing the dialogue among scientists, policy-makers and the public will ensure that critical and reliable information is developed and communicated and, also, continue to elaborate innovative monitoring and, therefore, to invigorate sustainable wetland management, improving the human use of natural resources and nature conservation. From this perspective, the Doñana National Park offer unique situation, where the mingling of human action and natural ecology has been ancient, complex, and profound. Maintaining Doñana integrity is essential, an absolute priority. Future objectives should combine biodiversity conservation, sustainable ecosystem management, in a coherent approach of high scientific value and relevance to human society. Doñana is an international treasure that deserves full concern and attention.

Wetlands and the European Landscape Convention "The landscape… … has an important public interest role in the cultural, ecological, environmental and social fields, and constitutes a resource favourable to economic activity and whose protection, management and planning can contribute to job creation; … contributes to the formation of local cultures and … is a basic component of the European natural and cultural heritage, contributing to human wellbeing and consolidation of the European identity; … is an important part of the quality of life for people everywhere: in urban areas and in the countryside, in degraded areas as well as in areas of high quality, in areas recognised as being of outstanding beauty as well as everyday areas; … is a key element of individual and social well-being and … its protection, management and planning entail rights and responsibilities for everyone." Preamble to the European Landscape Convention

The European Landscape Convention applies to the entire territory of the Parties and covers both land areas and water areas, and applies both to inland waters, such as lakes and areas of brack* Head of the Spatial Planning and Landscape Division of the Council of Europe.


ish water and marine areas - coastal waters and the territorial sea. The Convention is therefore of major importance for wetlands. The wetlands' highly productive ecosystems constitute a remarkable natural and cultural heritage because of the richness of their biology and landscape.

ORIGINS AND FRAMEWORK OF THE CONVENTION An international intergovernmental organisation set up in 1949, the Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg, France. It currently consists of 45 member states46. Its main objectives are to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law and to seek common solutions to the main problems facing European society today.The Organisation is active in environment protection and in promoting sustainable development in line with the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to Members States on the Guiding Principles for sustainable spatial development of the European continent, previously adopted by the European Conference of Ministers responsible for regional planning (CEMAT). The aim is to bring the economic and social requirements to be met by the territory into harmony with its ecological and cultural functions and therefore to contribute to long-term, large-scale and balanced spatial development.These seek to protect

The European Landscape Convention applies to the entire territory of the Parties and covers both land areas and water areas, and applies both to inland waters, such as lakes and areas of brackish water and marine areas, including also coastal waters and the territorial sea. In the image, sunset in the coast of Doñana. Photograph: José María Pérez de Ayala.


"The landscape has an important public interest role in the cultural, ecological, environmental and social fields, and constitutes a resource favourable to economic activity ... contributes to the formation of local cultures and … is a basic component of the European natural and cultural heritage". Fragments from the Preamble to the European Landscape Convention. Photograph: José María Pérez de Ayala.

Europeans' quality of life and well-being taking into account landscape, cultural and natural values47.

Origins of the convention On the basis of an initial draft prepared by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, the Committee of Ministers decided in 1999 to set up a select group of experts responsible for drafting a European Landscape Convention, under the aegis of the Steering Committee of cultural heritage (CDPAT) and the Committee for the activities of the Council of Europe in the field of biological and landscape diversity (CO-DBP). Following the work of this group of experts, in which the principal governmental and non-governmental international organisations participated, the Committee of Ministers adopted the final text of the Convention on July 19th, 2000. The Convention was opened for signature in Florence, Italy on October 20th, 2000 in the context of the Council of Europe Campaign "Europe, a common heritage".The Convention entered into force on March 1st, 2004.As at March 29th, 2003, it was ratified by twelve States and signed by sixteen other States48.

WHY A LANDSCAPE CONVENTION, AND WHAT ARE ITS BENEFITS FOR WETLANDS? As an essential factor of individual and communal well-being and an important part of people's quality of life, landscape contributes to human fulfilment and consolidation of the European identity. It has also an important public interest role in the cultural, ecological, environmental and social fields, and constitutes a resource favourable to economic activity, particularly to tourism. The advances of production techniques in agriculture, forestry, industrial and mineral productions techniques and in regional plan-


ning, town planning, together with the practices followed in town and country planning, transport, networks, tourism and recreation, and more generally the global economic changes, have unfortunately in very many cases led to degradation, deterioration or transformation of landscapes. It is therefore necessary to react to this evolution. While each citizen must of course contribute to preserving the quality of landscape, it is the responsibility of the public authorities to define the general framework in which this quality can be secured. Thus, the Convention lays down the general legal principles, which should guide the adoption of national and community landscape policies and the establishment of an international cooperation in this field.

Relationship with other existing texts The signatory states declare in their preamble that they wish "to provide a new instrument devoted exclusively to the protection, management and planning of all landscapes in Europe".Today, the convention is in fact the foremost international treaty dealing exclusively with the protection, management and enhancement of the European landscape. A few international legal instruments are concerned with the subject of landscape, either directly or indirectly. None of them, however, deals directly, specifically and fully with European landscapes and their preservation, in spite of their invaluable contribution to our natural and cultural heritage and the numerous threats facing them.The convention aims to fill this gap: it is thus distinct from the Unesco Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of November 16th, 1972, both formally and substantively.The two conventions have different purposes, as do the organisations under

whose auspices they were drawn up. One is regional in scope, the other world-wide. The Council of Europe convention can be regarded as complementary to the Unesco one. As regards substantive scope, the Council of Europe convention covers all landscapes, even those that are not of outstanding universal value, but does not deal with historic monuments, unlike the Unesco convention. Similarly, its main objective is not to draw up a list of assets of exceptional universal value, but to introduce protection, management and planning rules for all landscape based on a set of principles.Thus each convention has its distinctive features49. In the work leading up to the drafting of the convention, constant reference was made to existing international and national legal texts concerned with landscape50.The convention states in its preamble that it has regard to the legal texts existing at international level in the field of protection and management of the natural and cultural heritage, regional and spatial planning, local self-government and transfrontier co-operation, in particular the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern, September 19th, 1979), the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (Grenada, October 3rd, 1985), the European Convention on the Protection of Archaeological Heritage (revised) (Valetta, January 16th, 1992), the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities (Madrid, May 21st, 1980) and its additional protocols, the European Charter of Local Selfgovernment (Strasbourg, October 15th, 1985), the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio, June 5th, 1992), the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (Paris, November 16th, 1972), and the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus, June 25th,1998). In order to avoid any difficulties with other international legal instruments, the convention states that it shall not prejudice stricter provisions concerning landscape protection, management and planning contained in other existing or future binding national or international instruments51. The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar, February 2nd,1971, as amended by the Protocol of December 3rd, 1982 and the Amendments of May 28th, 1987) could be one of them.

SCOPE The landscape is now recognised irrespective of its exceptional value, since all kinds of landscapes influence people's surroundings and deserve to be taken into account in landscape policies. Many rural and peri-urban areas in particular are undergoing profound changes and should receive more attention from the authorities and the public at large.Among them there are a large number

of wetlands that have been progressively drained, but which still save relevant natural, cultural and landscape elements. An original feature of this convention is that it applies to ordinary landscapes no less than to outstanding ones.This comprehensive coverage is justified for the following reasons: every landscape forms the setting for the lives of the population concerned; urban and rural landscapes interlock in complex ways; most Europeans live in towns and cities (large or small), the quality of whose landscapes greatly affects their lives; and finally, rural landscapes occupy an important place in the European consciousness. Extending the scope of local authorities' official landscape action to cover the whole of national territory does not mean, however, that the same measures and policies must be applied to all landscapes.These measures and policies should be adaptable to particular types of landscape, which, depending on their specific characteristics, will need various forms of treatment at local level, ranging from the strictest conservation via protection, management and planning to actual creation.These various treatments may pave the way for major socio-economic development of the area concerned. The convention is not confined, either, to the cultural or manmade components of landscape: it is concerned with all of these and how they interconnect. This dimension significantly involves green corridors and space interconnection, being DoĂąana and its surroundings a good exemple of it.

CONTENT OF THE CONVENTION AND DOĂ‘ANA The terms used in the convention are defined in Article 1 in order to ensure that they are interpreted uniformly by everyone concerned with the well-being of Europe's landscapes: - "landscape" means an area, as perceived by people, whose char-

In his Mediteranski Brevijar, the great Mediterranean poet Pedrag Matvejevic, expressed beautifully and enigmatically the value of the large salt marshes of the coast: "sage men say that white salt has to be stored to prevent black days". Image from the film of Antonioni dealing with the saltworks of Trapani.


acter is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors52; - "landscape policy" means an expression by the competent public authorities of general principles, strategies and guidelines that permit the taking of specific measures aimed at the protection, management and planning of landscapes; - "landscape quality objective" means, for a specific landscape, the formulation by the competent public authorities of the aspirations of the public with regard to the landscape features of their surroundings. The Contracting Parties undertake to implement four general measures: - to recognise landscapes in law as an essential component of people's surroundings, an expression of the diversity of their shared cultural and natural heritage, and a foundation of their identity; - to establish and implement landscape policies aimed at land-

scape protection, management and planning; - to establish procedures for the participation of the general public, local and regional authorities, and other parties with an interest in the definition and implementation of landscape policies; - to integrate landscape into its regional and town planning policies and in its cultural, environmental, agricultural, social and economic policies, as well as in any other policies with possible direct or indirect impact on landscape. The Contracting Parties further undertake to implement, in a consecutive manner, five specific measures: - Awareness-raising; this involves increasing awareness among civil society, private organisations and public authorities of the value of landscapes, their role and changes to them; - Training and education; this involves promoting: training for specialists in landscape appraisal and operations; multidiscipli-

The European Landscape Convention (Florence, 2000) defines the landscape as “an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”. Spain was one of the signatory States of the European Landscape Convention, and is at present in process of ratifying it. In the image, landscape of pine trees on the sands of Doñana. Photograph: José María Pérez de Ayala.


A few international legal instruments are concerned with the subject of landscape. None of them, however, deals directly, specifically and fully with European landscapes and their preservation, in spite of their invaluable contribution to our natural and cultural heritage and the numerous threats facing them. The convention aims to fill this gap: it is complementary to the Unesco Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972 and to the more recent one aiming at safeguarding the intangible heritage (2003). In the image, view of the “pajareras” of Doñana, cork oaks full of life at the hedge of the marshes, a symbol of identity that go beyond their biological value. Photograph: Antonio Sabater.

nary training programmes in landscape policy, protection, management and planning, for professionals in the private and public sectors and for the relevant associations; school and university courses which, in the relevant subject areas, address the values attaching to landscapes and the issues raised by their protection, management and planning; - Identification and assessment; this involves mobilising the interested parties with a view to improving knowledge of the landscapes and guiding the landscape identification and assessment procedures through exchanges of experience and methodology, organised between the Parties at European level; - Landscape quality objectives; this involves framing landscape quality objectives for the landscapes identified and assessed, after public consultation; - Implantation; this involves introducing instruments aimed at protecting, managing and/or planning the landscape. At the international level, one of the most relevant features of the Convention is that the Contracting Parties undertake to cooperate in the consideration of the landscape dimension of international policies and programmes, and to recommend, where relevant, the inclusion in them of landscape considerations. They further undertake to co-operate in order to enhance the effectiveness

of measures taken under the provisions of the convention, and in particular: to render each other technical and scientific assistance in landscape matters through the pooling and exchange of experience, and the results of research projects; to promote the exchange of landscape specialists in particular for training and information purposes; and to exchange information on all matters covered by the provisions of the convention53. Transfrontier landscapes are covered by a specific provision: the Parties undertake to encourage transfrontier co-operation at local and regional level and, wherever necessary, prepare and implement joint landscape programmes54. Contemporary lifestyles are such that people aspire more and more to rediscover an unspoiled setting and to preserve their natural as well as cultural heritage. By means of this growing social demand, landscape gains or regains prestige and begins to be perceived as a major component of sustainable development policies. It is necessary to recognise the importance and value of landscapes and reconciling the right to achieve profitability with the right to enjoy well-being, health and scenic beauty. Situated between soil, sea and sky, wetlands are magic and special attention must be given to them and specialy to Doñana, as one of the major symbols of European wetlands.


Purple heron (Ardea purpurea) in Do単ana Photograph by Antonio Sabater

Protected areas, K J M , S B G ,D C biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in wetlands ALEMANI O





issues and prospects

rotected areas -national parks, nature reserves and other areas where special measures are taken to conserve biodiversity and ecological processes- have long been recognized as a key tool to counter loss of the world's biodiversity. Their importance ranging from conservation of biological diversity, storehouses of genetic material, provision of essential ecosystem services for human welfare, and contribution to sustainable development, has been recognized at multiple levels, from international bodies, to national governments, local groups, and communities Almost all countries have a system of protected areas, which now cover some 12 percent of the planet's land surface, making them one of the earth's most significant land uses. While they represent our best chance of effective in situ conservation of biological diversity, protected areas have many other demands upon them. Comprehensive and effectively managed protected areas networks at national, regional and consequently at global levels are critical elements in the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). However, while we have clearly made significant progress in conserving representative terrestrial ecosystems, recent assessments indicate that conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity is woefully inadequate, with less than one per cent of the Earth's marine ecosystems protected. Other biomes, including some major types freshwater systems and grasslands, are also poorly represented. Protected areas also have to compete for limited financial resources in the allocation of national budgets; this is a difficult task, when many governments are faced with major developmental issues such as health, poverty alleviation and the provision of essential infrastructure. Nevertheless, the key environmental services that are provided by protected areas underpin many aspects of sustainable development and this role is increasingly recognized as we deal with a period of global environmental change unprecedented in human history.


Scientific Technical and Technological Matters Division Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD). The views expressed are of authors and do not necessarily purport the CBD. * Head ** Programme Officer


Protected areas are essential components in national and global conservation strategies. The importance of protected areas is widely recognized at international level. Establishment and management of protected areas are central to Article 8 on in situ Conservation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.The World Summit on Sustainable Development Plan of Implementation has specifically called for the establishment of a representative system of marine protected areas by 2012 and for the promotion and support for conservation of 'hot spot' initiatives, and ecological networks. One of the indicators for meeting goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals ("Ensure Environmental Sustainability") is the "amount of land area protected to maintain biological diversity".

Almost all countries have a system of protected areas, and they now cover some 12 percent of the planet's land surface, making them one of the earth's most significant land uses. Coastal wetlands have a particular importance for biological diversity conservation among all protected areas, especially if we take into account that 37 % of total world population lives within 100 km from the coast (FAO, 1998). Photograph: The Nature Conservancy


Protected areas provide vital protection to many indigenous and local peoples and space where they can continue traditional lifestyles. Several coastal marshes and wetlands offer fish breeding grounds and thus maintain fisheries: in consequence local fishing communities often support them. Photograph: WWF International

The extent of world's protected areas The most comprehensive dataset on protected areas worldwide is the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) managed by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre working in partnership with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and a consortium of internationally active organizations and networks. Protected areas are established for many purposes, and can be classified by management objective. IUCN has developed a system of six categories of protected area defined by primary management objective (Box 1), and about two thirds of the sites in the WDPA have an assigned IUCN management category. Of these sites the most numerous are categories III and IV, while in terms of area occupied, categories II and VI predominate. The categories offering the strictest protection from outside influence (categories Ia and Ib) make up a much smaller proportion of both the number and area of the sites.The cumulative growth rate of protected areas as per IUCN management categories is given in Figure 1 demonstrating that those categories concerned with landscape (category V) and with resource management (category VI) have increased more rapidly in recent years. Global protection of biodiversity based on habitat analysis UNEP-WCMC has analysed global protected areas data as far as possible by biome type to give a first indication of protection in different regions and different ecosystems. Initial comparisons were made using the framework developed by Udvardy56 in 1975, which classifies the world into 14 terrestrial biomes. It shows that nine of the 14 terrestrial biomes in the Udvardy system have now met or


exceeded the target of 10 per cent representativeness. By contrast, the biomes falling well behind the global average include temperate grasslands and lake systems, while temperate needle leaf forests and temperate broadleaf forests are also both below 10 per cent coverage. Many countries have designated protected areas under the various international agreements and programmes that recognize specific sites.These include the World Heritage Sites (World Heritage Convention), Ramsar Sites (the Convention on wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat) and Biosphere Reserves (UNESCO - Man and Biosphere Programme).

PROTECTED AREAS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Values and benefits of protected areas Protected areas provide a wide range of values and benefits to humanity. They provide vital protection to many indigenous and local peoples and space where they can continue traditional lifestyles.A disproportionate amount of the world's drinking water comes from forest-protected areas (for instance a third of the world's hundred largest cities draw a substantial proportion of their drinking water from protected areas). Marine protected areas provide fish breeding grounds and thus maintain fisheries: in consequence local fishing communities often support them. Parks and reserves are important "green lungs" providing space for people to enjoy recreation.They help to protect cultural and spiritual values. They are also increasingly recognized for their role in mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon and by buffering countries against impacts such as sea-level rise and extreme weather events in particular cyclones and flooding.The values of a national protect-

Box 1

IUCN Protected Areas Management Categories (1994)55 Category Ia - Strict Nature Reserve: Protected area managed mainly for science.Area of land and/or sea possessing some outstanding or representative ecosystems, geological or physiological features and/or species, available primarily for scientific research and/or environmental monitoring. Category Ib - Wilderness Area: Protected area managed mainly for wilderness protection. Large area of unmodified or slightly modified land, and/or sea, retaining its natural character and influence, without permanent or significant habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural condition. Category II - National Park: Protected area managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation. Natural area of land and/or sea, designated to (a) protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations, (b) exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area and (c) provide a foundation for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible. Category III - Natural Monument: Protected area managed mainly for conservation of specific natural features: Area containing one or more specific natural or natural/cultural features which are of outstanding or unique value because of their inherent rarity, representative or aesthetic qualities or cultural significance. Category IV - Habitat/Species Management Area: Protected area managed mainly for conservation through management intervention.Area of land and/or sea subject to active intervention for management purposes so as to ensure the maintenance of habitats and/or to meet the requirements of specific species. Category V - Protected Landscape/Seascape: Protected area managed mainly for landscape/seascape conservation and recreation:Area of land, with coast and sea as appropriate, where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant aesthetic, ecological and/or cultural value, and often with high biological diversity. Safeguarding the integrity of this traditional interaction is vital to the protection, maintenance and evolution of such an area. Category VI - Managed Resource Protected Area: Protected area managed mainly for the sustainable use of natural ecosystems:Area containing predominantly unmodified natural systems, managed to ensure long term protection and maintenance of biological diversity, while providing at the same time a sustainable flow of natural products and services to meet community needs.

ed area network are thus more than the traditional issues of wildlife conservation and extend, spatially, far beyond the boundaries of the sites. IUCN summarized the main benefits of protected areas as58: scientific research; wilderness protection; preservation of species and genetic diversity; maintenance of environmental services; protection of specific natural and cultural features; tourism and recreation; education; sustainable use of resources from natural ecosystems; and maintenance of cultural and traditional attributes. Broadly, the benefits of protected areas can be divided into direct use values and benefits; indirect use values and benefits; option values; and non-material values and benefits. Taken together, these constitute a protected area's total economic value. The concept of Total Economic Value (TEV) has been widely used to attempt to convert all values and benefits of natural ecosystems into simple economic terms. Instead of focusing only on direct

commercial values. One 1997 study estimated the annual value of ecosystem services from the entire biosphere at $33 trillion, noting that most of this value is outside the market59. Role of protected areas in poverty alleviation and sustainable development People living in rural areas have long depended on natural resources. Commodities such as animal skins, bamboo, construction materials, firewood, fish, game meat, honey, medicinal plants, resins and timber have been harvested from protected areas for thousands of years. Local people have often developed mechanisms for managing these resources sustainable and allocating benefits. Properly managed tourism in protected areas can also bring considerable income without threatening the natural resource base. More important still are the ecological services protected areas can provide. Particularly important services at the community level include soil regeneration, nutrient cycling, pollination, recreation, pure water and maintenance of harvestable resources. Such benefits are difficult to quantify and even local people may take them for granted. Increasing population levels, more sophisticated technology, and changing social, economic and political structures have removed many traditional controls on resources management. If sustainable benefits are to be provided to local communities more effective controls may be required to ensure that populations of plants and animals are maintained at viable and productive levels60.

KEY ISSUES Threats The ecological viability of many protected areas is under threat, and some have already been significantly degraded. A 1999 survey of threats to forest protected areas by IUCN concluded that "considerably less than 10 percent of protected areas has been subject to any kind of analysis of threat, and far less have been subject to Figure 1 Cumulative rate of protected area coverage by IUCN management category (data from UNEP-WCMC )57.


Figure 2 The WCPA framework (Source: Hockings et al. 2000).

detailed assessment"61. Threats to protected areas can be divided into direct threats which directly stress the biological components of the protected area, indirect threats which drive the direct threats, and underlying causes which comprise broad socio-economic forces often far from the site. Encroachment by farmers, for example, may pose a direct threat to a protected area. This encroachment may be driven, however, by an indirect cause - the rapid privatisation and concentration of agricultural land in adjacent areas.The underlying cause for this situation, in turn, may be subsidies or other changes in government policy aimed at boosting export agriculture to help pay off debts to international financial institutions. Another threat example is the large-scale declassifications of parts of or entire protected areas, legally agreed between national ministries and agro-industrial, timber, mining or oil and gas companies.These may be prompted by the budgetary needs of the relevant countries, driven, in turn, by the underlying cause of structural adjustment policies and constraints.

System and network design Today, the theory and practice of protected area design are becoming increasingly sophisticated, due to a better understanding of their role of protection of biological diversity. Recently, several analyses have demonstrated that current protected area systems do not adequately cover key biodiversity features. For example, gap analyses carried out for the World Parks Congress in 2003 demonstrated that at least 300 critically endangered species, and at least 237 endangered and 267 vulnerable species of bird, mammal, turtle and amphibian have no protection in any part of their ranges62,63.A comprehensive planning exercises of protected areas should con-


sider conservation needs of whole, ecologically distinct regions, known as ecoregions or bioregions, which cover large areas and often extend across national borders. Governments and NGOs have collaborated on ecoregion conservation planning exercises in many parts of the world, drawing on information about biodiversity, threats and pressures and socio-economic data to propose comprehensive conservation strategies that include, but are not limited to, comprehensive networks of protected areas. The aim of such networks is usually to include representative samples of all major ecosystem types and species, in large enough quantities to be viable in the long term: 'ecologically representative protected area networks' are now recognized as a foundation of national and regional conservation strategies. The design of protected area networks therefore needs to take into account the needs of many different species and ecosystems. It also needs to look beyond the borders of individual protected areas to question whether it is important that these areas be linked by other suitable forms of habitat and how this might be achieved, and also at how protected areas can themselves be protected from outside pressures. The importance of connectivity is increasingly being recognized. Protected areas that are surrounded by urban development or agricultural land are more like islands than parts of a broader landscape or seascape and can easily lose species through natural processes or as a result of human pressure.

The values of a national protected area network are thus more than the traditional issues of wildlife conservation and extend, spatially, far beyond the boundaries of the sites. The main benefits of protected areas as: scientific research; wilderness protection; preservation of species and genetic diversity; maintenance of environmental services; protection of specific natural and cultural features; tourism and recreation; education; sustainable use of resources from natural ecosystems; and maintenance of cultural and traditional attributes. In the above photograph, a view of the Kakadu National Park. Photograph: Ramsar

Protected area networks therefore usually include corridors linking protected areas, buffer zones around protected areas, which are geographically isolated from protected areas but serve as staging posts for migratory species such as birds. Governance Governance is about power, relationships, responsibility and accountability. Some define it as the interactions among structures, processes and traditions that determine how power is exercised, how decisions are taken on issues of public concern, and how citizens or other stakeholders have their say. In a protected area context, a basic understanding of governance refers to who holds management authority and responsibility and can be held accountable according to legal, customary or otherwise legitimate rights. In this sense, governance is crucial for the achievement of protected area objectives (management effectiveness), determines the sharing of relevant cost and benefits (management equity), is key to preventing or solving social conflicts, and affects the generation and sustenance of community, political and financial support. The management of protected areas has often been based on models that exclude the local resident populations and perceive their concerns as incompatible with conservation.While the IUCN protected area categories V and VI are conceived to be more inclusive of human communities, virtually all IUCN categories can be compatible with resident or user communities. In the light of the principles of good governance, national protected area systems can enter an era of renewed strength. Four main protected area governance can be identified64: government-managed protected areas; co-managed protected areas; private protected areas; and community-conserved areas.

Management effectiveness Protected areas are only effective in helping to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity if they are effectively managed.Various national and international organizations are working on this issue, with the aim of helping individual sites and systems to develop more effective management. Much of this work is based on guidelines for evaluating effectiveness published by the IUCN World Commission on Protected areas65. Management effectiveness evaluation measures the degree to which a protected area is protecting its values and achieving its goals and objectives. Its primary aim is to help better management, but it can also help guide project planning and resource allocation, provide accountability and transparency, and increase community awareness, involvement and support. Evaluation will also enable managers to anticipate future threats and opportunities. The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas developed a framework for assessing management effectiveness of protected areas (figure 2). Based on this framework

Most coastal wetland protected areas present special problems in terms of their establishment, management and sustainability. In particular, most rely upon water inflow from surrounding areas in order to maintain ecosystem health and integrity. The need to include buffer areas in the surroundings of protected wetlands is an increasing need. In the case of DoĂąana, the protected area system includes this dimension, through a network of protected areas that enclose the most sensitive zones such as the DoĂąana and Odiel marshes. In the photograph, the mouth of the Odiel River. Photograph: Juanta de AndalucĂ­a

several methodologies are developed from rapid assessments of protected area systems to detailed monitoring of individual protected areas. Depending on available time and resources and the objectives of evaluation, the processes range from complex and expensive to simple and cheap. The World Bank and WWF have developed a simple, site-level assessment system for tracking progress in effectiveness.The methodology, which is also being used by the Global Environment Facility, is designed to provide a relatively quick, easy and consistent system for reporting progress in a diverse range of protected areas. While significant progress has been made on developing methodologies, assessments of management effectiveness have so far been undertaken in only a small percentage of the world's protected areas.A major challenge is to have these tools widely used and to have monitoring and evaluation established as core business within protected areas management: to achieve this there needs to be a further increase in awareness of the benefits of evaluation; willingness to use such systems; and capacity of often under-resourced areas to conduct evaluation.

INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS AND PROSPECTS CBD Programme of work on protected areas The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD at its seventh meeting building upon the Millennium Development Goals,


Figure 3 66

Annual history of Ramsar site designations .

the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Durban Accord and Plan of Action from the Vth World's Parks Congress, adopted a programme of work on protected areas.The overall objective of the programme of work is to establish and maintain, "comprehensive, effectively managed and ecologically representative systems of protected areas" that collectively, will significantly reduce the rate of loss of global biodiversity. Implementation of the programme of work will thus contribute to the three objectives of the Convention, its strategic plan, the Millennium Development Goals in particular poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The programme of work on protected areas contained a specific set of targets and timetables primarily organized around national-level actions. The programme of work consists of four interlinked elements mutually reinforcing and cross - cutting in their implementation. In essence, programme element 1 deals with what protected area systems need to conserve and where. Programme elements 2 and 3 cover how to effectively implement protected are systems, including issues such as the policy environment, governance and participation, and capacity building. Programme element 4 covers the steps needed for assessing and monitoring the effectiveness of actions taken under programme elements 1-3. Each programme element is structured into specific goals - targets - and activities.The programme of work contains 16 goals, which are outcome-oriented statements of ultimate purpose. Each goal is accompanied by a target that sets a specific date by which the goal is to be accomplished, and in many cases provides indicators to measure progress towards the goal.A list of activities, 92 in total follow each paired goal and target that individual countries should consider to meet their commitments to achieve the identified goals and targets. The overall target deadline for implementation of the programme of work is 2010 for terrestrial and 2012 for marine areas.


The COP has put forward intermediate target dates for many activities with time bound deadlines of either 2006/ 2008 or 2010/ 2012 or 2015, in recognition of the fact that many of the goals and targets will require a phased, step-by-step approach.

PROTECTED AREAS AND AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS Inland aquatic ecosystems are very diverse and include rivers, their flood plains and estuaries, lakes, bogs, swamps, marshes and coastal wetlands such as mangrove forests and lagoons. They include all of the world's freshwater ecosystems but many are also brackish-water or saline (as, for example, with some inland seas). In many parts of the world inland water ecosystems continue to be intensely modified and degraded by human activities. Freshwater ecosystems are the world's most threatened biome and the one under the most rapidly escalating pressure due to demands upon water resources for development purposes. Inventories of inland aquatic ecosystems are incomplete, inconsistent in coverage and difficult to undertake for a number of reasons including: difficulties with definitions, limitations of maps, illdefined boundaries and the limitations of remote sensing. Heavily vegetated wetlands (e.g., swamps or naturally flooded forests) and difficult to inventory because of technical difficulties discerning land/water interfaces and problems of definition regarding what constitutes land or wetland. A particular feature of many inland aquatic ecosystems is their highly seasonal nature (especially the expansion and contraction of many wetlands, such as on river floodplain, due to seasonal changes in flooding).This marked temporal dimension complicates classification systems, including legal descriptions, across spatially and seasonably variable land-water interfaces. Without good time-series data such wetlands are also difficult to quantify, even locally. The most systematic registry of protected areas for inland

Marine and coastal areas are severely under-represented in the global network of protected areas. In the photograph, the Nature Reserve of CurtoPichetto, a partly abandoned area of salt pans in Slovenia. Photograph: Sergio Gobbo

water ecosystems is the list of sites maintained under the auspices of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar, Iran, 1971). There are presently 146 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1469 wetland sites, totaling 128.9 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.A number of Ramsar sites are also declared jointly with the World Heritage Convention. Data for protected areas at the national or local levels have not been adequately compiled. All inland water and most coastal wetland protected areas present special problems in terms of their establishment, management and sustainability. In particular, most rely upon water inflow from surrounding areas in order to maintain ecosystem health and integrity. Buffer zones around the protected areas are desirable, as with any terrestrial protected area. But inland and coastal wetland protected areas require management measures within the entire watershed or catchment, that is - well beyond the protected area, which maintain both the ecological quality and quantity of water being fed to, and often through, the wetland. In this sense they represent one of the clearest examples of the need for the ecosystem approach to planning and management. To be effective, inland and coastal wetland protected areas must be planned, established and managed within a basin-level framework that fully adopts integrated resource management planning. For rivers, which include those feeding most wetlands, a critical need is to maintain ecological connectivity along their entire length. Dams and other major infrastructure fragment rivers and disrupt connectivity. Such development must be planned with due regard to sustaining ecosystem functioning in rivers and the substantial ecological services provided by wetlands.

CBD Programme of work on marine and coastal areas, with particular attention to the wetland coastal areas. Marine habitats and ecosystems are severely under-represented in the global network of protected areas. Concern about this under representation reflected in decision VII/5 and accompanying Programme of Work on Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity under programme element 3 (marine and coastal protected areas) and operational objectives 3.1 to 3.5. These operational objectives include: - 3.1:To establish and strengthen national and regional systems of marine and coastal protected areas integrated into a global network and as a contribution to globally agreed goals. - 3.2:To enhance the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in marine areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction - 3.3: To achieve effective management of existing marine and coastal protected areas

Delimitation of protected coastal marshes and wetlands is usually a complex challenge. This is due to the variability of the flooded area, the difficulty to mark an exact border, the conflicts existing with upper river basins, and also to the influence of groundwater. The DoĂąana 2005 project is contributing, through its research plans and modelling tools, to eliminate this uncertainness. In the photograph, El AcebrĂłn pond, in DoĂąana Nature Park. Photograph: CENEAM Files.

- 3.4: To provide support for and facilitate monitoring of national and regional systems of marine and coastal protected areas - 3.5: To facilitate research and monitoring activities that reflect identified global knowledge gaps and priority information needs of management of marine and coastal protected areas. Marine protected areas vary in management objectives in the same way as their terrestrial counterparts. Decision VII/5 puts forward a marine and coastal biodiversity management framework consisting of two types of marine and coastal protected areas: (i) Multiple use protected areas, which may permit extractive uses but contain areas that are more strictly controlled for biodiversity protection. Such controls may also have other (e.g., economic or social) objectives. Examples include controls on fishing (e.g., restricting bottom trawling), on the removal of certain species (e.g., habitat forming species), rotational closures, and controls on pollution and sedimentation. Such areas can protect particular species or life cycle stages (such as spawning); help to maintain connectivity and buffer more strictly protected areas. (ii) No-take zones, which permit no extraction and are managed to maintain their ecology or to allow natural restoration. Such strictly protected areas form the backbone of the marine biodiversity conservation measures and need to be selected for coverage and representation in the same way as land and freshwater sites. There is ample evidence that such no-take zones can have short and long-term benefits to human communities through, for example, helping to maintain fish stocks Decision VII/5 also acknowledges that marine and coastal protected areas on their own are not be enough for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and that they need to


be incorporated into a framework of sustainable management practices over the wider marine environment.

CBD 2010 biodiversity target The Parties to the CBD acknowledged, in 2002, the continued threat to biodiversity from human activities. For these reasons, the Conference of the Parties adopted a Strategic Plan, in which Parties committed themselves to a more effective and coherent implementation of the three objectives of the Convention in order to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level, as a contribution to poverty alleviation and for the benefit of all life on earth. This target was subsequently endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Parties recognized that in order to achieve the Strategic Plan, and its 2010 biodiversity target, they required a framework to facilitate an assessment of progress made-a framework within which national and regional targets could be set, and indicators of progress identified.The resulting framework, adopted by Decision VII/30, is structured around seven focal areas, which together represent both responses to the drivers of biodiversity loss, and the means to achieve the three objectives of the Convention. The focal areas are: 1) Reducing the rate of loss of the components of biodiversity, including: (i) biomes, habitats and ecosystems; (ii) species and populations; and (iii) genetic diversity; 2) Promoting sustainable use of biodiversity; 3) Addressing the major threats to biodiversity, including those aris-

ing from invasive alien species, climate change, pollution, and habitat change; 4) Maintaining ecosystem integrity, and the provision of goods and services provided by biodiversity in ecosystems, in support of human well-being; 5) Protecting traditional knowledge, innovations and practices; 6) Ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources; and; 7) Mobilizing financial and technical resources, especially for developing countries, in particular, least developed countries and Small Island developing states among them, and countries with economies in transition, for implementing the Convention and the Strategic Plan. Protected area coverage is one of the headline indicators identified for assessing the progress in 2010 biodiversity target. This indicator has direct relevance to goal 7 (Ensuring Environmental Sustainability) and target 9 (Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources) of the Millennium Development Goals. The targets for focal areas are now being incorporated into the existing programmes of work of the Convention and will be the basis of future review or formulation of new programmes. Other Conventions, processes and stakeholders have been invited to contribute, in their own areas of interest, to both achieving the targets and monitoring progress towards them using suitable indicators. However, national implementation of the programmes of work will be the backbone of progress towards achieving the 2010 biodiversity target.

In the face of increasing human pressure on planet's resources, an effective global protected area system is the best hope for conserving viable and representative areas of natural ecosystems, habitats and species to achieve 2010 biodiversity target. Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity through its various programmes of work agreed on a far-reaching and ambitious programme of action to establish and maintain "comprehensive, effectively managed, and ecologically representative systems of protected areas" that, collectively, will significantly reduce the rate of global biodiversity loss. Wetlands represent ecosystems of immense importance to biodiversity and humans. The ecosystem goods and services they provide have been historically seriously undervalued but are becoming increasingly recognized. The provisions of the CBD, working in partnership with the Ramsar Convention, cover most of the requirements for the improved planning, establishment and management of effective networks and systems of protected areas for wetlands at the local, national, regional and global levels. In the photograph, a spoonbill in the Marsh of DoĂąana. Photograph by Jose MarĂ­a PĂŠrez de Ayala



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WETLANDS AND THE EUROPEAN LANDSCAPE CONVENTION 46. As at 29 March 2003: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom. 47. Concerning the natural and cultural heritage, see the other conventions of the Council of Europe: Convention on the Conservation of European



Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern, 19 September 1979), Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (Granada, 3 October 1985) and European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (London, 6 May 1969) (revised, Valetta, 16 January 1992). 48. See Appendix 2. The convention came into force on the first day of the month following the expiry of a period of three months after the date on which ten Council of Europe member states have consented to be bound by it, with the deposit of instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval. 49. The explanatory report states that in order to co-ordinate action under the two conventions, consideration could be given to scientific co-operation between the Unesco World Heritage Committee and the Committees of Experts mentioned under Article 10 of the European Landscape Convention, under Article 13.7 of the Unesco Convention of 16 November 1972, and as suggested in Article 7 of the convention. 50. These include, apart from the Unesco Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe, the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage, Committee of Ministers Recommendation 95 (9) on the integrated conservation of cultural landscape areas as part of landscape policies, Committee of Ministers Recommendation (79) 9 concerning the identification and evaluation card for the protection of natural landscapes, the Mediterranean Landscape Charter, the European Community regulation on agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements of the protection of the environment and the maintenance of the countryside, the European Community directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, the European Community directive on the assessment of environmental effects, and other important national, European Community and international instruments. 51. Article 12 of the convention (Relationship with other instruments). The wording of this article is based on model provisions already used in other international conventions in order to deal with the problem of linking up conventions concerned with similar fields. 52. The term "landscape" is thus defined as a zone or area as perceived by local people or visitors, whose visual features and character are the result of the action of natural and/or cultural (that is, human) factors. This definition reflects the idea that landscapes evolve through time, as a result of being acted upon by natural forces and human beings. It also underlines that a landscape forms a whole, whose natural and cultural components are taken together, not separately. 53. Article 8 of the convention (Mutual assistance and exchange of information). Recent years have seen a burgeoning of political, professional and academic interest in the subject of landscapes, hence the development of a growing body of experience and expertise on which member states, local and regional authorities and others can draw as they seek to implement the convention. At the same time, the growth of electronic communication and the arrival of the Internet have provided radically improved tools for exchanging ideas and, indeed, for the technical study of landscapes. These


developments create a much wider basis for the exchange of ideas and mutual support than was possible even a decade ago, allowing local actors throughout Europe to take part and thus creating a true "landscape democracy�. 54. Article 9 of the convention (Transfrontier landscapes). This article requires the parties to set up transfrontier programmes for the identification, evaluation, protection, management and planning of landscapes which straddle borders. In doing so, they are asked to rely as far as possible, in accordance with the subsidiarity principle defined by the European Charter of Local Self-Government, on local and regional authorities, and to use the implementation tools advocated in the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities in Europe of 21 May 1980 and its additional protocols.

PROTECTED AREAS, BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN WETLANDS: ISSUES AND PROSPECTS. 55. ANON, (1994). Guidelines for Protected Area Management Categories, IUCN and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. 56. UDVARDY, M., 1975. A classification of the biogeographical provinces of the world. Prepared as a contribution to UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Programme Project No.18. Morges, Switzerland: IUCN. 57. See UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/INF/12. 58. MULONGOY, K.J., CHAPE, S., (Eds) 2004. Protected areas and biodiversity: an overview of key issues. CBD Secretariat, Montreal Canada and UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK. 59. COSTANZA et al. The value of world's ecosystem services and natural capitol. Nature, 387:253-260. 60. MULONGOY, K.J., CHAPE, S., (Eds) 2004 op.cit. 61. IUCN, 1999. Threats to Forest Protected Areas: Summary of a survey of 10 countries carried out in association with the World Commission on Protected Areas. Research Report for the World Bank/WWF Alliance for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Use. November. 62. RODRIGUES, A.S.L., et al. 2003. Global Gap Analysis: Towards a representative network of protected areas. Advances in Applied Biodiversity Science, No.5. Centre for Applied Biodiversity Science, Washington. D.C. 63. RODRIGUES, A.S.L., et al. 2004. Effectiveness of the global protected areas network in representing species diversity. Nature 428, 8 April 2004. 64. BORRINI-FEYERABEND, G., 2004. Governance of protected areas, participation and equity. In Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2004). Biodiversity issues for consideration in the planning, establishment and management of protected area sites and networks, Montreal, SCBD, pp 100-105. 65. HOCKING, M., STOLTON, S., DUDLEY, N., 2000. Evaluating effectiveness: A Framework for Assessing the Management of Protected Areas. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. 66.

The Time of the Marshes lands marked by water and diversity

oñana singularly encompasses every dimension imaginable for a protected space. We have before us a tremendously changeable, rich and diverse territory whose originality is reflected as much in its geo-morphological evolution as in the genesis of its ecosystems. It is also reflected in the historic episodes that have given it its reputation and especially in the role that it has played for science and the world of nature conservation in recent decades. Presided over by water as the fundamental player in all its vicissitudes, this is a reserve of life that has changed its appearance and its social function constantly and without interruption.Today it is symbolised as one of the great platforms on which some of the most important acts in the agitated history of environmental protection and aquatic ecosystems unfold. Until the mid 20th century, Doñana was the name of a historic swathe of big game hunting grounds with a landscape of scrub and forest that was bounded to the East by the Guadalquivir Marshes and Estuary, and to the West by a dividing line based on a track running from El Rocío Church to Torre de la Higuera in Arenas Gordas (Coarse Sands), as this section of the Gulf of Cadiz shoreline was known. An interest in hunting initially, and later wildlife, attracted hunters, zoologists and conservationists who spread the news of the ecological treasures of the area, clearly linking it to the name Doñana. El Médano and the Dunes, Las Rocinas, Las Marismas and the Isla Mayor, the Branches of the Guadiamar and Guadalquivir rivers, Rocío itself, Lomo del Grullo and Coto del Rey all took a back seat to the new name used both to identify the zone and what was to become a symbol of conservation in Spain. News of this natural wealth was spread by turn-of-the-century travellers, who compared the Guadalquivir marshes with those of the Ganges because of their overwhelming wealth of waterfowl.They were referring to a grand space of 250,000 ha of flood plains crossed by the four branches and channels of the Guadalquivir and Guadiamar Rivers Caño Guadiamar, Caño Travieso, the Torre Branch (Brazo de la Torre), the Eastern Branch (Brazo del Este) - leaving extensive flat islands between them with large shallow pans, "lucios", on them. The creation of the 6,974 ha Biological Station and Reserve in 1964, and its inclusion in the Scientific Research Council, made Doñana an administrative and research property, and a short time later in 1969, it was enhanced with the creation of the Doñana National Park (35,000 ha), adding marshes, the shallow island lakes


and branches of the rivers to the initial game reserves.The extension of the National Park in 1979 with the inclusion of a 77,260-ha "pre-park" buffer zone, and the creation of a 52,529-ha Nature Park around it in 1982, have extended the Doñana title, as directed by the Doñana 21 Trust. It now encompasses the municipalities of Huelva, Seville and Cadiz to an area of almost 250,000 ha. After the latest extensions in 2004, the Doñana National Park currently covers 54,720 ha and the Doñana Nature Park that surrounds it covers a further 53,709 ha, offering a spectacular protected area of 108,429 ha altogether.

Location of Doñana and mouth of the River Guadalquivir.

A CHANGING FACE The current appearance of Doñana is no more than two thousand years old, as its terrain is sedimentary and recent, the result of the action of winds, tides and rivers. Doñana is the product of changes in a large estuary situated in the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, which formed with the last rise in sea level, and which has gradually been filled with sediments brought down by the river flooding, by the tides, currents and storms of the Atlantic Ocean, and by sand carried in by the wind to form dunes. The area covered by Doñana came about as a consequence of a range of geological processes that have taken place in the Lower Guadalquivir Basin. They can be summarised in a series of steps that help us understand the basic characteristics of how it is now. At the end of the Tertiary Age, there was a general subsidence of what is now the Guadalquivir Basin, forming a deep sea in which blue marl was deposited to depths of up to 1,000 m.Then, in the Quaternary Age, a much finer layer of red sand was deposited in the shallow coastal environment of the Guadalquivir Estuary. The


An interest in hunting initially, and later wildlife, attracted hunters, zoologists and conservationists who spread the news of the ecological treasures of the area, clearly linking it to the name Doñana. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

lower basin of the Guadalquivir continued to evolve in the same way as the sea lowered.After sea-level stabilization (approximately 6,000 B.C.), an advancing coastal bar running NW-SE was produced, formed by wind-blown sands and material carried down by the Tinto, Odiel, Piedras and Guadiana rivers, then subject to longshore drifts. This bar gradually closed the Guadalquivir Estuary, forming an interior lagoon of calm waters that made it into recorded history.This was the Ligurian Lake of Phoenician times and the Ligustinus Lake of the Roman Empire. Sediments from the mainland were deposited on the lakebed and currently form the base of the Marshes.The surface level of this 50-100 m thick sedimentary layer is made up of fine silt and blue-grey clays. As a result of these processes, the characteristics of the Doñana are said to be broadly divided into three major landscape units: the "cotos" or stable sand dunes, the coastal string of shifting dunes, and the Marshes. Looking further, there is the GuadalquivirGuadiamar estuary, with its islands and channels; the shoreline with its beaches and its embryonic dunes; further west, the cliffs and stable dunes of El Medano de El Asperillo; and to the north, the gentle hills of La Campiña. Half the sands, including beach, dunes and cotos, are recent


wind-born mantles (during the 15th-16th centuries) laid over older dune formations, after the Flandrian transgression. These, in turn, are superimposed over continental detritic formations, of sand and gravel. These continental formations are permeable and stretch extensively within and beyond the Park, resting on a Miocene marine deposit. Their impermeable clay deposits form the wall of the great Almonte-Marismas aquifer that underlies much of Doñana. The current Marshes cover an area of some 27,000 ha, approximately half the area of the National Park.Yet, they account for only part of the 140,000 ha known at the beginning of the 20th century as the Guadalquivir Marshes. "Las Marismas" (The Marshes) is the traditional name for the low-lying flood plains on either side of the Guadalquivir Estuary. The left bank has given in to an intense process of transformation while only the right bank of the estuary has survived as the Doñana Marshes. Moreover, they are no longer tidal; they act as a floodplain now fed by rains and by streams. The Marshes are carved up by a network of seasonal watercourses, some more recent and active than others. These include channels (the caños) on the right hand side of the Marshes, or the so-called “albinas” on the, now disappeared, left hand side.The others, effectively ancient watercourses, were only activated at times of heavy flow, often finding themselves filled to the brim and cut across by other more recent watercourses. The ancient watercourses correspond with the so-called “quebradas” (gorges). Within them, areas of higher points alternate with much lower stretches.These are the well-known “lucios” (shallow pans) of the Marshes. Water patterns in the Doñana Marshes maintain forms reminiscent of the different stages in its development.There are winding tidal channels, older straighter branches of the river later cut off as ox-bow lakes, and silt or sandy-silt levies, called "vetas", flanked by palaeo-channels.There are old sand bars with accumulations of shells and elongated troughs along stretches of canal, forming lucios like Los Ansares and El Largo, or the old tidal areas bordered by levies, forming more regular lucios like Buen Tiro, Seville or El Real and Herrero on Isla Mayor.

HISTORIC GENESIS OF THE DOÑANA ECOSYSTEMS AND LANDSCAPES Historically, Doñana was a space nearly ten times smaller, limited to some 30,000 ha of cotos, owned by the House of Medina Sidonia. Communally owned, it ran between the municipalities of Almonte, Hinojos, Aznalcázar, the Marshes and the beach. From Sanlucar, on the other side of the Guadalquivir River mouth, the Dukes have run "their" Doñana for six centuries: the woodlands, livestock, crops and, receiving special attention, big game hunting.

TABLE 1 Historic stages in the management of Doñana. PERIOD 1262-1636 1636-1670 1670-1709 1709-1737 1737-1895 1895-1950 1952-1992 1992-2005

PREDOMINANT LAND USE Mediterranean forest and scrubland managed as a game reserve for deer and boar. Almadrabas (Tuna fish salting works) of Torre Carboneras. Thinning. Open forest with pastures for cattle and sheep. Big game hunting. High point of the tuna fishing and salting industry. Overgrazing by sheep and pigs, controlled burning of scrub. Sandy soils cultivated and dunes mobilised. Livestock, big game hunting, fish salting works. Extensive felling of cork trees. General de-forestation.Trial pine nut plantations in Marismillas. Livestock, big game hunting, fish salting works. General spread of pine plantations to the stable coastal dunes. Livestock, big game hunting, fish salting works. Salt works in the marshes. Fragmentation of the property, sold to new owners who maintain the big game hunting and the livestock and forestry business. Umbrella pine plantations. The start of the "polderisation" of the marshes to convert to rice fields and eradicate malaria. Scientific takeoff and birth of conservation. Creation of the National Park and the Nature Park. Extension of the Doñana administration. Profound agricultural change and tourism development.The end of controlled burning and planting of pines and eucalyptus. Sustainable development fostered by the authorities. Restoration of degraded ecosystems and environmental quality management of the area.

The Marshes, however, were not initially the property of the Duke, because they had been granted to the city to be used as summer grazing lands, after the conquest of Seville in 1248. History and archaeology highlight the fact that the infertile stable sand dunes and the neighbouring marshlands remained a desert, a demographic vacuum whose only settlements were huts for fishermen, herdsmen and coal merchants. There are, however, Neolithic records of both the permanent and temporary use of the zone. These are found in cabin floors from the Bronze Age, in Roman salt fish works1 and in pottery remains from the last three thousand years, which have been found in Doñana. Such findings are to be expected in a flourishing regional setting where Tartessians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans,Visigoths, Muslims and Byzantines have all played an important historic role. The first historic record of these territories dates from 1262, when Alfonso X "The Wise" declared them "Royal Hunting Grounds", shortly after the 1261 conquest by the Count of Niebla who exploited them.The Rocinas Forests attracted the attention of Alfonso X in his Hunting Book (Libro de La Montería) because of the good boar hunting. It was later, in 1294, when King Sancho IV would grant this royal game reserve to Alfonso Pérez de Guzmán "The Good", although the grant was not effective until the next generation when, in 1309, King Fernando IV confirmed the land settlement to Alfonso Pérez son. The House of Medina Sidonia, which maintained Doñana in its estate until 1895, has conserved much of the documentation generated in the course of these six centuries in its Duchy Archives in Sanlucar. This provides us with an exceptional international case in conservation: a protected area with a detailed description of its history spanning centuries1.This has allowed the documentation of disputes between the Duchy and its neighbouring municipal authorities to be analysed2. Milestones such as historic changes in early woodlands, scrublands and pastures are documented, along with livestock grazing and resource use3. All this research has managed to demarcate a series of stages

in the historic management of Doñana that start with the creation of the Royal Estate in 1262. It remained almost unaltered due to its use as a big game hunting reserve, until 1636, when it was opened up to grazing livestock. Table 1 shows the different stages in land management through to modern times. Documentation from the 13th and 14th centuries refers to Doñana as a "woodland", (Bosque de Las Rocinas).The quantitative descriptions that have been put together from documents from 1636 reveal a thick and diverse forest dominated by cork and juniper trees. The situation changed rapidly around this time with the introduction of livestock to improve the profitability of the Duchy's properties during an economic crisis. The livestock and herdsmen cleared the woods and it must have begun to look more like open grassland, as the rich forest soil began to produce productive pastures. But the low clay content of these predominantly sandy soils led to their degradation, a process that was accelerated by pig farming. Finally, to maintain the productivity of these exhaust-

The Doñana territory is broadly divided into three major entities: the stable sand dunes, the coastal string of shifting dunes, and the Marshes. The photography shows the Marshes between Madre de las Marismas channel and the Biological Reserve in the Municipality of Almonte. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


The current appearance of Doñana is no more than two thousand years old, as its terrain is sedimentary and recent, the result of the action of winds, tides and rivers. Doñana is the product of changes in a large estuary situated in the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, which formed with the last rise in sea level, and which has gradually been filled with sediments brought down by the river flooding, by the tides, currents and storms of the Atlantic Ocean, and by sand carried in by the wind to form dunes. The satellite picture shows the true to life result of these processes and the survival of the Doñana Marshes on the right bank of the River Guadalquivir.

ed soils, a slash and burn policy was introduced, with a 10-12 year cycle, which ended up transforming the surviving remains of the original woodland into a pyrophytic scrub of heather, gorse and Halimium that now predominates.Although these well-documented traditional burns were few and far between, controlled burning did impact as ecological degradation5. It was not until 1737 that the first trials were carried out with pine nut plantations, although they had been successfully established in nearby areas, like Villamanrique, for centuries. As tree coverage grew well in Marismillas, high-density plantations were possible for firewood production and low-density plantations for shipbuilding. Some areas of the beach dune systems that had started shifting in

The History of Doñana starts with the Roman settlements of the 2nd century B.C., which survived up until the 7th century A.D. These people lived mainly from fishing and fish salting in the area known as Marismas del Guadalquivir, or the Guadalquivir Marshes. But, despite its reduced population and remoteness, Doñana has always formed part of a flourishing regional environment, where Tartessians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Byzantines and Muslims have all played an important historic role. The photograph shows one of the tidal towers that provided protection against the raids by Berber corsairs. A village that ran the tuna fishing works, known as "almadrabas", grew up around it. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


the 17th century were re-forested after 1805. Favourable results led to these pines being sown on other areas of stabilised dunes further inland, with the pine ending up as characteristic of the dunes rather than the original juniper species. Further inland, pruning, livestock pressure and controlled burning reduced the counts of oak, cork tree, strawberry tree, wild olive, cottonwood and ash to a token presence, except for along the water lines, pond borders or areas where the sands meets the Marshes, where gallery forests and trees for shade and shelter survived.The traditional woodland vegetation gave way to scrubland that, with burning, was overcome by pyrophyte species. A comprehensive knowledge of all these processes and of the evolution of the Doñana ecosystems constitutes the foundation of the ambitious restoration projects that have emerged in recent years, including the Doñana 2005 Project.

CHANGES IN THE TRADITIONAL USE OF DOÑANA RESOURCES Throughout this time, there has been a permanent conflict between game and other alternative land uses: grazing and forestry, fishing and gathering, and salt works.The current context of opposing interests competing for land has a background spanning centuries in Doñana. Neighbouring municipalities sometimes sought to benefit from one of the resources; at other times, it was the landowners who tried different forms of exploitation. The confrontation between the Duchy and the inhabitants of Almonte is well known. Lawsuits were dragged through the courts for centuries over the ownership of "lands in question" to the northwest of the National Park. This legal battle was no isolated incident. The western boundary between the properties of the Duchy and the municipality of Almonte roughly followed the present road to Matalascañas that was staked out and marked. Herders and woodsmen were not to cross it, with threat of imprisonment.

The above images clearly show the siege of Doñana, started in the middle of last century. Comparing the two images the transformation of the northern side of the marshes is evident. The left image, showing still unaltered marshes, was taken in 1956, while the one on the right corresponds to 1999 situation. New rice fields, farms, and channelings clearly outline the sharp boundary that isolated Doñana from its surroundings. The right image is a detail of the orthophoto of the Doñana marshes produced in the framework of the Doñana 2005 project.

The competition between the different land uses on either side of the line led to a growing tension at the boundary, and the stakes were often moved or removed altogether, triggering conflict.After a spate of confrontation, the borders would be marked out once more.The records of these interventions offer an exact picture of the state of the vegetation throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Up until 1628, Doñana retained its character as a cork tree forest with junipers and Mediterranean woodland scrub, run exclusively as a private game reserve. Since then, new land uses have been authorized: pastures were leased to grazers, and the herdsmen were allowed to cut whatever wood they needed for their huts and for fires. This change in vegetation took place very rapidly with these new land uses.The forest was first thinned and then cleared to take on the look of grasslands. In 1636, the trees still covered 45% of the area, falling to 36% in 1647 and 27% five years later. Fluctuations in the finances of the Duchy, periods of inflation in the Spanish economy in the 16th-19th centuries, and demand for merchandise exported from Sanlucar to America are all reflected in Doñana's alternating land use: cattle, sheep, goats and the expansion of pig farming that virtually destroyed the pasturelands and soil. On top of the grazing, one can add the exploitation of bark, cork, timber, firewood, and charcoal, which gradually reduced the tree cover, and also the introduction of controlled burning techniques to promote tender new pastoral growth6. Over the centuries, there has been an accumulation of changes in the ecosystems of the dunes: deforestation, regression of the original native foliage, an invasion of the pyrophitic scrub, halimium (Halimium halimifolum) and the degradation of the soils. Two other historic interventions are of outstanding significance: the planting of grape vines and pine nut trees.The demand

for wine and the attempt to bring in settlers encouraged the planting of vineyards in Las Marismillas, in the extreme south of Doñana opposite Sanlucar. Wine growing is possible in these sandy soils where wild grape vines already formed part of the natural vegetation, and the first wine producing trials appear to have taken place in 1773.According to Granados Corona (1988), this was initially a success and there were 60,000 vines in the area by 1778. It later declined and the vines, fruit orchards and the attempts at colonising Las Marismillas were all abandoned, leaving behind only a few allotments and some huts. It has been suggested7 that the secondary formation of dunes on the coast shaping the current mobile dune system took place in various stages since the 17th century.This

The photograph shows a reconstruction of the traditional huts in the centre of el Poblado de la Plancha, currently a tourist centre. After 1785, the vines and fruit trees were abandoned leaving just a few allotments and a scattering of huts.


Protected by the dunes and the marshes and hidden by the forests, is the Doñana Palace, a country house that was the seat of the Dukes and their guests. Doña Ana de Silva y Pantoja, elder daughter of the Duchess of Eboli and wife of the Fourth Duke, who commanded the unfortunate Invincible Armada, left Sanlucar to live in the Palace until shortly before her death in 1610. Because of her long stay here, the Palace came to be known as Doña Ana. Francisco de Goya visited the Palace in 1797, as a guest of the then Duchess of Alba, Maria Cayetana de Silva, the widow of the XV Duke. He dedicated some of his best paintings to her, including "Sólo mia" (Mine alone), a full-length portrait against a background of vegetation and water that is usually associated with the Laguna de Santa Olalla of Doñana. A pine nut tree and brushwood are recognisable, as is the form and colour of the dunes and the estuary tidal flats of both Doñana and Sanlúcar.

was due to the clearing of junipers to make way for vineyards intense felling that possibly came with over-grazing during a period of unstable climate. As mentioned, another important historic intervention in this region was the planting of pine nut trees. In 1737, the Duchy decided to try out a pine plantation in El Puntal. The results were promising and the plantation area was extended. Later it was gradually introduced to the "corrales" (inter-dune valleys) and the stabilised dunes close to Sanlucar, and from 1805, in the corrales of the mobile dune system. In contrast to the outcome of the grape vines, the pine plantations gave excellent results, offering timber, fire-


wood, charcoal and pine nuts, and they soon became a characteristic feature of Doñana.The forests that had dominated the face of Doñana up until the 17th century were once again outstanding in the 19th and 20th centuries. These major conflicts and interventions in the historic uses described above do not exhaust the full list. Owners tried fruit trees, olives, carob trees, mulberry trees and poplars but the hostile environment prevented any financial success and any odd trees that have survived from those trials are testimony to their efforts spanning centuries. Of the animal kingdom, beehives were exploited and fish (carp and eels) were introduced to the ponds, although traditional livestock and game species always prevailed. There was also widespread collection of natural produce grown in the wild. This was more a complementary use of resources, rather than an alternative land use.The most important of these was the collection of ducks, geese and wildfowl eggs, which were the basis of the confectionary industry in Sanlucar. Rabbits, hares and partridges were lesser game in the sand country. Other natural products saw quick surges, like the collection of flexible willow branches for barrel hoops, charcoal from the heather stock for gunpowder, resin oil from juniper berries for curing livestock diseases, leeches for medical use and even cochineal for dyes. Exploiting the Marshes was traditionally shared between Seville and its neighbouring municipalities and the Duchy. It focussed on livestock.The local cattle can survive for months on boggy land and they even graze on water plants by swimming into the deeper channels. Summer droughts, river flooding or sometimes an unusual cold snap, would constrain livestock rearing, but this shortfall was covered by raising local marsh horses and Lebrija sheep, both of which are very hardy. Separate mention should be given to the salt flats and fish salting works. The former, situated in the Marshes and fed by the Guadalquivir Estuary, remained operative until the mid 20th century.Yet, the salt flats on the other bank still cling to life, although precariously.The most important of the fish salting works were those at Torre Carboneros above the present beach, which used large quantities of wood and cork from Doñana for floats and for fires and huts for the thousands of workers. Tuna production in Torre Carbonero became a traditional resource, which represented a healthy income for the Duchy. Throughout this process, we can see how the historically sparsely populated Doñana and the Marshes were basically maintained as a game reserve with few other uses until the 16th century.The situation changed categorically in the first half of the 17th century, giving rise to conflicts over the different land use between Doñana and the surrounding area. In 1895, the last Duke of Medina Sidonia died without leaving an heir. The traditional property was broken up and sold to

1940 marked the start of major transformation to the right-hand bank of the Guadalquivir River, which borders today's Doñana Park, creating a new landscape of rice paddies served by a network of canals, which, together with the new towns, radically changed the appearance of the traditional marshes. After careful levelling, the rice "paddies" re-circulate the irrigation waters, thus preventing brackish estuary water from entering the system. This is one of the major transformations to the Doñana water system that has had a profound impact on the design of the current conservation strategy for the marshes. Photo: CENEAM files.

different owners, who maintained its role as a game reserve as well as for traditional livestock and forestry activities. Along with the aristocracy, the new owners included members of the emerging European industrial bourgeoisie that were to pioneer the transformation of Doñana and the surrounding areas in the 20th century.

RECENT CHANGES IN THE DOÑANA LANDSCAPE The historic balance of the Doñana region, based on the exploitation of livestock, forestry and hunting resources, became extremely unstable as the 20th century advanced. The stable sand country - the cotos - was re-planted with faster growing forestry species and the Marshes were transformed for rice growing. The historic Marshes have been reduced from the 140,000 ha they initially covered to the 27,000 ha that are presently conserved. This has been felt in the cotos, with pine nut trees re-planted from the 1950s on, followed by eucalyptus in the 70s.The second phase of the Almonte-Marismas Plan was implemented, as a result of the development mindset of the time, to irrigate the sandy soils to the north of Doñana Park, where the constant pumping of water had drained and desalinated the Marshes.At the same time, the left

bank of the estuary underwent a radical transformation. It was converted from flood plain grazing pastures into productive irrigated land fed by the Lower Guadalquivir Canal.The major transformation to the Marshes, which border the present National Park, started in 1940, with the general spread of the trials that had started in the 20s.This transformation created a new landscape of rice paddies served by a network of canals that, together with the newly created villages, changed the traditional marshes completely. The origins of this great wave of changes go back to 1926, with the creation of the Islas del Guadalquivir S.A. company, that started transforming the marshes into rice fields using polders.After careful levelling, the irrigation waters in the rice paddies are re-circulated to prevent brackish water entering the circuit from the estuary.This was one of the major transformations of the Doñana hydrological system that had a substantial impact on the design of the present strategy for conserving the wetlands. The transformation was begun on Isla Minima and has been extended south along the right bank to now cover an area of 53,000 ha. With regard to the important changes arising from replanting trees, the landscapes of sandy hills that formed the previously


Turn-of-the-century travellers compared the Guadalquivir Marshes with those of the Ganges because of their overwhelming wealth in waterfowl. They were referring to a grand space of 250,000 ha of flood plains crossed by the four branches and channels of the Guadalquivir and Guadiamar Rivers - Caño Guadiamar, Caño Travieso, the Torre Branch (Brazo de la Torre), the Eastern Branch (Brazo del Este) - leaving extensive flat islands between them with large shallow lakes called "lucios" on them. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

forested cotos to the west of Doñana, soon drew the attention of the authorities who conceived a re-forestation plan for them in 1895. Political and financial difficulties delayed this intervention until 1938, when 55,000 ha were planted with umbrella pine trees in an area running from El Asperillo and Matalascañas, to Huelva village. In 1940, it was the turn of the eucalyptus, as has occurred in many sensitive areas around the world.Thus, the scrub and lagoon basins on sandy substrates were planted with Eucaliptus globulus and E. camaldulensis to supply a regional fibreboard factory that was built during the Economic Development Plan. Industrial development


gained ground to the west, next to the Huelva Estuary, with the installation of a large chemical complex, including an oil refinery, a fertilizer plant and, later on, diversification into other areas.These have had major repercussions in the region. In line with the development mindset, from the early 50s, the philosophy of the aforesaid Almonte-Marismas Plan took root, aimed at bringing some 46,000 ha of the different parts of Doñana and the surrounding areas into cultivation.This was a grand project backed by the FAO that proposed major agricultural development founded on harnessing the abundant water resources of the

Almonte-Marismas Aquifer System, estimated at some 400 hm3/year.The decrees that brought about the transformation were enacted in 1972 and 1974 and the plots of land were distributed in the 80s. Hence, with ups and downs, and successes and failures, changes to the Marshes and their adjacent sands came about. The private sector gave way to the public initiative for the first time in Doñana, when the Spanish Government, in collaboration with the FAO, undertook this enormous agricultural reform, draining 100,000 ha of marshes. Finally, some 35,000 ha were designated for growing rice and 100,000 ha of irrigated land for cotton and beetroot. In course of this vast operation, some 25,000 ha were transformed by equipping them with wells and pumping and irrigation infrastructure.This change in the use of the land meant the existing forests and pastures diminished, and the rivers and streams were channelled into a single watercourse called Arroyo del Partido, which fed into the marshes surrounding El Rocío. Thus, some 15,000 ha were brought into cultivation, which meant extracting about 60 hm3 of water a year. Over the years, this has had a significant impact on the water table, which has progressively dropped in many places, leaving traditional springs and lucios dry. Cultivating and irrigating such a large area of land, in an agricultural region dominated by dry land farming and mainly cash crops, has turned out to be difficult and controversial, like all such experiments of the time. In the end, this whole operation shifted into strawberry growing, using advanced and highly technical farming methods.These include green houses, grow-bags under plastic and an intensive use of water, fertilisers, weed killers and pesticides. The intensification of agricultural development coincided with the start of tourism.Attention should be drawn to the appearance of the typical large tourist resorts of the Spanish coast, where the boundaries between the concept of mass tourism and the construction industry and the real estate business remain blurred and confused to this time. The towns of Matalascañas and Mazagon appeared on the coast, the former right on the edge of the National Park. These large-scale interventions were preceded by attempts to build tourist developments in the very heart of Doñana, and major coastal road projects to open up the area for settlement, such as the absurd idea of building the Huelva-Cadiz motorway, with the first section running right along the coastal stretch of Doñana as far as Sanlucar. Under such pressures, the traditional harmonious landscapes of Doñana suffered major and profound changes, endangering the conservation of species and ecosystems and opening the gates to controversy over the sustainable management of the region.This enormous impact, transforming the region in a few short years, has certainly put the survival of

After 1737, planting trials with pine nut trees were undertaken, which had been successfully grown in nearby areas since the reign of Felipe II. The excellent tree cover growth in Marismillas made it possible to conduct high density trials for firewood and low density plantations for ship building. From 1805, some areas of the beach dune system that had become unstable in the 17th century were re-planted. In this way, Doñana started one of its characteristic phases based on forestry. The photograph shows a recreation of a firewood and charcoal holding in the Doñana area. Photo by Jose Maria Perez de Aayala. CENEAM file.

its natural legacy in danger. Doñana, like so many other coastline strips, wetlands and forests that were destroyed by the development boom of the 60s and 70s, found itself at a great disadvantage in its struggle for survival.The tourism versus conservation dilemma opened the first door towards the Doñana paradigm, which, thanks to a collective contribution, started to weigh in favour of more sustainable solutions. Nature finally triumphed, allowing conservation in Spain to take shape. As the first benchmarks were created and public concern was articulated, strategies were set to face the future battles of the

The extreme mobility of the dunes, which became unstable again in the 17th century, can be clearly seen in this picture. We can see the collar of the well at “Cuartel de los Inglesillos” that was successively raised on the crest of a dune to avoid being buried. The dune has shifted since then and the whole structure is now exposed. Photograph by Cipriano Marín.


Aerial view of one of the “corrales“ of Doñana, inclosed by the dunes. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


View of the Guadalquivir River mouth showing, on the left, the large "arrow" of dunes that closes the mouth and the marshes in the background. The Salt Works of Sanlúcar can be seen to the right of the image. Photo: CENEAM files.


The final conservationist stage, in which Doñana highlights the links between the environment and society, has been grounded in science.The discovery, protection and presentation of this scientific aspect to the media, and from the media to the global community, have been achieved by university faculties and the CSIC (Spanish Higher Research Council).The arguments in favour of protection are scientific.The soundness of the conservationist offer is founded in investigative excellence that has provided examples, data and references that stand out in the world literature and act as valid currency in the critical debates that have presided over this outstanding site in recent decades. Apart from appearing in the press and other media, Doñana has also secured its presence in the scientific media, in conferences and symposia, and in leading journals, thanks to its stakeholders and institutions. Some lines of research, like bird and mammal ecology, have reached levels of excellence, followed closely by limnology,

vegetation ecology, eco-physiology, ethology, hydrology, soil sciences and a large appendix of others.There exist some 3300 articles on Doñana and its surroundings. The support provided by scientific data in public opinion campaigns and in the controversies that have arisen in the face of key projects (roads, housing developments, water management), has been crucial. In Doñana, there have also been studies of plant and animal populations, and the levels and composition of chemicals in waters over long periods of time. In some cases this spans thirty years or more, thus offering valuable sequences for measuring climate change and the effects of alterations to the local environment. This wealth of information about the Park is continually enhanced, thanks to over 120 research projects currently on course. This scientific infrastructure represents a continual reinforcement of Doñana, guaranteeing the necessary information is available to undertake future initiatives and to respond to any conflicts and controversies that may arise in the near future.

Alfonso XIII's 1908 visit to Doñana. This was a time of uncertainty about its future, as the property was broken up when the last Duke of Medina Sidonia died without heirs in 1895. Photograph: Files of the Doñana Biological Station.

The role of the scientific community has been decisive in conserving the Doñana legacy. Some lines of research, like bird and mammal ecology, have reached levels of excellence, followed closely by limnology, vegetation ecology, eco-physiology, ethology, hydrology, soil sciences and a large appendix of others. Thus, the scientific approach has unexpectedly opened doors to international recognition. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


BASIC INFORMATION ON DOÑANA AND ITS SURROUNDS The only way to approach the current view of Doñana and get an idea of the new challenges involved in its conservation and hydrological restoration is with a broader geographic view. This starts with what is known as Greater Doñana (Ambito de Doñana). It is especially true if we are talking about water and natural processes, as functional inter-relationships, water basins, ecosystems and species mobility generally pay very little heed to administrative boundaries. Greater Doñana The definition of what is known as Greater Doñana arose initially from the Sustainable Development Plan for the Doñana Area (1993) and the limits are clearly established in the Greater Doñana Regional Planning Master Plan. It is an area of 2,733 km2 between the Guadalquivir River, the 50 km of beaches of the Huelva coast, the mouth of the Tinto and Odiel Rivers and bounded to the north by most of the road corridor linking Seville and Huelva. However, for the purposes of this chapter, the scope has been extended to include the umbrella pine forests of Bonanza, the Algaida Marshes on the left bank of the Guadalquivir, and the marshes at Odiel riverbanks on the west coast of the district (Figure 1).The connections between these places and Doñana are quite clear, as they have certain natural processes and species in common. Greater Doñana is home to a population of 107,049 inhabitants (2002 census), which has grown at an uneven rate. In the period 1991-2002, there were variations that range from 2.5% in Lucena del Puerto to 31.1% in Moguer. Basically, the population is divided among several settlements that form a fringe around the protected natural areas.

FIGURE 1 Greater Doñana


The administrative complexity of the district can be seen from the fact that there are 12 municipalities. There are Almonte, Bollullos Par del Condado, Bonares, Hinojos, Lucena del Puerto, Moguer, Palos de la Frontera and Rociana del Condado in the province of Huelva; there are Aznalcazar, Pilas, La Puebla del Rio, Villamanrique de la Condesa and Isla Mayor in the province of Seville; and there is Sanlúcar de Barrameda in the province of Cádiz. This is a territory, therefore, of over 280,000 ha, whose identity is determined by the Doñana National Park. It has water as a common thread, both in the form of watercourses that mark the route of the surface waters and in the effect the aquifers have in determining this same geography underground. Figure 2 shows the enlarged Greater Doñana, highlighting the surface water network, the main settlements and the road network.

The protected zones of Greater Doñana In 1262, King Alfonso X the Wise established the lands of Las Rocinas as a Royal Crown game reserve, but the name of Doñana did not appear until 1599.The name of these lands was established a century on, when the seventh Duke of Medina Sidonia had a palace built for his wife, Doña Ana Gomez de Mendoza y Silva, in the heart of the countryside.The surrounding lands soon became known as the Forest of Doña Ana, the Estate of Doña Ana, and so on, until it was finally shortened to the name we now know. The long road to protect and conserve Doñana reached its first milestone in 1963, when the Spanish State acquired some 7,000 ha in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and created the Doñana Biological Reserve. Doñana was declared a National Park in 1969 and it has been extended on several occasions. The first of these extensions took place in 1978; the most recent one, in February 2004, to the present surface area of 54,291 ha.This area includes a mosaic of ecosystems that provide refuge for a biodiversity that is unique in Europe, especially the Marshes, which are extraordinarily important staging and breeding grounds and winterfeeding grounds for thousands of European and African birds. Other exceptional and outstanding sites are La Vera, the dune system and the series ofponds that run around the edge of the Park. There are also unique and seriously endangered species living in Doñana, like the Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) and the Spanish lynx (Lynx pardinus). Presently, few areas are the object of so many classifications as Doñana, a clear indication of its international importance. In 1980, it was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.Two years later, the National Park was declared a Ramsar Site. This declaration specifies that "Doñana is one of the largest and most important remaining wetlands in Europe. It consists of a vast coastal marshland complex in the floodplain of the lower Guadalquivir River, sep-

FIGURE 2 The above image highlights the water network of Doñana and its surrounding area, and the location of the region's population. The coloured topographical representation of the terrain shows the scope of the original marshes that, until the 19th century, covered much of the depression formed by the mouth of the Guadalquivir River. Image: Junta de Andalucía.(Andalusia Regional Government)

arated from the Atlantic Ocean by an extensive system of both active and stabilized dunes.The area is of international importance for breeding, staging and wintering birds. It is the breeding site of the endangered Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris and the rare gull Larus genei.The trees found on the grasslands of La Vera support a large mixed nesting colony of Ardea cinerea, Egretta garzetta, Nycticorax nycticorax, Ciconia ciconia and Platalea leucorodia. Nesting species in the Marshes also include Anas strepera, Aythya ferina, Netta rufina, Porphyrio porphyrio (1,000-2,000 pairs), Fulica cristata, Himantopus himantopus, Recurvirostra avosetta and Chlidonias hybridus.Wintering species include Anser anser (80,000), Anas penelope (120,000), A. acuta (20,000), A. crecca (170,000), A. clypeata (80,000), Fulica atra (40,000) and Limosa limosa (40,000). In descending order of predominance, it includes the following wetlands types: Sp,Tp, E, M, N, Ss, Ts, 4. The area contains both fresh and saltwater marshes, sea-

sonal marshes, dunes and permanent and seasonal lakes”. On the 23rd of September 1985, the Council of Europe awarded the Doñana National Park the European Diploma for Management, which has been renewed in 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005. On the 15th of January 1988, it was declared a SPA (Special Protection Area for Birds), pursuant to Directive 79/409/CEE of the 2nd of April 1979 concerning the Conservation of Wild Birds in Europe.This means that the Spanish State accepts the commitment to prevent the deterioration and contamination of the habitat and to prevent any disturbances that could affect the birds. In 1990, it was included in the Montreux Register of sites that face threats to conservation.And, finally, in 1994, Doñana was finally entered in the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. Doñana National Park should be seen as the heart of a network of zones that cover an area of 121,647 ha altogether, or just over 40% of the entire Greater Doñana area, including the Doñana


FIGURE 3 Protected Areas in Greater Doñana.


Doñana National Park


Pre-Park areas


Doñana Nature Park


Doñana Nature Park


Doñana Nature Park

6. 7. 8. 9.

La Algaida marsh and pine forest Brazo del Este Nature Reserve Dehesa de Abajo Concerted Nature Reserve Marismas del Odiel Nature Area

10. 11. 12.

Lagunas de los Palos y las Madres Nature Area Estero de Domingo Rubio Nature Area Guadiamar Green Corridor

(the recent extensions can be seen within its borders).) (maritime zone, transition zone with the Rocina stream) (area of El Abalario and El Asperillo cliffs) (Coto del Rey pine forest) (Isla Mayor, Entremuros del Guadiamar and Brazo de la Torre)

(including the Burro marsh and the Isla de en Medio Nature Reserve)

El Asperillo cliffs, in the Doñana Nature Park. Behind the coastal strip, the area contains countless ponds of extraordinary scientific and natural interest. Photograph: Junta de Andalucía (Andalusia Regional Government)

Nature Park around the National Park. The very declaration of Doñana as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve defined the National Park as a core zone, with an area of over 26,000 ha of lands that now form part of the Nature Park as a buffer zone, and an undefined transition zone around that.


Figure 3 shows all the declared nature spaces in the Doñana area and Table 1 lists their category, time of declaration and the municipal districts involved. Some of these spaces have also been designated SPAs, Ramsar Sites, or Sites of Community Importance (Table 2). These include the Marismas del Odiel on the western edge of Greater Doñana, declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1984. The 53,709 ha of Nature Park share similar landscapes with the National Park, along with the habitat of diverse animal and plant species, including massive pine forests, marshes in different stages of development and stretches of river branches and channels of the Guadalquivir, that used to flood the marshes. The series of areas that make up the Nature Park include, first of all, the Algaida Marsh close to Sanlucar de Barrameda, very close to the mouth of the Guadalquivir River on the other side of the river from the borders of the National Park.This is a strip of natural marshland flooded by the tides, unlike the rest of the Guadalquivir marshes that only receive rainwater from certain watercourses. There are still salt flats to be found in these marshes that are visited by flamingos and avocets in search of refuge and food. Close by is the Pinar de la Algaida, where a popular pilgrimage is held in October.This pine nut forest stems from large-scale historic replanting carried out in the early 19th century and other plantations later on. Within in, there are nesting populations of black kite, with over a hundred pairs, buzzards, booted eagles, magpies and azure winged magpies. Former ponds, like the Laguna del Ansar, attract flocks of geese that are highly appreciated by hunters.The pine forest is also the site of

FIGURE 4 Water-related toponyms in the Doñana marshes. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

River Guadalquivir Torre Branch (Brazo de La Torre) River Guadiamar River Guadiamar channeling Entremuros Travieso channel (Caño Travieso) Guadiamar channel (Caño Guadiamar) Madre de las Marismas channel

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Partido stream La Rocina stream Brenes channel (Caño de Brenes) El Abalario complex and peri-dune ponds of the National Park. Current flooding marsh zone. Cañada Mayor stream La Cigüeña stream Majaberraque stream

The Travieso channel is shown here to be connected after the restoration work carried out as part of the Doñana 2005 Project.

El Santuario del Lucero, a former holy place where remains from several diverse ancestral cultures have been found, and the Pozo de los Caveros, a well of Roman origin. Another area of interest that falls within the Nature Park is the Coto del Rey pine woodland, situated in the municipal district of Hinojos, whose woods provide refuge for several birds of prey. Furthermore, it also includes marshes, which have been transformed to a greater or lesser extent for rice growing, and channels and other watercourses like the Torre Branch, Isla Mayor and Entremuros del Guadiamar. These attract birds living in Doñana during summer and winter droughts. In the province of Huelva are the Hinojos pine forests and marshes, which attract thousands of

waterfowl when they flood. Down on the coastal strip of the municipality of Almonte, we find the spectacular El Asperillo cliffs, with its system of fossil dunes. Further inland is the Abalario complex, dotted with small but fascinating ponds that have been under restoration. Other local land has been classed as Natural Areas, Reserves or Protected Landscapes.The Dehesa de Abajo estate, located in the municipal district of Puebla del Río, has great ecological wealth and also provides a link between the marshes and the woodlands. It floods at certain times of year, making it ideal for large numbers of migratory species. Cañada de los Pajaros is also nearby. This is a private nature reserve, with a wide variety of waterfowl, and


includes wetlands and nesting grounds. On the opposite bank of the Guadalquivir River, the Eastern Branch (Brazo del Este) Nature Area is found.This is one of the former branches of the river surrounded by marsh transformed into rice fields - a reasonably large wetland area made up of Quaternary sediments and alluvial deposits of gravel, sands, silt and clays. It provides habitat for the typical marshland vegetation. To the far west, there are other emblematic protected areas. The Marismas del Odiel Biosphere Reserve, declared as such in April 1983 and covering an area of 7,158 ha, encompasses the Nature Reserves of the Burro Marshes and Enmedio Island. The marshes at Odiel are maintained by the coastal dynamics of the Atlantic shoreline of Andalusia. Their character as tidal marshes gives this wetland the dynamism of a landscape gifted with the rhythm of flooding and draining twice daily. This makes it highly

Aerial photograph of the Doñana Marshes taken from the south. In the foreground, you can see Las Marismillas pine woodland which surrounds Lucio del Membrillo. To the left and in the background, you can see the Hinojos Marshes. Photograph: Paisajes Españoles S.A.

FIGURE 5 The extent of the Doñana National Park Marshes. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Madre de las Marismas channel Rosaliman channel Guadiamar channel Travieso channel Torre Branch Brenes channel Lucio del Membrillo Lucio de los Ánsares Doñana National Park boundary


9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

Lucio de Mari López Lucio del Lobo Lucio del Cangrejo Hinojos marsh Gallega marsh Vuelta de La Arena Santa Olalla pond

productive. Apart from aquatic vegetation, there are also characteristic Mediterranean scrub species - home to a large colony of spoonbills, one of its leading assets.The Biosphere Reserve is located next to Huelva, the capital of the westernmost province of Andalusia and port with an ancient history of important Roman and Tartessian achievements. Behind the coastal strip of Greater Doñana, there are two other Nature Areas: Palos and Las Madres ponds and Estero de Domingo Rubio. Up until recently, the "estero" (swampy flats) were a typical tidal marsh system from end to end, subject to flooding twice a day. But now, the tides barely affect the upper stretch, because the drains of the roads that cross it have become clogged up.These blocked drains, along with the water that feeds into this area from a series of small streams, have modified this stretch into a lake regime, presenting an interesting combination of fresh and saltwater biocenoses. More to the north of the National Park, the last of these classified spaces is the Guadiamar Green Corridor Protected Landscape. It was declared as such due to an unfortunate accident when toxic mud spilt from the Boliden mine tailings at Aznalcollar on the 25th April 1998.The recovery of this area, after cleaning up and removing the sludge, gave rise to one of the most ambitious projects ever carried out in the Doñana area. It generated a green corridor to provide an ecological union with the protected areas of La Sierra, whilst at the same time recovering the environmental quality and functionality of the historic course of the River Guadiamar. With Doñana as a Biosphere Reserve and given the network of protected spaces and how they work now, it would seem advisable







National Park

Doñana National Park

Nature Park

Doñana Nature Park

Huelva - Seville



Law 91/78 (BOE 12/1/79) / Extension: 6/2/2004

Cádiz - Huelva - Seville



Nature Area

Brazo del Este

Law 2/89 (BOJA 27/7/89) / Extension: D 2/1997




Nature Area

Enebrales de Punta Umbría

Law 2/89 (BOJA 27/7/89)




Law 2/89 (BOJA 27/7/89)

Nature Area

Estero de Domingo Rubio




Law 2/89 (BOJA 27/7/89)

Nature Area

Lagunas de Palos y las Madres




Law 2/89 (BOJA 27/7/89)

Nature Area

Marismas del Odiel




Law 12/1984 (BOJA 25/10/84)

Nature Reserve

Isla de Enmedio




Law 12/84 (BOJA 25/10/84)

Nature Reserve

Marisma del Burro




Law 12/1984 (BOJA 25/10/84)

Concerted Nature Reserve

Cañada de los Pájaros




Agreement 30/4/91 (BOJA 7/6/91)

Concerted Nature Reserve

Dehesa de Abajo




Agreement 31/01/00

Natural Monument

Acantilado del Asperillo




Decree 226/2001, of 2 October

Natural Monument

Acebuches de El Rocío




Decree 226/2001, of 2 October

Natural Monument

Pino Centenario




Decree 250/2003 of 9 September




Decree 112/2003 of 22 April

(BOJA 135, 22/11/2001) (BOJA 135, 22/11/2001) del Parador de Mazagón Protected Landscape

Guadiamar Green Corridor

to review current zoning, as new protected areas have constantly been included since 1980, including areas of hydrological connectivity like the Green Corridor of Guadiamar. This area, along with all areas that make up the Nature Park, should be included in the buffer zone, including all water catchment basins as a transition zone, because water is the lifeblood of Doñana and its raison d'etre.

Geography of the water Figure 4 shows the main events of the hydrographical network that have an impact on Doñana, including the courses, rivers and streams referred to in this article.The picture shows the different watercourses that feed into the marshes, with its current floodplain represented, along with the major "caños" (channels) that transport most of the water in the flooding process. The present hydrographical network, through the 20th century, has been altered slightly from the original pattern. Firstly, there is the Rocina stream to the west of the marsh, which merges with the Partido stream at Rocío, creating the Madre de las Marismas stream covering a basin of 620 km2 between the two and providing an annual average of 140 hm3. Further east, we find the Cañada Mayor stream with a basin of just under 70 km2, which feeds into Guadiamar channel. Before it was channelled into the Torre Branch, the Cigüeña stream also fed into the same channel.The channelling works have also prevented vast quantities of water feeding into the Guadiamar channel from the Guadiamar River, as used to happen when the river flooded its banks. It is estimated that this river provided an average of some 325 hm3 from a catchment area of 1,070

FIGURE 6 Ecological Units of Greater Doñana Pine forest Eucalyptus groves Wild-olive groves Cork-oak groves Juniper groves Low woodlands (Monte Bajo) Interdunal valleys (Monte Negro) Mobile dunes Cliffs-Canyons Vera - grasslands

Pastures Marsh Shallow lakes (Lucios) Salt-pans Non-irrigated crops Irrigated crops Rice fields Olives Strawberries

*Source: Juan B. Gallego Fernández, 1997.



Doñana National Park Doñana Nature Park Brazo del Este Enebrales de Punta Umbría Estero de Domingo Rubio Lagunas de Palos y las Madres Marismas del Odiel Isla de Enmedio Marisma de El Burro Cañada de los Pájaros Dehesa de Abajo Acantilado del Asperillo Acebuches de El Rocío Pino Centenario del Parador de Mazagón Guadiamar Green Corridor TOTAL PROTECTED AREA OF GREATER DOÑANA

AREA (ha)





54,251 53,709 1,336 162 480 693 7,185 480 597 7.43 617.71 11.85 0.63 0.2 2,076.8 121,607.62

km2. This situation is repeated with the Majaberraque stream. Nowadays, this water is channelled along Entremuros into the Torre Branch, draining into the Guadalquivir River. One of the leading objectives of the hydrological restoration projects started in recent years is to resolve this atypical situation. Another hydrological aspect worthy of highlighting in Doñana is the string of 'peri-dune' ponds that border the National Park Marshes, and their continuation in the Abalario marsh complex between the Rocina stream and the coast.All of these elements, of extraordinary ecological interest, are influenced by the behaviour of the aquifer. Figure 5 shows the layout of the three major caños (channels) - Madre de las Marismas, Guadiamar and Travieso - in the Marshes floodplains. These finally converge into Brenes channel before

FIGURE 7 Road system and settlements in the Doñana area


reaching the Guadalquivir River. It is important to note that the Travieso channel used to act as an overflow channel when the Torre Branch flooded its banks. To get a better understanding of how water is used in this area, it is worth mentioning that the Torre Branch now acts as a drainage channel for over 400 hm3 of water that are pumped from the Guadalquivir River for irrigating the local rice fields. Figure 5 also indicates the main "lucios" (depressions that hold the water for a longer time), in contrast to the "vetas" or "paciles" (areas that normally remain above water level during times of flooding), and the names of the main marsh areas. The behaviour of groundwater is dealt with in detail in Chapter 3.This is of vital importance in understanding the Doñana hydrological system. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning at this stage that there is a major aquifer under the marsh area and the adjacent zones, with reserves of up to approximately 5,500 hm3 of water. These vast resources have led to some highly misleading views in water management.The capacity to harness these reserves is limited.Also the essential ecosystems of Doñana require high phreatic levels, according to what extent they depend on springs and the proximity of the phreatic layer. Bearing these constraints in mind, the Guadalquivir River Hydrological Plan, adopted in 2001, considers that the resources of this aquifer, known as the AlmonteMarismas Aquifer, show a deficit of 51 hm3 in comparison with foreseeable demand. Figure 6 shows the ecological map of Greater Doñana, drawn up by Juan B. Gallego Fernandez in 1997, in which the waters of Doñana can be seen in a regional context from a bird's eye view. This view of Greater Doñana is completed in Figure 7, showing the main towns in the area, the road system dominated by the SevilleHuelva motorway, and the location of the protected areas. The information on land use is fully developed in chapter 5.

The decisive years


the role of Doñana in the history of conservation

Members of the Doñana Expedition of 1957. José Antonio Valverde, Guy de Mountfort and Max Nicholson participated, among the others, in this third expedition. The publications resulting from these expeditions made the Doñana heritage widely known throughout Europe. Files of the Doñana Biolgical Station.

hen in May of 1952 Francisco Bernis and Jose Antonio Valverde came to visit me in Jerez on their way to Doñana, I could not have imagined the repercussions that our meeting would later have. I think none of us could have. Doñana, until then, had been a unique hunting ground, and, as such, the object of passion of many generations of hunters, and aside from an occasional study, at that time it was only just beginning to be acknowledged as a natural treasure meriting protection at all costs. Doñana had been, from the 18th century until just forty years ago, a vast expanse of land virtually free of any human activity except for that of hunting. Midway through the 19th century, interest in Doñana took a somewhat more scientific turn. In 1846, Antonio Machado, our patriarch of poets, had already begun to describe the birdlife of the


* Ornithologist and pioneer of the Doñana conservation.

region. Interest in the area was reflected in the descriptions made by certain visiting Romantic writers, revealing idiosyncrasies typical of the period's hunting aficionados that journeyed to Doñana, many from abroad and almost always English, in whom the passion for the hunt was coupled with a love for natural science. This dual passion, for the hunt and for nature, led my grandfather, Pedro González Soto, into an association with Abel Chapman, Walter J. Buck and Alexander Williams, all of them Englishmen, in order to acquire the hunting rights for the Coto de Doñana hunting reserve in 1897. The four friends combined hunting with the observation and study of nature, which Chapman and Buck had earlier commenced in their book "Wild Spain"8. After associating with my grandfather, the two published "Unexplored Spain"9, dedicated to the Spanish monarchs Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia, in which thirteen chapters out of a total of forty dealt with their expeditions and observations in the Coto de Doñana.


A happy confluence landowners’, scientists’ and nature-lovers’ enthusiasm allowed in a difficult moment the rescue of Doñana as a World Heritage Site. Photograph kindly provided by M. González-Gordon.

My father cherished Doñana. While passing through London on his way to Chile where he was working as an engineer on the construction of the Ferrocarril Longitudinal (Longitudinal railway), he read news that the Coto was up for sale. He immediately wrote my grandfather urging him to find a way to buy the land with the offer of returning it to Spain while assuming the post of administrator and game warden of Doñana. His wish to purchase Doñana and to be its guardian was not to be granted at that time, but did come

true later when in 1940 he and two friends, the Marques del Merito and Salvador Noguera, were able to acquire two thirds of the total surface area of Doñana and when, shortly before his death in 1980 at the age of 93, he was named Honorary Headkeeper of Doñana National Park by Spain's national park service, the National Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICONA). He had always admired and held the gamekeepers of Doñana, to whom we owe so very much, in high esteem, a feeling that was transmitted to his children and grandchildren. After all, as Alberto Ruiz de Larramendi, the Park's Director Curator, states so well in his book "Doñana cara a cara" ("Doñana Face to Face"), with regard to the ones who are no longer with us, "… they are part, in their own right, of the history of Doñana.They have bequeathed to us a life of work in benefit of the conservation of these lands, in their hopes that Doñana should be more than a mythical name in the millennium that we now embark upon." From our earliest childhood, my father transmitted his special feelings of love for Doñana to my brother Jaime and me. In my case, I poured them into birdlife, a hobby that was more practical than scientific. Owing to this I have had the good fortune to meet and get to know people of great renown in ornithology and biology in general, such as Francisco Bernis and Jose Antonio Valverde, who were undoubtedly among the most eminent in our country. I both greatly enjoyed and was honoured by their friendship. My brother Jaime was more the hunter than I, and bearing in

His dual passion for the hunt and for nature lead Pedro González Soto into an association with Abel Chapman, Walter J. Buck and Alexander Williams, in order to acquire the hunting rights for the Coto de Doñana hunting reserve in 1897. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.


mind Ortega y Gasset's conditions in his magnificent essay10, which stated that hunting activity should be scant, he was, I believe, the first to establish quotas on hunts in the Coto, both for large game and ducks and geese, and even set a time limit (11.00 h) for shoots. In short, I would affirm that the concurrence of love for nature and for the hunt that was always present in the private owners of Doñana is what permitted its preservation as a natural paradise. In an interview we did in 1975, Jose Antonio Valverde stated it thus: "To understand the situation, it must first be made clear that it was the private owners of the hunting reserve who saved Doñana and the Marshes from the general devastation of the environment in Spain arising from the period of forced sale of Church and communally-owned property known as the Desamortización. Not that this directly affected Doñana, but the owners at that time refused to be swept into the ensuing frenzy of deforestation and ploughing up of virgin territories. Doñana was defended at all costs against every onslaught and both heritors and later owners continued to protect and fight for the reserve, even at the risk of losing their property in the process. To avoid the latent threat of expropriation of the lands for social ends nothing would have been easier than to dismember them and sell them in plots"11. Valverde was referring to the projects, fortunately abandoned, to "colonise" the Coto and the marshlands, that arose during the Primo de Rivera dictatorship and during the Second Republic; but, fundamentally, he was recalling the serious shift that began on April 1st, 1952, stemming from a new governmental decree ordering the afforestation -with eucalyptus trees!- of Doñana, under threat of expropriation. The project, like those of earlier years, could have signified the end of what we today know as Doñana National Park. As the owners, we sought for a review of the new law and, after a visit Franco paid to Doñana in 1953 during which he asked my father if the afforestation already carried out had caused any damage to Doñana, my father and I sent him a memorandum that we prepared with the collaboration of Francisco Bernis, and which Bernis drew up, in which, among other things, we stated: "…. the Coto de Doñana, is, first and foremost, a precious relic of inviolate nature, in whose midst is sheltered perhaps the most extraordinary and renowned zoological community yet extant in Europe"… "We entertain doubts as to whether the afforestation of the Coto with exotic trees would constitute an issue of vital importance to our nation. On the other hand, it is our profound conviction that precisely what is truly conducive to the interests of Spain is the preservation of the Coto de Doñana and the protection of its wild vegetation, so as to allow the wholesale conservation of its rich and varied wildlife as well."… "… within the general plan of feasible conservation in Spain, the Coto de Doñana merits the utmost attention."… "As a present and potential reserve, Doñana has no peer

Midway through the 19th century, interest in Doñana took a somewhat more scientific turn. In 1846, Antonio Machado, our patriarch of poets, had already begun to describe the birdlife of the region. The book "Unexplored Spain" is published in 1910, in which thirteen chapters out of a total of forty dealt with observations made in Doñana. Photograph kindly provided by M. González-Gordon.

in Spain nor perhaps in all of Europe".We ended thus, " … and as long as we remain the proprietors of the Coto, we commit ourselves to its conservation….as a reserve worthy of Spain, given that we consider that this unique estate is worthy of the privileges granted to protected reserves and national parks"12. Undoubtedly, we had reached these conclusions, my own family as well as Francisco Bernis, Jose Antonio Valverde and myself, in the meeting we held in May of 1952, after, just a few days earlier, the threat of expropriation was published in the official government bulletin. Having staved off the eucalyptus threat as well as another project to plant 6,000-hectares with guayule plants in the middle of the Coto for rubber production - which we had also opposed - we embarked on a decade of fervid activity to preserve Doñana, result-


Spanish imperial eagle in Doñana. Photograph kindly provided by M. González Gordon.

MAIN MILESTONES - The first visit, in 1952, of French scientists, who were joined by Guy Mountfort and Roger T. Peterson, which brought about the organisation of Mountfort's expeditions to Doñana in 1956 and 1957. - The commencement, in 1953, of permanent scientific research in the Doñana wetlands with the ringing of 2,000 herons by the ringing scheme of the Aranzadi Society of Sciences of the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastian, Spain. This work, organised by Jose Antonio Valverde, continued on into the sixties, during which time a total of 15,000 members of the Ardeidae family were rung. - The afforestation of Doñana was stopped as a result of the memorandum presented by my father and myself in November of 1953, to which I earlier referred. - The Spanish Ornithological Society (S.E.O.), a private association committed to the study and protection of birdlife, was established in 1954 (also determined in our 1952 meeting) by six founding members in Madrid,Valladolid, Barcelona, Burgos, Huelva and Jerez. Fifty years later our group has 8000 members. - In December of 1954 the first issue of "Ardeola", the Iberian Journal of Ornithology and Bulletin of the Spanish Ornithological Society was published, Spain's first wholly ornithological journal. The first issue began with the publication of Francisco Bernis's "Prontuario de la Avifauna Española" ("Compendium of Spanish Birdlife")13 which included 395 species from Portugal and the Balearic and Canary Islands and listed the scientific and Spanish names approved by the Master List Commission of the S.E.O. This magnificent piece of work resulted in "the outstanding and rapid growth of ornithology in Spain", a hope that the author had expressed in his letter to the readers which served as a prologue to the first issue. - The first study in the history of Spain on Spanish bird migration was published14. - In 1956 and 1957 I helped to organise Guy de Mountfort's second and third expeditions into Doñana and suggested that he invite Jose Antonio Valverde to the 1957 expedition, which he did. Both expeditions were a resounding success and are reflected in "Portrait of a Wilderness"15. The book made Doñana widely known throughout Europe and allowed Valverde to, on the one hand, transmit his ideas to expeditioners on the need to adopt conservation measures in the Doñana wetlands and, on the other hand, meet Max Nicholson, director general of Nature Conservancy, who invited Valverde to England to visit different centres and research laboratories. - The publication in Spain, in 1957, of the adaptation of the work by Peterson, Mountfort and Hollom "A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe" which I translated and Francisco Bernis adapted.This translation-adaptation was an anticipated response, which Mountfort himself proposed and Bernis,Valverde and I accepted, to the obstacles that we


expected would arise concerning a prompt general adoption of the approved nomenclature of the Master List Commission of the S.E.C16. - In 1958 Valverde summoned fellow ornithologists to two sessions during the XII International Ornithological Conference held in Helsinki. He proposed an international fund-raising project to purchase part of the marshlands which are an essential winter shelter for Nordic Anatidae species. During the conference, the International Committee for Bird Preservation issued its 11th Official Resolution, advised by the IWRB (International Wildfowl Research Bureau), calling for the protection of wetlands in different European countries, including Spain. The protection of Spanish wildlife was discussed during the technical meeting of the IUCN held in Athens. - The first general study on Spain's conservation needs, "La protection de la Faune en Espagne: ses problemes"18, was published. - The Juan March Foundation awarded Jose Antonio Valverde a grant to carry out a study on the Marshes from which "a protection programme that could lead to the setting up of a reserve will be prepared". - In 1960 the Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) published, in the Archives of the Institute of Acclimatisation in Almeria, Valverde's study entitled "Vertebrates of the Marshes of the Guadalquivir" (an introduction to his environmental study), in which he stressed the urgent need for a biological field laboratory in the Marshes19. - José Maria Albareda, CSIC's Secretary General, authorised and encouraged the start of the quest for international funds in order to purchase 6,000 hectares of the Marshes.The quest, from the very beginning, was supported by the IUCN, the IWRB, the International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP/CIPO- now called BirdLife International) and the Comité Internationale de la Chasse. Delegates from these organisations met in June, 1961 with Mr. Ibañez Martín, the Minister of National Education, offering to finance the acquisition of the marshlands if the CSIC were to set up a research centre within it. Upon reaching an agreement, the protocol was signed in October in Jerez. Days later, members of the Mountfort expeditions held a meeting in London, similar to those held with the Spanish government, calling for support for a higher governing body that would be set up in Switzerland and called the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Doñana, as Jose Antonio Valverde used to say, was not a creation of the WWF, but quite the contrary! - In 1962 the CSIC founded the Patronato Estación Biológica de las Marismas (Biological Station of the Marshes Trust). - In 1963 the funds for the proposed purchase of the marshes were released and with a matching contribution from the WWF were invested in the acquisition of 6,700 hectares of the property known as the Coto Palacio de Doñana which is transferred to the CSIC. - In 1964 the CSIC established the Doñana Biological Station and Nature Reserve. - The establishment of the Doñana Biological Station and its direction entrusted to Jose Antonio Valverde -which was highly innovative in the world of conservation- was the final factor needed to, at last after six years, declare Doñana a National Park. Jose Antonio Valverde was designated, as he well-deserved, its first director conservator.

In an interview we did in 1975, Jose Antonio Valverde stated it thus: "To understand the situation, it must first be made clear that it was the private owners of the hunting reserve who saved Doñana and the Marshes from the general devastation of the environment in Spain arising from the period known as the Desamortización”. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

ing from the seed sown during our May 1952 meeting. Our efforts culminated in the purchase of the lands, in 1963, by the World Wildlife Fund, to be ceded to the Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), on which the following year the Doñana Biological Station would be established. In a letter sent to me in 1997, Francisco Bernis stated, "Apart from the two or three first national parks established in Spain… it can be affirmed that the first national park to be driven by modern conservationist theory is none other than that of the Marshes of the Guadalquivir. This, and its precursor, the Doñana Biological Reserve, was and continues to be our country's most resounding conservationist event." In view of the brief historical summary offered within these pages I believe it is evident that without the confluence at Doñana of private owners and scientists, all devoted to nature conservancy, the protectionist theses that took root so profoundly and so quickly within Spain - and most likely outside as well - would not have been possible. In addition, this confluence took place during certain years, the decisive years, in which public authorities were not inclined - the

In 1962 the CSIC founded the Patronato Estación Biológica de las Marismas (Biological Station of the Marshes Trust) and, in 1963, 6,700 hectares of the property known as the Coto Palacio de Doñana were acquired with a contribution from the WWF, and transferred to the CSIC. In 1964 the Doñana Biological Station is established. The photo shows the Palace of Doñana at the time of the acquisition. Photograph kindly provided by M. González-Gordon.

moment had not yet arrived - towards such conservationist theories. Even more, the threat of expropriation in 1952 was perhaps the factor that triggered such a combination of efforts.

The Decree of 1952 ordering the afforestation of Doñana was one of the biggest threats to the survival of this area. Private owners drew up a memorandum against the application of the Decree that, among the others things, stated: “ ... the Coto de Doñana, is, first and foremost, a precious relic of inviolate nature, in whose midst is sheltered perhaps the most extraordinary and renowned zoological community yet extant in Europe”... “We entertain doubts as to whether the afforestation of the Coto with exotic trees would constitute an issue of vital importance to our nation. On the other hand, it is our profound conviction that precisely what is truly conducive to the interests of Spain is the preservation of the Coto de Doñana and the protection of its wild vegetation, so as to allow the wholesale conservation of its rich and varied wildlife as well.” Phototograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


Squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides) in Doñana. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

Research in Doñana


the necessary relations between science and natural resource conservation

ost people would obviously consider scientific research as the natural foundation on which measures aimed at conserving the ecosystems of a given place, the processes that occur there and the species that inhabit those ecosystems should rest. Another obvious point of this scenario is that any research carried out in a protected natural area should give priority to the conservation needs of that area. My experience in Doñana and other areas, however, suggests that the necessary dialectic that should be established between research and conservation does not always occur, and when it does, it is often not as creative or as positive as could be expected. On this point, as in other aspects of the management of protected areas, the Doñana experience is rich and varied and it offers much that we can and must learn, both for those who work here and for those who work in the field of these intimately linked activities in any other protected area of the world. This is the context that justifies the need to offer a brief summary of scientific activity in Doñana since active protection measures were first put in place, in 1964, when the Biological Reserve was created, and their relations with the conservation of the National Park.


RESEARCH AS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THE CONSERVATION OF DOÑANA Research and conservation have always gone hand in hand in Doñana. In the 1950s, Francisco Bernis and José Antonio Valverde published several articles that highlighted the ornithological wealth of Doñana. Apart from these two scholars, there were also contributions by other researchers, including Ferguson-Lees, Mountfort and Peterson. These first scientific works started to raise awareness of Doñana and of the threats hanging over the park and some of the species that inhabited it, like the lynx and the imperial eagle.The need to conserve Doñana started to take shape nationally and internationally. In this respect, one especially important milestone was Valverde's article, "An ecological sketch of the Coto Doñana", published in British Birds and later extended and enriched in the work "Vertebrados de las Marismas del Guadalquivir" published in the Archives of the Almeria Acclimatisation Institute.These scientific articles represented the * Director of the Doñana Biological Station.

Number of projects in force for each year Source: Database of the Research Coordination Office of the Doñana Biological Station.

FIGURE 1 Evolution of the number of research projects carried out in the Doñana National Park.

initial catalyst for gaining protection for Doñanaa.Valverde, and all the others who helped him, used these articles as a foundation for their work of converting Doñana into a protected area for all to enjoy. The Doñana Biological Station was created in 1964, including the Biological Reserve of the same name. Its founding father, Valverde, was also its first director. Hence the first step towards the "official" protection of Doñana was taken. Although the Reserve was not a legally valid category of protection in Spanish legislation that could ensure its conservation, Valverde, as director, was a fair guarantee of this. In fact, four years later, he managed to persuade the authorities to declare Doñana a National Park, whose 37,425 hectares encompassed the Biological Reserve.At that time,Valverde had also managed to create a small residence in the Reserve and that a certain amount of human support was available to facilitate research work in the National Park. Ever since the Reserve was declared, Valverde attempted to attract scientists to use it as a research area. This was far from being a simple task in a country, like Spain at the time, in which research potential was minimum and any interest in studying renewable natural resources even less. Perhaps that is why the first scientific article of interest was written by Valverde himself, when he published "Estructura de una Comunidad de Vertebrados Terrestres" in 1967, as the first number of the


appropriate. As in the case of Valverde, the work conducted marked a substantial advance in Spanish terrestrial ecology and they were decisive for modernising this discipline, and even more so for extending the use of multi-variant statistics in data processing. The above clearly shows the importance of research in the early days of "official conservation" in Doñana, and the transcendental impact of the investigation carried out in the National Park on the development of the fields of Botany, Zoology and Ecology in Spain.

120 Publicaciones enpublished revistasinrecogidas el Science Citation Index Numer of articles magazines en listed in the Science Citation Index Otras científico-técnicas Other publicaciones technical-scientific publications 100

Source: Database of the Research Coordination Office of the Doñana Biological Station.































FIGURE 2 Evolution of the number of publications about Doñana.

"Monografías de la Estación Biológica de Doñana". Valverde raised new issues in the area of Spanish terrestrial ecology, concerning predator-prey relations and the organisation of communities. Thus he made (independent) contact with the school of thought that was making a name for itself at the time in the flourishing field of terrestrial ecology in the U.S.A.This work, based on ecological research conducted in Doñana, undoubtedly had a major impact on young Spanish workers taking their first steps in Zoological and Ecological research, especially those studying vertebrates. However, the objective of opening the Reserve up to research was not attained until the mid seventies and investigation did not become consolidated until well into the eighties (Figures1 and 2).The contributions made by the team led by Fernando Gonzalez Bernaldez, from the University of Seville Department of Ecology, were especially important in these early stages. Their work cast light on the functional aspects of the plant communities of Doñana; the fundamental relations that existed between groundwater and surface waters and the role they play in modelling ecosystems. Other leading contributions included both the detailed mapping of the Reserve vegetation, which was later extended by the same team, spatially and conceptually, to cover the rest of the Park, and for the questions raised that led to debate and measures aimed at curbing actions in the National Park and the surrounding area that could perhaps irreversibly affect many of the ecological processes that attracted such a concentration of biological diversity to Doñana. Their contributions were decisive for enhancing the management of Doñana's ecosystems. If the conservation actions implemented in Doñana were not all correct, this was probably due more to the fact that the recommendations made by this team were not always followed, rather than the measures themselves not being either right or


THE UPS AND DOWNS OF RESEARCH IN DOÑANA Research work has increased significantly in Doñana over the last twenty years. If we take the number of projects and explorations registered in the Research Co-ordination Office of the Doñana Biological Station (Figure 1) as an indicator, a clear increase in the number of projects can be observed in the eighties, stabilising around fifty in the nineties.This increase in research activities has also made it possible to make a better selection of projects given authorisation to use the Doñana National Park as a study area. In fact, if we look at the publications that have originated from these projects, we can see a clear increase in publications that have had a major international impact, while publications of local interest have remained stable. The fact that science with an impact, "good science" is done in a National Park does not necessarily mean that they are doing the research that should be done.These scientific activities could be focussed on relatively unimportant aspects for discovering an in-depth view of the system. It may neglect other, more necessary aspects that are of greater interest for improving the conservation prospects of the area. Although it is always a risky business to make value judgements of this kind, a review of the lines of research covered by the different projects will help to give us an

The Doñana Biological Station, and its Biological Reserve of the same name, was created in 1964. The founding father, Jose A. Valverde, was also its first director. In the photograph, Prince Juan Carlos (that later became King Juan Carlos I of Spain) at the opening of the Bolin laboratory in 1972. The opening ceremony was also attended by Valverde and Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente.

Identifying nature conservation problems and proposing ways of solving them has been an important contribution made by many of the different lines of research conducted in the Park. The scientific contributions related to how the aquifer works and its relations with surface waters and vegetation, and studies related to the populations of endangered species like the lynx and the imperial eagle, have been especially important. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.

idea of the situation in Doñana. In Figure 3, we have divided the projects carried out since 1978 into different lines of research. This division may be somewhat coarse, but it is sufficient for our objectives. The projects classed as "functional aspects of ecosystems and ecological relations in Doñana" account for the majority of projects. Even though nobody could doubt the importance of these projects, there are far too many of them in comparison with the other lines of work. Aspects like the "surface hydrology and hydro-geology of Doñana National Park and its drainage basin" are essential for understanding the Doñana ecosystems. These are decisive areas that require more attention, as is also true of projects concerned with the re-generation of the vegetation, endangered species and pollution. Our results also show that little scientific effort has been focussed on issues related to the Park and how it interacts with its surrounding environment and with visitors. Further studies in these areas seems fundamental for improving our understanding of these difficult relations and, thus, make progress in the quality of interactions with the neighbouring towns and the role of the park as an environmental education tool. The heads of research and management of the National Park are well aware of this situation. Why has it not been corrected? To date, National Park funding for adequate research into priority issues has been few and far between. On the other hand, there have been no clear mechanisms for demonstrating these preferences to the scientific community as a whole. Most of these projects were approved by research financing agencies or entities without any kind of relations with the Park. So the projects were assessed on their scientific quality, without considering the importance they could have

for the Park, which was only able to make any kind of selection after the fact.This situation has now changed. First of all, a specific call for projects has been opened for National Parks as part of the "National Research Plan", funded by the Ministry of the Environment, in which priority is given to lines of research proposed by National Parks. On the other hand, the recently adopted Doñana National Park Use and Management Plan includes the elaboration of a Sectorial Research Plan. This document, to be approved by the Board, will be drafted by scientists, with the counselling of managers, and it will focus on the research aspects that are considered of special interest for the National Park. In the selection process, special consideration will be given to the immediate interest of a potential project for improving management.With these two new tools, the research situation in Doñana takes another step closer to the desirable optimum situation. Doñana will be a living laboratory, open to the entire scientific community and research will provide the necessary information and scientific standards for taking management decisions in the Park.The new lines of funding opened up should not represent a considerable increase in the number of projects conducted there,

FIGURE 3 Number of projects in the different lines of research. 250


Numberde ofproyectos projects (1978-2002) Números (1978-2002) Source: Database of the Research Coordination Office of the Doñana Biological Station.




0 A







a) Surface hydrology and hydro-geology of the National Park and its drainage basin. b) Strategy and methodologies for re-generating plant formations and associated processes. c) Biology and ecology of endangered species: Factors that affect the size of their populations. d) Ecological effects of abiotic (contaminant) and biotic elements (invasive species) introduced in the National Park. e) Functional aspects of ecosystems and ecological relations in Doñana. f) Man's interactions with his environment in the National Park. g) The response of visitors and inhabitants of the area to the Park's system of public use and its message.


In a protected natural area, priority should be given to research aimed at covering its conservation needs and requirements. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.

as the Park has a limited capacity to host these projects.The foreseeable increase in the number of scientists seeking funding to work in Doñana should make for a better selection of projects, with the emphasis place firmly on the criterion of scientific quality and how a project responds to the current conservation problems faced by the Park.

During this period, and despite the deficiencies already described, Doñana has been an area open to science and the research results have provided valuable information for improving conservation work in the National Park.The former can be clearly seen from the publications and the reports produced during this period (Figure 2), and from the fact that the Doñana Biological Reserve was included in the European Commission's V Framework Programme, "Trans-national access to major research facilities", designed to sponsor access to Doñana for research teams from other European countries. Identifying conservation problems and proposing ways of solving them has also been an important contribution made by many projects in the different lines of research conducted in the Park. In this area, the scientific contributions related to how the aquifer works and its relations with the surface waters and the work done on populations of endangered species like the lynx and the imperial eagle have been especially important. In these cases, many of the results produced by the research work done have not been applied to the conservation of the Park, clearly highlighting the need to improve the mechanisms that are presently used for transferring research results to the area of management. The first steps towards solving this problem have

From 1950, Francisco Bernis and José Antonio Valverde published several articles that highlighted the ornithological wealth of Doñana. These led to others, including contributions by Ferguson-Lees, Mounfort and Peterson. These early scientists started to disseminate the enormous flow of information to be found in Doñana. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


Research programmes have had a profound impact on the conservation of Do単ana. In the picture, results of breeding lynx in captivity for later release. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.

probable already been taken with the measures put in place as part of the "National Plan" and the "Use and Management Plan" that we have mentioned previously. It could be said that the research/conservation relations in Do単ana have been positive, but that there is room for improvement, and that mechanisms are being put in place that are expected to make this relationship more productive.Accumulated experience in this area suggests that it is not enough to make a protected natural area an attractive study site for scientists to guarantee that it gets the research it needs.The budgets of these areas should include funds for research that can direct projects in the direction of whatever lines of research may be considered as priority.And this should be done without closing the door to other research projects that do not directly address immediate conservation problems. In the mid and long term, these contributions will help us to understand the system as a whole, help us to identify problems at an early stage, when they are easier to solve. I would say that the relations between science and conservation in a protected natural space should never be conceived as a confrontation between basic science and applied science or the applications of science. Both of these are necessary and, in the end, there are only two forms of science; good science and bad sci-

ence. The former is always applicable, sooner or later, and the latter is never applicable. We must provide incentives for the lines of research that most interest us, fostering a dialogue between scientists and managers, but we must not forget that one of the most important functions of a protected natural area is to open its doors to science to generate the knowledge we need to understand the world we live in.

Greater attention should be paid to aspects related to the surface hydrology and hydro-geology of Do単ana National Park and its drainage basin and to those addressing the regeneration of the vegetation, endangered species and pollution, as these are all fundamental for understanding Do単ana's ecosystems. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.


“La Saca de Yeguas” (The Mares' Roundup) a centuries old tradition in Doñana. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

The milestones that made Doñana a National Park he creation of the Doñana National Park was the result of a process that was driven more by individual will and impulses than by general planning or a long term political project. When the efforts of a few dedicated people were translated into printed letters in the Official State Gazette, the preservation of what is perhaps the very best of Spanish nature, endangered at the time, was assured. But the future preservation of this space was obviously not ensured per se. In the years between that time and now, the National Park has undergone many changes. These changes, in general, have always been for the good and they have helped to consolidate the conservation of the Park that is no longer questioned by anybody. From time to time, somebody is always determined to compare "the state of Doñana now" with how it was in the past, and, of course, depending on the ideology of the person making the comparison, they will consider that Doñana is "in a better state than it has ever been in", or "on the edge of extinction". I firmly believe that it has improved constantly since it was declared a National Park. This improvement is often founded on controversy and sometimes on confrontation.These improvements are also offset by the changes suffered by the area around the National Park, where, of course, transformation has inevitably led to a



* Head of the department of planning and technical programmes for National Parks. Ministry of the Environment, Spain.

The National Park of Doñana is the result of a Solomon-like agreement that has attempted to strike a balance between the simultaneous presence of three different policies on the same territory: nature conservation, agricultural transformation and the development of the tourist industry. Photograph by Cipriano Marín.

reduction in the natural state of the environment. Doñana is no longer an isolated, marginal and wild area in lower Andalusia. But, despite all this, the Park, as a whole, has continued to flourish. It has grown as a support for conserving the biodiversity, and it has also developed as a facility in the service of this conservation, providing information to visitors, scientific know-how and it also makes an important contribution to the quality of life of the district.

The work of the Doñana Board, driving a Sustainable Development Plan, and the institutional support for this from the National Park played an important role to secure the support of the European Union to carry out the project. In the picture, sands barrs in the marshes boundary merge into one in the sunset of La Vera. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala. CENEAM Files.


But, in the course of these thirty five years, we have also witnessed a succession of delicate situations involving the National Park, with significant social repercussions. Doñana was declared a National Park as the result of a Solomon-like agreement in an attempt to strike a balance between three different models that were Doñana was declared a National Park by a Decree passed in 1969. But applied to the same territory the modern history of Doñana really at the same time, which were did not start until 1978, when it was re-classified in Spanish Parliament. probable incompatible in principle.These three models; nature conservation, agricultural transformation and mass tourism, were not only highly difficult to combine, they were also obliged to co-exist shoulder to shoulder, without any kind of buffer zone between them.The result is obvious: visitors to Doñana are constantly amazed by the lack of balance that enables the most protected area of Europe live alongside areas of intensive farming or high density tourist resorts, only separated from them by a simple fence. In the course of this same period of time, and in parallel with the National Park, the district has also undergone a major social, cultural and economic transformation. And the demands of the population have grown.These demands have often been associated with the National Park.The Park has always been a touchstone, the heart of each and every one of the major issues. If you could take an objective view, something I still find impossible, when analysing the distance between the current situation and the situation of forty years ago, the result would probably be surprising. It is now a shared opinion that the driving force for the Colony of flamingos on a Marsh "veta" (rised old levee). Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

regional planning of this district is the National Park. It has not only become a determining factor in vertebrating all land uses and activities; it is also the main catalyst of economic activity by a long way. Anything that does not have some kind of connection with the National Park is difficult to sell nowadays.The ambition of the district is to become a benchmark for sustainable development. It is true that names are merely names, and that there are more doubts than certainties behind the concept of sustainable development, but this ambition is indicative of the extent to which the concept has taken root in a society that, initially was not very prone to changing its attitude towards life until very recently.The National Park is now well accepted and its value recognised.This is a situation that was unthinkable forty years ago. Forty years ago, the Park was a conceptual, political and social dwarf, facing enormous battleships of transformation that had social approval, political backing and financial resources. Although it many not be easy to understand, David defeated Goliath in this story too. Not only did he defeat him, he even managed to persuade Goliath that it was better for both of them to live side by side, David's way. Doñana was declared a National Park by a Decree passed in 1969. But the modern history of Doñana really did not start until 1978, when it was re-classified in Parliament.To outside eyes, this re-classification was apparently a mere legal consolidation at the highest level. It brought an expansion in the area of the National Park that increased from around 35,000 hectares to 54,251 hectares, bringing in major areas of marshes, Coto del Rey, the beach and Marismillas, in comparison to the original declaration. But the Doñana Act was far more than just a law. For the first time in Spain, it meant the implementation of a participative process prior to enacting the law, in order to build an initial, fragile social consensus in declaring a protected area. It was the first law enacted by Parliament after the Constitution was adopted, and it is

impregnated with the same spirit of consensus and balanced progress that enlightened our political leaders at that time. The Doñana Act was not just a decision of the Spanish Parliament. Behind this Act, and basically behind its limits, there were hours of deliberations in the Inter-Ministerial Environmental Commission (CIMA, from its acronim in Spanish), in which the different sectors presented their demands and finally reached a reasonable agreement. If this preliminary agreement had not been tacitly accepted by all concerned, implementing the National Park in practise would have been even more eventful. The Doñana Act was totally innovative. It introduced the priority of conservation over any other activity in the National Park as a basic concept. It created the first buffer zones and areas of influence for a National Park, outside its borders, where part of the management and conservation activity was transferred, including the Park administration and the Board, although these buffer zones were not given the same degree of protection. It took on board the criterion of drainage basin, for both surface and groundwater, and how these could affect the National Park. It established the possibility of maintaining private property ownership within the protected area, although this was subject to accepting the determinations of the Park managers who, in the case of a disagreement, were empowered to expropriate land to nationalise it. It recognised the need to manage the National Park based on planning and with its own, specific administration, and it sanctioned the vital presence of the Board as an organ of social consensus, support, deliberation and participation. All these issues, which we work on in protected areas, may seem obvious now and inherent in any declaration of this kind, but it is good to remember that they grew out of the Doñana Act. Much of what has happened since, both in Doñana in particular and in Spanish nature conservation in general, is a direct consequence of the fact that Doñana

Doñana is one of the few protected spaces that has managed to consolidate an independent scientific unit as part of the Park. The picture shows the Palace of Doñana, seated in the Doñana Biological Reserve. Photograph by Cipriano Marín.

had and has excellent legislation. This law acted as a model for other areas and even today, twenty five years after it was enacted, it remains absolutely valid and up to date. The first consequence of this law was the creation of an administration for the National Park.This is a dedicated administration and independent from the Doñana Biological Station that, for many years had acted as the tacit administrator of Doñana. It is true that the new administration, belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture at the time, was seen as being non conservationist, or openly hostile to the ideology of the National Park. For years, newspaper archives collected pages and pages on the conflict between Doñana National Park and Doñana Biological Station. There was talk of Doñana having two heads, and of there being open discrepancies that made park management sterile.The difficulty in striking a balance and for the two administrations to work together in a common area, but each with its own clearly defined

responsibilities, one a management body and the other a research issue was to transfer the complex elsewhere, in this case, borderbody, was a built-in handicap for the development of the National ing on the National Park, propitiating a new, probably unforeseePark.The controversy reached its height in the early eighties, and able, direction for developments: the National Park was starting to the idea of two "de facto" administrations for the same area was have an impact on its immediate surroundings. even considered, each with its own administrative procedures and We started to glimpse the curious phenomenon of osmotic arrangements.These teething troubles, which were not exempt of involvement.The National Park felt "threatened" by the transforpersonality cults and over-inflated egos in both administrations, mation of its surroundings that, to some extent, represented a has undoubtedly been the main constraint on the National Park as threat to the continuity of the natural systems and processes a working entity. encompassed therein. But at the same time, the surrounding area Today, there is an evident balance and the two administrations felt threatened by a National Park with the ability to induce, from maintain reasonable relations, but, with the advantage of hindsight an imprecise but notorious position, changes in organisation.The and their capacity to resolve their differences, there remains a cerNational Park feared its surroundings and the surrounding area tain general feeling that the model has not worked, or that the feared the National Park. dynamic generated by its dual approach was not the right one. In The "World Hotel" was designed as a shorefront complex on reality, once again with hindsight, and in the light of the innovations Marismillas lands, to the south of the National Park. The law formulated from Do単ana to other prodeclared the affected area part of the tected areas, the only thing that has not National Park, but the project already had been transferred is precisely this, the idea enough papers and permits to present a of creating an independent scientific unit, solid case for litigation with the governsited in the protected area. The law ment.The result was a permutation of the declaring Las Tablas de Daimiel a National project to lands to the west of Park, enacted immediately afterwards, Matalasca単as, south of El Acebuche, included the possibility of creating a beyond the borders of the National Park. Biological Station in the Park, although There were changes in the ownership, this was never done. The following probably due to the financial difficulties National Parks Acts have not contemplatfaced by the developers and in the mid ed this possibility. Neither has the abuneighties, the project reappeared in the There is currently no doubt that the driving force behind dant regional legislation that has been the regional planning of this district is the National guise of "Costa Do単ana", a powerful Park. It has not only been decisive for vertebrating uses developed in the course of the last few and activities, it is also the main catalyst to economic development initiative with significant activity by a long way. decades. It is probably obsolete now as a political support and social backing. The Photograph: CENEAM Files. concept, as we now have more complex position of the Park administration, which models and more people are involved, and the very role and prescould, in theory, afford to stay out of the operation, was critical, ence of the administrations in managing protected areas is clearly highly critical. In fact, the park administration formed part of an in flux. This approach is now tinged with the sepia of old photoopposition movement to the project, with the silent acquiescence graphs, as there appears to be a mutual understanding of the role of the government it belonged to.The opposition generated tenthat each institution can play in the future of the National Park. sion in the district at a time of economic difficulties, and did not Another consequence of the Do単ana Act was to bring to an exactly win many friends among the authorities. From time to end a series of transformations in the National Park that were time, there were even highly complicated moments.The fact that either planned or in course in the neighbouring zones. The the controversy reached its height during the regional government Almonte-Marismas Plan suffered slight cuts, the "World Hotel" election campaign created a fertile breeding ground for seeking an complex moved out of the National Park grounds, the possibility outside solution that took the form of a International Committee of a coastal road running between Huelva and Cadiz (provinces of Experts.The Committee was created to solve the controversy. crossing the Park) was discarded, etc.These decisions took severWhat happened is history. For the first time in the history of Spain, al things beyond the boundaries of the National Park. In some a protected area was able to generate a debate on planning the cases, for example, in reducing the area of the Almonte-Marismas area around this protected area, but outside of the system. Plan, the social tension was shifted to the area around the National What is known as the "Experts' Report" consolidated much of Park. And in others, such as the case of the "World Hotel", the what the National Park was defending as its position. Deep down,


Marshes and dunes. In this water colour, two areas of Doñana meet. In the foreground, we find geese on the sand. On one side, the cork oaks of La Vera with the imperial eagle flying over them, and, in the background, the Marshes with groups of flamingos and avocets. A water colour that reflects the area that has been saved for conservation.The painting has been prepared by Regla Alonso Miura and Rosalía Martín Franquelo.

it was a formidable support for the theories promoted by the managers of Doñana. In essence, the report proposes that the future of the district of Doñana was more closely associated with the conservation of its natural assets than with their transformation, and the environmental differential of the district was the main argument for gaining a leading place in the competition with other areas. But harnessing the advantageous difference that lay in the excellent state of conservation of the area obviously required extra investment in resources, capacity building, training and technology that the district could not provide on its own.The work of the Doñana Board, driving a Sustainable Development Plan, and institutional support for this from the National Park was perhaps responsible for with the major financial support that the authorities, basically the regional authorities, finally obtained for the Plan and completed with the support of the European Commission. Obviously there was a political opportunity that was seized, and part of the money invested has probable not been put to the best possible use, but the change has been obvious and pronounced; and not only in appearances. In summary, you want to remember the sensation that it was thanks to the National Park that the district attracted a formidable flow of investment and activity. The

effects of this process are evident. On the one hand, a certain and increasingly flourishing economy has been created, based on conservation. But much more important than this activity is the fact that a culture of sustainability has been consolidated as a benchmark and the view of the National Park in the district as the principle argument for accepting the sustainability culture.And you can only smile wryly when the legacy of "Costa Doñana" converted

Much of what has happened in the last decades, both in Doñana in particular and in Spanish nature conservation in general, is a direct consequence of the fact that Doñana had and has excellent legislation. This law acted as a model for other areas and even today, twenty five years after it was enacted, it remains absolutely valid and up to date. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


Nobody fishes in the National Park today; nor is their any irregular camping, nor are vehicles allowed to circulate freely along the beach and that, in itself, is good for conservation, it is good for Doñana and it is good for its surrounding district. For this reason too, we can now maintain one of the most outstanding images of Doñana: observing geese when they congregate at dawn on Cerro del Trigo to eat sand. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

into "Castillo de la Luz”, has also finally found its place in the area, this time over 25 kilometres from the borders of the National Park. Some may wonder if there wasn't a certain social toll to paid for travelling this path.And the answer is yes there was, and it was not cheap.The history of Doñana also contains a page of conflicts with a social environment that demanded the recovery of title to the use and rights of the land.This title was neither justified, nor was it possible to deliver. The administration tried to undermine the critics in every way possible, with unequal results, by embarking on a range of different initiatives. First of all, it increased its capacity to invest in local labour.The investment budget was increased four fold in three years in the early nineties, and the number of local employees increased from less than twenty to over three hundred. But despite all the financial effort made, this job creation policy did not mark a turning point or strike a balance in demand until well into the nineties,


when the employment situation of the district was turned around and moved towards full employment and a significant presence of immigrant labour.The positive side of all this is that the formidable investment effort that has been maintained and practically all the infrastructures and facilities of the National Park are now complete and almost more money is now spent on maintenance than on investment. The second step was an attempt to create a social economy associated with managing the area. In the early eighties, the initiative of creating the "Marismas del Rocio" Co-operative to run the public visits to the National Park, was the first attempt to consolidate a local economy based on the National Park, not only in the area, but also in Spain in general. Looking back over this now, and despite the many delays that the task has suffered, it has obviously been a resounding success, an in situ benchmark that clearly shows that it is possible to live off the resources of the National Park, but not by exploiting it in traditional ways.The Co-operative

is one of several active nature tourism initiatives that have been generated. In the light of the demand, supply would obviously have appeared, but it is also reasonable to think that the National Park administration would not have opted for a local solution. Many of the companies that now trade would probably not have had the social location that they do. Third; the network of National Parks promoted a line of subsidies for actions around the National Park. Initially, these were only for Local Councils, but they have gradually been increased and opened up to companies, families and non-profit making organisations. In this aspect, the balance is a bitter sweet one.The results are relatively satisfactory with regard to social aspects, but they do entail the risk of generating a dependent society with no intention whatsoever of using this exogenous resource as a catalyst. In the years that have transpired, almost all the major milestones associated with the National Park have been implemented beyond its boundaries. The management of Do単ana has mainly

been a kind of tutorship or an extra push brought to bear on what was going on outside of Do単ana, with very few exceptions. One of these that requires a mention is the issue of the beach use. The National Park beach forms part of the National Park, exactly in the same way as any other part of the Park.Turning this beach into a free and open space for all, without any significant limitations, has been a more complex task that one may imagine. Initially, there was conflict with the illegal ranches built on the beach in the late seventies.Then the irregular traffic had to be regulated in the late eighties. Obviously, in both cases, the rules were clear, and in both cases, the National Park administration took a firm and solid stance. From the point of view of attitudes today, this attitude may seem somewhat strict, but the results were excellent. The park's attitude to the invasions of crab hunters in the first half of the eighties deserves the same consideration. Once again, the administration took up a complicated struggle, with some striking defeats in some years, but with regard to maintaining its position,


The Doñana experience has acted as a foundation for spreading the idea that protected areas require their own, specific administration, which should be based in the area of the National Park, and which should have sufficient human resources for administration, technical work, public use and services. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

which was evidently supported by the regulations, it won acceptance and credibility for the Park authorities in the medium term. Nowadays, nobody fishes for crab in the National Park, neither do they camp illegally, or roam freely in cars along the beach… and that is a good thing for conservation, per se, it is positive for Doñana and it is good for the district as a whole. This is a clear example of how a willingness to maintain a dialogue, always essential, cannot ignore the letter of the law in the application of the rules when any contravention of these rules is clearly harmful to the general interests. During the same time, there has also been another process, concerning the evolution of what are known as the traditional uses of the land, which is also worth mentioning. When the area was declared a National Park, as has been mentioned, the declaration was accompanied by a resurgence of the demand to "return" Doñana to its residents. Initially, the area declared a National Park was mostly in private hands.The administration later nationalised this land, either by buying it or by expropriating it. This move to public ownership put demands for land use on the table that had hardly been considered to date.These demands to be able to use the land were enhanced and reinforced by the desire to recover


traditional uses, forming part of local traditions that are abundant in the district. It is still too early to assess the results of this situation.The National Park maintained a relatively firm stance in the early nineties, in defence of the general interest, but it softened its positional significantly in the mid nineties. Everybody still remembers the livestock invasion, which, it is true, was not significant from the point of view of numbers, but it was a turning point from a qualitative point of view.The effect this had on other protected areas, as Doñana was a basic yardstick in Spanish conservation, is to give an exaggerated pre-eminence to traditional uses, some of which are little more than alleged traditions, in management planning.This is an open question, and one we will have to return to in the years to come. There is a general impression that some of these are not traditional uses at all and in many cases, considering them as such merely sustains something that forms part of the past.There is an appreciable new school of thought that does not necessarily identify tradition with balanced, sustainable conservationism, a school of thought that will probably put things back into perspective in the coming years; a perspective in which traditions are not excluded, but neither are they raised to the category of absolute truth.

Like most other things in life, Doñana has been moved by the principle of action and reaction. Part of the administrative power the space now has is due to the mortality of birds in the mid eighties.The sensation of ignorance and impotence, of not being able to do something that had become a media phenomenon is closely associated with the reinforcement that park management has undergone in the second half of the eighties. Here too, Doñana is a yardstick. Nowadays, nobody would argue about the fact that protected spaces require their own, specific administration, which should be locally based and should have sufficient administrative staff, technical staff, park rangers, public use resources and services. The consolidation of the management machine of Doñana National Park, with over 500 employees and, in some years, a budget of almost 10 million euros, seems impossible to understand if it is not supported by a formidable political base that was created in the late eighties. Doñana could have adopted another management model, with far less people and with far less resources. But, if we accept that the National Park is the differential yardstick in planning the district, then this is the only possible model. One as yet unsolved issue is whether such a high degree of resource allocation remains strictly necessary, once the process is launched, or whether, on the contrary, the organisational drive provided by managers has led to excesses, completely out of place, at practically all levels of district action that should be reconsidered and shifted towards focussing spending on the objectives of the National Park. Finally, something should perhaps also be put down to luck. Luck disguised as an economic boom that few could have foreseen. In the early eighties, after a long period of drought, the National Park authorities promoted an initial regeneration of water resources that, despite its failure, is worth reconsidering because it highlights the anxiety of the management who felt overwhelmed by social pressure and convinced that the progressive decadence they were witnessing was unstoppable. The AlmonteMarismas Plan, however, found neither the water, nor the agricultural know-how, nor the markets that their ideologists were dreaming of, and the Plan failed.And although there was no shortage of fingers pointing accusingly at the National Park as the culprit of the failure, it really had nothing to do with it.The development of the tourist industry along the coast beyond Matalascañas also failed to find the quality of services, products or complementary activities, and also failed. Some of the failures of other regional planning models touched upon in the district consolidated their pre-eminent position over the National Park, as the up-side, but also generated a current of playing the victim that was only plugged when the treasure trove of resources associated with the Sustainable Development Plan appeared on the horizon.

Hence, by way of conclusion, one would like to believe that circumstances have always been on the side of the National Park. Although it is also true that there has always been someone with vision enough to grasp the opportunities offered. From the time it was declared a National Park, Doñana has always been conserved, with better fortune at some times than others, and no change in this conservation policy has ever been considered, in fact, it has continued to expand in practise. The creation of what was first called the Doñana Area Natural Park, now called Doñana Natural Park, and its successive extensions, and the creation of other protected areas in the immediate proximities of the National Park, the increasing involvement of the National Park in defining policies and strategies that go beyond the borders of the Park, Doñana 2005.All of these are examples of this attitude, clear examples of how the National Park has always been a growing and expanding reality. The National Park has recently been extended, the third time in its history that this has happened. It now encompasses the original lands that were transformed and opened up for farming, and which will shortly recover their natural state. This is an unusual event, because it not only signifies continuing with the policy of protecting well conserved areas under the Doñana umbrella, it also means implementing another policy, a policy of restoring transformed lands and returning them to something like their original state.This time, however, the district has understood these changes, and they support them.The extension has been planned and implemented on the basis of a broad consensus That is the conclusion, rather than a paradox.What started out as a defensive mechanism to save something of the virgin territory from the unstoppable advance of alleged progress has become the main argument for ensuring that the future is possible.And it remains a great National Park.

The public use of Doñana and the flow of visitors became one of the first links with the local economy of the area. In the photograph, the Palace of Acebrón, one of the old Doñana mansions now adapted as a visitor centre. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.



1. The present Duchess has studied the Archives from an historic stand point and has also analysed the management of the Torre Carboneros Tuna Fishing Post. Ojeda (1990) published an historic analysis of the transformation of Almonte. 2. This material has been analysed by Professor Martin Vicente's team from the University of Seville, who laid the fundamental groundwork for studying the ecological history of Doñana. 3. GARCIA MURILLO et al (2000, 2003), while studying place names, identified the changes in the landscape units of the Cotos, El Albario and Las Rocinas, thus offering a regional framework for the ecological history of the Park. 4 GRANADOS CORONA, M., MARTIN VICENTE, A., FERNANDEZ ALES, R., GARCÍA NOVO, F., 1984. Long term vegetation changes in the stabilized dunes of Doñana National Park. Vegetatio, 75:73-80. 5. GARCÍA NOVO, F., 1977. The effects of fire in the vegetation of Doñana National Park. En: Mooney, H., Conrad, F. (Eds.) Symposium on the environmental consequencies of fire and fuel management in mediterranean ecosystems. Technical Report WO-3.U.S.Forest Service. Washington: 318325. 6. GRANADOS CORONA, M, MARTIN VICENTE, A., FERNANDEZ ALES, R., GARCÍA NOVO, F. 1987. Evolución conjunta del paisaje y su gestión. El caso del Parque Nacional de Doñana. Estudios Territoriales 24:183-187. 7. GARCÍA NOVO, F., 1990. The origin of the Doñana Ecosystems. En The National Park of Doñana. ICONA, Lunberg. Madrid: 8-17.


8. CHAPMAN, A. & BUCK, W.J., 1893. Wild Spain. London, Guerney and Jackson. 9. CHAPMAN, A. & BUCK, W.J., 1910. Unexplored Spain. London, E. Arnold. 10. ORTEGA Y GASSET. J., 1948 prólogo, Yebes. Conde de, Veinte años de Caza Mayor. Editorial Plus Ultra. Madrid. 11. VALVERDE, J.A., 1975. Doñana y las marismas del Guadalquivir: su rescate y sus problemas presentes y futuros. Ardeola. Número especial. 12. GONZÁLEZ GORDON M. & MAURICIO GONZÁLEZ, D., 1953. Exposición a F. Franco Bahamonde. 13. BERNIS, F., 1954. Prontuario de la Avifauna Española. Ardeola Vol 1. 14. VALVERDE, J.A., WEICKERT P, 1956. Sobre la migración de varias garzas españolas. Munibe 1956 II. 15. MOUNTFORT, G., 1958. Portrait of a Wilderness. London, Hutchinson. 16. PETERSON, R., MOUNTFORT, G.., HOLLOM, P.A.D., 1957. Guia de campo de las aves de España y de Europa. Barcelona, Ediciones Omega S.A. 17. MOUNTFORT, G.., HOLLOM, P., 1954. A field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe. London, Collins. 18. VALVERDE, J.A., 1959. La protection de la Faune en Espagne: ses problemes. Comptes Rendues de la Reunion Technique d'Áthens de l'UICN Vol V:31-43. 19. VALVERDE J.A., 1960. Vertebrados de las Marismas del Guadalquivir. Archivos del Instituto de Aclimatación Vol. IX Almería.

Water as the main player


n The Birth of Venus, Botticelli makes the goddess emerge on the coast, in an allegory that could well represent the appearance of Doñana at the other end of the Mediterranean.This unique place arose out of its relationship with the sea, and water is the essence of its birth and formation. As with the birth of Venus, the wetlands that give form to Doñana recreate the landscape with the passage of each season, renewing its flora and fauna and consolidating over time its well-deserved fame. With water as a common thread, it is easier to understand the natural systems and functional relations that turn the wetlands into the dynamic environment that is the foundation of its great diversity.Water has been the cause and agent of change, a building block of the landscape, and is now the main argument for its restoration. If we took a bird's eye view of the evolution of the world of

Doñana's waters, using a series of aerial photographs taken over thousands of years, we would see how the final stretch of the Guadalquivir depression was quickly filled in with the sediments it transported.This included sediments from other water courses like the River Guadaira, on the left bank, the Huelva River and the Guadiamar River on the right bank. The great gulf gradually gave way to increasingly smaller bays where spreading tidal flats and marshes finally took over the area, constructing a silt plain above sea level.The Doñana Marshes are the last phase of this landfill in our sequence of pictures, forming a floodplain that is separated from the tides of the estuary, fed only by rainfall and continental waters. Almost a million years of shoreline evolution would by synthesized in these brief images.This shoreline has seen rises and falls in

Every year, whether wet or dry, the Donaña Marshes come out in an explosion of life. In this canvas, Boticelli paints a picture that could be interpreted as the emergence of Doñana, showing Venus arriving at the coast, pushed by the wind, after her birth. On her right, we see Zephyr, the Greek god of the west wind, considered the gentlest of all winds, and father of two immortal horses. Next to him is Chloris, the nymph of flowers and springtime. On land, we find one of the Horai, the nymph of the seasons, covering herself with her mantle to show that the mysteries of Venus are hidden, like in Doñana, where science attempts to unravel the complex secrets of nature. Uffizi Gallery, Florence.


For a million years, Mother Nature has been experimenting with the construction of a diverse mosaic of environments along the coast of the Gulf of Cadiz and the Guadalquivir Depression, varying the placement and proportions of the seas and continents, the floodplains, the land and water species, and the populations that migrated into the enclave. The successive variations in sea level have helped to forge what are now the great Do単ana Marshes. Photograph: CENEAM Files.

sea level of almost 200 metres in each direction with successive Pleistocene ice ages, all of which has remodelled valleys, water courses and deposits.The shoreline advanced up the Guadalquivir valley during the marine transgression of the interglacial periods, due to rises in sea level. This contrasts with periods when water accumulated as continental ice during the ice ages and falls in sea level made the river channel grow deeper and longer. These old courses of the Guadalquivir and Tinto Rivers are still recognisable on the coastal shelf, as underwater canyons that run south for some 15 or 20 km from today's coastline. For a million years, Mother Nature has experimented with building a mosaic of different environments along the coastline of the Gulf of Cadiz and the Guadalquivir Depression, varying the placement and proportions of seas and continents, floodplains, land and water species, and the populations that migrated to the


enclave. For this reason, Do単ana represents the final act in a long and enriching ecological process that has unfolded at the crossroads of the biosphere, at the meeting point of Africa and Eurasia, of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, of seas, rivers and lands. Each episode and each transformation has left its marks, patterns, processes and actors that all echo to the present, allowing us to interpret their origins. The final episode started about 20,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age (W端rm, in Europe), with a eustatic rise of some 175 metres. The seawater flooded the coastal plain and Guadalquivir depression for the last time, in alternating periods of relative stability and quick episodes. In the Tyrrenian Age, about 6,500 years ago, the seawater reached its highest level, approximately 0.5 m above the present sea level, later receding to stabilise at its present level. A new episode of a rising sea level has been triggered during the 20th century, which could mean a rise of some 10 - 15 cm in the 21st century, a considerable amount for such a low-lying and flat coastline. The variation in the sea level is a predominant agent of change in marsh and estuary systems, but it is one that is not only due to eustatic fluctuations and global changes in the sea level. By zooming in on much shorter periods - of hours or days - we can discover the oscillations of the tides, with a maximum range in the area of 3.6 m.The wind, in turn, also affects rises and falls in the sea level, and storms can raise the high tide mark by the odd metre or two, carrying water with sediments onto the shore. Within the Guadalquivir depression, rain and flooding rivers play the same role, turning it into a flooded plain that, before river dyke systems were built, covered an area of over 200,000 ha of water surface. Over longer periods of time, erosion and sedimentation were to be the agents that modified the level of the bottom and, thus, the depth of the water column: the present-day Marshes have risen by 0.5 to 3 mm a year. Finally, if we revert back to a geological point of view, we see the tectonic movements that induced blocks to shift vertically by tens of metres during the Pliocene and Pleistocene Ages. The balance between sea and continental waters has been dynamic, with shifting boundaries between the different water masses in their varying salinity, chemical composition, suspended matter, temperature, origin and persistence. Water that varies in its regime and salinity, either connected to or separated from other water masses, make up a varied mosaic of contrasting habitats, the foundation of the extreme bio-diversity of this territory. The sea level is the absolute limit to the dry land and so too to the areas where infiltration and run-off occur. Thus, we enter the other world of Do単ana water, where the surface waters flow to feed a complex drainage network, carrying inputs of water, nutri-


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ents, solutes and sediments to the Marshes and the shoreline. Underneath this area of terra firma there is a powerful aquifer that plays a decisive role in the current configuration of this varied mosaic. The survival of this area depends on factors such as the input of surface waters and the behaviour of the water table.The streams and rivers that converge on this area provide the in-flow that floods the Marshes for part of the year, but the existence of permanent wetlands and ponds is also due to groundwater welling up.

GROUNDWATER, THE HIDDEN DEFENDER OF DOÑANA’S DIVERSITY Although not obvious at first glance, the role of the groundwater is an extremely important one.They do not just guarantee the inputs that increase the flooding of the marshes, they also provide vital sustenance in summer so that both animal and plant life can maintain a year-round presence there. If it were not for these hidden resources, the major ecological reserve that Doñana has come to represent would never have been possible. In the dune ecosystem, for example, where the level of the water table is close to the surface, the soil in the corrales (inter-dune valleys) retains moisture all year round and peridune ponds swell in winter months. Moving onto the subterranean geography of the water, the Doñana zone is located at the southern tip of aquifer system number 27 (according to the classification of the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mines) and, within this system, it forms part of the Almonte-Marismas sub-system.The Almonte-Marismas Hydro-geological Unit is a free detrital aquifer in the NW sector. It is confined

In the image, a few geological features of the Doñana aquifer (the AlmonteMarismas Hydro-geological Unit), useful to understand the hydrological behaviour of the area, have been superimposed over the satellite photograph (Landsat-5). The blue marls of its impermeable bottom appear on the surface in the north of the area. The River Guadiamar acts as a subterranean watershed with the Espartinas sub-unit. Then follow the basal sands of Late Pleistocene, whose thickness under the marshes reaches almost 200 metres. Wind blown sands are next in the sequence, surrounding the left side of the marshes, reaching a thickness of 200 metres in the Acebuche area. The dune cover, which include older stabilised dunes of the quaternary period and the recent dune system, is characterised by high permeability and it is then an important recharge area. Then we find the marsh bowl of Doñana, with its impermeable basement made of clay, silts and sand. In the satellite image it has been coloured of light blue, showing the original boundary of the big marsh. The area of "La Vera" has been differently coloured, emphasising this ecotone located between the silt-clay area and the sands, two materials with very different reply to water permeability. It is therefore a strip of springing water, an emblematic area of Doñana that maintains the humidity in the dry period.


LATE MIOCENE - Blue marls



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and charging under the marsh sediments of the eastern zone, stretching under an area that encompasses almost 3,000 km2.The natural limits to this aquifer are imposed by the Tinto River and the impermeable outcrops of blue Miocene marls, which coincide roughly with the route of the Seville-Huelva Motorway to the north and west; and to the east and south-east by the Guadiamar River and the rising waters from Quaternary rock that surrounds the marshes; and by the Atlantic Ocean to the south.The depth of

The balance between sea and continental waters has been dynamic, with shifting boundaries between the different water masses in their varying salinity, chemical composition, suspended matter, temperature, origin and persistence. Water that varies in its regime and salinity, either connected to or separated from other water masses, make up a varied mosaic of contrasting habitats, the foundation of the extreme bio-diversity of this territory. The photograph shows the mouth of the River Guadalquivir, with Pinar de las Marismas pine forest on the left and in the Park, and the salt pans of La Algaida Nature Area on the right at the far end. Photograph: CENEAM files.


the aquifer gradually increases from the north, where it is just a few metres deep, to over 220 metres in the South, under the marsh sediments. The impermeable base on which the permeable sediments rest is made up of a powerful formation of Miocene blue marls, whose ceiling gradually descends as we move from north to south, from about 50 m above sea level, to about 250 m below sea level on the southern border of the coastal strip. Most of the natural charge of the unit occurs by direct filtration of rainwater falling in the areas in which the water table is free and much less of it produced by surplus irrigation water. Concerning the character of the permeability of these materials in facilitating the flow of groundwater, it can be seen that there is also a clear north-south variation. The areas at the edge and under the marshes are far more permeable than the northernmost zones, where there is a higher proportion of silt material and the water is transported more slowly. For this reason, the largest drawings of groundwater currently in operation are concentrated around El Rocío and all along the edge of the marshes.The amount of water drawn up artificially from the aquifer is similar to the amount discharged naturally. The increase in extracting groundwater, which has affected the water table to such a degree, arose from the development mindset of the seventies, when the great irrigation strategy of the AlmonteMarismas Plan was conceived.The plan appeared in 1971 as a result of declaring the creation of the Almonte-Marismas irrigation zone to be a programme in the national interests. It covered an area of

The influence of rising water discharging from the water table to the surface is key to the survival of many of the outstanding ecosystems and landscapes of Doñana. We can see that discharges on the southern shore and within inter-dune valleys or corrales, have allowed the formation of temporary pond, characteristic of this environment. The picture shows a view of one wooded corral beyond a dune in the foreground. Pinus pinea dominates tree cover in dune corrals. Photograph by Cipriano Marín.


45,940 ha in the provinces of Huelva and Seville, which meant practically the entire immediate ring of land around Doñana. Since then, the aquifer has been studied in greater depth and new protection instruments have been arbitrated for the Doñana National Park and Nature Park, and so the zone that can be irrigated has been successively restricted, until now, at only 6,000 ha. Most of the water extracted from the water table is now used for growing rice. Moreover, there is another important event for the management of groundwater resources that must be taken into consideration. It occurred on the 1st of January 1986, when the Water Act came into force, proclaiming all waters, be they surface or underground waters, as public property, although the transitory provisions do recognize the private ownership of the groundwater that were being exploited before this date. Even in this case, if the owner wished to increase the amount of water they draw up, or if they wish to modify conditions of use of the water, they would need a formal administrative concession covering the entire usage, which is of great importance for both the present and the future management of the waters of Doñana. This exception has created problems that have been identified, for example, in the Aznalcazar Marsh and more specifically on the Hato Blanco and Hato Raton estates. Large volumes of water are drawn up from the aquifer to irrigate rice, leading to the formation of a cone-shaped depression in the phreatic layer. This has grave consequences for the region where rice growing occurs in the north of the Marshes, and especially at Coto del Rey. The influence of rising water discharging from the water table to the surface is key to the survival of many of the outstanding ecosystems and landscapes of Doñana.We can see that discharges on the southern shore and within inter-dune valleys or corrales, have allowed the formation of temporary ponds, characteristic of this environment. To the east, in a lowland strip called La Vera, formed by a sandy rib running around the Marshes, the water table allows emerging water in the depressions, creating ponds, like El Hondon and El Sopeton, and springs from which some of the canals that drain to the marshes flow. Further north, between El Rocío and the old Santa María stream (Arroyo de Santa Maria), near Almonte, there was a string of seasonal ponds that were also fed by springs arranged in a network that discharged into the right bank of the Partido stream (Arroyo del Partido) until the mid 20th century. Unfortunately, they have all disappeared because of the agricultural transformation caused by the abovementioned Almonte-Marismas Plan (part of Sector II).The last few ponds dried up in the year 1987. Another important area of springs is El Abalario, in line with the Rocina stream (Arroyo de la Rocina) and south of it, running along a small tectonic step, with a string of ponds, in an area reaching to

The impermeable nature of the clay silt that covers the Doñana depression guarantees the permanence of water for long periods of time. The plain is only interrupted by small elevations almost imperceptible to the payperson, known as paciles and vetas, and dotted with water-filled depressions, caños, lucios and quebradas, that form a subtle hydrographical network. Small variations in water level allow for a wide variety of environments to be housed in the Marshes. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

the Matalascañas-Mazagon road which gets flooded during heavy rainfalls. Dozens of small springs and seasonal ponds appear here too, with tributaries that feed the "algaidas" (creeks of sand areas) and flow into the Rocina stream from the right bank. There is another interesting unfolding of events the El Abalario area. The regular input of waters with a low mineral content from the aquifer has led to the creation of peat bogs.The largest flood plain is the chain of ponds called Laguna de Ribetehilos, which has been restored and at times of heavy rain, covers a large area. To the west of Doñana, on its detrital formations, there are three interesting ponds, which are protected areas: Laguna de Las Madres, very close to Mazagon, and what are known as Laguna Grande and Laguna Pequeña de Palos, the latter two closer to the Park. Laguna de las Madres, practically destroyed by the human greed of the 1960s, forms the last part of the Avitor stream and is fed with waters with low mineral content from the water table.The most interesting aspect of this pond lies in the formation of a peat deposit in the flooded basin. Pollen studies of the peat deposits have provided a record of vegetation over the last 6,000 years. In general terms, these studies indicate that there have not been any changes in the species identified, but rather variations in abundance

shown by fluctuations in climate and by expansions and reductions in the size of water surface. Unfortunately, the dense gallery vegetation and part of the abundant peat deposits have been exploited, hence, diminishing the ecological interest of Las Madres. The two Palos ponds, also connected to the water table, occupy eroded depressions in the detrital formations, their drainage impeded by wind blown sands. Although they have lost their original dense shoreline vegetation, they still offer extensive surface areas of water, and they act as suitable wetlands for vertebrate water fauna. If we change our perspective again and superimpose a map of the major differences in chemical composition over this extraordinary range of groundwater inputs, we see a significant diversity in water environments.We would find springs with an extraordinary range of pH values (1.9 to 9.6), or with different concentrations of several elements such as N, P, Mg, Ca, Fe, Cu, Mn and others. It has been discovered that the characteristics of the water that feeds the Doñana springs may depend on depth. Mineralization may increase with depth, although human influence appears to be a commanding factor. On the surface, mineralization is low and very irregular. If the location is favourable for discharging from greater depths, the water that rises has a higher mineral content and rises at a more


Although not so obvious at first sight, the role of the groundwater is extremely important, providing vital sustenance to the animal and plant life in times of low rainfall. The picture shows a temporary pond in a corral slack, between active dunes. Photograph: CENEAM files.

regular rate. So different water bodies under the influence of the same multi-year water cycle may respond differently, i.e. annual flooding, flooding in certain years, continual drop in the water table level under the basin. It is clear how this water narrative shows us its incredible capacity for creating diverse niches of life, before it even surfaces.

THE CHANGING FLOW OF WATERS THROUGH THE DOÑANA MARSHES Having lost their former tidal influence, the variable water surfaces that dot the most outstanding landscapes of Doñana depend almost entirely on the input of rain waters and the overflow from the rivers and streams that converge on the great trough of the Marshes. The low permeability of silts that form their foundation guarantees that the waters will remain for long periods of time.The landscape is only interrupted by small elevations known as paciles or vetas, flat depressions (lucios) and river beds (caños, quebradas) that perform as a subtle hydrographical network.These small variations in the water level cause a variety of environments that can be seen in the zones of pools, ponds, pans, and channels. The great marsh plain has always been subjected to a variable flooding regime, which has depended on rainfall and the flow of watercourses draining into the Marshes. The flood process starts slowly and evolves progressively between October and November and under natural conditions, the Marshes continue to fill until water level reaches the heigth of the levee or right embankment of the Guadalquivir River, in the area known as Las Salinas and Los Rompidos. This acts as a natural overflow, channelling the excess waters into the estuary of the Guadalquivir River, "Wadi al-Kabir" or Great River or as it was called by the Arabs.This was how the maximum flood levels were regulated and the spatial limits to the


non-floodable marsh ecosystems were set - areas of exceptional value as refuge for the terrestrial wildlife in times of major flooding. The flooding phase lasts through until March or April, which is normally when a balance is struck between water inputs and evaporation / transpiration. From this time on, water loss through evaporation and transpiration leads to a progressive drying out of the marshes until the annual cycle is completed. The input of surface waters, before the hydraulic developments began in the mid 20th century, guaranteed this cycle, with areas remaining flooded well into summer, or even all year round. But to gain a more detailed insight of how the water cycle works in the Marshes and the effects of the changes that have occurred, one has to understand the character the varying inputs of surface waters and their different systems. The contribution made by rainfall is determined, in broad terms, by an annual average rainfall of 575 mm, which, on average, is distributed as follows: 20% in spring, 5% in summer, 35% in autumn and 40% in winter. The autumn rains are generally torrential while in spring and winter they are produced by frontal perturbations with a lower intensity. With regard to river and stream input, consideration must be given to the fact that the Doñana Marshes have always been covered by a complex hydrographical network formed by branches of the Guadalquivir and Guadiamar rivers and the La Rocina, Los Sotos, El Ajolí and Las Cañadas streams. One of the major contributions comes from the Guadiamar River, which stems from beyond the Doñana aquifer system, and which has a much greater catchment basin than the other sources of surface water, except for the Guadalquivir River itself.The Guadiamar River is the final tributary feeding into the Guadalquivir River on the right hand bank before the river mouth. Until mid XX century, its basin was

the main hydrological sub-system that flooded the Doñana marshes. It is still one of the few unregulated river complexes of the Andalusian hydrographical system. Inputs from the branches of this river account for over half the input of water into Doñana. For an average year, it was estimated at 225 hm3/year. Its high inter-annual irregularity must be emphasised, comparing the 19 hm3 debit for the year 1982/83, or the extremes of 724 hm3 in 1962/63 .This water feeds in through the Guadiamar channel (Caño Guadiamar), basically during winter rises in the water level, or through the Travieso channel (Caño Travieso). The inputs from this latter stream normally used to be fresh water, although it was able to feed in brackish water in late summer because of the influence of the tides and the connection with Torre Branch (Brazo de La Torre). Moreover, from a broader perspective, the layout and geographic situation of the Guadiamar basin turns this watercourse into the most important corridor connecting Doñana's coastal ecosystems with those of the Western Sierra Morena, specifically the Sierra Norte and Sierra de Aracena ranges. Another major component of the input that defines the surface hydrological system is that of the fresh waters from the Rocina stream and its tributaries.They are notably supported by contributions from groundwater draining out of Doñana's aquifer. Oddly, this system provides relatively regular flows throughout the year, although the average annual contribution shows a pronounced fluctuation, ranging from 1.5 hm3 in cycles of drought to a maximum of 73 hm3 recorded in 1995/1996, the period of highest rainfall and flooding on record in Doñana in the last thirty years. However, the regulation of this intricate and delicate hydrological network was to be radically transformed. Some areas of the former marshes had already been dried out and used as grazing pastures for livestock by the end of the 18th century.Walls and locks were to be used to control the flooding of the low lying areas, letting in fresh water from the estuary during the "botamentos" (fllodings during very high tides), to promote the growth in the Marshes of grass and macrophytes for livestock consumption. But the most profound transformations in the hydrological regime took place in the second half of the 20th century, basically by two actions: the draining of the Marshes to convert them into irrigated farmland and rice paddies, and the regulation of the Guadalquivir River basin through dam building. Both these changes are closely interrelated, as it was essential to build reservoirs and diversion canals in order to supply irrigation water to the farmlands and rice fields in summer. For example, the Canal de los Presos (Channel of the Prisoners), built by political detainees after the Civil War,was a key project for granting the water supply for farmland irrigation on the left bank of the estuary.The regulation of the Guadalquivir had other clear impacts, such as the dredging of the shipping canal between Sanlucar and Seville thus

favouring one branch of the river over the others, which finally led to their silting up. Another wave of changes was produced at the hands of the development mindset that orchestrated the Almonte-Marismas Plan.This plan had altered basins and extensive marshlands and the functionality and layout of the channels and branches of the Guadalquivir, such as the Torre Branch. At the same time, the digging of deep wells lined with steel and the use of submerged electric pumps had a profound effect on the functioning of the aquifer4. And so the goalposts of Doñana's hydrological system were permanently shifted. It triggered processes to accelerate, disturbing a centuries-old balance. The most important interventions in recent decades that have changed the original way these wetlands were arranged and their most significant consequences can be summarized as follows: - The transformation of tidal marshes into reclaimed land (polders) for rice growing on the right bank (55,000 ha) and for irrigation crops (10,000 ha) on the left bank.

FIGURE 2 In the image, the original Doñana network has been superimposed over the survey and the satellite photograph (Landsat-5), highlighting the former rivers and streams that flowed into the Marshes. The system is bounded to the right by the River Guadalquivir. The current flood area of the Marshes has been coloured in, bounding to the south on the dune system and Torre Branch (Brazo de la Torre) in the confluence with the Guadalquivir, and to the north by the town of El Rocío. Also clear is the bordering flood corridor known as the Encauzamiento Guadiamar. The most significant lucios, or depressions, in the Marshes area have been highlighted. The watercourses marked within this zone are locally known as caños. Following the coast line to the west, a major pond complex has come about, running from the edges of the Doñana Marshes, along a strip between the Rocina stream, Arroyo de la Rocina, and the coast. The El Abalario pond complex and the peri-dune ponds of Doñana make up a diverse and rich wetland system.


The image, built up from a Digital Surface Model developed for the Doñana Marshes, clearly shows the subtle network of the hydrographical system. The intersection of the two channels, Caño Madre de las Marismas and Caño Guadiamar, can be seen on the left, both of which converge into a channel known as Caño de Brenes. On the right, the Travieso channel can be clearly seen, and at the bottom, the Lucio de los Ansares. The scale gives a clear idea of how the slight variations in the terrain define the particular hydrological system of Doñana..


0 Elevation (m a.s.l.)

Since the earlier tidal influence has been lost, the variable water surfaces that create the Do帽ana landscapes now depend almost exclusively on the input of water from rains and floodwaters of the rivers and streams that flow into the great trough that is home to the Marshes. In this picture, water is leaving the Marshes for the estuary by the Old Cherry canal during a period of flooding (note the muddy waters and near-full canal). Photograph: CENEAM files.

- The draining and desalination of mainland marshes on the right bank (10,000 ha), under the auspices of state promoted projects and private initiatives, forming a fringe of transformed areas around National Park marshes. - The regulation of the Guadalquivir River basin with 52 large dams.The winter maximum floods (bujarretes) have disappeared and the maximum river flow is now in late summer. This flow is wholly controlled by River Authority (Confederaci贸n

Hidrol贸gica del Guadalquivir) and it is aimed at maintaining low salinity (under 4g/l) waters in order to use them to irrigate rice paddy fields. - Major flash flooding has diminished or been reduced excessively by the headwater irrigation trenching. So inputs to the Guadalquivir when these would have coincided with high tides have been reduced. - The construction of drainage canals and retaining walls to pro-


The image shows a reproduction of an early meteorological record entry of 1888, an exceptionally wet year. To the early decades of the 20th century the inhabitants of Doñana district faced the challenge of the changing waters: cycles of floods and droughts, storms, overflowing of the streams and the major floods of the Guadalquivir River. An extract from Murray's narrative gives us a good idea of this view: "The Guadalquivir… when it reaches Seville, gradually casts off its fine clothing until it becomes little more than an enormous canal that winds across the great plain; when the steamer we are travelling in rounds its bends, one after another, the spectacle that opens before our eyes is far from picturesque, and the only living thing to be seen are the vast herds of bulls that graze on its banks. And these animals are walking on treacherous ground, as they are just a few palms above the water level, and, therefore, exposed to frequent floods that carry them away, as happened to thousands of head of cattle in the winter of 1837, when the incessant rains swelled the flow of the "great river" in a way that the inhabitants of its banks had never seen before. It was not only these pastures that were underwater, the entire countryside around Seville was turned into a wide sheet of water with isolated villages sticking up above the water here and there; not even the city escaped the catastrophe, as all the neighbourhoods close to La Alameda were flooded and impassable for several days." Source: R.D.Murray. 1849 The Cities and Wilds of Andalusia. 2 vol. R. Bentley Ed.

tect crops from the flash flooding of the Guadiamar, the Torre Branch (Brazo de La Torre), the Cigüeña and Partido streams (Arroyo de la Cigüeña and Arroyo del Partido) and the River Guadalquivir.This has led to a fragmentation of water resources. - The decline in the tidal function of the Torre Branch since the turn of the century.This was a consequence of building the regulation reservoirs mentioned above, together with the digging and dredging work carried out in the River Guadalquivir to facilitate shipping.This aspect is especially worrying because of the repercussions it has on fish life. - The loss of functionality of the Guadiamar and Travieso channels. The first case came about in 1955 when diversions to the Guadiamar River were constructed in order to clean up the land for later cultivation.Then, the Travieso channel lost its connection when they converted Caracoles estate to polders in 1969. In this way, waters were prevented from continuing to flood former marshes (Marisma Gallega, Cantarita, Caracoles and Isla Mayor), thus reducing the marshes to a mere one third of their original area. - The transformation of sectors II and III of the Almonte-Marismas Plan, which cleared extensive areas of brush and large areas of forest to the north and east of El Rocío, levelling the land and dig-


ging wells to draw on what were then considered to be inexhaustible water table resources. Private owners fuelled changes, bringing new areas into cultivation, including the rice fields in Hato Raton. In most cases, this has led to falls in water table levels, with springs in depressions drying up and some old "lucios" disappearing. - Concentrating surface drainage in a new canal bordered with walls in the Partido stream, causing erosion in the channel and its banks, an increase in the transport of sands, and the consequent formation of a sandy delta of some 300 ha that now covers part of the National Park Marshes in the proximity of the village of El Rocío. - Planting of eucalyptus groves in areas of what is now the Nature Park. This has provoked an increase in transpiration and falling water table levels in zones like El Abalario, which has led to the drying out or shrinking of the local ponds. Ribetehilos pond is a clear example of this, with a drastic decline of aquatic resources and clean spring water. - Extracting water from the water table to supply new settlements, such as Matalascañas tourist resort. Cones of depression resulted, which penetrate into the National Park and can be felt as far as Charco del Toro. In the same way, the extraction of groundwater in the municipal districts of Almonte, Hinojos and Vilamanrique have caused a general fall in water table levels in the Nature Park and the surrounding area.The level has fallen by as much as 20 m in Villamanrique (NE of the Park). Faced with this situation, it would be worth considering the obvious: the changes that have been wrought on many wetlands through the pressures of human activity over time, is causing them to shift towards a new scenario. In relative terms, this is a different and sometimes equally as diverse and valuable scenario. In fact, very

The Fernandina Cut (Corta Fernandina) was made in 1816, isolating the Torre Branch (Brazo de la Torre) from the Guadalquivir and, therefore only receiving water inputs from the Guadiamar River. The picture shows the drawing of this canal at the time, opened at the Island called Isla Menor by the Compañía de Navegación in 1816. Source: Port of Seville Archives.

FIGURE 3 The great Marsh plain has always been subjected to a variable regime of flooding that depends on rainfall and the flows provided by the watercourses that feed into it. The flooding process starts slowly but surely between October and November, and, in natural conditions, the Marshes continue to fill until they reach the high water line defined by the lowest area of the right levee or bank of the Guadalquivir, at the area known as Las Salinas or Los Rompidos. The sequence of images, according to the Digital Surface Model, shows us how the flooded areas evolve, depending on the level reached by the water in the flooding-draining process, providing an excellent tool for studying and zoning the different aquatic ecosystems. The water mass that fills corresponds with the Lucio de los Ansares.


The changes induced in many wetlands by the pressure of human activity, has pushed them toward new scenarios, scenarios that are different and in some cases flourishing with new forms of diversity. But, most of the changes in the hydrological system carried out between 1950 and 1980 can no longer be justified from any perspective. Alleviating the effects makes up an important part of the new challenges facing the hydrological restoration of Doñana, as these have now translated into specific initiatives like the Doñana 2005 Project and the Guadiamar Green Corridor. In the image, flamingos are seen in the marshes. Photo by José María Pérez de Ayala.

few marshland areas are now in a strictly "natural" state. Nevertheless, most of the changes listed go beyond this abstract threshold.They cannot be justified any longer.We have abandoned the development whims of the past and the historic mistakes caused by scientific ignorance of the biological legacy the area is home to. This is the context, the new challenge and the basic work to do in restoring the water cycle in Doñana. It has begun translating into initiatives like the Doñana 2005 Project and the Guadiamar Green

A view of the Santa Olalla pond. It is the largest pond in the dune area of Doñana. Its variable regime is clearly shown by its desiccation happened several times in the last decades. Nevertheless, in 1624 King Philip IV was hunting in this area on a large boat for the whole day. The mute swan (Cygnus olor) was breeding in this pond until 1750. It is a pesent one of the sites where the white headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) has started breeding again. Photograph by Cipriano Marín.


Corridor. It is not just a question of correcting the effects of historic cultural treatment of our natural heritage; it is simply about cleaning up after the absurd decisions taken in certain decades of the 20th century, with a view to establishing a hydrological basis that will allow the marshes to survive in a dynamic world. In contrasting how the water cycle worked in the recent past when the main rivers and streams draining into the marshes had full use of their free space, we can illustrate with current points of reference. It is enough to highlight some examples of indicator species that have now disappeared completely, or which are seriously endangered by a loss of, or modification to their habitat. In the case of waterfowl, we could mention the great bittern (Botaurus stellaris) that used to maintain a large breeding population that no longer exists because of the disappearance or degradation of large formations of helophyte vegetation; the glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), which disappeared as a breeding species in the 1950s following the disappearance of bulrushes when major transformation of the marshes started, although recovery of this species has now been triggered; the marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), which almost disappeared because of changes to the clear water marsh system; and finally the white headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) that requires the deep waters of certain areas that used to remain flooded for long periods of time. Although less visible, other important changes have taken place in the waters of Doñana.These concern aspects related to water "quality" in the broadest sense of the word, something that has only become a cause for concern in the world of conservation in recent decades, yet it is possibly just as important as the challenges of restoring the natural hydrological functioning of the water systems. A general understanding of these waters, and especially the

influence of these other water properties, is certainly recent. We know that during the 19th century, chemists started to document the major changes in composition and that, later on, with the appearance of microbiology, studies of small aquatic organisms began. Limnology combined physics and biology to understand how different water masses work and, in the 20th century, integrated responses to the effects of human intervention were first offered. Applying molecular techniques to identify micro-organisms has recently revealed an astonishingly diverse panorama of life. Old species are made up of a multitude of lines that differ widely in their activity, production of toxins, smells and irritant molecules. Advances in analysis, in turn, providing access to concentrations of less than 1 ppb, are now discovering compounds that have come from drugs like female hormones, beta-blockers, anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics, cosmetics like ceramides and cleansing products like tensio-actives in our waters, apart from the weed killers and pesticides that we already know about. Even in these concentrations, some of these molecules have been shown to have harmful biological effects. We are, therefore, entering a scenario of an ecological mutation in aquatic resources, caused by chemical changes and by the introduction of biological species and strains from other areas. Almost the entire drainage network is affected by these kinds of impacts, as pollutant substances are used in all human and agricultural settlements, including those in the Doñana area. All of this forces us to take a broader view of the management of Doñana, a view that encompasses the basins. For even if we resolved the main aspects of the ecological restoration of the surface waters, the invisible effects on the quality of the Doñana's water sources would persist. A sample of data and events show how far we still have to go to strike a harmonious balance with an ecosystem as exceptional as Doñana: - The urban spread represented by the Matalascañas tourist resort, set in the very borders of the National Park and with summer peaks of 175,000 inhabitants, generates a large volume of wastewater that affects the shoreline at this time of year. However, in recent years these affects have been resolved since the installation of a wastewater treatment plant, including tertiary treatment that might meet the demands of golf-course irrigation. - The growth of Almonte, and to a lesser extent Rociana and the disastrous state of its collectors and the wastewater treatment plant, mean that the Santa Maria stream, that later changes its name to El Partido stream, receives raw wastewater or halftreated spills that contaminate it before passing on these effects to the marshes of the National Park.

Ship navigating on the River Guadalquivir seen from the Doñana Marshes. Photograph kindly provided by the Seville Port Authority.

- Discharges from Villamanrique into the Cigüeña stream (Arroyo de la Cigüeña) and urban and industrial waste from Pilas, Aznacazar, Hinojos, and Sanlucar la Mayor, with little or no treatment, still reach the Guadiamar River today. The river also still suffers spills of brine, oil press dregs and untreated urban effluent. - The Aznacollar mining basin, exploited almost since early times but far more intensely from the 18th century on, has accumulated a large volume of slag.This has sustained profound long-term levels of contamination at the head of the Guadiamar River, via the Agrio tributary. Its acid waters which, in times of low water contain dissolved metals, have been documented in the mid stretch of the Guadiamar River since the 1970s3. But a new phase

This orthophoto shows us part of the advancing dune system, interrupted by the green strips of the "corrales". The marsh is practically dry. Beyond the sands of wandering dunes we can observe a green-coloured area of sands saturated by the water springing from the aquifer, which are covered of woody vegetation. In a different colour, on the bottom-right, the El Hondón pond, fed by springing water. Orthophoto: Ayesa.


FIGURE 4 Layout of the ponds fed by groundwater in Greater Doñana On the edge of the Marshes, where the caños and lucios are highlighted, peri-dune ponds can be seen, laid out along the sandy rim that borders the flood zone, all of which are integrated within the National Park. To the left, the string of ponds in the El Abalario area can be seen below the stream known as Arroyo de La Rocina. Most of them fall within the Nature Park, where there is a group of peaty ponds that have undergone one of the most interesting restoration operations of recent times in Doñana.

in mining was initiated in 1990, which managed to accumulate nearly 6 hm3 of excess minerals, mostly finely ground pyrites and arsenopyrites, in a pool next to El Agrio. It spilled when the banks of the pool dramatically burst in 1988. - Seville's wastewater treatment is very good, but the Estuary receives the discharges and spills from the towns of Alcalá del Río, La Algaba, Santiponce, Camas, Sanjuán, Gines, El Aljarafe, Coria and La Puebla on the right bank, and from La Rinconda and its industrial estates on the left bank. Moreover, other inland towns, like Utrera and Los Palacios, only partially treat their wastewater, which ultimately reaches the Estuary or its tributaries. This depressing picture means that the last stretch of the Estuary, which forms part of the National Park, is polluted and eutrophicated, creating a strange need to, at least partially, disconnect Doñana from the Guadalquivir. - The first incident of massive waterfowl poisoning was detected in 1970, causing recurrent spates of deaths during summer.The 1972 episode was estimated to have taken 40,000 birds, the 1986 episode 22,000 and there were other less deadly episodes in the 1990s, until measures were taken to collect dead birds and mon-


itor the water mass. The Guadalquivir Hydrographical Authority (Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir) has been systematically monitoring water quality in Doñana since 1989, using its 18-point monitoring network that includes all surface watercourses that affect or feed Doñana, plus other points in the interior of the marshes.An understanding of the water quality data, heightened by the Aznacollar accident, has made it possible to alert the authorities about this new dimension in the management of water resources associated with Doñana, and a wide range of actions has now been implemented.There has been a substantial reduction in the organic pollution recorded in El Partido stream and the Guadiamar River. This has managed to put a brake on the onerous wastewater problem that used to affect the National Park. Nevertheless, in the face of this complex scenario, in which it is essential to admit that even if the main sources of pollution are eliminated, the collateral effects will take a certain time to disappear, Doñana comes up with new surprises, as always. In this territory, certain water masses are still conserved that maintain a pristine composition. This is of great importance for science, as it makes it possible to work on its ecosystems in conditions that no longer exist in the rest of the park.These are the spring waters in the Nature Park and National Park that are fed by the aquifer system, and they do not currently present any evidence of pollution. In this way, the El Abalario ponds in the Nature Park and the 'peridune' ponds of the National Park have become biochemical yardsticks, natural controls of the state of surface waters and every effort must be made towards their conservation.


The first publications on the study of insects in 1971, suggested that the marshes were, in fact, made up of a mosaic of different water masses that varied greatly in depth, duration, mineral content and chemical composition2.Aguilar Amat, Ramírez Diaz and Montes conducted the first numeric analyses of the chemical characteristics of the waters of the Marshes, and, with Antonio Torres, they published an ecological map of the National Park in 1977, a map that is still consulted today3. From a more detailed insight into all water-related aspects, the first attempts at explaining the heterogeneity of the Marshes have been taken, based on hydrological structures that cause the chemical and physical variations in the water. Being such an extensive territory with over 30,000 ha of floodable land, studies of it with traditional instruments advanced very slowly, until recent decades when remote sensors and refined procedures for accurate topographical surveying have become available.

The first interpretation trials, dating from 1977, used satellite images from the Landstat Satellite (then ERTS-1)4, giving a water surface area of 26,000 ha. Sufficiently powerful computer-supported numeric models for making fine numeric simulations in the marshes were not accessible until the 1990s. Hence, topography accurate to the millimetre and numeric flooding models have only been available since early 2004, after the development of a marshes modelling project. This has been promoted since the Do単ana 2005 Project, with the support of the Inter-ministerial Commission of Science and Technology (CICYT). It is feasible that the recent history of water in Do単ana might have been written differently, had we had the means and knowledge that we have now. In 1970, the FAO5 report drew attention to an important aquifer with high quality waters, capable of supporting an extensive irrigation area of sandy soils. In 1971, the AlmonteMarismas Plan was declared a Zone of National Interest with an area of 45,960 ha, 30,000 of which could be irrigated. Sandy soils were brought under the plough by irrigating them with groundwater. The transformation of the marshes grew by way of drying them out and desalinating the soil with deep drains. Grande Covian,

heading the IRYDA project, accepted the task as a crusade against a hostile natural environment, to push back the agricultural frontiers beyond the barren lands of the marshes. In his words, he was "rescuing the marshes and cotos (stable sand dunes)." The plan's proposal took into account the low revenues from the area involved, the climate that was ideal for fruit orchards, and the fact that there were annual inputs into the aquifer (overestimated by 400 hm3). The plan ignored the ecological impacts, despite their clear inclusion in a preliminary report by Herteaux6 (1970). It was mistakenly accepted that the entire local population of farm workers would find employment in the production of the new high-tech crops.The slow implementation of the plan delayed crop production and water extractions until 1980, with some 14,000 ha being prepared for irrigation, of which some 4000 ha were distributed among settlers and their co-operatives, although not all of this land was farmed. On the other hand (and not included in the land area of the plan) the private sector had started farming a larger area of land and the volume of water extracted in 1990 was around 50-55 hm3 per year12. And so, from 1972 onwards, the historic wilderness of Do単ana and its marshes was to suffer anew from the

The inundation of the marshes seen from the satellite. The sequence of Landsat satellite images, taken over several years, clearly shows the water filling of the Marshes. The inundation starts slowly and progressively between October and November, the flooding phase lasting usually until February-March, when equilibrium levels between water intake and evapo-transpiration are reached. Then losses from evapo-transpiration increase, leading to a progressive desiccation of the marshes, followed by the summer drought that close the cycle. Image montage made by Carlos Urdiales.


The Almonte-Marismas Plan represented the 'point of no return' for nature, due to the extensive farming on sands in the area of Doñana which has not ceased expanding and has become more and more mechanised, constantly increasing the extractions of water. The private sector had already created a large, 223 ha, strawberry plantation near Mazagon, with the help of peat taken from Las Madres lagoon, which turned out to be the best agricultural option. Hence, farming that had spread in the eighties to Moguer, Palos and Lucerna, now spreads to the Almonte-Marismas and to Lepe-Isla Cristina to the west of the Odiel River, making Huelva the leading European strawberry producer. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.

interference of this plan - on top of the polderisation that had started in 1918, the stabilization of the dunes with pine trees in 1938, the planting of eucalyptus in 1941 and the urbanization of Matalascañas after 1968. The agricultural trials carried out on the transformed sandy soils produced mediocre results in citric and stone fruits, because, in much of the region, there was a ferruginous base layer just a few decimetres below the surface. This layer tended to cause a small hanging water table, causing puddles to form in the area and preventing roots from growing. But, at the same time, the private sector created a large, 223 ha plantation of strawberry fields near Mazagon, with the aid of peat dug from Las Madres lagoon, which turned out to be the best agricultural option.Thus, the crops that spread to Moguer, Palos and Lucena in the eighties extended to the Almonte-Marismas Plan and to Lepe-Isla Cristina to the west of the Odiel River. At a practical level, the farmers of Almonte, Hinojos and Villamanrique were used to small irrigated fields and orchards, and larger plots for dry land farming, using old-fashioned farming methods like the hoe and animal power. The plots offered in 1980 by the Almonte-Marismas Plan averaged 17.5 ha per family and were mechanized farms, endowed with wells that were equipped with submerged pumps and electricity connections. They were designed for an entrepreneurial mentality in a slick export market, with agricultural services, warehouses and a processing industry. None of these things had existed in the local farming of the time. So, the take-off of these crops was slow in the context of administrative


chaos of the state maintaining ownership of plots of land that were not always farmed, but which did act as collateral to guarantee the loans of their tenants to finance other sectors.After years of neglect, some of the pumps and irrigation systems fell into ruin until the administration took over the debts in the nineties, taking back these plots of land and redistributing them, but this time with deeds of ownership. The private sector created plantations of citric fruits, stone fruit and strawberries outside of the Almonte-Marismas Plan, occupying scrublands or by clearing forests.The entire area of the Palos ponds was occupied, despite being declared a protected area. On the banks of the Odiel estuary, the small Pliocene hills were flattened to fill in the depressions that used to able to fill up as ponds or bogs and cover the tidal marshes.This process of encroachment converted the public domain of shoreline, municipal countryside and woodlands into private plantations, with the support of local authorities and the acquiescence of the public administration. The current intensive farming of Sector II is highly productive, exporting strawberries to European markets, and is now starting to diversify into raspberries, with pilots of garden flowers and plants. The old Sectors I-Villamanrique and II-El Rocío have been restructured and Sector III Marshes have been mostly abandoned. The owners of Hato Blanco have turned an area of sandy soils into rice fields, using groundwater in what could be described as the most incoherent case of farming in the region. The ecological impacts of this profound transformation can be assigned to a range of different processes. Firstly, there is, the destruction of the vegetation cover and soils in the sandy areas (sectors I and II). Then, there is the concentration of the surface drainage network in two artificial canals to replace the Marin channel (Caño Marín) and the Partido stream and preventing them from working as inter-connected water courses connected to the Cañada Mayor to the East, during times of flooding. And finally, there is the draining of wetlands dotted with small canals, pools, temporary ponds and lucios, which used to covered the Guadiamar overflow area and drained into the Travieso channel and the Guadiamar River, joining the Brenes channel (Caño de Brenes) and the Madre de las Marismas, and finally draining into the Torre Branch. A combination of drains and canals with earth banks to confine the floods, have transformed the Guadiamar River and the Cigüeña stream - a tributary on the right bank, into almost rulerstraight watercourses at almost sea level to provide maximum drainage.The upper stretch of the Torre Branch - which ran east, was reduced to nothing, the Guadiamar and Travieso almost disappeared and the Torre Branch was narrowed and filled in.There was an enormous geo-morphological transformation and the old

Doñana marshes lost their water inputs from the Guadiamar River and the Cigüeña, and were cut off from the Torre Branch.The water flowed only along the canals and the great wetland had been broken up into fragments. As the agricultural changes advanced, other impacts made themselves felt: swapping the scrubland, pastures and woodland for farmland, with its power lines, metal fences, wells, huts and rubbish dumps among other things.The increase in the population and the extension of the water supply into Almonte, Rociana and Bollullos increased discharges into the Santa María and Partido streams.The waste from Hinojos, Pilas,Villamanrique and Aznalcazar affected the Alcarayon stream and the Guadiamar River. On top of the urban waste, there was also untreated industrial waste from olive oil plants, wineries, poultry farms, workshops and other installations. Mining activity in Aznacollar produced acid waters with a high metal content that flowed into the Guadiamar River at low waters. Contaminated water invading Doñana began to exceed the selfpurifying capacity of its tributaries. Nature can maintain its balance with human activity for long periods of time, sometimes for centuries. But in some cases, the introduction of new technologies or a major intervention mark a threshold, when nature is forced to sound the retreat before finding a new balance.The Almonte-Marismas Plan represented such a major threshold because it triggered cultivation of the sands in the Doñana area. The process has not stopped expanding and has become more technological and mechanized, extracting increasing quantities of water, generating ever more agricultural waste so that the effects of using agrochemicals are more prominent. Fortunately for conservation, although the Almonte-Marismas Plan was implemented without any consideration given to the environment, at least it was implemented slowly. It was developed during the 'golden decade' of the 70s, at the same time as the National Park was extended (1969-79), in coincidence with the change of political regime in Spain. In 1969, the Decree that created the Park was published in the same issue of the Spanish Official Gazette as the FAO Experimental Plot for future crop trials.And poor administrative co-ordination led to an overlap of some hectares between the park and the plot. Ten years later, the Park was extended at the expense of Sector II, fragmenting it because the Rocina stream was protected, and exploiting the aquifer was brought into doubt. The effects of pumping were revealed in the eighties as alarming, causing concern among conservationists. But sufficient information had become available to discover the actual extent of these effects. The hydrology of the lower Guadalquivir River had been outlined by Vanney in 1970.This was a starting point for hydro-geological studies that linked up with the surface hydrology studies in the reserve and the limnology studies started in 1970 by the

Ecology Department of the Hispalense University in Seville. The Doñagua Project, conducted by the Universities of Granada and Seville, created a piezometric network with impressive continuous recordings.The works of the Institute of Geology and Mining and the CEDEX continued, with isotopic studies of the waters. The Complutense Universities and Catalonia Polytechnic set up new surveys, which were implemented first by the Geological Services of MOPU and later by the Guadalquivir Hydrological Confederation.The National Park ranger service started recording systematic piezometer readings and the surface levels that were to generate data sets and make it possible to analyse the problem quantitatively9. At this time, Professor Ramon Llamas coined the term "daimielisation" (in reference to the problems faced by Las Tablas de Daimiel - Damiel's Tables) for the process of a natural area drying out due to an overexploitation of the aquifer, and the term won wide acceptance, with debates on whether Doñana was indeed facing these circumstances.The water problems vary from one sector to another, according to findings from analyses developed by the team of Josep Dolz of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. In the north, surface flows have been reduced and untreated wastewater is discharged into the Doñana Marshes and the streams. Agricultural water consumption has caused a fall of several metres in Sector III (Villamanrique) and to a lesser extent, some five metres, in Sector II (El Rocío). Concentrating water flows in the Partido stream increases the transport of sands, and a delta is starting to appear over the marshes, next to El Rocío. Channelling the

Prof. Ramon Llamas coined the term "daimielisation" (in reference to the problems faced by Las Tablas de Daimiel, or Damiel's Tables) for the process of a natural area drying out due to an overexploitation of the aquifer, and the term won wide acceptance, with debates on whether Doñana was indeed facing these circumstances. Photograph: CENEAM. Files.


The proposal of the Almonte-Marismas Plan was based on the low rent of the zones for intervention and on the favourable climate for fruit growing. However, the capacity of the aquifer was over-estimated and it ignored the ecological impacts, despite these already being clearly pointed out in a preliminary report by Herteaux in 1970. The image shows a view of a strip of the marshland edge where it meets the sand. Photograph: CENEAM files.

Guadiamar River prevents flooding of the marshes in winter. In his contributions, Benigno Bayán details the steps in the process of hydraulic transformation and J.A. Mintegui describes the changes in the Partido stream regime, after all these complex and necessary interventions to prevent the growth of sandy deltas over the marshes. Finally, wells have been dug on the borders of the park to supply the Matalascañas resort and the depression cones have reached as far as Charco del Toro pond. The accumulated evidence has shown that, since the 1980s, there has been a fall in the deep piezometer readings of the National Park near the areas where water is drawn. Research conducted in this field has allowed us to understand that, between the main aquifer and the surface, there are interspersed water retardants - detrital clay or silt formations, and localised layers of peat and that diminish the vertical flow of the water. This provides the conditions for a surface aquifer, whose discharges are important from an ecological point of view. Studies carried out by Muñoz Reinoso have shown the relations between the levels of the aquifer, the discharges in different topographic situations and their role in the vegetation21. This has re-evaluated the 1975 Gonzalez Bernaldez model of the relationship between topography and scrub composition. On sandy ground, in times of heavy rains, the emergence of spring waters with low electric conductivity spreads to the small depressions.Annual rains, concentrated in autumn and winter, feed the surface aquifer, which then discharges into the extensive depressions. Part of the annual infiltration makes it down to the lower aquifer, the level of which follows a multi-year cycle, feeding ponds and lower zones and the grassland area of La Vera. These waters have a higher conductivity than the intermediate ones and they can reach hyper-saline concentrations.


La Vera, the grassy edge of the Marshes, may receive all three kinds of input after episodes of intense winter rains during wet cycles. The massive discharges flood the edge of the marshes and create watercourses hundreds of metres wide, as in the case of El Martinazo, where the flowing surface area is over a kilometre wide. The marsh sediment of silt and clay is almost impermeable and the upward flow it allows is very weak, except where it emerges in particular clusters, the so-called "Eyes" (Ojos) of the Marshes.The current piezometric decline means that vertical flow has changed direction, and perhaps the surface waters now slowly filter down. During dry cycles, the aquifer levels behave differently. The hydrophytic vegetation and ponds in the National Park that are fed by them show tendencies that vary greatly in time and in chemical composition, affecting the nutrient dynamics and the progression of plankton.The Limnology Group from Hispalense University, headed up by Julia Toja, has done intense research on the peri-dune ponds, the composition of the phytoplankton and zooplankton, the annual fluctuations in nutrients and the effect of the bank vegetation and water run-off on the chemical composition of the ponds. A pioneering article by Ramon Margalef on the plankton of the ponds that addresses this aspect has been included in this book, as a tribute to this great limnologist.This intense work has produced a classifying system for water masses in the sandy substrate of the National Park, as well as long data sets on the ponds of Santa Olalla, Dulce,Taraje, Zahillo,Verde, Charco del Toro and Las Pajas. Other authors have studied different aspects of the ponds, like the sediments and water balance, macro-invertebrates and the submerged macrophyte vegetation.Apart from the peri-dune ponds of the National Park, the ponds of El Abalario, located in the Nature Park, have been studied by Pablo Garcia Murillo and his group, comprising another set of facts that have attracted scientific attention. Obviously, the Marshes themselves have also been studied in depth. For example, El Lucio del Cangrejo is the object of a multi-disciplinary study that began in 2003. This includes the study of macroinvertebrates, waterfowl, fish and shoreline vegetation. Hydro-geological evidence and a large part of all the scientific work done demonstrate that conserving the diversity of Doñana and the flows of the surface water masses cannot be separated from maintaining the aquifer in close to natural conditions. So water extraction has to be reduced to levels that will guarantee the sustainability of the ecosystems, whilst at the same time the chemical composition must be monitored to ensure that this is not altered by discharges or pollutants. In 1992, the "Ruling of the International Commission of Experts on the Sustainable Development of Greater Doñana"13 proposed reducing the level of water extractions and to maintain them at a level of 55-60 hm3/year, a target that has yet to be reached.

The geomorphological evolution of Doñana FIGURE 1


eology tells its tale within a framework of millions of years and Doñana is, geologically speaking, just a bird passing in flight. Its origins date back only six thousand years while its present appearance goes back only about two thousand. Doñana is nothing more than a large estuary that was formed during the last rise in sea level, the same general level that still exists today, and which determines the wetlands' maximum sheet of water. Since then, the deep estuary of the Guadalquivir River has been filling with the sediments brought by river floodwaters, by tides, and by Atlantic currents and storms, as well as the sands blown by the winds in the form of dunes.This slow but continuous work the different environments that we now know and enjoy. * Professor of External Geodynamics, Department of Geodynamics and Palaeontology, University of Huelva, Spain.


Strabo, the famous Roman historian, wrote of the existence of two mouths to the Guadalquivir River, with an inland lake (Lacus Ligustinus) from which two channels flowed to the sea. Between the channels was, according to oral tradition, an island on which a city with the same name as the river was situated,Tartessos, the capital city of a mining and trading emporium located in the south-eastern lands of the Iberian Peninsula; the kingdom of the legendary Argantonius (between 630 and 550 BC). The geomorphological research carried out in Doñana and the Gulf of Cadiz has allowed us to distinguish up to 5 evolutionary episodes.The three oldest, dating from 30,000 to 2600 BP, are stabilised and cover a large area spreading out towards the interior of the continent. The two most modern (in historical time) are found on the coastal zone, are smaller in extent and frequently overlapping, and comprise the most outstanding dune complexes. In some sectors the dune systems have encroached upon the marshland and eclipse it, in the same way that they are superimposed upon the older dune systems. These dune systems interface with a network of freshwater ponds, of which the Santa Olalla is the most significant, created by the discharge from the water table underlying the dune fronts. The migration of the active dune systems is approximately north-east with a variable rate of movement of 5 m/year. The dune morphology is asymmetric, with a longer leeward slope and aeolian deflation depressions, locally known as "corrales". With regard to coastal barriers, the most outstanding is the coastal stretch of Doñana, on the right bank of the Guadalquivir

Doñana and the Gulf of Cadiz in its early evolutionary stage.


River and La Algaida on the left bank. Both were initially formed by the deposition of beach material, and are disfigured on the most part by the dunes that are encroaching upon the mouth of the estuary. The coastal stretch of Doñana is the large coastal complex of the Gulf of Cadiz; it presents an elongated form stretching 25 kilometres NNW-SSE and is the coastal prolongation of the El Asperillo Sandcliffs. In its morphology it is possible to distinguish several minor episodes of progradation (infilling or accretion towards the interior of the estuary) formed by beach crests and troughs: these are the Marismilla and San Jacinto spits to the far SE of the strand. Dating of these ancient beaches reveals a recent advance of the coast (during the last 2,000 years) of about 2-4 m/year. On the opposite bank of the mouth of the Guadalquivir is the La Algaida spit the coastal prolongation of the Chipiona-Sanlucar de Barrameda section measuring 12 kilometres SSW-NNE. It is completely bordered by marshes which denote its relict character. Although it has undergone subsequent changes, the origins of this sedimentary formation dates back prior to 2500 BP. The coastal systems of this sector of the Atlantic were formed during several phases of coastal advance (Figure 1). The first, established at a regional level, and occurring between 6500 and 4700 BP, the second between 4200 and 2500 BP, the third between 2200 and 1100 BP, and the fourth between 1000 BP and

the present. All advance phases were separated by successive erosion phases. The extensive area situated behind the coastal strands is occupied by fluvial-coastal formations; these are the Guadalquivir marshlands. Sediment accumulation developed progressively as the coastal formations encroached upon the estuary, thus revealing the direct relationship between the two processes. A variety of diverse morphologies resulting from the intense fluvial-tidal dynamics can be distinguished within the marshland. There are oxbow lakes filled in by silting, ancient levees, alluvial fans, and what are known as "vetas". Vetas are sandy spits with remnants of malacofauna, which seem to stem from intensive erosive events, such as storms and tsunamis.The most ancient vetas are the Carrizosa and the Veta la Arena, dating from 4755 BP, while the most recent are La Plancha and Vetalengua, dating from 1808 and 1753 BP. Natural estuarine areas of the type of Doñana are fragile, sensitive to change and transform rapidly. Doñana's landscape evolution, aided by human intervention, tells us that it is currently in a state of advanced maturity, without being old.When old-age does arrive, and it could be very soon, the landscape will change into a wide desiccated coastal plain with no marshlands, upon which the dunes will advance inland.The mouth of the Guadalquivir will be completely fluvial, with scant tidal influence and will advance into the sea creating a deltaic point that will shift slowly towards the southeast and will join with the Punta del Malandar to the west, and with the coast between Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Chipiona to the east, transforming the present appearance of the territory. This prediction of the evolution of Doñana is common to nearly all tidal estuaries, and it should proceed thus, excepting human modifications that, almost surely, would accelerate the siltation processes of the Doñana Marshes. The future management of Doñana National Park and its surroundings, perhaps the area most sensitive to change of all Spanish coasts, will be debat-

The migration of the active dune systems is approximately north-eastern with a variable rate of movement of 5 m/year. The dune morphology is asymmetric, with a longer leeward slope and aeolian deflation depressions, locally known as "corrales". Photgraph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


ed between two models: that of its siltation and natural transformation into a dry coastal plain, and that of the gradual encroachment of the sea and coastal recession owing to the rise in sea level brought about by climate change. Society must take into account that this unique area of nature is geologically ephemeral and that its permanence should be achieved through human measures under strict scientific control; decisions of any other nature would not be beneficial towards conserving Doñana in a state similar to its present condition.

Natural estuarine areas of the type of Doñana are fragile, sensitive to change and transform rapidly. Doñana's landscape evolution, aided by human intervention, tells us that it is currently in a state of advanced maturity, without being old.

The “Flecha de Doñana”, an arrow-shaped, 25 km-long coastal strand, is the prolongation of the El Asperillo sandcliffs. The image shows a partial view of the “Flecha” close to the Marismillas pine grove, where the Visitor Centre of the National Park is located. Photograph: Paisajes Españoles S.A.


Coto del Rey Palace. Do単ana. Photograph: CENEAM

The Doñana aquifer and M M E its relations with the natural environment ARISOL


he district of Doñana contains a large sedimentary aquifer, convening an area of about 3400 km2, that is of outstanding environmental and human importance, as groundwater plays an essential role both in the generation and maintenance of a wide variety of ecologically important natural habitats, and in the subsistence and development of a population that depends almost entirely on this groundwater for their domestic water supply and for crop irrigation.The formerly Aquifer 27 and now Aquifer 05-51 + 04-14 in the catalog of the Geological Survey of Spain (IGME), is officially known as the Almonte-Marismas Hydrogeological Unit, and in practice simply as the Doñana Aquifer. From the hydrogeological point of view it is an "aquifer system", that is, a set of spatially and hydraulically interconnected units of different origin and ability for storing and transmitting water. It is comprised of Pliocene (between 5 and 2 million years old) to Quaternary (less than 2 million years old) sediments, deposited in the Guadiana-Guadalquivir rivers arc, over a thick (exceeding 2000 m in places) substrate of Miocene (between 24 and 5 million years old) blue marls, which acts as an impermeable base to the aquifer throughout its extension. Most of the permeable sediments are unconsolidated, fine grained ones that were deposited in fluvialmarine (coastal, alluvial, aeolian, estuarine, tidal) sedimentary environments.The aquifer system thickness varies spatially, from a maximum in the south-east (>300 m under the Marshes, near the coast), to less than 100 m in the south-west (El Asperillo-El Abalario), and to the north it ranges between 10 and 50 m thick. Recent geological studies and works still in course65 explain the aquifer geometry and its hydrological characteristics as a function of the environments in which it was formed and of the processes that led to the accumulation of the sediments. Figure 1 shows the main geometrical and structural features: - A layer of silts, loams and fine sands of deltaic origin, aged between the Pliocene and the Pleistocene, was gradually deposited over the Miocene blue marls and the clayey-sandy sediments that cover them (Deltaic Unit in Figure 1; which corresponds to the Basal Silts and Basal Sands of older studies) (IGME, 1982). These sediments

* Technical University of Cartagena, Spain. ** Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain.




were contributed by the Pliocene fluvial network with its headwaters in the high relief of what is now Sierra Morena, to the north of Doñana.This Deltaic Unit is more developed to the north of the aquifer than to the west.To the south-east, under the marshes, the sediments become finer and less permeable and, therefore, from a hydraulic point of view they are considered part of the impermeable substrate of the aquifer. - Beneath the marshes, the upper part of the Deltaic Unit is replaced by alluvial gravel layers deposited between the Pliocene and the Quaternary (Alluvial Unit in Figure 1).The Alluvial Unit lies mainly under the marshes, where its thickness is up to about one hundred metres; its lateral extension is limited and to the south it is interspersed with layers of much finer sediments (sands, silts and clays) of marine platform and estuarine origin; they disappear before the present day coast line.The Alluvial Unit is covered by a fairly uniform layer (50 to 70 metres thick) of Quaternary silts and Soil CO2 sampling in a naturally vegetated area of the wind-blown sands, to determine carbon isotopic composition in the aquifer recharge area. The amount of carbon14 dissolved in groundwater allows a reasonable estimation of water' residence time in the ground. Photograph by Emilio Custodio.

clays of estuarine and tidal origin ("Marismas" Unit in Figure 1), and it is separated from the present sea shore by the coastal eolian sand spit of Matalascañas-Malandar, also dating from the Quaternary Age. - In the south-west sector of the aquifer the Deltaic Unit is far less developed (less than 15 metres thick) and the Alluvial Unit seems to be absent, at least in the form of gravel deposits. A thick sedimentary deposit (between 20 and 80 metres) of medium-grain sand, coming mainly from the continental shelf and the shoreline relief of the Algarve-Huelva coastline, accumulated over the Deltaic Unit. Although it is called the Aeolian Unit (Figure 1), these sands have different origins: the deepest layers originated in a submerged


FIGURE 1 Regional geology and geometry of the Doñana (or Almonte-Marismas) aquifer. PLIO-C PLIO-Q CUATERNARIO QUATERNARY UM Unidad de Marismas.Arcillas UE UMUnidad Marsh Eólica.Arenas Unit. Clays UD Deltáica.Unit. LimosSands UE Unidad Aeolian UM Unida UD Deltáic Unit. Silts UD Deltáic Unit. Sands UA Alluvial Unit. Sands and gravels Alluvial deposits of the Guadiamar River


TERCIARY (Miocene) MA Blue marls Sands and silts

Lucio (permanent shallow pond) River, stream National Park limit Natural Park limit

beach, the intermediate ones in an emerged beach and also from alluvial deposits, and the shallower ones have been wind borne.Actually, most of these sands have been re-worked throughout the local geological history, shifting from one sedimentary environment to another in later times.The upper layers, deposited by the wind during different dune episodes in the course of the Quaternary41, form what is known as the Do単ana Coastal Aeolian Mantle42,43, the second largest aeolian mantle in western Europe, covering an area of some 400 km2. Interlayered with these sands there is a layer of marine clays that stretches from El Abalario village to the east to connect with the clays of the marshes.This is the result of an old westwards pulsation of the shoreline and, from a hydrogeological point of view; it differentiates the upper sands, which act as a water-table aquifer, from the lower ones, which behave as a semi-confined aquifer53. On a regional scale these Pliocene-Quaternary sediments, as a whole, create two perfectly differentiated hydrogeological areas, although they are side by side without a break and hydraulically connected: 1. The sands, which cover the entire western sector from the Tinto River valley to the Guadalquivir River marshes, stretch north to Villamanrique de la Condesa and reach the Guadiamar River valley. This river valley separates the Do単ana aquifer from the Aljarafe aquifer (see Figure 1).The sands are the outcrop of the permeable materials of the aquifer system, and acts as an impluvium to aquifer recharge from rain water. Until about 10 years ago, the whole sand sector was considered a single water-table aquifer, but when the Guadalquivir Water Authority (CHG) installed a network of nested piezometric observation stations it was confirmed that although the upper part of the sands and silts contains the water-table, deeper down semi-confined layers can be clearly seen with different piezometric levels due to the three-dimensional flow. This causes upward and downward vertical flows at different spots of the aquifer, which play an important role in generating and maintaining the natural habitats with the constant discharges into them of low mineral-content fresh water on the western edge of the marshes, and also by maintaining the dense phreatic vegetation that thrives in some areas. 2. The marshes, under whose clay sediments the gravels and sands that make up the confined part of the aquifer's permeable sector are found.The clays and silts of the Marisma Unit also are part of the aquifer system, behaving as an aquitard with respect to the underlying more permeable sediments.They contain connate salt water in their pores that has slowly been moved from the time of their formation to the present day, mostly by upward vertical flow to the surface of the marshes51,64.The confined part of the aquifer accounts for some 1800 of the 3400 km2 of the aquifer surface.

HOW THE AQUIFER SYSTEM WORKS The only water source to recharge the aquifer is the infiltration of rainwater falling on the sands. Irrigation surpluses do not produce a net recharge, as irrigation is done with waters drawn from the aquifer itself, but they do modify the quality of groundwater.The scarce surface runoff does not provide much recharge either.The regional water-table (Figure 2a) is a tight reproduction of the terrain topography, with some local modifications due to localised and intensive groundwater extractions.The figure shows that the rivers and streams are lineal groundwater discharges or drains, some of which are permanent and others seasonal. It also shows how the topography favours the formation of a piezometric dome in the western sector of the sands, whose highest altitude (some 60 metres) coincide with the highest topographic heights close to El Abalario village. On a regional scale, most of the groundwater moves south and east from the sands and silts, that is, towards the area where the aquifer becomes confined under the marshes, and towards the shore. On a local scale, part of the groundwater follows other, shorter routes (towards the rivers, streams and lagoons). An old well, close to Don Ignacio house in La Vera. At an earlier time it was a flowing well, at least during the wet season. Nowadays it is not flowing due to the drawdown of the piezometric levels caused by intense groundwater pumping for irrigation of the areas S of La Rocina. Photograph by Emilio Custodio

The south-east sector of the confined aquifer contains a large mass of long residence time water (several thousand years) of high salinity.This is sea water that was trapped in the pores of the sediments at their time of deposition, when the sea level raised after the low stand glaciation, or it is partly evaporated sea water in lagoons or "lucios", and later modified by a series of physical and chemical processes within the sediments55,57.The sea level went up fast about 10,000 years ago, and stabilised some 6000 years ago. This saline water has not been displaced towards the sea by the fresh water flowing from the cropping-out sands over the last few thousand years due to the flatness of the area. The natural discharge of the aquifer system takes place in several ways: into the sea along the entire coastal strip (the springs and seepages of the El Asperillo-El Arenosillo cliff, to the west, are a good example of this, although most of the discharge occurs diffusely along the coast45); into the streams (Las Madres, La Rocina, El Partido, Ca単ada de la Mayor, R鱈o Loro, etc.) and rivers (lower stretch of the Guadiamar and Tinto rivers); along the sand-clay interface to the northern and western bounds of the marshes (ecotone); by direct evaporation from the water-table (this is




Lines with the same phreatic level Elevation of the phreatic level (in metres) above the sea level

FIGURE 2 A) Regional piezometry of the Doñana and Aljarafe aquifers. B) Location of main pumping centres within the aquifer. See geological legend in Figure 1.

favoured by its shallow depth in the western sector); through transpiration of the phreatophytic vegetation (especially in the area between El Abalario and La Rocina and between Los Cotos and the marsh); as linear or diffuse discharges into shallow brooks, and through the discharge, in periods of high levels, of phreatic water to the hundreds of small wetlands (lagoons, vegetated stream belts and small topographic depressions) of different geo-morphological origin to be found on the surface of the Quaternary and Pliocene sands55,56,62,63. A small, poorly known part of groundwater flow may carry on towards the confined aquifer instead of discharging along the sands-clays contact. Once in the confined area, part of this water may discharge onto the marsh surface by means of very slow upward flows through the clays51. Little is known about the possible deep groundwater discharge into the sea and, if it exists at all, it could well be very small, as most of the aquifer under the marshes contains confined salt water.The Matalascañas-Malandar coastal sand spit contains the water-table level of local recharge over the dunes.This shallow groundwater in the dunes discharges towards


the sea shore, and towards the different wetland types to be found in the inter-dune depression strips or "corrales"44. The confined areas have flowing aquifer levels (with a piezometric level that is above the surface height of the terrain), but the possible deep discharge into the sea is difficult to explain, as the fresh water head at the depth of the confined gravels is insufficient to off-set the pressure difference with sea water due to its greater density.This aspect is presently the subject of more detailed studies. This scheme of natural behaviour of the aquifer must have been operative since the last sea level stabilisation, about 6000 years ago70,71, until about 30 years ago. In the last three decades, the natural flow system has been locally modified due to intensive and concentrated pumping taking place just near some of the aquifer natural discharge areas (Figure 2b): along the northern and northwest marsh-clay and sands boundaries (in the proximity of El Rocío and Villamanrique de la Condesa villages), and to the western corner of the aquifer, in the Mazagón-Palos-Moguer sector.The spatial concentration of farmlands has had three effects: 1) a local drawdown of the water-table level and of the deep piezometric levels

(between several centimetres and a few metres); 2) a reduction of the natural discharge, which has been replaced in part by artificial discharge through wells48,61,66,67,68,69 and 3) a local reversal of the hydraulic gradient and of the groundwater flow direction, slowly shifting the saline waters confined under the marshes towards the agricultural pumping centres in the north-east, some of which are slowly salting up. Localised intensive exploitation of groundwater has had a varying impact on the entire aquifer, but at a local scale (around El Rocío, La Rocina, Villamanrique, Palos, Moguer, etc.) it has caused significant natural environment modifications.The most significative ones are the decreased water availability for the phreatophytic vegetation and for the fresh water brooks that sustain much of the wild herbivore population in summer time (Figure 3). Also the hydroperiod (flooding time) frequency of many small wetlands of the aeolian mantle has diminished, changing them from permanent to temporary or from seasonal to inter-annual (Figure 4). Some wetlands have disappeared completely, as can be seen from some local names for places where there are no longer any wetlands54,55,56. The locally intense groundwater extractions to supply towns and tourist resorts (Matalascañas, Mazagón) or for environmental uses (Acebuche) also have a negative effect on the water-table and, therefore, on the water availability to habitats (vegetation, flooding of wetlands)53. Another human action that has made a significant contribution to the appreciable water-table drawdown (of tens of centimeters, and impacting on a kilometric-sized area69) and to the consequent modification to the water processes of many wetlands, was the introduction of foreign plant species (e.g. eucalyptus) that displace native vegetation through their greater accessibility to groundwater with their deeper roots and the corresponding drawdown they produce.This is the case of the El Abalario-La Mediana-La Rocina area, where much of the natural discharge of water-table waters to the Ribetehilos and Mediana wetland complexes, and other isolated lagoons, had completely dried up due to the introduction of eucalyptus trees some fifty years ago. However, the eradication of practically all these trees in the area ten years ago, as part of the Doñana Natural Park restoration plan, has favoured a recovery of much of the original water cycle of these lagoons. The average time that groundwaters remain in the terrain varies over a wide range, depending on the local conditions of each place. From studies of environmental radioisotopes (tritium and carbon 14) in the water, it results that the time for recharge water to reach the water-table from the land surface varies from less than one to a few years; groundwater discharging in the coastal springs of El Asperillo is only a few years old; groundwater regional flows discharging through the coast or through the sand-marsh bound-

aries spends several decades in the ground, and the deep wells under the marshes tap water 1000 to 15,000 years old40,49,55.

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND QUALITY OF THE DOÑANA GROUNDWATER The chemical composition and natural quality of groundwater is the result of a series of inter-related factors such as the geology, climate, topography, biological processes and how the land is used. They combine to give water what is known as natural chemistry baseline or chemical background.The first factor that contributes to the chemical background of an aquifer is the chemical composition of the rain that fails on the aquifer. Rain contributes solutes of both marine and terrestrial origin, as well as gasses in different proportions, depending on where the clouds come from and their spatial trajectory. Once in the ground, evapotranspiration increase the saline concentration of the Discharge of groundwa- water, that will vary from one place to ter to the sea through another. Besides this process, there is also springs and seepages in the El Asperillo cliffs. a series of interactions between the water Photo by Marisol Manzano. and the soil that take place from the moment the rainwater starts to infiltrate.The main processes are: dissolution of soil CO2 into the water during its transit through the soil; precipitation and dissolution of minerals out of and into the water; adsorption of substances initially dissolved in the water on clays, organic matter and iron oxides; ion exchange of some cations initially dissolved for others initially adsorbed on the soil solid surfaces; oxidation-reduction reactions; bio-degradation of some dissolved substances, etc.To understand the chemical reactions taking place between the soil water and the soil solid matrix, and to quantify their contribution to groundwater chemical background, it is crucial to determine the mineral composition of the terrain, the chemical composition of rain water and that of the infiltrating water. The chemical background of the Doñana aquifers, and the processes that originates it, are reasonably well known after detailed studies of the chemical composition of the water and the mineral composition of the terrain at different depths. By way of a summary, on a regional scale the origin and chemical characteristics of groundwater are as follows: - In the unconfined zones of the aquifer, the chemical background of groundwater is controlled by the following processes: the composition of the local rain water, which comes from the Atlantic ocean and is of the sodium-chloride type; saline concentration of soil water produced by evapotranspiration; dissolution of CO2


The area of Doñana is characterised by an extraordinary abundance of wetlands. The geomorphological origin and hydrology of these wetlands varies significantly, but most of them depend on groundwater. Water processes are the main factors controlling wetland behaviour, and therefore, their ecology. The picture shows the western boundary of the flooded marsh seen from La Vera. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

from the soil; chemical equilibrium of groundwater and calcite (CaCO3) in the aquifer layers in the places where carbonates are present (sandy water-table sector to the north of the marshes and the coastal sand spit); chemical equilibrium with silica and feldspars in the layers where carbonates are absent (western water-table sector).As a result, in the western water-table area groundwater is of the sodium chloride type, with low mineralisation and acid pH (between 4.5 and 6), all of which is due to the dominance of the marine aerosol in the recharge water and to the practical absence of easily soluble or hydrolysable minerals in the terrain. In the northern water-table sector groundwaters have a higher mineral content, and they are of the sodium-calcium chloride-carbonate type with clearly alkaline pH values (7 - 8.5) due to the presence of carbonate remains in the sediments. In the sandy spit along the coast pH values are also alkaline, due to the presence of shells remains in the sands, but the water is usually of the sodium-chloride type due to the dominant contribution of marine aerosol to the dunes. - In the transit from the water-table to the confined aquifer, the chemical background of groundwater changes mainly due to groundwater mixing with the old sea water encroached under the marshes. Apart from progressively increasing the salinity of the water under the Marshes, this mixture is accompanied by geochemical processes such as ion exchange of Na for Ca and Mg on the fresh-salt mixing front, sulphate reduction as the ambient becomes anoxic, and local calcite precipitation or dissolution, controlled by temporal and spatial changes in the calcite chemical equi-


librium. The resulting groundwaters have a mineral content that varies between moderate to very high (even higher than the mineral content of sea water), they have no measurable sulphate, may contain methane and, due to the effect of ion exchange with the clays, they are locally harder (excess of Ca and Mg) or softer (excess of Na) than would be expected from a simple mixture, depending on the trend to salinization or to freshening. The clays forming the Marismas Unit also contain pore water that is more saline than the sea water.The high salinity found in the upper 40-50 m of these clays has been explained as the result of sea water evaporating on the Marshes surface, when they behaved as tidal marshes, and of the later downward transport of these salts through the clay pores51,64. In most of the aquifer the chemical composition of groundwater is stable both on a regional and on a local scale. However, in some places of the aeolian mantle, and at a very local scale, shallow groundwater may change considerably its salinity, pH and ion composition, even on a temporal basis. These changes occur mainly near the ponds of Los Cotos area and along La Vera aquifer discharge area. The reason is that, around certain ponds, regional or local groundwater flow systems dominate depending on the season of the year (dry or wet), driven by changes in the hydraulic gradient between the ponds water level and the watertable in the surroundings52,53. Besides the change of scale of the groundwater flow network in the course of the year, major chemical changes occur inside the water of the ponds that are transmitted to the surrounding phreatic water in the terrain. For example, strong evaporation in the dry season causes the precipitation and accumulation of salts (sodium chloride, calcium sul-






FIGURE 3 Simplified sketch showing intensive groundwater pumping effects in the El Rocío and Matalascañas areas. Without pumping activity (natural state, left sketches), water recharge from the sandy area flows towards the deepest of the aquifer and then locally raises and discharges close to La Rocina and the sea. If this state is disturbed by waterpumping (right sketches), both the piezometric level of deeper beds and the water-table in upper sands descend, the hydraulic gradient between them increases, and most flow paths become downward. As a result, the natural discharge to La Rocina and the sea decreases. (Modified from Custodio and Palancar, 1995).


Fine and medium-grained sand

Rain recharge

Gravel and coarse sand


Impermeable o less permeable

Flowing borehole


Free water evaporating

Deep piezometric level

Phreatic transpiration

Flow line

Well pumping

Unsaturated zone

Water level in wells/boreholes

phate and may be calcium carbonate too) in the floodable zones of the wetland basins, often accompanied by a reduction of sulphate into sulphide and the accumulation of reduced sulphur in the sediments of the pond bottom. In the next wet season, a large part of these salts is re-dissolved and transferred to the surrounding local phreatic water along with the sulphur, once again oxidized to sulphate (not in all the ponds), hence modifying the

salinity of groundwater close to the water-table and, eventually, its ion composition. Another frequent process is the dissolution of iron, abundant in Doñana as nodules and as coating of sand grains, when the water redox potential drops and the acidity increases around the abundant peaty soils generated in old and recent lagoon beds.All these chemical changes, which usually occur with the first rains after a long dry period, are fast, and they are trans-


mitted to the phreatic water around the lagoon when the water level of the pond rises higher than the adjacent water-table after a rainy period.These shallow phreatic waters discharge into local depressions in the land surface (other lagoons, streams, channels, edges of the Marshes) after short transit lengths, thus highlighting the changes that have occurred inside or close to the lagoons. The natural vegetation, both the vegetation that depends on the moisture of the ground and the vegetation that depends on phreatic water, has adapted to local groundwater chemistry. So, in the western water-table sector there are vegetal species that are adapted to acid waters with a low mineral content and poor in nutrients; in the northern water-table sector, the scarce remaining natural species are adapted to alkaline waters, but also poor in nutrients, while around the lagoons with high evaporation rates and in the coastal sectors of the aeolian mantle, the vegetation is adapted to saline waters. But the groundwater chemical background above explained is today locally modified by human activity. Thus, in the shallower levels of the sandy unconfined areas (less than 40 metres deep) some products derived from chemicals used in agriculture appear (mainly nitrates, but pesticides, other nutrients, metals used in phyto-sanitary products, etc. can be expected), as well as industrial pollutants (mainly heavy metals that have been air-transported from the industrial area of Huelva -some 30 km to the west-, and perhaps also from the open cast mining activities in the Iberian pyritic belt -some 50 km to the northwest-), which entered the aquifer through the recharge water after rain dissolution of atmospheric dust and gasses49,57.Also, some agricultural wells that The "eyes of the marsh" are localised, small round areas where slow upflowing water, coming from shallow or deep sand beds discharges onto the surface through the clay layers. Photograph by Emilio Custodio.

pump water from the confined layers at a depth of 40-50 metres in the north-east of the Marshes contain agricultural nitrates that have reached well catchment areas, either after percolating through the ground, or by entering directly through the space between the well piping and the ground. All these observations are consistent with the water residence times calculated using the environmental radioactive isotope tritium, which are a few years for the shallower waters, and over 40 years for groundwater deeper than 35-40 metres45. In the confined zones there is no human impact, and groundwater composition corresponds mainly to chemical background.


Although there is little information on water pollution of rivers and streams, existing data indicate that certain substances originating from human activity have reached the protected areas of Doñana. Hence, the streams and rivers that flow towards the marshes from the north carry heavy metals and organic compounds from the local food industry and farming activities (Almonte, Hinojos, Pilas).The source of some of these substances is very close to the protected zones: in the sandy sector southwest of El Rocío, much of the surplus irrigation water, with high sulphate and nitrate contents, and probably containing pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, discharges into small streams coming from the farmland area.These polluted waters end up in La Rocina or in La Vera, both of which are zones of dense vegetation and outstanding ecological value, to a large extent because they are areas in which high quality groundwater discharge after a long residence time underground.


As already said, Doñana is characterized by a great abundance of wetlands.The geo-morphological origin and hydrology of these wetlands is diverse, but most of them are directly dependent on groundwater45,55,59,60. Significant work has already been done on their genetic and hydrological classification, an essential step for managing these wetlands62,63. The main control factor of how these wetlands function, and therefore of their ecology, is their hydrology46.This term encompasses factors such as the water origin in the wetland, how this drains, its hydro-period (flooding frequency and duration), the water mineralisation and its ionic type54,55. As most of the Doñana wetlands are dependent on groundwater, a determining factor of their hydrology is wetlands position in relation to the aquifer regional flow network. Because of the large diversity of local factors there is a wide variety of genetic-hydrological types; but a few main hydrological types can be established, along with their leading characteristics, which, in broad terms, are56: - In the water-table area, where regional recharge takes place, there is an abundance of both permanent and temporary wetlands appearing in the rainy season when the water-table intersects small aeolian, erosive or simply morphological depressions (like the interdune flats) existing amid both the old and the present day dunes. This is due to the fact that, except in the areas in which the aquifer is intensively developed, the water-table is generally shallow and it easily intersects the low topographical features of the terrain. In the dry season, direct phreatic evaporation and the transpiration of the vegetation draws the water-table down to below the land level. In these conditions, intense sporadic rains may accumulate to build up


PERMANENT DISCHARGE TO LAGOONS evapotranspiration precipitation

neutralisation of pollutants evapotranspiration





precipitation water-table

flow (river or stream)

SEASONAL/INTERANNUAL FLOW GENERATION soil erosion and transport of contaminants

precipitation soil erosion and transport of contaminants water-table in wet year/season



evapotranspiration water-table

flow water-table in dry year/season

FIGURE 4 Functioning of the groundwater dependent Doñana's wetlands: water discharge to valleys, streams and small depressions. The above sketch shows water functioning in the most common wetland type in Doñana, comprising water discharges (both phreatic and from deeper beds) to small depressions (ponds) and to valleys and slopes (streams). Under high water-level situations (wet year or undeveloped aquifer) the watertable always reaches the soil surface, giving rise to permanent laponds and streams, and to thick belts of riparian vegetation. This vegetation acts as an active filter to contaminants (e.g. nutrients) transported by surface flows, and contributes to decrease soil erosion and to maintain environmental humidity through transpiration. Under low water-level situations (dry year or a situation altered by groundwater development) groundwater discharges only takes place in the wet season and not every year, giving rise to seasonal wetlands or also interannually flooded areas. Phreatophytic vegetation then decreases, together with its protecting effect against erosion, the generation of atmospheric humidity and the neutralisation of some contaminants.

small water bodies in these wetlands.They remain there, perched on the water-table for some time, thanks to the relatively impermeable nature of fine material and organic remains accumulated on the lagoon floor; short after they disappear by evaporation. Because of land use changes and aquifer development, nowadays there are few naturally permanent wetlands left over on the sands (Dulce, Santa Olalla, Las Madres -partially excavated-). Some of them are artificially maintained as permanent bodies of water, either because they are artificially fed by means of wells (El Huerto, Las Pajas,Acebuche), or because the basin has been locally excavated ("zacallones") to provide livestock permanent access to watertable (Alamillo, Moguer, Mata de los Dominguez…). Some wetlands in the western water-table sector are fed by infiltrating rain that feed temporary local flows perched within the unsaturated zone of the terrain, above the regional water-table. On their way down to the water-table, these infiltrating waters may eventually find less permeable ground layers (compacted soils, old lagoon beds, peaty layers, etc.) that facilitate their lateral displacement rather than vertical flow, thus discharging into nearby small

depressions in the ground surface that come across in their trajectory. The wetlands located in the recharge area show a wide variation of water mineralisation both in space and time. In general, the waters are of the sodium-chloride type, or intermediate between sodiumchloride and calcium-bicarbonate types.The temporary changes in mineralization and ionic type depend mostly on changes in the balance between water inputs and outputs and on the chemical reactions that occur within the lagoon, in which the biota plays a crucial role. Regardless of the water origin and permanence, all wetlands over the sands sustain aquatic and phreatophyte species that have helped to retain the wind-blown sands for hundreds or thousands of years, thus helping to create the extensive and lush aeolian mantle that runs along the Doñana coast. - Most of the wetlands located in areas of groundwater natural discharge are wet soils that support dense vegetation, with or without a body of free standing water, and located in the lower parts of small streams ("algaidas"). In natural conditions they are permanent water-table discharge areas that allow aquatic and phreatophytic


vegetation to survive all year round. This is the case of the small streams, watercourses and brooks that flow into La Rocina and the marshes along La Vera and La Retuerta, and also is the case of some permanent streams, gullies and springs that run into the sea over the western coastal cliffs of El Asperillo (e.g. Rio Oro). La Rocina stream is also a linear drainage of both shallow and deep groundwaters that supports a relatively well-conserved riverine forest along its banks. The streams running into the Marshes from the north (El Partido, Ca単ada de la Mayor, etc.) used to maintain dense, water-table fed riparian vegetation, but in this case the vegetation was cleared long ago to prepare the land for farming and for roads and tracks. Its flow, especially in the lower stretch, is still of phreatic origin most of the year, as the runoff from the rain is only significant when the precipitations are intense. In general, these waters have a medium to high mineralisation, variable throughout the year because of local processes of evaporation and chemical reactions, as the groundwater inputs have a stable composition. - In the Marshes, were the aquifer is confined, there are also different types of wetlands. Some of these are fed from groundwaters. The Marshes themselves, formerly mostly tidal and nowadays dominantly fluvial, receive water from the rivers and streams that, in turn, drain as base-flow the sandy aquifer to the north and northwest of the Marshes. Other wetland types found in the Marshes are: seasonal ponds of fresh to saline waters, which are remnants of the winter flood; permanent ponds ("lucios") of fresh to saline waters, whose water source can be either phreatic water discharge from the coastal sand spit and/or remnants of the winter floods (some of these "lucios" habitats are nowadays artificially maintained with groundwater pumped from the confined gravels and sands); small circular areas of permanently saturated sand ("eyes of the marsh") fed by upward groundwater flows ascending from sandy layers of varying depths; and tidal wetlands, of which only one remains on the right bank of the Guadalquivir river, near the river mouth. Much of the extraordinary biodiversity that makes Do単ana


world famous is the integrated result of combining the different hydrological types of wetlands together with their location, their water salinity and their chemical composition in a fluctuating environment. As already mentioned, intensive groundwater development for over twenty five years, localised in areas where the aquifer discharges naturally, has caused accumulated local drawdown of the deep piezometric levels that, in turn, has induced lowering of the water-table height.As these falls have not yet stabilised, the prevailing hydrodynamic situation is a transient one evolving towards a new equilibrium in accordance with the current aquifer recharge and discharge.These piezometric drawdowns cause a reduction of the natural groundwater seepage at the sand-clay interface, the drying of formerly flowing boreholes placed along the same area, the water-table lowering, the decrease of the upward seepage through the marsh clays, and the generation of a large piezometric depression cone in the north-east of the marshes, which has also induced a slow south-to-north shift of saline groundwater. Wetlands close to the aquifer regional discharge areas (around the marshes and on the aquifer western edge) are the most vulnerable to intensive groundwater development of deep and shallow aquifers, but they are not the only ones.The numerous wetlands of the El Alamillo-El Acebuche-El Abalario-La Mediana sector have also been affected by the water-table drawdown caused by a combination of pumping for irrigating farms next to La Rocina and an increase of phreatic evapotranspiration since eucalyptus trees were introduced in the area some decades ago.The original phreatophytic vegetation of Los Cotos, La Vera and the northern edges of the marshes have also experienced difficulties in drawing water from a water-table that is now much deeper, and many specimens are drying up. As a consequence, many small wetlands situated close to farmlands (El Acebuche; El Alamillo; El Peladillo; La Mediana and La Rocina, to the west; Villamanrique and Guadiamar, to the north) that were permanent 20 or 30 years ago, are now seasonal or even sporadic, only flooded in very wet years. One additional effect of the water-table drawdown in areas close to the marshes perimeter is a reduction of groundwater discharge into the many existing streams, brooks, algaidas, etc., whose fresh water contributions, be it directly or via La Rocina creek, are very important for the marshes in the dry season. Many of these water sources used to be permanent, but today they are seasonal and, moreover, they carry water from irrigation surplus, which means that they introduce nutrients, organic matter, pesticides, etc. into areas of high ecological value. Finally, another effect has been the change in the dry and wet seasons length, which affects vegetation access to phreatic water46,69 and increases the water stress duration.

The paths of water B J. B J in the Marshes: changes in the hydrological network. ENIGNO

he area covered by Doñana has been subject to the range of geological processes that have occurred in the Lower Guadalquivir. At the end of the Tertiary Era, there was a general subsidence of what is now the Guadalquivir basin, forming a deep sea in which blue marls were deposited to a depth of up to one thousand metres. During the Quaternary period, a much thinner layer of red sands were deposited in a shallow coastal region: the Guadalquivir estuary. The evolution of the lower Guadalquivir basin continued along the same path and a coastal sand bar started moving in a NW-SE direction. This bar was formed by the deposit of windblown sands and materials from the Tinto, Odiel, Piedras and Guadiana rivers, which drifted on the coastal marine currents. A series of successive bars gradually closed off the Guadalquivir estuary, forming a shallow lagoon of calm waters between the bar and the open sea, which survived up until historic times.This was the Ligur Lake of the Phoenicians, later called Lake Ligustinus under the Roman Empire.The sediments from the mainland were deposited in the bottom of this lake, which now form the base of the Marshes.The most superficial part of this layer, between 50 and 100 metres thick, is made up of fine silt and grey-blue clays. At the same time, systems of sand dunes developed that must have reached a considerable height. The shifting dunes we see today reach a height of 40 metres above sea level, advancing on the Marshes at a rate of between three and six metres a year.The rate of advance is accelerated when the vegetation that stabilises the sands disappears, as has repeatedly occurred. The Doñana Marshes have been created as the result of the silting up of the lagoon caused by the estuary being enclosed. Sedimentation rates have been estimated at 1 to 2.5 millimetres per year over the last few millennia. Up until the 18th century, the marshes of both sides of the estuary were heavily influenced by tides. They completely lost this tidal influence and became continental in nature, although some peripheral areas retained tidal marsh surfaces. The continued input of sediments from the streams draining in the old lagoon forged the present topography, where a great plain



* Director of projects and works: "Doñana 2005 Project". Guadalquivir Water Authority

The subtle hydrographical network of the Marshes allows for a wide range of environments. Knowing how they work and discovering the complex paths of the water are essential for keeping the niches of biodiversity alive. Photograph by Jose Maria Perez de Ayala.

can be seen at an average height of 3.6 metres above sea level.The height of the soil surface determines its connections with the sea, in such a manner that the marshes are only connected to the sea during very high tides.The practical lack of relief is only interrupted by a few elevations of old levees and islets and by depressions which corrspond to channels, riverbeds, shallow ponds and gullies that make up a shallow hydrographical network. This determines the hydraulic behaviour of the Marshes and favours the existence of a wide variety of environments, which, in turn, promotes a flora and fauna that is highly differentiated in both time and space.The temporal diversity is motivated, to a large extent, by the acute annual variation of water levels of the Marshes.Apart from a rich variety of fauna, the productive surfaces are also rich in quantity. It is estimated that approximately half a million water fowl spend the winter in the National Park, a population which requires some 50 tonnes of food per day. It is thanks only to these special weather, soil, and hydrological conditions that local productivity can meet such a high demand in the Marshes. The Doñana Marshes are located in an area of mild Mediterranean climate, with an Atlantic influence that keeps the temperatures within narrower limits.The average annual rainfall in the region is approximately 600 mm and real evaporation-transpiration is estimated at between 400 and 500 mm/year. It is essential to consider the fact that the prevailing winds play


an important role in the behaviour of water level in the Marshes as they displace these waters. Water level may vary by several inches as wind force and intensity change, although the prevailing winds are blowing from the west.

ORIGINAL HYDROGRAPHICAL NETWORK Along the River Guadalquivir, down river from Seville and La Puebla del Río, and some 60 kilometres before the mouth at Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the river branches, forming an arm on the left bank, East Branch (Brazo del Este) , which creates Isla Menor, and another branch on the right bank,Torre Branch (Brazo de la

We should now turn our attention to Travieso channel (Caño Travieso) that runs approximately E-W across the Marshes. It divides off the right bank of Torre Branch, at a place known as Vuelta de la Arena, and runs into Guadiamar channel (Caño Guadiamar) from its left bank. Travieso too only acts as an overspill channel for the flood waters of Torre Branch. The Rocina stream (Arroyo de La Rocina) flows to the west of the Marshes, next to the village of El Rocío, where it joins Partido stream (Arroyo del Partido), creating the Madre de la Marisma channel, which, in turn, joins Guadiamar and Travieso channels to create the Brenes channel, which finally drains into the River Guadalquivir, downstream from the confluence with the Torre Branch. The drainage of waters flooding the Marshes into the Guadalquivir and Torre Branch was impaired by the levees of estuary which formed a high bar next to the river bed slowing down the flow of the waters along Brenes, Figuerola and Buen Tiro channels.This bar less than two metre high was known as Montaña del Rio (River Mountain) and although the name may seem somewhat exaggerated, it should be considered in the context of immense and almost horizontal plains where the levee made a noticeable elevation. Montaña del Río also controlled the entry of brackish water from the Guadalquivir estuary during high tides.This tidal input to Doñana was, and continues to be, negligible.


FIGURE 1 The old hydrographical network of the Marshes, where the former flood area can be observed. The original marsh surface encompassed the entire vast area that stretched among river branches, reaching much of the current farming land to the north.

Torre), which forms Isla Mayor. The original area of the marshes encompassed the entire area situated between these two branches of the Guadalquivir, together with large areas to the east of East Branch and to the west of Torre Branch (Figure 1). La Rianzuela stream, or Majaberraque, flowed out into the Northern part of Torre Branch, as did the River Guadiamar, which had very little flow close to the mouth, and it flooded over the right banks almost every year. This flooding fed Guadiamar channel (Caño Guadiamar), a broad and seasonal water course. The course of Guadiamar channel flows slightly south, receiving the waters of the Cigüeña stream (Arroyo de La Cigüeña) on its right bank and, further down, it receives the waters of the Almirante, Sajon, Portachuelo, Juncosilla and Cañada Mayor streams.


Transformations brought to the original hydrographical network date back to the first interventions in 1775. The Corta Fernandina (Fernandina Cut) was made in 1816, isolating Torre Branch from the Guadalquivir and only received water inputs, therefore, from the Guadiamar. In more recent times, work was carried out around the Doñana National Park by the former Ministry of Public Works, through the Guadalquivir Water Board. These works (channelling water courses and modifications to the hydrological system) started in 1947 and were finished in 1977 (Figure 2). The major works undertaken involved channelling the banks of River Guadiamar, which could also be called the channelling of Torre Branch. Basically, this consisted of building two long parallel earthen walls about one kilometre apart. The floodable area was limited to the marsh span between the walls, channelling the water directly into the Torre Branch.The right hand wall starts before the River Guadiamar drains into Brazo de la Torre, preventing water spilling from River Guadiamar into Guadiamar channel. La Cigüeña stream, which also fed into Guadiamar channel, is also channelled

FIGURE 2 Major transformations were brought on the water courses of the Marshes during the 20th century. In a first stage, the major channelling works were carried out and modifications made to the hydrological system from 1947 to 1977. The second stage was a response to the interventions made in this period, known as the Water Regeneration stage, encompassing the period from 1982 to 1987. In both these periods, major damage was done to the Marshes, some produced by the mentality of the time prone to intervention, and other damage was due to a lack of sufficient scientific knowledge.


River Guadalquivir


Partido stream


Torre Branch


Cañada Mayor stream


Travieso channel


La Cigüeña stream


Guadiamar channel


River Guadiamar


Madre de las Marismas channel


Majaberraque stream

Rocina stream


East Branch


Limit of the National Park before17-03-2004 Floodable area - Marshes

along this upper stretch of the right hand wall.The left hand wall, on the other hand, collects the waters of La Rianzuela stream, or Majaberraque stream, in the early stretch. The place where the River Guadiamar runs into the Torre Branch is usually considered the end of the first stretch of the channelling. All along the second stretch, the walls follow the course of Torre Branch, as far as La Vuelta de la Arena, where the third stretch starts. Here, the walls move away from the natural course of Torre, heading south in a straight line, until they finalise when they come back to Torre Branch, close to its mouth. Moreover, in this third stretch, a transversal wall has been built, running west, towards El Rocío. This crosses the former course of Guadiamar channel, while, a little further south, the right hand wall crosses the natural course of Travieso channel.The latter has been eliminated as it crossed "Los Caracoles" estate, used for farming until recently. During all this time, the Guadalquivir river action has been eroding Montaña del Río levee, especially during floods. But this natural process has accelerated during the 20th century due to the waves produced by river traffic of larger and ever faster vessels bound to Seville at high tide. Over the last few decades, Montaña del Río has been largely destroyed by this process and the Marshes drain much faster; it also makes it easier for unwanted brackish water seep to the Marshes from estuary.

HYDRAULIC FUNCTION Given the highly impermeable nature of silts forming the marsh deposits, for the purposes of analysing water inputs and

outputs, they can be considered as isolated from the underlaying aquifer. So, once the tidal influence was almost lost, the water balance of Doñana Marshes is made up of the rains falling directly on them, inputs from the rivers, upwellings from the freatic level in La Vera and La Retuerta, evaporation-transpiration and outputs along a range of smaller tributaries. The Marshes of Doñana, which currently cover 27,000 ha in the Park, follow a marked annual cycle. The process starts when the Marshes are filled up, normally in the months of October and November. In this situation, in which only the highest ground (levees, islets) remain above water level, a maximum of 17,000 ha become marshy, with an estimated volume of 35 hm3 of water, giving an average depth of around 20 cm.This stage, the boggy phase, lasts until March or April, while the relation between water input and evaporation-transpiration is kept in balance. Losses through evaporation-transpiration gradually dry out the surface, until, by the end of the summer, only the deepest depressions retain some highly saline waters (shallow ponds, gullies and some channel stretches). As a consequence of all the actions described in the hydrographical network as a whole, the inputs into the Doñana Marshes from the rivers were limited to waters from Madre de las Marismas stream (with a basin of 620 Km2) and Cañada Mayor stream (basin of 70 Km2).The average annual input from Madre de las Marismas is estimated at approximately 140 hm3, with recorded minimum of 31 hm3 and a maximum of 475 hm3. But, moreover, most of these resources come from the free aquifers of the dunes. After these interventions, the obvious consequence has been a



Hydrographic Network of Doñana Marshes and new boundaries of the National Park, with a simplified view of the Marshes after the actions included in the Doñana 2005 Project. In this representation, the floodable area includes "Los Caracoles" estate, recovered as natural marshlands for the future. It also includes the recovery of water courses and the suppression of major channelling works and water barriers that have accumulated in the recent history of Doñana.


River Guadalquivir


El Partido stream


Torre Branch


Cañada Mayor stream


Travieso channel


La Cigüeña stream


Guadiamar channel


River Guadiamar


Madre de las Marismas channel


Majaberraque stream

Rocina stream


East Branch


Limit of the National Park before 17-03-2004 Floodable area - Marshes

major decline in the available water resources in the Marshes as the inputs from Guadiamar and Travieso channels are now prevented from entering.To highlight this fact, one only has to point out that the rains that fell in November and December 1989 led to an input from the River Guadiamar at the beginning of the channelled section (basin of 1,070 Km2), estimated at 325 hm3, while the input from the streams draining directly into the Marshes were estimated at approximately 125 hm3. The total rainfall for these two months in the Park and the surrounding area was 600-700 mm. Bearing this in mind, one will probably ask about the motives for carrying out such costly works to the detriment of the natural marsh system.You should remember that a few decades ago, one of the challenges mankind was facing was to drain wetlands, which had historically been a focus of disease and their soils were assumed to be suitable for farming. Times have now changed and there has been a growth in social concern for and interest in nature, and the challenge that man now faces is the complete opposite from a few decades ago; i.e. man now has to save wetlands.This change in mentality has driven a series of actions aimed at recovering the functionality of Travieso and Guadiamar channels and Montaña del Río, which, as we have said, was seriously damaged.

REGENERATING WATER RESOURCES FROM 1982 TO 1987 The objective was to recover the surface waters that used to flood the Doñana Marshes along their original courses, hence making these riverbeds functional once again. The first work tackled was to restore the Montaña del Río


levee, consisting of the construction of an earthen wall, using the deposits from the nearest marshes as source material.This wall is 14 km long, running parallel to the right bank of the River Guadalquivir, 250 m away from it, except where it goes around a salt flat. From south to north, the work starts in the area of dunes near the mouth of the river, and it extended as far as the confluence between the river and Torre Branch. From here, it runs upstream for a kilometre, along the right bank of the Torre. It should be pointed out that, unlike the usual procedures for "classical" engineering, these works have avoided straight lines, respecting the areas of thickest vegetation and trying to blend into the landscape. Depressions or shallow pond with some islands inside have been designed in holes from which materials for the wall had been excavated. Each pond covers an area of approximately three hectares, a depth of less than one metre (some were deeper) and an unexcavated area has been left in the middle to act as an island when the lagoon floods in winter.A series of flood gates have been installed in canals and depressions to control the water level in the Marshes.The work finished in December 1983 and soon after, the natural vegetation, especially shrubby sea bright, colonised the banks, so the wall now blends in well with the landscape and excavated grounds perform as natural ponds. In the interim years, the water level in the Marshes has been considered too high, causing major problems to the associated ecosystems.The problem lies in the fact that the wall is too high and there are not enough flood gates and the existing ones are too small to avoid water drainage.The work was carried out with-

out the necessary scientific counselling, so important points of view were not taken into consideration. The second work undertaken in this process of regenerating water resources is what is known as the Centre-North Project. In essence, this is the transfer of up to 6 m3/second debit from the River Guadiamar, taken from the Vuelta de la Arena bend, using a pumping station, to the course of Guadiamar channel, at Junta de los Caños, in order to make them flow into the Marshes.This project uses existing drains from the Almonte-Marismas irrigation zone, and it was finished in May 1985. In all these years, these works have been used very little because the quality of the water was unsuitable for the Doñana Marshes, making it a failed experience that, once again, highlights the need to plan projects of this kind on a scientific and multi-disciplinary basis. The third works addressed, the so-called South Project, was aimed at making Travieso channel functional again.Works consisted of building an earthen canal, 0.50 metres deep and 250 metres wide, just South of "Los Caracoles" estate, within the boundaries of the Doñana National Park, connecting the channelled part of Guadiamar with Travieso channel. This canal is 2,100 metres long, running in ample bends to blend in with the landscape. Works were completed by September 1987. The so-called South Project only comes into operation during those floods of River Guadiamar that can fill the channel, but it has been seen that, once the initial flood waters pass, most of the water coming in through the South Solution returns to the Guadiamar channel, following the same course, but in the opposite direction.

The satellite picture shows the Montaña del Río levee as a line around the flooded Marshes (upper part of the picture), running parallel to Guadalquivir and Torre Branch riverbeds. False colour image from the Landsat satellite (2000).

View of the Montaña del Río levee and the "sacatierras" excavation grounds. It should be pointed out that, unlike the normal procedure in "classical" engineering works, straight lines have been avoided, respecting the areas of densest vegetation and attempting to blend the works into the landscape. The hollows left by excavation for the wall have been shaped in shallow ponds of approximately three hectares each, with a depth of less than one metre, and an unexcavated area has been left in the middle to act as an island when they are flooded in winter. Photograph: CENEAM files.


A Numerical Hydrodynamic J D , E B , J G Model for the Marshes of Doñana National Park OSEP






The numerical hydrodynamic simulation model of the Marshes allows for the calculation of the temporal evolution of water levels and velocity at different spots in the area. The above image shows the drainage network superposed to the wavy natural canals of the Gallega marsh.

he Marshes of Doñana National Park comprise a very complex water system whose qualitative characteristics are fairly well known, whereas its quantitative aspects are not. It should be noted that currently there is scant information on such important hydrological data as the relationship between water levels and flooded marsh surface, temporal evolution of marsh inflow and outflow rate, evaporation and evapotranspiration, temporal and spatial evolution of water levels and physical, chemical and biological characteristics, water flow characteristics, and the impact of wind on water flow. An understanding of these variables is essential to precisely defining the actions required to prevent the degradation of the marshes. The Guadalquivir River Basin Authority (Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir), aware of and sensitive to these concerns, commissioned, within the framework of the Doñana 2005 project, a numerical model to study the hydrodynamics of the marshes. To do this required detailed knowledge of the marsh topography and of the water outflow from the catchments that


* School of Civil Engineering, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain.

drain to the marshes. These variables had previously been researched in a study also commissioned by the Guadalquivir River Basin Authority. The marshes are located in an area of very low topographic relief and the drainage system is therefore defined by minor altimetric variations. This type of drainage system to a large extent determines water flow in the marshes, particularly at the beginning of the flooding period and towards the end of the recession of the water levels.Therefore, in order to study the hydrodynamics of the marshes, detailed topographic information must first be available, particularly with regard to the relief of the terrain.This information is especially difficult to obtain given the extension (40,000 Ha) of the Park and the required altimetric precision of the measurements (down to a few decimetres). An emerging technology known as laser altimetry is now available for obtaining digital terrain models (DTM). The technique consists of laser pulse emissions directed from an airborne instrument that scan the terrain.The instrument receives a signal reflected back by the surface and calculates the distance based on the signal's round-trip time-of-flight. Although the measurements have


an accuracy of around one centimetre, the calculation of the location of the aircraft (obtained through the Global Positioning System, GPS), and the direction in which the laser pulse was emitted (obtained through an Inertial Navigation System, INS) can introduce errors, rendering a final accuracy of about 15 centimetres. Laser altimetry is capable of measuring the elevation of several tens of thousands of surface points per second.The technique is an excellent way to obtain a DTM of the flat extensive area of the marshes owing to the high density of surface points and the accuracy of the measurements. Consequently, the system was used to determine the mean coordinates (surface and height) of a surface spot every 3 m2 in the approximately 40,000 ha of marshes. The height and distribution of the vegetation at the time the measurements were taken (September 2002)71 were fairly accurately determined as well.The image below shows, as an example, the Digital Surface Model (DSM) of an area nearby the Palacio de Do単ana. The numerical hydrodynamic simulation model of the marshes72 allows for the calculation of the temporal evolution of water levels and flow rates at different spots in the marshes and is based on Saint Venant equations for gradually varied open channel flow.A one-dimensional approach is used to study flow in the network of stream channels and a two-dimensional approach (associated to the one-dimensional approach) is used to analyse the flow in the rest of the marshes. The water levels and velocity are measured

every 10 minutes at each of the 200 x 200 m2 cells into which the marshes have been divided. Both intervals, time and space, could be shorter, but would involve a longer calculation time. The calibration and validation of the model was undertaken using field data on the annual evolution of inflows and the water levels at specific spots in the marshes. Field data on infiltration, evaporation and the impact of wind on water flows are also necessary to ensure that the model can adequately take these factors into account for optimal performance. Based on the finished digital terrain model, the numerical model was developed and the first calibration-validation process was carried out in March 2004. Field data used for this purpose was obtained from the measure stations that had been set up in the area the previous year. The calibration-validation process will advance systematically as new field data is obtained. In a later stage, this hydraulic model (temporal evolution of water levels and velocity) will be used as the basis for the study of other phenomena associated with the hydrodynamics of the marshes, such as the transport and sedimentation of solid load and the evolution of water quality. The conclusions of these studies will provide us with a very powerful tool to understand the hydrodynamic behaviour of the marshes and the likely impact of the measures that may be taken for their protection.

The Marshes are located in an area of very low topographic relief and the drainage system is therefore defined by minor altimetric variations. Image obtained from the Digital Surface Model (DSM) showing an area nearby the Do単ana Palace. The vegetation, higher than water, has a lighter colour. Trees can be seen as yellow dots.




0 Elevation masl


El Partido stream


an example of the challenges posed by hydrological restoration


nforeseeable mid- and long-term consequences can result from changes to the hydrological system and altering of the waterways in a system as fragile as that of Doñana. El Partido stream is a typical case of the damaging effect of interventions that, although well-intentioned, are not supported by a sound base of precautionary foresight and monitoring of induced effects. El Partido stream is a small watercourse with a low gradient, less than 0.2 % on its lower reach, which flows directly into the El Rocío marsh to the north of Doñana National Park. The stream is fed by a catchment area covering 307.37 Km2 and has maximum and minimum elevations of 121 and 5 metres respectively. The headwaters present moderate slopes which decline with the descent towards the area dominated by the stream, in which there are wide zones that do not exceed 1% (Figure 1). The stream has a marked torrential character owing to its proximity to the ocean and the orientation of its catchment area, which is exposed to the penetration of Atlantic storms as there are no obstacles to moderate their advance. Hence, fall and winter downpours cause the discharge of the stream to multiply from twenty to thirty times its mean summer flow, estimated at 5 m3/s, and to even exceed these values under occasional extraordinary circumstances. Similarly, with the exception of its moderate slope, the rest of the catchment morphology is characteristic of a torrent catchment: with its catchment area, gorge, and, prior to 1981, its former alluvial cone and even its own drainage channel. This channel, called Caño Ajolí and today filled with sand, was where the stream current finally flowed sediment-free into the Doñana Marsh. Originally, the stream's spate flow would expand outwards before it reached the marsh, generating a series of secondary channels in such a way that the scant depth of the channels could not exert shear stress capable of breaching the resistance and initiating the motion of the sands that made up their beds. In fact, these streams were forced to drop their entrained sediments, thus forming the initial alluvial fan. Subsequently, once the floodwaters receded, the streamflow was conveyed smoothly through the drainage channel into the marsh, devoid of sediments. Occasionally the land surface of the alluvial fan was farmed, dur* Professor, Department of Forestry Engineering (Hydraulics and Hydrology unit) of the Technical College of Forestry Engineers, Polytechnic University of Madrid.

FIGURE 1 El Partido stream watershed: Significant sections.




La Calancha stream La Cárcaba stream La Parrilla stream Paraje de Cabezudos Santa María stream Partido stream Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4



ing years in which it was flooded by fall and winter spates.The rest of the time the land was left untended as the sandy soil could not ensure a harvest. The advent of new farming technologies posed the possibility of putting the lands to agricultural use, and so in 1981, within this context and to that end, seven kilometres of the lower reach of El Partido stream were channelised, immediately upstream of its outlet to the marsh. Channelisation of the stream substantially modified the way in which the streamflow circulated during peak flows, concentrating the flow in such a way that when it finally debouched into the marshes it generated a new alluvial fan, due to the expansion of the current and the subsequent deposition of the solid load which up to then was incorporated in the flow. In other words, the channelling had moved the former alluvial cone towards the interior of the marsh. The increase in the surface area of the marshes occupied by the new alluvial fan between 1982 and 1998 is shown on Table 1.These



Evolution of the surface areas and volumes occupied by El Partido stream new alluvial fan in the El Rocio marsh and its surroundings, downstream from Cañada Real. YEARS AREA (m2) 1982














Spates 1995-96






Spates 1996-97


Spates 1997-98









values were determined after delimiting the successive expansions of the fan on aerial photographs taken during the corresponding years and then transferring the data to a GIS in order to correctly identify, situate and measure the phenomenon (Figure 2). In view of the situation, and in seeking an answer to the phenomenon, the following two questions were specifically posed: - Where do the sediments discharged by El Partido stream into the El Rocío marsh originate? - What steps must be taken to arrest the process? To answer this, research was designed with the following work plan: On one hand, measurement of the progression of El Partido stream's alluvial fan into the El Rocío marsh and its bordering area during the 1995-98 period was commenced.The alterations occurring along the stream's channelled segment during the same period were also measured.These measurements were based on the planimetric studies mentioned earlier and bolstered by topographic field campaigns. To this end, the cone's radials were measured in July, 1997, this same area was levelled between April and May of 1998, and a map was drawn up of the channelled segment of the stream in June of 1999. On the other hand, the Hydrologic Modeling System (H.M.S.) version 2 (2000), an integrated hydrologic model, was applied to define the characteristics of El Partido stream's 58 spates occurring over the 1995-98 period73. To evaluate sediments carried in suspension by El Partido stream, coming from the catchment runoff and discharged into the marsh by way of the 58 spates earlier defined, the Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation (MUSLE) model was combined with the aforementioned hydrologic model.This required prior determination of the defining factors of soil erosion conditions in the catchment area. What was more complicated was the estimation of the sediments discharged into the marshes as bed load, meaning as a consequence of the abrasion of the streambed by the current. To start with, there were no clear criteria for the selection of a specific equa-



tion and directly applying it. Furthermore, while on the one hand El Partido stream presents a torrential character typical of mountain torrents, given that it presents very significant liquid and solid discharges (refer to the aforementioned 58 spate events); on the other hand, its bed, comprised almost exclusively of sands, its slight slope and prolonged periods of concentrated flow differentiate the stream from mountain torrents, making it necessary to test many types of equations. In regard to the discharge of suspended load, water samples were collected from section 3 of the stream during the transit of the spates and later studied in the laboratory to determine the concentration of sediments. In short, application of the MUSLE model estimated a total volume of 1,151,957 m3 of suspended sediment discharged by El Partido stream into the El Rocío marsh between 1995 and 1998.A mean concentration of 6.86 g/l74 of suspended sediment was established for the group of 58 spate events studied. Finally, in order to determine the bed load deposited into the marsh, an estimation was made of the 1995 to 1998 annual increase of the volume of El Partido stream's alluvial fan within the marsh itself and its surroundings, using all of the information shown in bold- in Table 1, and based on which the table was completed. On the other hand, in order to verify that we were really dealing with a bed load discharge, the erosion of the floor and sides of the channelled segment of the stream was evaluated using the information obtained from the 1996, 1997, 1998 aerial photographs and from the topographical map of the channelled section made in June of 199975. We were thus able to verify that there had been downcutting of the bed of the channel of over 2 metres with respect to the level of the terrain in 1981.This made it evident that although erosional versus sedimentation phenomenon had taken place on the channel floor, there had been a remarkable predominance of the first. Additionally, retrogressive erosion of El Partido streambed was found along an over-2-kilo-

FIGURE 2 The expansion of El Partido stream's new alluvial fan into the El Rocio Marsh and surrounding area between 1982 and 1998.

metre section upstream from the channelled segment. The volume of sediment originating from excavation processes on El Partido's channelled segment and discharged into the marsh was evaluated at 1,685,814.30 m3 regarding spate events occurring between 1995 and 1998 and at 344,050 m3 regarding spates occurring during the 1987-88 and

1989-90 hydrological years. Finally, the yield from the retrogressive erosion of El Partido streambed, upstream from the channelled segment, was evaluated at 785,362.5 m3 after analysing the effects detected on the aerial photos, from field verification and then carrying out an estimation. Thus, the total yield of erosion was estimated at of 2,820,226.8 m3.This is a deviation of less than 6% with respect to the 3,000,000 m3 that were established after the levelling carried out between April and May of 1998 as the deposition of El Partido stream's new alluvial cone. Based on this, I conclude with some considerations and recommendations on solving the problem of El Partido stream's discharge of sediments into the El RocĂ­o marsh, especially in relation to bed load. a) It has been verified that both under the circumstances prior to the channelling of the lower segment of El Partido stream in 1981, and under the present circumstances, the stream generates the same physical processes in the section where the formation of its alluvial fan commences. This primarily consists of the dissemination of its discharge flow to dissipate the energy during spate events, a process known as channel shifting. The difference lies in that prior to 1981 this section was near the Casa de la Matanza Bridge (section 2 of Figure 1), while it is presently located in the vicinity of the AjolĂ­ bridge (section 4 of Figure 1). b) Clearly, any attempt to channel El Partido stream spate events, thus impeding the stream's original tendency to disperse, would disturb the fragile balance capable of maintaining the stability of a watercourse of these characteristics

View of the sands deposited by El Partido stream next to the AjolĂ­ bridge. Photograph by J.A. Mintegui Aguirre.


Image obtained from the Digital Surface Model (DSM) developed for the Do単ana marshes, showing of the alluvial fan. Source: Ayesa.

when confronted with torrential flow spikes. The shear stress of the current is increased and, because of the poor resistance of the materials that make up the floor and sides of the channelled segments, the material is eroded and dragged along by the action of the current. Furthermore, the ongoing process of abrasion of the streambed by the current during spate events has caused a serious problem of retrogressive erosion on the bed of El Partido stream itself. c) The solution to the problem leads to contemplating two main actions: - The building of a checkdam at a section of El Partido stream near the Casa de la Matanza bridge, to control the retrogressive erosion processes occurring upstream from it. - Allow the current to expand out during spates, from the section where the aforementioned barrage is situated and

downstream from it, with the purpose of allowing the waters to cover a large part of the stream's former floodplain. To achieve this it will be necessary to remove the left wall of the present channelled segment of the stream, situated downstream from where the barrage would be, so that the current can overflow the banks and deposit the sands it transports before the spate flow debouches into the marsh. Implementing these actions is both advisable and necessary; but could nonetheless prove to be insufficient.The issue of the stability of the new alluvial fan forming downstream from the checkdam is as yet to be resolved. To achieve this stability, the gradient that the floodplain must adopt downstream from the barrage and upstream from the marsh must be designed and planned. Shaping this compensation or equilibrium slope may require some complementary hydraulic works which would eventually be covered with soil and vegetation so the final visual and environmental impact would be virtually null. Lastly, once the final segment of El Partido stream is corrected, it would be necessary to restore its catchment in order to consolidate the applied measures and ensure its future stability76.

Aerial view of El Partido stream alluvial fan. In 1981 seven kilometres of the lower reach of El Partido stream were channelised. It substantially modified the way in which the streamflow circulated during peak flows, concentrating the flow in such a way that when it finally debouched into the Marshes it generated a new alluvial fan. Photo: CENEAM.

Detail of the erosion on the right side of the stream, close to the Matanza bridge (road to Hinojos). Photograph by J.A. Mintegui Aguirre.


Man and water in the history of Doñana


different approaches to water management

hen we talk about the world of Doñana, one should bear in mind that this is a complex, dynamic and conflictive space.These features are sustained by the very nature of the areas as a "hybrid territory", where a range of physical, economic, social and cultural elements combine, creating an area of frontiers and encounters between ecosystems, economies, societies and cultures. It reminds of a colonial territory that is still unfinished from the point of view of both its physical layout (advancing dunes, senescent marshes) and its economic and social perception (major change in values in recent decades, when resource limitations became new resources), and even in its administrative organisation (confrontation of administrative and management bodies). In this world that is being created -"terra in fieri", as the Romans would say, or "Argolida", in Caballero Bonald's words surface and groundwater, the sands, the streams and many other inputs, reach the National Park. Park settings, at the end of a river mouth, mean that in a sense it plays the role of a collector, as opposed to nature conservation.Thus, Doñana National Park becomes a challenge, a melting pot of the economic system that allowed itself the "useful luxury" of declaring it as such in predemocratic times. While the General Franco dictatorship was showing the world how it was opening up by declaring Doñana a National Park (1969), in France there was a democratic debate as to whether to do the same with the Camargue.This Mediterranean delta was less complex than the Atlantic estuary of Doñana, but even so the French Government reached the conclusion that it was preferable not to set up a National Park in a river mouth area, and declared it a Regional Nature Park, despite its powerful symbolic and representative potential.The maximum degree of protection for areas where man has maintained a permanent presence for centuries, is usually granted to islands, or to highland and mountain areas. The analysis addressed herein, of the different views of water in Doñana in the course of recent history, intends to bear witness to these contradictions that are inherent to this complex


* Pablo de Olavide University. Seville. Spain.

Until well into the 20th century, the vision of Doñana came into constant conflict with its image as a marginal territory and a feudal manor. Later, with a view to solving this marginal status, new, enlightened ideas of production appeared and part of its lands were occupied by the hands of the autocracy's philosophy launched by the General Franco regime after the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Photograph: Doñana Biological Station Archives.

world. This analysis has arisen from re-reading the analyses of the organisation and regional planning of Doñana and its surrounding area, taking water as the starting point, which has led me to present the following hypotheses about the different perception of the waters in recent centuries, and on the management model that each perception has developed around them: A. During the General Franco regime (1939-1975), a time of low production and voluntary isolation of the lands of Doñana -too poor for agriculture, but rich in range, timber and game, a time of a social order established by Lords and Councils, of aristocratic and council by-laws, pacts and litigation over the jurisdic-


The most recent scenario, starting with the 1978 Doñana Act, has been characterised by an initial phase in which the ideology of compensating the towns in the surrounding area for having granted the legacy of Doñana to the world predominated, and a second phase in which the emphasis is placed on integrating Doñana in a peripheral and subsidised European district to attain a paradigmatic "sustainable development". Photograph: Jose Maria Perez de Ayala.

tion and use of territorial resources. A time of little development of the means and the forces of production -low population, unhealthy conditions and lack of technology to exploit sandy or clay soils. Nature dominated in this world of Doñana, and one of the most conspicuous elements was water, which was sometimes anxiously awaited and sometimes feared. Regional and productive planning attempted to adapt to the changing and unforeseeable circumstances of dry years, followed by wet years, summer followed by winter, drought, flood, salt water, fresh water, etc. seeking micro and macro scale strategies. In short, the key phrases that could describe this early traditional stage of the configuration of Doñana, were the following: Marginalised territory and feudal rule, Predominance of nature, Adaptive water management. B. These approaches can be seen in Doñana since the late 18th and early 19th centuries, pointing to the need to convert these wild lands into productive lands, with development projects and programmes -province of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, agricultural and forestry settlements, draining of the Marshes- that always contemplated controlling the water. The romantic paradigm spread from the mid 19th century until the mid 20th century -discovered the naturalist, scenic and scientific values of Doñana, and


this paradigm was the pioneer in considering the need for protecting nature.At the same time, during the first half of the 20th century, interventions were focused on dunes, and later on marshes that founded their initial justification in environmental arguments and, after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), on autocratic national reasons. The key concepts of this second stage were: Enlightened promotion of production, as opposed to a pioneering and romantic protection of nature; Transformation of marshes, draining ponds, fixing dunes; Controlling water management. C.The developmental period of the 1960s and 70s in Doñana is characterised by its public discovery as a space for new productions: intensive farming on sands, sun, sea and sand tourism, visitable nature. The search for groundwater undertaken by the FAO from the late 50s was rounded off with the success of having found a large resource (Aquifer 27) that, according to the forecasts made at the time, could change the face of this marginal district and may lay the foundations of a brilliant future: thousands of hectares of irrigated farmland on traditionally barren sands.The Atlantic beaches of Doñana, with their white sands, on the other hand, were to be the scenarios for the Huelva coast Tourist Development Plan. El Rocio and Doñana National Park itself were to act as tourist attractors. Surface and underground waters, at this time became a factor of conflict - as a resource shared among farming, recreational and tourist settlements, and natural spaces. Key concepts of the development stage: Discovery of the aquifer and the beach; Intensification of uses: Irrigation/Nature/Tourism; Dominating; Squandering and conflictive water management. D. In the present democratic stage, starting with the Doñana Act (December 1978), we have moved on from a stage characterised by compensating the surrounding towns for having given Doñana to the world, to a second period in which the aim is to integrate Doñana in a peripheral and subsidised European district to attain a paradigmatic "sustainable development".The contradictions of this situation are highlighted in many ways, but here, we should mention the projected infrastructures for importing water to the areas in order to make possible to supply the economic emergency (agricultural, tourist demand) and the ecological emergency (park needs) of this space. Awareness of the squandering of the previous phase has not led to an advanced sustainable management, but to plans to import water from neighbouring districts to make irrigation and mass tourism compatible with nature and conservation. Compensations, integration, "sustainability" and a management philosophy that imports and restores water are, therefore, the key words of the present moment.

A Doñana with clean and transparent waters for life


The agricultural commitment

Building a solid alliance between sustainable agriculture and the waters of Doñana is one of the top priorities in the immediate future. This way, all the waters of the area, that drain into the Marshes will do so without the alterations caused by soil erosion, transport and deposit of sediments, surplus of nutrients and organic matter, pesticides, weed killers, waste waters from the towns and from the agro-food industry. View of the Marshes when flooded. Photograph by Jose Maria Perez de Ayala.

n a broad sense Agriculture encompasses what is known as the agricultural or primary sector, which is made up of the sub-sectors of agriculture, in the strict sense, livestock and forestry. This definition also includes the food sector and modern fish farming. For several decades, the "agri-business" has been understood as a concept that, on top of farming, includes the production of inputs for the sector like the manufacture of fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, irrigation equipment, different agricultural machinery,


* Professor of the Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences. University of Seville.

mechanical equipment for processing agricultural produce, etc., as well as the industrialisation, distribution and marketing of all these products and their derivatives.This means that we are dealing with what is known as an Agro-Food Industrial System, which includes both the pre and the post agricultural phases in a seamless interaction.That is, the weight of “traditional agriculture" is reduced in this new context, but the whole system experiences a strong expansion. The system now includes all operations concerning the manufacture and distribution of the means of production for farming, the harvest operations in agricultural facilities and the storage and dis-


all its inputs and selling its products, all of which are outside the sector.These outside agents are the first links in a long process of industrialisation and distribution that is outside the scope of traditional agricultural sector. Intensive agricultural production, such as the farming in the Doñana area, on the one hand, has made a large supply of food available and, on the other hand, has triggered problems like soil erosion, environmental pollution, some reduction in biological diversity and the drop of water tables, among others. For all the above reasons, the challenge to be met is how to continue increasing food production, while maintaining quality levels and prices, without undermining the conservation of natural resources. The Doñana 21 Label is a brand created by the Doñana 21 Foundation to highlight the companies of Doñana District and their products. Companies exhibiting Doñana 21 Label show responsible attitudes, respect for accepted standards of quality and environmental protection in the everyday management. Certificated brands belong to some agricultural companies, making this one of the means of opening up new links between the agricultural sector and the environment,working together in returning Doñana waters to their former healthy state. The Marshes seen from José Antonio Valverde Visitor Centre. CENEAM files.

tribution of all products. In any event, farming is the central pillar of the system. This is why the industry cannot always provide solutions to the problems of the sector. We need a more in-depth analysis of its interrelations with the system prior to production, and in the phases that follow the harvest, as they are so important in this system.

INCOME GROWTH AND INTENSIVE FARMING This shift in the interpreation of the functions of farming is the consequence of how the economy has evolved in all the developed countries, with a steady increase of income for consumers. Increases in income trigger a demand for more processed and diversified products, with better quality and better presentation that would be very difficult for traditional agriculture to provide. Agricultural holdings are unable of meeting the demands of a growing population with greater purchasing power; holdings have to resort to loosing their leading role in the process, sharing it with some other, closely related entities, to supply them with agricultural inputs and to process and distribute the final produce. Traditional farming has also provided its own farming machinery, its beasts of burden, auxiliary equipment, manure, organic fertilisers based on burying beans or lupins, seeds for the crops, stud animals and other means of production.The farmes manufactured their food and clothing, and directly marketed the family consumption surplus. However, the industry has now transferred all these functions and has become highly dependent on others for buying


FARMING AND THE ENVIRONMENT One thing that must be made clear is that agriculture per se is not the enemy of the environment; on the contrary, properly organised, agriculture can improve natural resources such as soil and water. The interaction between agriculture and the environment is currently well known.As a consequence of industrial development, farming activity is severely affected by the "greenhouse effect" of carbon dioxide, as well as by acid rain, industrial and urban waste. Furthermore, intensive agricultural production without adequate management can cause pollution from fertilisers, pesticides, weed killers, salinisation of the soil, over exploitation of groundwater, exhaustion of resources, over grazing, inadequate handling of the land, leaving soil unprotected, etc. Doñana and the surrounding area have obviously not been left unaffected by these processes; in fact some of them continue to have a significant impact on Doñana today. This very process of intensifying farming by using more fertilisers and pesticides in general than are strictly necessary together with an inadequate use and handling of mechanical equipment, nonconservative growing systems, and the fact that farmers no longer add well fermented manure to the land from time to time, as this is now relatively scarce, distances agriculture from the natural ecological process. AGRICULTURE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT This model of intensive farming is not considered sustainable, as it cannot possibly meet current economic needs without endangering the capacity of future generations to meet their needs. Hence, a new alternative system of agricultural production appeared, completely opposed to the production oriented model, known as biological, ecological or organic farming, based on not using chemical inputs.This method has expanded fast and its products are winning the corresponding "niche" in the market.

However, refusing to benefit from technological progress, this new school of farming involves higher costs, since an increase in the area used for farming means a rise in prices for the consumer. In consequence, the most reasonable option appears to be an intermediate model, one that can harness the advances of technology to apply them to a balanced agriculture, eliminating any processes that are harmful to the environment and to conserving natural resources, in order to guarantee quality of life for today and for the future. This sustainable agriculture model must be possible in real from an ecological, financial and social point of view as the European Common Agricultural Policy has confirmed in each of its successive

reforms. Hence, it is essential to accept the concept of integral agrarian management for the entire industrial-agro-food sector, in each and every one of its stages of production, which can ensure sustainable agriculture in the long term with a balanced use of inputs. This includes the following actions that have a special impact on the future of Doñana: - The crops to be grown should place the minimum possible demand on water and additional nutrients, they should be resistant to plagues and disease and they should have deep and well developed roots to retain particles of soil in the face of erosion. - The growing system should require minimum cultural tasks and it should follow the contours of the land in strips or bands, interrupting the run off.Top priority should be given to maintaining some vegetation cover in all stages of production. - The farm implements should only act at a shallow depth and without turning the soil over, and compact the terrain as little as possible. - Irrigation has to be applied efficiently, to attain minimum consumption, depending on the needs of each crop, its pheonological state and evaporation-transpiration. The land should be fertilised in a similar way, to provide the plants with what they strictly need at any one time: - Pesticides and weed killer should be kept to the minimum dose, and applied at the best time, using products that do not remain in the soil for long, which degrade into non toxic metabolites as soon as possible, in order to prevent a persistent pollution of soil or water. - Manure shall be well fermented and swill waste and unprocessed organic matter eliminated. - Industrial and domestic waste should be treated prior to being released to the environment.


The mine tailings spill into the River Guadiamarin April 1988 acted as a wake up call for all decision makers and authorities and detailed monitoring of pollution levels in several water courses, including the Guadiamar, started at this time. Available data showed a presence of sources of contaminations other than the mine residues. The main sources of these contaminants are to be found in intensive farming, the agro-food industry of the area (brines and swill), urban effluents and heavy metals loads from the small industries of the area. The photograph shows part of the layer of toxic sludge after the Aznalcollar accident. Photograph by Jose MAntonio Sabater.

The Doñana area, especially sensitive, demands a sustainable agriculture, so that all the water, draining into the Marshes arrives with minimal disturbances caused by soil erosion, transport and deposit of sediments, surplus nutrients and organic matter, pesticides, weed killers or waste waters from towns, the agro-food industry and livestock farms. The "Doñana 2005" Project is implementing a series of farreaching actions to return the area to the state it was in formr times.With a programme of sustainable agrarian activity in the surrounding area, clean waters will flow into Doñana to support its rich biodiversity.


We should not forget that "Doñana is water" and water is life. Defending the quality of Doñana's waters must be understood as defending the rights that all living creatures in Doñana have to survive,thus sustaining a rich biodiversity. These are also the rights of the people that live from its crops and livestock. Sustainable agriculture in this area should be understood by

farmers, first of all using the pertinent training and counselling. It also must be understood by the Local and Regional Authorities who can render it economically and socially viable with grants, guidelines and regulations, in order to produce the optimum quantities that are compatible with conserving nature and a rational and efficient use of resources.

We must not forget that "Doñana is water" and water is life. The defence of its waters must be understood as the defence of the right of all living creatures in "Doñana" to survive in optimum conditions, sustaining the rich biodiversity of the area. This also includes the people who live from growing crops and raising livestock. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


Marshes and ponds


the graphic expression of water

PICTURE 1 Marshes and “Vera”. End of Winter. Doñana Biological Reserve. Author: Regla Alonso Miura.

he pleasure that we experience in the presence of water in a landscape has a deep, almost genetic origin.The sensual characteristics and the symbolic aspects with an intense emotional content, make them into the conveyor and generator of aesthetic values. Spaces associated with water and which form a frontier with that water, usually possess an enormous treasure trove of flora and fauna. In Doñana, we have addressed marshes and ponds, two units with a horizontal surface that is free of all visual obstacles and other specific individual features.They both share the element that defines them; water, but they forge different landscapes.The areas of contact (eco-tone) with the ecosystem around them possess a major morphological and biological richness, but they have different physiognomies.They also behave differently throughout the year and have divergent influences on their surroundings. In a study conducted between 1982-85 dealing with the graphic expression of these Doñana landscapes, the structural, formal, chromatic elements, etc. that define and make them individually distinct have been analysed. To do this, large sets of images were taken, introducing certain elements like: location, size and density of the different elements, height of the horizon, depth of field, point of view, proportions of the format, size and


* Professor of Anatomy. University of Seville, Spain.

situation of the sheet of water, colour level of information, etc. By establishing comparisons among the results, we can draw some conclusions on perception and representation like those given as examples below. Images 1 and 3 have represented two Doñana ecosystems; marsh and pond, respectively.These pictures share their principle elements: sheet of water, well structured scrubland of cork trees and marsh vegetation. In both of them, the water covers a similar space, it is the same colour and it is open on the right side of the picture.The size of the tree mass is similar, as is the marsh vegetation. Only certain structural and formal aspects have been accentuated or varied. In the picture of the marsh, a distant, linear horizon has been chosen, one that enlarges the surface area to give the sensation of an unmanageable space with distant boundaries. In the pond, we come closer to the horizon and its elements can be made out as individual and personalised features, seeking to encircle and close the perimeter to give the feeling of a secluded environment. Marsh vegetation is laid out in a different way in each picture. In the marsh, the picture concentrates on the area to the left, leaving the sheet of water free, while, in the lagoon, it is also situated in the area to the right, delimiting and attempting to bound the water, but without doing so physically.


PICTURE 2 Dulce pond. End of Winter. Do単ana Biological Reserve. Author: Regla Alonso Miura.

The changes in the colour of these waters are due to ephemeral factors like the time of day or the weather conditions. But it is surprising that, in the course of the year, and regardless of the seasons and the position of the sun, they show an unusual consistency in their colour, which we described as ultramarine blue with flecks of cobalt. As has been pointed out, the behaviour of marshes and ponds is different throughout the year. In the former, one can see extreme morphological changes, with the amazing process of seasonal filling and emptying, and with the growth and senescence of the vegetation that fills it.A few succinct brush strokes with the colours that express this discourse can provide use

IMAGEN 3 Dulce Pond. Onset of Autumn. Do単ana Biological Reserve. Author: Regla Alonso Miura.


with the information that defines the landscape and its moment in the seasons. In the lagoons, the annual cycle is reflected in the vegetation that surrounds the water (pictures 2 and 3). In the whole process of transmitting the morphology of the landscape into graphic images, we have followed the rule of economising on means: what can be expressed with one stroke does not need using two, what can be indicated with three millimetres of line is not to be accentuated with another.There may be an infinity of possible solutions, but obviously, not all of them have the same value. Only the images with the best expressive quality, of the hundreds taken, have the power to convey the suggestion of Do単ana landscapes.


1. BAYÁN JARDIN, B., CASAS GRANDE, J., RUIZ DE LARRAMENDI, A., SAURA MARTÍNEZ, J., URDIALES ALONSO, C., 2001. Proyecto Doñana 2005: Restauración hidrológica de las marismas y cuencas vertientes a Doñana. Ed. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. 2. En 1971 González Bernáldez colabora con Agustín Soler, profesor de Zoología en la Hispalense que iniciaba el estudio de los insectos de la Marisma, los cuales habían sido abordados con anterioridad por Bigot y Marazanof. 3. AMAT,J.A.,MONTES,C.,RAMÍREZ DÍAZ,L., TORRES MARTÍNEZ,A. 1977 Mapa Ecológico del Parque Nacional de Doñana. ICONA Madrid 4. GARCÍA NOVO,F., COTA GALÁN, H., POU ROYO, A., 1977. Estudio de las marismas del P.N.Doñana utilizando las imágenes del satélite ERTS-1. Bol.Estación Central Ecología 6:29-41 5. FAO, 1972. Proyecto piloto de utilización de aguas subterráneas para el desarrollo agrícola de la cuenca del Guadalquivir. Anteproyecto de la transformación en regado de la zona Almonte-Marismas (margen derecha). Informe técnico. I-AGL:SF/SPA 16. Madrid. 2 vol 263 p. 6. HEURTEAUX, P., 1970 Influences nefastes de risque d´asurer l’equilibre ecologique du Parc National de Doñana l’utilisation voir a de fins agricoles et touristiques des nappes aquiferes d´Almonte et des marismes. Informe. Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat.CNRS. 32 p. 7. VANNEY, J.R., 1970. L’hidrologie du Bas Guadalquivir. Publicaciones del Dep. de Geografía Aplicada. CSIC. Madrid. 8. BAONZA DE PRADO, E., PLATA, A., SILGADO, A., 1984. Hidrología isotópica de las aguas subterráneas del Parque Nacional de Doñana y su zona de influencia. CEDEX. MOPU. Madrid. 139 p. 9. IGME, 1982. Hidrogeología del Parque Nacional de Doñana y su entorno. Col. Informe. Ministerio de Industria y Energía. Madrid. 120 p. 10. LLAMAS, R., 1990. Geohydrology of the eolian sands of the Doñana National Park (Spain). Catena Supplement 18:145-154 11. LÓPEZ, T., MAZUELOS, N., MUÑOZ REINOSO, J.C., 1993. Spatial and temporal variation in the ionic composition of shallow water table in Doñana National Park (SW Spain). Verh. Internat.Verein.Limnol. 12. SUSO, J.M., LLAMAS, M., 1990. El impacto de la extracción de aguas subterráneas en el P.N.Doñana. Estudios Geológicos. 46:317-345 13. CASTELLS, M., CRUZ VILLALON, J., CUSTODIO, E., GARCÍA NOVO, F., GAUDEMAR, J. P., GONZÁLEZ VALLVE, J. L., GRANADOS, V., MAGRANER, C., ROMAN, M., SMART, M., VAN DER MAAREL, E., 1992. (Comisión internacional de expertos sobre el desarrollo del entorno de Doñana). Dictamen sobre Estrategias para el Desarrollo Socioeconómico Sostenible del Entorno de Doñana. Sevilla: Consejería de Obras Públicas y Transportes, Junta de Andalucía. 14. GALINDO, D., MAZUELOS, N., MATA,J.A., SERRANO,L., 1994. Microcrustacean and rotifer diversity relating to water temporality in dune ponds of Doñana National Park (SW Spain). Verh. Int. Verein. Limnol. 25:1350-56. 15. SERRANO, L., 1994. Sources, aboundance and disappearance of polyphenolic compounds in temporary ponds of Doñana National Park In M.A. BROCK, P.I., BOON, A., GRANT, Plant and Processes in Wetlands. CSIRO. Australia. 1994. 16. SERRANO, L., TOJA, J., 1993. Influencia de las extracciones de agua sobre las lagunas peridunares de Doñana. Quercus, 92: 21-23. 17. SUSO, J.M., LLAMAS, M., 1990. El impacto de la extracción de aguas subterráneas en el Parque Nacional de Doñana. Estudios Geológicos 46(34):321-323 / Influence of Groundwater Development on the DoñanaNational-Park Ecosystems (Spain). J. Hydrology 141(1-4):239-269. 19. ZUNZUNEGUI, M., DIAZ BARRADAS, M.C.,GARCIA NOVO, F. 1998. Vegetation fluctuation in Mediterranean dune ponds in relation to raifall variation and water extraction. Applied Vegetation Science 1:151160. 20. MONTES,C., AMAT J., RAMÍREZ DÍAZ, L., 1982. Ecosistemas acuáticos del Bajo Guadalquivir (SW España). Variación estacional de los componentes fisicoquímicos y biológicos de las aguas. Studia Oecologica 3: 1259-180 21. OLIAS ALVAREZ, M., CRUZ SANJULIAN, J., BENAVENTE HERRERA, J., GARCÍA NOVO, F., MUÑOZ REINOSO, J.C., 1991. New data about the Almonte-Marismas aquifer from the hydrological monitoring (1989-90). Sobreexplotación de Acuíferos.23 Congreso AIH. Islas Canarias: 159-163. 22. IGME, 1982. Hidrogeología del Parque Nacional de Doñana y su entorno. Colección Informe. Madrid 120 p. 23. LLAMAS, M.R., 1990. Geohydrology of the eolian sands of the Doñana National Park (Spain). Catena Supplement 18:145-154. 24. GARCÍA NOVO, F., GALINDO, M.D., GARCÍA SANCHEZ, J.A., GUISANDE C., JAUREGUI, J., 25. LÓPEZ, T., MAZUELOS, N., MUÑOZ, J.C., SERRANO, L., TOJA, J., 1991. Tipificación de los escosistemas acuáticos sobre sustrato arenoso del Parque Nacional de Doñana. 3er Simposio sobre el Agua de Andalucía. Córdoba :165-177

26. TOJA, J., 1991. Ecología del Río Guadalquivir. Memorias de la Academia de Ciencias de Sevilla.1(1986/89):329-353. 27. TOJA, J., LÓPEZ, T., GUISANDE, C., BRIEVA,C., 1986. Ecología del estuario del rio Guadalquivir. II Simposio del Agua en Andalucía 1:523532 28. LÓPEZ, T., TOJA, J., GABELLONE, N., 1990. Limnological comparison of two periduar ponds in the Doñana National Park (SW Spain). Archiv. Hydrobiol. 120(3):357-378 29. SERRANO, L., TOJA, J., 1999. Limnology of temporary ponds in Doñana National Park (SW Spain) Limnética. 30. TOJA, J., LÓPEZ, T., GABELLONE, N., 1990. Succesional changes in two dune ponds in Doñana National Park (SW, Spain). Verh. Internat Verein Limnol. 24

THE GEOMORPHOLOGICAL EVOLUTION OF DOÑANA 31. CARRETERO, M.I., RUÍZ, F., RODRÍGUEZ-RAMÍREZ, A., CÁCERES, L., RODRÍGUEZ-VIDAL, J., GONZÁLEZ-REGALADO, M.L., 2002. The use of clay minerals and microfossils in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions: The Holocene littoral strand of Las Nuevas (Doñana National Park, SW Spain). Clay Minerals 37: 93-103. 32. LARIO, J., 1996. Último y Presente Interglacial en el área de conexión Atlántico-Mediterráneo (Sur de España). Variaciones del nivel del mar, paleoclima y paleoambientes. Tesis Doctoral, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 269 p. 33. MENANTEAU, L., 1979. Les Marismas du Guadalquivir. Exemple de transformation d’un paysage alluvial au cours du Quaternaire récent. Thèse 3è cycle, Univ. Paris-Sorbonne, 154 p. 34. RODRIGUEZ RAMIREZ, A., 1996. Geomorfología continental y submarina del Golfo de Cádiz (Guadiana-Guadalquivir) durante el Cuaternario reciente. Tesis Doctoral, Universidad de Huelva, 378 p. 35. RODRÍGUEZ-RAMÍREZ, A., RODRÍGUEZ-VIDAL, J., CÁCERES, L.M., CLEMENTE, L., BELLUOMINI, G., MANFRA, L., IMPROTA, S., DE ANDRÉS, J.R., 1996. Recent coastal evolution of the Doñana National Park (SW Spain). Quaternary Science Reviews, 15: 803-809. 36. RODRÍGUEZ-RAMÍREZ,A.,RUÍZ,F., CÁCERES, L.M., RODRÍGUEZ37. VIDAL, J., PINO, R., MUÑOZ, J.M., 2003. Analysis of the recent storm record in the southwestern Spanish coast: implications for littoral management. The Science of the Total Environment, 303: 189-201. 38. RODRÍGUEZ VIDAL, J., 1999. Doñana. In: DURÁN, J.J. y NUCHE, R. (Ed.). Patrimonio Geológico de Andalucía: 214-219, ENRESA, Madrid. 39. ZAZO, C., GOY, J.L., SOMOZA, L.; DABRIO, C.J., BELLUOMINI, G., IMPROTA, S., LARIO, J., BARDAJÍ, T., SILVA, P.G., 1994. Holocene sequence of sea-level fluctuations in relation to climatic trends in the Atlantic-Mediterranean linkage coast. Journal of Coastal Research, 10 (4): 933-945.


40. BAONZA, E., PLATA, A. Y SILGADO, A., 1984. Hidrología isotópica de las aguas subterráneas del Parque Nacional de Doñana y zona de influencia. Centro de Estudios y Experimentación de Obras Públicas (CEDEX), Madrid, Cuadernos de Investigación C7: 1-139. 41. BORJA, F. Y DÍAZ DEL OLMO, F., 1992. Eastern sector of the cliff at El Asperillo (Huelva cost, SW Spain): formation and chronology. MBSS, Newsletter, 14: 87-93. 42. BORJA, F. Y DÍAZ DEL OLMO, F., 1994. Geomorfología de el manto eólico litoral de El Abalario (Huelva). In : J. Arnáez, J.M. Garía Ruíz y A. Gómez, (eds.), Geomorfología de España, Sociedad Española de Geomorfología: 337-338. 43. CMA, 1998. Reconocimiento biofísico de espacios naturales protegidos. Doñana. Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía. Memoria y mapa ecológico de Doñana. 44. COLETO, I., 2003. Funciones hidrológicas y biogeoquímicas de las formaciones palustres hipogénicas de los mantos eólicos de El AbalarioDoñana (Huelva). Tesis Doctoral, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. 45. CUSTODIO, E., 1993. Preliminary outlook of saltwater intrusion conditions in the Doñana National Park (Southern Spain). Study and Modelling of Salt Water Intrusion. CIMNE-UPC. Barcelona: 295-315. 46. CUSTODIO, E., 2000. Groundwater-dependent wetlands. Acta Geologica Hungarica, 43(2): 173-202. 47. CUSTODIO, E., 2004. Posibles procesos de contaminación agrícola de aguas subterráneas en el área de Doñana (Huelva). Congreso Nacional Análisis y Evolución de la Contaminación de las Aguas Subterráneas, Alcalá de Henares.



48. CUSTODIO, E., Y PALANCAR, M. 1995. Las aguas subterráneas en Doñana. Revista de Obras Públicas, Madrid, 142 (3340): 31-53. 49. IGLESIAS, M., 1999. Caracterización hidrogeoquímica del flujo del agua subterránea en El Abalario, Doñana, Huelva. Tesis Doctoral, ETSICCPB, Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, Barcelona. 50. IGME, 1982. Hidrogeología del Parque Nacional de Doñana y su entorno. Instituto Geológico y Minero de España. Madrid, 120 p. 51. KONIKOV, L.F. Y RODRÍGUEZ-ARÉVALO, J.,1993. Advection and diffusion in a variable-salinity confining layer. Water Resources Research, 29 (8): 2747-2761. 52. LOZANO, E.; DELGADO, F.; MANZANO, M. Y CUSTODIO, E., 2002. Caracterización hidrogeoquímica de las aguas subterráneas y superficiales de la Vera del Parque Nacional de Doñana (SW de España). Groundwater and Human Development (Bocanegra, Martínez y Massone, eds.). Univ. Mar del Plata, Argentina: 1348-1358 (CD). 53. LOZANO, E., 2004. Las aguas subterráneas en los Cotos de Doñana y su relación con las lagunas. Tesis doctoral, ETSICCPB, Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, Barcelona. 54. MANZANO, M., 1999. Los humedales de Doñana y su relación con el agua subterránea. 1ª Reunión Internacional de Expertos sobre la Regeneración Hídrica de Doñana (Doñana 2005). Huelva, octubre de 1999. MMA, Madrid. 55. MANZANO, M., 2001. Clasificación de los humedales de Doñana atendiendo a su funcionamiento hidrológico. Hidrogeología y Recursos Hidráulicos, Madrid, XXIV: 57-75. 56. MANZANO, M.; BORJA, F. Y MONTES, C., 2002. Metodología de tipificación hidrológica de los humedales españoles con vistas a su valoración funcional y a su gestión: Aplicación a los humedales de Doñana. Boletín Geológico y Minero, 113 (3): 313-330. 57. MANZANO, M. Y CUSTODIO, E., 2004. Groundwater baseline composition of the Doñana aquifer (SW Spain) and geochemical controls. 4ª Asamblea Hispano-Portuguesa de Geodesia y Geofísica, Figueira de Foz, Portugal, Febrero de 2004. 58. MANZANO, M.; CUSTODIO, E.; LOOSLI, H.H.; CABRERA, M.C.; RIERA, X. Y CUSTODIO, J., 2001. Palaeowater in coastal aquifers of Spain. Palaeowaters in Coastal Europe: Evolution of Groundwater since the late Pleistocene. (EDMUNDS, W.M. & MILNE, C.J., eds.). Geological Society London, Sp. Publ. 189: 107-138. 59. MANZANO, M.; CUSTODIO, E.; MEDIAVILLA, C. Y MONTES, C., 2002b. Effects of localised intensive aquifer exploitation on the Doñana wetlands (SW Spain). Simposium on Intensive Use of Groundwater. Challenges and Opportunities, SINEX. Instituto Geológico y Minero de España, Generalitat Valenciana y Fundación Marcelino Botín. Abstracts. 60. MANZANO, M.; CUSTODIO, E.; MEDIAVILLA, C. Y MONTES, C., 2005. Effects of localised intensive aquifer exploitation on the Doñana wetlands (SW Spain). BALKEMA Publishers. 61. MONTES, C.; BORJA, F., MANZANO, M. Y OTROS (2000). Inventario y tipificación de los humedales del Manto Eólico Litoral de Doñana. Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía. 62. PAH, 2002. Plan Andaluz de Humedales. Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía. Sevilla. 63. RODRÍGUEZ-ARÉVALO, F.J., 1988. Origen del movimiento del agua intersticial en el acuitardo arcilloso de las marismas del Guadalquivir. Tesis Doctoral. FC., Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 300 p. 64. SALVANY, J.M. Y CUSTODIO, E., 1995. Características litológicas de los depósitos pliocuaternarios del Bajo Guadalquivir en el área de Doñana: implicaciones hidrogeológicas. Rev. Soc. Geol. De España 8 (12): 21-31. 65. SUSO, J.M. Y LLAMAS, M., 1990. El impacto de la extracción de aguas subterráneas en el Parque Nacional de Doñana. Estudios Geológicos, 46: 317-345. 66. SUSO, J.M. Y LLAMAS, M., 1993. Influence of Groundwater development on the Doñana National Park ecosystems (Spain). Journal of Hydrology, 141: 239-269. 67. TRICK, TH. 1998. Impacto de las extracciones de agua subterránea en Doñana: aplicación de un modelo numérico con consideración de la variabilidad de la recarga. Tesis Doctoral. ETSICCPB, Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, Barcelona. 68. TRICK, TH. Y CUSTODIO, E., 2004. Hydrodynamic characteristics of the western Doñana Region (area of El Abalario), Huelva, Spain. Hydrogeology Journal, 12: 321-335.. 69. ZAZO, C., GOY, J.L., LARIO, J. Y SILVA, P.G., 1996. Littoral zone and rapid climatic changes during the last 20,000 years: the Iberian study case. Z. Geomorph. N.F.; Berlin-Stuttgart, Suppl. 102: 119-134. 70. ZAZO, C.; DABRIO, C.; GONZÁLEZ, A.; SIERRO, F.; YLL, E.I.; GOY, J.L.; LUQUE, L.; PANTALEÓN-CANO, J.; SOLER, V.; ROURE, J.M.; LARIO, J.; HOYOS, M.; Y BORJA, F., 1999. The record of the last gla-


cial and interglacial periods in the Guadalquivir marshlands (Mari López drilling, SW Spain). Geogaceta, 26: 119-122.





71. Production of the DTM of the marshes was a joint effort of Estudio Cartográfico Gea S.A. and Fotonor As. 72. Development of the numerical model was a joint effort of AYESA and WL/Delft Hydraulics.

EL PARTIDO STREAM 73. Simulating these flash floods made it possible to estimate the volume of the run off Q (m3); peak flow qp (m3/s) and peak times tp (hours) for these flows. All these parameters were determined in section 3 of El Arroyo del Partido (Figure 1), located in the channelled stretch, about 4 km up river from where it flows into the Marshes, where it spills 95% of the area of the basin, and fitted with the Guadalquivir Water Board's metre number 151. The downpours that caused the aforementioned flash floods used to be defined from the hourly rainfall data provided by the Almonte HU007 weather station that forms part of the Andalusia Regional Government Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Alert and Phyto-sanitary Information Network. 74. This figure is only a 10% deviation from the average value of the 7 samples of water with sediments taken in the same section, during the course of seven flash floods in the period 1996-98, which gave a value of 6,244 g/l. Despite the small size of the sample, the simulation as such offers a good fit when one considers that thee of solid flows in suspension. 75. It should be pointed out that the winter of 1998-99 was one of extreme drought and without any flash floods in the Doñana area, so the delay in this alter operation did not alter the morphology of the Arroyo from the previous year. 76. This research forms part of the Project 174/93; Sedimentary Dynamics of the Doñana National Park marshes, future prospects and management alternatives, funded by the Regional National Parks Board. We would like to express our gratitude to Doctors Jose Carlos Robredo Sanchez and Pablo J. Sendra Arce for their significant participation in this project.

MEN AND WATER IN THE HISTORY OF DOÑANA 77. OJEDA RIVERA, J.F., 1985. Le Parc National Doñana et son environnement. Revue géographique des Pyrénées et du Sudouest. T.56/2, avril-juin 85. Toulouse: 225-242 78. OJEDA RIVERA, J.F., 1987. Organización del territorio en Doñana y su entorno próximo. (Almonte). Siglos XVIIIXX. Ministerio de Agricultura ICONA. (Monografía, 49). Madrid. 456 p. 79. OJEDA RIVERA, J.F., 1990. Doñana paisaje cultural. Doñana cultural landscape. Doñana: La naturaleza en España. Ed. Lunwerg, Barcelona: 18-25 80. OJEDA RIVERA, J.F., 1992. Políticas forestales y medio ambiente en Doñana y su entorno. Agricultura y Sociedad, nº 65, Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación, Madrid: 303-357. 81. OJEDA RIVERA, J.F., 1993. Doñana: Esperando a Godot. Instituto de Desarrollo Regional, Sevilla. Cuaderno, nº 31. 84 p. 82. GRANADOS, M. y OJEDA, J.F., 1994. Doñana. Paisaje y poblamiento. Edificaciones en el Parque Nacional. Consejería de Obras Públicas y Transportes. Dirección General de Arquitectura y Vivienda, Junta de Andalucía, Sevilla. 142 p. 83. OJEDA RIVERA, J.F., 1999. Una aproximación interpretativa a la catástrofe del Guadiamar. Cuchará y paso atrá, nº 7. Colectivo de Estudios Marxistas, Sevilla: 49-56. 84. OJEDA RIVERA, J.F., GONZALEZ FARACO, J.C. y VILLA DÍAZ, J. 2000. El paisaje como mito romántico. Su génesis y pervivencia en Doñana, en MARTÍNEZ DE PISÓN, E.(Coord.) Estudios sobre el paisaje. Madrid, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid y Fundación Duques de Soria. Colección de Estudios, nº67: 343-357.

MARSHES AND LAGOONS 85. ALONSO MIURA, R., 1987. Flora y Paisaje en Doñana. Ministerio de Obras Públicas. Madrid. 86. ALONSO MIURA, R., 1988. Doñana. Vegetación y paisaje. Percepción morfológica y análisis plástico. MOPU/Junta de Andalucía. Sevilla. 250 p. 87. ALONSO MIURA, R., 1992. La emoción de descubrir. Universidad Hispanoamericana. Santa María de la Rábida. 259 p.

The performance of nature and the worlds of biodiversity within Doñana he ecological traits of the area that surrounds the former game reserve called “Coto de Doñana” vary enormously and have also varied though history. A first approach to studying the biological heritage found in this area is through looking back for remnants of history and the first descriptions of its resources: how they were used and how they were considered, including the accounts of the first scientific explorers of these lands. These are points of reference that should be addressed in the search for a better understanding of the Doñana of today. The first characteristic of the wider area of Doñana is a grand rolling sandy plain of old dunes,dotted with ponds in the depressions that border the edge that runs down to the shores of the Gulf of Cádiz. Historically, this area has been considered a desert uninhabited land. To the west, the area borders on the Huelva and Tinto estuaries, forming escarpments in the sandstone that give way to tidal marshes.The Río Tinto marshes border this northwestern part of the territory as far as Niebla, while the northern boundaries are more con-


ventional, without any physical feature to mark the frontiers.These Pleistocene hills and Miocene marls have always been farmed and the settlements between Niebla and Seville form a rim of age-old human presence in the countryside.The County of Niebla, which remained independent from Seville during many periods, and the River Guadiamar have played the political role of border with Aljarafe, Seville. The boundaries of the southernmost municipalities, like Rociana,Almonte, Hinojos,Aznalcazar,Villamanrique, Puebla del Río, Coria and the recently created Isla Mayor, form belts running down to the shore, marshes or estuary. To the east, the Guadalquivir Estuary and its islands offered a continuity with the marshes. The inhabitants of Trebujena and Sanlúcar, in the province of Cádiz, have always been linked to Doñana and its resources, so these municipal districts can be considered as the eastern boundaries of the Greater Doñana area. Seville and Cádiz are the regional centres, in political and administrative terms, followed by Niebla, Jerez and Huelva, with Sanlúcar as the local capital of the old Doñana Estate. The El

To get an idea of the enormous wealth of this area, one only has to realise that 400 species of birds have been sighted in Doñana. There are also 33 species of mammals, 19 reptiles, 12 amphibians and 7 fish species, plus a further 60 species in the Guadalquivir Estuary. These figures, while high for Spain, are exceptional for the European continent. In the photograph, a backlit view of a "pajarera" (open aviary), cork oaks renowned for the enormous quantity of birds that nest in them in La Vera, facing the Doñana Marshes. Photgraph of José María Pérez de Ayala.


Rocío chapel has always acted as the spiritual centre for the region with the pilgrimages of religious hermandades (brotherhoods) from these municipalities during Whitsuntide. Shipping has been one of the keys to this area for thousands of years. Merchandise was shipped out down the rivers from Niebla with its active port, and from Palos, Moguer, Sanlúcar, Coria, San Juan and Seville.The Torre Branch (Brazo de la Torre) was navigable by boat down to the River Guadiamar, where it ran back into the main Branch of the River Guadalquivir. The Eastern Branch (Brazo del Este) was also open to river traffic. Even the cattle trails to Puntal de Doñana and Moguer used barges to carry the cattle down to Sanlúcar or Huelva. The livestock crossed to the islands on the edges of the different branches of the rivers, and they were recovered with barges from the "vetas" or islands of the Doñana Marshes (Las Marismas) during the floods. The bridge over the River Tinto was in Niebla, the Guadalquivir bridge was a ferry crossing at Seville, and it is on record that the River Guadiamar used to have a Roman bridge at Aznalcázar, although the river was crossed at the fords.To a certain extent, the Doñana Marshes had the appearance of an archipelago, in which the vetas on which people built huts and settlements were the islands.The inhabitants travelled with livestock and belongings from one to another on horseback through the shallow waters or, if the water was deep, in "cajones" - flat bottomed punts that they pushed along with a pole. A description of the resources historically available and how they were harnessed gives us another view of Doñana and its districts at different times in history.Along the coastline and the estuaries, man has fished with nets and traps for thousands of years and collected shellfish along the shores. Two types of fishing became important in the area: the tuna fishing traps (almadrabas), particularly the traps at Torre Carboneros, and the stone fish pens in

This picture of a tin of caviar processed in the area gives an idea of the abundance of sturgeon. They were finally wiped out in a few years after the adults were caught in mass, having been retained by the construction of the Alcala dam on the Guadalquivir River.


With the means now available, scientists are convinced that they know the Doñana of today relatively well. But, when its evolution and future projection are discussed, major questions arise. What was Doñana like centuries ago, with marshes that were still tidal to a certain extent? Or a thousand years ago, with a sea gulf and large marsh islands between the branches of the Estuary inhabited by immense flocks of birds? What was Doñana like beforehand, with bears eating the juniper berries, attacking the flocks of birds and fishing in the shallow pools, at a time when the sandy islands of the estuary mouth were inhabited by colonies of monk seals and the sea turtles came ashore on the beaches to lay their eggs. In the picture, the bank of a pool. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

Sanlúcar. Fish, shellfish, fresh and pickled oysters, and sun-dried fish were distributed throughout the region from here.With time, the tuna from the fish traps and the "sollos" or sturgeons from the Guadalquivir Estuary were produced industrially and gained an excellent reputation. The fish that became trapped in the marshes and temporary lagoons, like the mullet, carp (known locally as "panarras"), eels and lampreys, were fished in large numbers.According to Juan Francisco Ojeda, the place name of Canaliega, next to El Rocío, is named after an ancient structure based on canals to allow fishermen to catch the eels coming out of Las Marismas on their way up La Rocina stream (Arroyo de La Rocina). Other resources from the wetlands that were collected were the leeches for medical purposes, the eggs and chicks of waterfowl, the bulrushes for weaving seats, rushes for weaving bags and baskets, canes for training plants in allotments or for making sun shades, linen for weaving and saltwort plants for making soap. Salt flats were built all along the Guadalquivir Estuary, a strategic activity dating back to ancient times throughout the Mediterranean that boomed thanks to trade with the Americas because of the demand for salted meat and fish. Some salt flats still survive on the left bank of the Guadalquivir, and the crystalisation pools and flats from old salt works are still conserved on the edges of the National Park.The San Isidro and San Rafael salt works are examples. Further inland, farming was developed on rich soils: cereals (including buckwheat), olive trees (often grafted on to wild olive trees), fruit trees (orange and figs), and allotments on the edges of the villages, using the fertile plains of the streams. In Sanlúcar, Hinojos and perhaps elsewhere, there used to be "navazos" or "lavazos", excavations made in sandy soil down to the damp

underlying sand, as an alternative to irrigation.Vines for producing young wines thrived in the loose soil. In order to meet the demands of the American market in the 16th century, the wines were laced with alcohol so they would keep better during the journey. The 18th century saw a boom in wine growing for making dry and manSmall game hunting for partridge, rabbit and hare zanilla sherry, leadwas common. Ducks and geese were hunted in great quantities in the ponds, marshes and on the ing to the creation shores of the estuary. Big game hunting was centred on boar and deer but later increased with the of great wineries introduction of fallow deer. This spread to huntin Sanlúcar and ing lynx, wild cats, foxes, eagles and other birds of prey, all of which were considered pest at the great expansion in time of the hunting estates. land devoted to Documental Centre of the Doñana Biological Station. vines once and for all. Later, from 1920 onwards, the local agriculture was transformed when rice paddies were established in the Marshes, or they were drained for irrigation-based crops. From 1970, the sandy soils with groundwater were reclaimed for irrigation farming, many as green houses.

The predominantly sandy soils of the southern sector and close to the shoreline were not appropriate for farming, so the forests were conserved until felling gradually eliminated them. Forestry covered the needs for firewood, furniture and tools, building, and one particular market, shipbuilding, was an important industry in Moguer and Palos and along the Estuary as far as Sanlúcar. Local forest products included forest resin, pitch for caulking, charcoal, coal dust for making gun powder, cork for floats, bark for tanning, juniper resin, willow branches for basketwork, juniper forks for supporting the bunches of grapes on the vines.There was trading in pine nuts, pinecones, acorns and carob beans. Re-planting umbrella pine trees on the coastal dunes started in 1938 followed in 1941 by eucalyptus, and later pine trees further inland. Sheep, goats, pigs, cows and horses were the main livestock in the countryside of this district. Flocks and herds grazed in the forests and brush in the winter, and the marshes and lagoons in summer when water levels were low, in a local nomadic cycle, in other words, with relatively short moves from one place to another.We should not forget the beekeepers, who produced important resources like honey and wax, in the area.There were also grazing lands and tree-studded range land, with long-term crop rotation of about fifteen years, and evergreen oaks, cork trees, gall oaks, wild olive trees, carob trees and hackberries in open forests, which were used for pig herds to forage on their fallen fruits and berries.The scrubland on poor soils had controlled burns every twelve years. Small game hunting for partridge, rabbit and hare was common, and hares could be hunted in the dry marshes in summer. Ducks and geese were hunted in great quantities in the ponds, marshes and on the shores of the estuary. Big game hunting was centred on boar and deer but later increased with the introduction of fallow deer. According to records, to promote these activities on the The Ebro Delta and Doñana attract the largest concentrations of little terns on the Iberian Peninsula. This species prefers to settle on sandy coasts and on the shores of ponds or marshes. Photograph by: Antonio Sabater


An outline of the historic ecology of Doñana can be gleaned from old descriptions. 18th century descriptions indicated the presence of oak trees and wild olive, rock rose, greenweed, mastic tree and strawberry tree scrub. They also indicate the presence of evergreen oak and extensive pine forests. In the picture, undergrowth of cork trees lit up by the sun set. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.

country estates, there were organised hunts aimed at driving out wolves. This spread to hunting lynx, wild cats, foxes, eagles and other birds of prey, all of which were considered pests. The better land has always been farmed and has never been part of the hunting estates, as these were to be found on sandy soils or marshes, with forest or scrub vegetation. Hunting was a right that was jealously guarded by the landowners and defended against the local settlers who, apart from poaching game, also tried to let their livestock into the hunting grounds to graze, or to gather the forestry resources. The excellent state of conservation in the area that we have inherited is due, to a large extent, to the fact that these were not arable lands and the fact that there was malaria in the wetlands. Two grand hunting estates still survive: one, in the south, was known as Las Rocinas Forest (Bosque de Las Rocinas) or the Coto de Doñana, belonging to the House of Medina Sidonia; and the other, in the north, was called Lomo del Grullo or Coto del Rey, owned by the Monarchy. Both included woods and scrub, they had ponds and streams and bordered the Doñana Marshes.The Coto de Doñana included the juniper woods and the dunes of the shoreline down to the beach, and was surrounded by a large uninhabited area. Lomo del Grullo, on the other hand, was surrounded by settlements and it was on the livestock route to the marshe, so it has understandably been subject to greater pressure from humans. Breaking up the ownership of the historic hunting estates in the 19th century did not bring about a radical change in the use of these lands.The new owners continued to hunt and raise their livestock, and in a later phase they re-planted forests. The original vegetation of the sandy area of Doñana, from the stabilised dune mantles to calcarenites, can still be deduced from the surviving remnants. These include forests of junipers on the sandy coastal mantles and cork trees in the damper sandy parts,


with ash, black and white poplars and tamarisks in areas with a tendency to flood, depending on the salinity of waters. Wild olives were found on higher ground and in stronger soils, and evergreen oaks on well-drained soils and calcarenites. There were probably juniper and prickly juniper further inland, on poor substrates, and maples (Acer granatense) on better soils. Shrubs like strawberry trees, buckthorn or glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus ssp. baetica), and kermes oak, with maquis scrub, would create dense thickets that would be difficult to penetrate. In the rest of the area, there was scrub, heather and pasture.The spread of the dunes and forest fires would have helped this scrub to survive for long periods of time (20-40 years) after each episode. Old descriptions and studies in historical ecology agree on this point.We have the reference of Ojeda's transcription of the parish priest of Almonte's reply to Tomas Lopez' questionnaire in 1785: "most of the district is populated with undergrowth, with a variety of branchless trees like cork trees and wild olive and an undergrowth of rock rose, greenweed, mastic trees and strawberry trees. It has several ranges of cork trees and evergreen oaks and a large part in pine forest"1. Some of these species must have first appeared thousands of years ago, possibly in the Neolithic Period, like the carob tree that came from the eastern Mediterranean. The presence of umbrella pine trees has been the subject of much scientific debate as it grows easily in distressed areas, affected by the spreading dunes, instability of the substrate, or fires. Umbrella pine nuts have been consumed in the Mediterranean basin since the Stone Age, as they are easy to carry and store. The pinecones and wood have been used as fuel, as building material, for making tools and for shipbuilding.The resin too has been used as a preservative for sealing containers and tar to caulk ships' hulls.This valuable tree, closely associated with human presence, is also easy to grow from seed. This

would make migration of pine trees along with human groups plausible, at least in the Neolithic Period, forming part of its first, preagricultural phase that Fernando González Bernáldez labeled "fruitalisation of the Mediterranean forest". These arguments do not exclude the spontaneous incidence favoured during the intense Pleistocene disturbances that repeatedly offered open areas to be colonised by pine forests during changes in climate and major eustatic movements. The maturity of the luxuriant forest, with its dense undergrowth, however, would end up excluding the pine from reproducing in a few centuries, creating pine-free woodlands but maintaining patches of pine woods in disturbed or unstable areas.The inverse correlation between the abundance of Pinus and Quercus pollen is well established in the pollen diagrams of the Acebrón-Las Madres-Acebuche area. There are no records of umbrella pine trees in the Doñana Estate until 1624 or in the demarcation of its boundaries, or in the Coto del Rey, where they are first mentioned in 1636. There are records of sowing their seeds in 1737 in El Puntal, from where the species spread rapidly. In 1751, Gutierrez de Ruvalcava, a naval inspector, recorded 18,000 cork trees, 1,119 poplars and 222,200 pines on the estate, though probably including other adjacent areas. Pines were only sown in the dune valleys after 1805, and Ojeda indicates that there were 895 "fanegas" (about 450 ha) of pine forests in the Doñana Estate in 1852.There are also records of historic pine forests in Moguer,Almonte, Sanlúcar and other towns, in addition to the cork tree woodlands1. Neither is there any conclusive evidence on the origin of other species. There is a stand of some twenty specimens of Tetraclinis articulata that appears to be a 19th century plantation. The possibility of hackberry and mastic tree being introduced into the region centuries ago cannot be ruled out.There has been intensive trade in the latter bush species throughout the Mediterranean, for medicinal purposes and for fresh consumption since 1000 B.C. The Greek island of Khios was one of the bestknown centres of its production and distribution. To benefit the resin, the so-called "mastic" for medicinal purposes, the evergreen pistaches were pruned to give them a crown and a trunk, in the form of an evergreen oak. These were the nursery trees that were tapped for resin. Up until the 1980s, there were two specimens at the entrance to the El Rocío Trail, in Coto del Rey, very close to Puente del Ajolí. Eucalyptus was introduced into the area in ancient times, and those that can now be seen in Coto del Rey or in the Palacio de Doñana are old specimens, forming an integral part of the landscape in La Vera, and occasionally providing support for the nest of a pair of imperial eagles. Breeding colonies of storks have settled in the rows of eucalyptus that link the Palacio del Rey with the marshes.

The first three decades of the 20th century saw a Dutch company carry out planting trials with fast growing tree species on the sandy soils of the coastal plain of Huelva, and species from the Eucalyptus family gave promising results for these purposes.After the Spanish Civil War, in the early forties, Gaspar de la Lama continued with this initiative in the National Forestry Trust, created in 1941, experimenting with new species and planting an interesting arboretum in the Doñana region. After fifty years of growth, those trials now look like an antipodean forest from Australia or New Zealand3. This selection of species identified Eucalyptus rostrata (= E. camaldulensis) and E. globulus as suitable species for the region, starting a wave of planting that covered 33,280 ha by the end of 1950, mostly in the province of Huelva, with about 20,000 ha of umbrella pine and pinaster and another 11,800 ha of eucalyptus. Fortunately, the guayule (Parthenium argentatum) introduced for producing rubber was only planted on a few hundred hectares. and soon abandoned. Eucalyptus planting in the Doñana Estate started in 1946. Mauricio González Gordon remembers, in his contribution to this book, the efforts made to curb this planting, triggering a series of events that culminated in the creation of the National Park. The eucalyptus spread at the expense of the semi-natural vegetation: the original scrub, the pyrophytic scrub, the pastures and wetlands. The diverse mosaic of communities generated by water in ponds, springs and streams was overwhelmed by these interventions. Moreover, the powerful roots of the eucalyptus drew up more water than the existing vegetation, causing the water table to drop and so drying up the rising water sources and their associated wetlands.The serious ecological impact did, however, have major social benefits, as it provided employment in a depressed region for

Unlike the Spanish imperial eagle, other resident birds of prey in Doñana have a brighter future. This is the case of the short toed eagle, kestrels, the Montagu and marsh harriers, the Bonelli's eagle (in the picture), the red kite, the buzzard and the peregrine falcon. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.


The hydrological features strongly determine Doñana's vegetation. On lands not so prone to flooding, the vegetation is dominated by maquis scrub forming large islands of mastic tree (5 - 10 m wide by 3 - 6 m high) associated with umbrella pine trees and wild olives. The presence of cork trees and other scrub species varies depending on substrate and topography. The picture shows a close up of the branch of a female mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus). Black berries are fertile, while sterile ones are red. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

about twenty years and created new settlements where the workers lived with their families.Towns like Los Cabezudos, Bodegones, El Abalario and El Acebuche owe their foundations to the eucalyptus plantations.The main aim at this time was to reduce wetlands in in order to clear land for new human activities.This effort was helped by the introduction of the gambusia (Gambusia holbrooki), a small fish that managed to reduce the mosquito population, which, along with new medical treatments, made it possible to eradicate malaria. The initial replanting of eucalyptus in the hinterland, in the 1940s, linked up with the umbrella pine trees, stabilising the coastal dunes that had developed since the beginning of the century and gradually spread when the Forestry Trust bought new properties in the coastal sector between the River Guadiana and the River Guadalquivir. Private land owners followed this official policy and also planted eucalyptus and pines.This forestry practice continued in the sixties for producing fibreboard in a factory in San Juan del Puerto, and a maximum of about 200,000 ha of eucalyptus plantations was reached in the province of Huelva alone. After three felling periods, production started to fall sharply and stumping became expensive, meaning that replanting with eucalyptus was no longer commercially viable. It is interesting to note, in the new conservationist phase, that from the mid-eighties, eucalyptus plantations were cleared in the National Park and, later on, in the Nature Park. Recent replanting


in the nineties and the replanting work carried out this century have been done for restoration purposes, planting the original vegetation species: juniper, cork, ash, poplar and the various woodland scrub. The list of species gives us little clue about the landscape, as the same flora can produce a dense forest or open scrubland with the odd tree, a large vertebrate community, or one made up of just a few specimens. There are relicts of mature forest vegetation and large ferns like the royal fern (Osmunda regalis) in the area of Encinillas Altas in the Biological Reserve, along the banks of La Rocina stream around the Ribetehilos Lagoon, crossing the Coto del Rey (Matasgordas), and on the edges of the Llanos de Velasquez touching El Puntal.The cork trees of Encinillas reached a diameter of 23 m at the crown. We can only imagine the landscape of the past, based on these remains and other evidence that has survived in the western Mediterranean. El Dehesón, the remains of a forest that has been conserved on sandy mantles emerging from the Tagus River Valley in the municipal district of Navalcan (Toledo, central Spain), has a vegetation of very large cork trees, scrub and lianas that might give us an idea of what Doñana was like in the 13th century, when it was preserved as a Royal game reserve named Bosque de Las Rocinas (Las Rocinas Forest). The difficulty of reconstructing the ecological past, even if only in our imagination, has always been a constant challenge, not only for the imagination but for science too.What was Doñana like centuries ago, with a dense forest still inhabited by wolves, and arshes that were still tidal to a certain extent with swans in the lagoons and an overwhelming presence of birds? Or a thousand years ago, with a sea gulf and the coastline to the hinterland, with large marsh islands between the branches of the Estuary inhabited by immense flocks of birds? Or before that even? What was Doñana like beforehand, with bears eating the juniper berries, the acorns and the strawberry tree berries, attacking the flocks of birds and fishing in the shallow ponds, at a time when the sandy islands of the estuary mouth were inhabited by colonies of monk seals and the sea turtles came ashore on the beaches to lay their eggs?

THE WEALTH OF DOÑANA TODAY A few brief lines will give us an initial approach to the exceptional heritage that Doñana and the surrounding area still safeguard. The MaB Report on the Doñana National Park (Table 1) reveals the wealth of a great mosaic of environments that it encompasses, identifying twenty kinds of terrestrial ecosystems and eight aquatic ones, classifying six of them as of world importance, another ten as of European importance and five more as important for the Iberian Peninsula.The predominant land ecosystems are scrub (16.7% of the area), followed by woodland (15.8%), which are main-

ly umbrella pine, with remains of juniper, prickly juniper, cork and ash woodlands. Grazing meadows account for a further 5.5% and the shifting dunes and beaches, another 10.1%. Finally, the Marshes, with 52%, cover just over half the area, with 13.5% of them forming shallow ponds and lagoons and channels that flood in winter. Such a variety of ecosystems obviously provides shelter for a large number of species. The vertebrate fauna has been studied in detail.To get an idea of the enormous wealth of this area, one only has to realise that 400 species of birds have been sighted in Doñana.There are also 33 species of mammals, 19 reptiles, 12 amphibians and 7 fish species, plus a further 60 species in the Guadalquivir Estuary.These figures, while high for Spain, are exceptional for the European continent. The magnificent vertebrate fauna includes species that are highly endangered in Spain, like the spur-thighed tortoise, the Iberian lynx, the ichneumon and especially birds: the squacco heron, slender-billed gull, spoonbill, rednecked nightjar, little bittern, gallinule, crested coot, marbled teal, ferruginous duck, white headed duck, black shouldered kite and the magnificent Iberian imperial eagle. Other bird species of great interest from a conservationist point of view are the short-toed eagle, Bonelli's eagle, the peregrine falcon, the glossy ibis, the bittern and the redshank. Doñana also plays an extraordinary role in the migration of birds, constituting a major staging post on the Western Europe migratory route that runs along the Atlantic shoreline.The waterfowl that winter in the Park's marshes can number almost a million individuals in a good year, with a predominance of ducks: wigeon, shoveler, pintail, pochard, mallard, gadwall, crested coot and greylag goose. Another outstanding population is the community of over 35,000 pink flamingos.The vertebrate fauna of the Mediterranean forest is also in a satisfactory state of conservation, because the

In the picture, a young little bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), always a difficult bird to spot that stretches its neck and beak upwards when it is in danger. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.

protected area is well conserved and the exchange of specimens within the surrourrounding areas is maintained. In the sandy scrubland, a large number of deer, fallow deer and boar can be found. For all the above, both the Doñana National Park and the Nature Park must be understood to play an exceptional role in preserving the European vertebrate fauna, as well as the intrinsic value of their well preserved ecosystems. There are very few endemic species in the park. Only 6 taxa of vascular plants (of the 896 species described) are considered endemic, although they are probably also to be found in other areas close by, as bio-geographic barriers are almost non-existent. The residual populations of endangered species, expelled from their former wider ranges by transformations to their territories, are of more interest than the endemic species. This biological legacy of

TABLE 1 Ecosystems of Doñana The important thing in Doñana is the animal populations and the ecosystems and landscapes as a whole. This table summarises this features, referring solely to the Doñana National Park. (MaB 1994). Upper/lower case indicates greater/lesser importance. TYPE OF ECOSYSTEM Castañuela Marsh Almajos Marsh Shallow ponds (lucios) Streams Permanent lagoons Temporal lagoons Vera grasslands Monte noble Monte blanco Monte negro, heathlands Cork-oak groves Juniper groves Prickly juniper groves Pine woodlands Mobile dunes


AN AN AN AN AN AN AN AN AN AN AN an an an an













VE/ve AN/an

animals, fauna


breeding areas


breeding areas of migratory birds


structuration of space

EC/ec LA/la IB







important ecological processes for the Park singular landscape important ecosystem within the Iberian Peninsula ecosystem of European importance ecosystem of world importance



the Doñana countryside acting as a sanctuary is of tremendous THE IMPACT OF WATER ON THE ECOSYSTEMS OF DOÑANA conservationist interest. Such is the case of the Iberian lynx (Lynx Each year, with the arrival of the first heavy rains, the process pardinus), which survives here in larger numbers than the few other remaining populations of the Iberian Peninsula, or the Spanish of recharging the water table begins and the drainage network comes into operation in the basin. After successive episodes of imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti).This species used to be abundant in the Iberian Peninsula and in the region rainfall, the phreatic level rises close to the surface. The flow of around Doñana, but its range has now been reduced water into Doñana during such heavy precipitation becomes flash and the few breeding pairs of the Parks are essential floods that run along the drainage In areas where the water table is accesfor the survival of the species.These two symcourses. When they get to the sible to plant roots in summer, there are ferns, heather (Erica scoparia and bolic species have also been great accomplishDoñana Marshes, these flash floods Calluna vulgaris), and myrtle (Myrtus ments in conservation in Doñana so far. In provoke spectacular waves of floodcommunis), the famous plant that appeared with the gods of Greek the case of the eagle, its protection dates ing that can reach a width of several mythology. In the picture, a water th back to the mid 20 century and this work colour of Calluna painted in Doñana by hundred metres.As winter advances, Regla Alonso Miura. continues tirelessly in the park.An examthe marsh basin fills up and a transiple of the work done is that the censustional world between areas above es of Doñana's imperial eagle population and below water is identified. In the area around the are now the longest series Marshes, the hydrological network is more evident. of data monitoring for a Channels and watercourses are well defined despite the flooding, but in wet winters, this entire area is dotted with ponds and bird of prey in the world4. The other side of the seasonal pools. So this would be the normal scenario that, put coin is the number of simply, defines the impact of water on the layout of the different species that have been ecosystems of the marsh environment. driven to extinction. One These hydrological features thus determine Doñana's vegthe earliest of the vertebrate etation. On the dune hills which are always free of flooding, there extinctions was the brown are patches of pine forest with an undergrowth of halimium bear, most probably prior to (Halimium halimifolium), thorny legumes (Ulex australis, th Stauracanthus genistoides, Genista hirsuta), rock rose the 13 century.The extinction of the wolf - populations (Cistus salviifolius and Cistus monspeliensis), and berry species like butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus), with red berries set on that used to breed in Doñana th shoots shaped like a pointed leaf, and spurge flax (Daphne gnidioccurred in the 19 century, although the last animal, from Sierra de um). On lands not so prone to flooding, the vegetation is dominated Huelva, was shot in 1954. It is difficult by maquis scrub forming large islands of mastic trees (5 - 10 m wide to verify the disappearance of bird species by 3 - 6 m high) associated with pine trees and wild olives.The presbecause there is a lack of old data and the ence of cork trees and other scrub species varies depending on the very dense data of today identify wandering substrate and the topography, which determine the level of floodbirds of distant origins. Cranes are worthy of ing. In the area, there are specimen of Phillyrea angustifolia, buckmention as birds that used to be abundant, but which no longer thorn (Rhamnus lycioides), and hawthorn (Crataegus monogynest in Doñana (since 1900), as are the swans that used to breed th na), and in the less floodable areas Kermes oak (Quercus cochere regularly before the 20 century. Fish species that have become extinct in the estuary include the shad and the sticklecifera), strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), wild pear (Pyrus bourgeana) that was sometimes planted on small plots to support back. Shad must have been abundant as the old Roman coins made rabbit breeding, and dwarf fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) that at the local mint at Coria, on the western banks of the takes on the appearance of a small palm tree, two to three metres Guadalquivir River, bear a shad on one side.The sturgeon has sufin height if there are no great disturbances. In areas where the fered the same fate, with the last conserved specimen dating back water table is accessible in summer, there are ferns, heather (Erica to 1973 and a later catch, in 1983, has also been recorded, scoparia and Calluna vulgaris), and myrtle (Myrtus communis), the although the Guadalquivir population of the Atlantic species famous plant that appeared with the gods of Greek mythology, (Acipenser sturio) is now extinct.


which delays its aromatic blooming until summer time. From late spring until mid autumn, shrubs and trees offer a sequence of edible fruits and berries for mammals and birds. The wild olives, blackcurrants, dwarf palm dates, acorns and other fruits and berries from the vegetation listed above provide food resources.Where there are pines and junipers, pine nuts and cones complete the list of edible plant resources. Competing to attract consumers, these fruits and berries are usually brightly coloured, offering aromatic and nutritious pulp in an attempt to get eaten and, thus, to spread the genes contained in their seeds.The great terrestrial ecologist, Carlos Herrera Maliani, has studied in depth the symbiosis between birds and the Mediterranean fruit producing scrub in Cazorla Nature Park. Pedro Jordano has extended the studies to Doñana. Both areas have become one of the benchmark systems that enable scientists to analyse these forms of symbiosis. These bushes have lianas like the blackberry (Rubus idaeus, R. ulmifolius), the field speedwell, (Lonicera implexa, L. etrusca), the prickly ivy (Smilax aspera), and others like Sherardia arvensis and Bryonia dioica.The lush fruit-bearing native scrub and maquis scrub vegetation is very similar to the original mature form of the Mediterranean forests of cork trees, evergreen oaks, wild olive and dense undergrowth. This vegetation has a stable structure and is typically highly productive with a large biomass and an appreciable diversity of woody plants. For vertebrates, it provides seasonal food resources and it always offers shelter from intense summer heat, strong winds or winter frosts.Along with the birds of the scrub and

From late spring until autumn, the shrubs and trees offer a sequence of edible fruits and berries for mammals and birds.Along with the birds of the scrub and those that nest in the crown or in holes in the trunks, this vegetation also acts as a refuge, nursery and resting place for mammals like deer, boar, lynx, genet, wild cat, fox and badger, and it used to provide shelter for wolves and perhaps bears, although there is no documentation to confirm the latter. Photograph by Jose María Pérez de Ayala.

those that nest in the crown or in holes in the trunks, this vegetation also acts as a refuge, nursery and resting place for mammals like deer, boar, lynx, genet, wild cat, fox and badger, and it used to provide shelter for wolves and perhaps bears, although there is no documentation to confirm the latter. Along the banks, there are ash trees, poplars, and willows, intertwined by "parreños", climbing wild vines that are associated with this gallery type of vegetation.The small grapes of the parreño vine

Setting out from the Doñana shoreline, the inland areas bordering the Marshes are old stabilised dune trains. In this environment, there are juniper groves as mature vegetation on the higher ground, known locally as "naves". In the picture, a grove of juniper in Las Naves, with “monte blanco”scrub in the foreground. Photograph by Cipriano Marín.


cioides, Sonchus oleraceus can grow to two metres in height. An exceptional situation among Doñana's ecosystems, occurs at the "Vera" or edge of the Marshes.The proximity of the topographic surface, and the up-welling of phreatic waters at some points, characterises this strip of sands that ring the Marshes to the south and west.The excessive consumption of well water and overgrazing of the pastures is putting this particular feature of Doñana in serious danger. During the late summer, the marsh area presents the very special feature of still being able to provide water, which rises up around the sandy edges, supporting productive vegetation. Here, the vegetation is bushy and typical of watercourses, hedges and riverbank forests, with ash, willow, poplars, Lombardy poplars and tamarisks.

Reeds are found in permanently flooded environments. The sequence of reeds (Phragmites australis) and tamarisks (Tamarix africana, T. gallica and T. canariensis) also indicate a growing mineralisation and the substitution of one species by another. Photograph: CENEAM files.

are still used to produce an acid condiment in the province of Cádiz, outside of the protected areas of Doñana.This is used like vinegar and could be the origin of our ancestral procedure of preparing wine.The plaited vines were also used for making rough ropes. In 1985, while studying the pollen register of La Laguna de la Madres near Mazagón, Stevenson found a level formed almost exclusively of vine pollen, which he interpreted as a 4000-year-old vineyard (carbon 14 dating).Yet, the practice that has survived into modern times is pruning the parreños and clearing the scrub to promote their production of fruit, so the Laguna de Las Madres sample could well represent the oldest example of harnessing these natural resources4. Near the water, we find roundhead bulrush (Scirpus holoschoenus) and reeds as well, if the flooding is permanent. Different vegetation sequences can be seen, depending on how long the floodwaters last: the pine forest and the wild olive grove will survive a short temporary flooding whereas the cork trees will survive longer periods. Flooding can be almost permanent in the case of the ash, willow, Lombardy poplar and the tamarisk, which, in this order, indicate an increase in the mineralisation of the water. The sequence of reeds (Phragmites australis ssp. australis and ssp. altissima) and tamarisks (Tamarix africana, T. gallica and T. canariensis) also indicate a growing mineralisation and the substitution of one species by another.Among the thickets of woody vegetation on damp silty soils that are rich in nutrients, one finds an herbaceous nitrophilic vegetation that can reach exceptional heights: Trifolium repens or T. resupinatum that can grow to a height of 60 cm, Scolymus hispanicus, Lithrum salicaria, Picris hiera-


IMPORTANCE OF THE AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS The aquatic ecosystems of the Doñana Marshes encompass shallow masses of water, with abundant macrophyte vegetation and a major seasonal development of benthos and plankton.The availability of seeds, leaves, stems and rhizomes on the one hand, and of algae on the other, promotes secondary productivity and an abundance of water insects and crustaceans, supporting trophic systems that provide a food base for small predators, filterers and other species that live of the detritus. Fish larvae and fingerlings grow quickly in the deeper and longer lasting lucios (shallow lakes) which sometimes connect in autumn and winter with the Guadalquivir Estuary or with the Guadiamar, allowing eels, mullet, carp, barbels and other fish to enter as well. Fish rarely reach the sandy lagoons and shallow ponds with softer, less mineralised waters, so they are ideal for large colonies of amphibian larvae and adults (toads, frogs and newts), certain reptiles like the common and the stripe necked turtle, and the water snake. The concentration of birds that use the temporary flooded marsh and pond environments is overwhelming. There are major fluctuations between one year and another, depending on rainfall, as the rainfall determines the abundance of water and, therefore, the configuration of aquatic environments and availability of food resources. For this reason, the data on bird numbers present are always only illustrative and refer to the more favourable periods. The largest populations are of greylag goose (Anser anser) with 75,000 individuals, and ducks like the teal (Anas crecca) at 50,000, gadwall (Anas strepera) at 40,000, mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) at 20,000, shoveler (Anas clypeata) at 25,000, pintail (Anas acuta) at 11,000, and tufted duck (Aythya fuligula) at 11,000.There are also other interesting species of waterfowl like the flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) that maintain a regional population ranging between 30,000 and 60,000 over Odiel, Doñana, the Ebro Delta and the Camargue, breeding mainly in La Laguna de Fuente Piedra

in Málaga, where up to 15,000 chicks may hatch in a good year. The herons are a constant feature of the aquatic environments, like the small cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), the little egret (Egretta garzetta) and the Squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides). But the grey heron (Ardea cinerea), the purple heron (A. purpurea) and the night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) are the rarest of these birds. The populations of these three heron species are the main populations in Spain.The mixing of colonies of storks, herons and cranes is one of the features of Doñana, perched in the cork trees and poplars of La Vera within the Biological Reserve.This is known as the Doñana "open aviaries".The most important species that nests in this area is the spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia). Other species of waterfowl to be found in the marshes and ponds include the marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), seen occasionally, the red crested pochard (Netta rufina) and the coot (Fulica atra). The crested coot (F. cristata) has become scarcer, while the gallinule (Porphyrio porphyrio), which takes refuge in the dense fringe of water plants, has become a very frequent sight in recent years. Some wandering specimens of the glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), unseen since the 1960s, started to reappear in the 1990s and soon began to nest, beating the record in 2004 with a breeding population estimated to be at least 1,100 pairs over six

colonies (one in the managed site of Cerrado Garrido and the rest in the Doñana Marshes). A complex mixture of events and environments, in which the water is always the point of reference, makes Doñana an explosion of life and the largest wintering grounds of Western Europe. Each stage of flooding creates different scenarios, which will also vary depending on the specific area. After the winter, a large part of the Marshes start to dry out, turning it into an ochre plain, dotted with occasional patches of water.The different species segregate in accordance with the habitat and the kind of resources they need. In breeding colonies, the availability of shallow water among the vegetation, including branches and scrub on the edges of the marsh, will determine their breeding success.The presence of such large colonies of waterfowl has an impact on the vegetation, as the rushes and reeds are used by ducks for building their nests, and the seeds and shoots are food for many of these birds. In recent years, they have become more prevalent in the lagoons and, to a lesser extent, in the scrub. Geese have strong beaks endowed with a slight protuberance or nail that they use to dig up the cherry sized chestnut rhizomes from the soils of the marsh. Such soils can store large food reserves producing up to 5 kg/m2. Moving and digging in the marshes mobilises nutrients, an

"The 'pajareras' are, without doubt, the crown jewels of Iberian wildlife. Many European nations would like to have something of the kind on their soil, willing to conserve and protect them with all the force of the law. The scientific interest of these colonies is enormous as they are ideal for studying animal biology and psychology and for practising ringing on a large scale. But contemplating them in ecstasy arouses even more emotion and beauty. They are real national monuments - living instead of dead - that should also be given every consideration by the Spanish state." (Text by F. Bernis and J. A. Valverde, 1952). Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala. CENEAM files.


The magnificent vertebrate fauna includes species that are highly endangered in Spain, including birds like the the Squacco heron, slender-billed gull, spoonbill, rednecked nightjar, little bittern, gallinule, crested coot, marbled teal, ferruginous duck, white headed duck, black shouldered kite and the magnificent Spanish imperial eagle. In the picture, a gallinule (Porphyrio porphyrio), a species that has become a very frequent sight in recent years. An identification ring can be observed on its right leg. Photograph: CENEAM files.

effect enhanced by the excretions of the birds. Peak production always comes in spring as the water plants are constrained by low temperatures until mid winter, after which the shoots start to emerge from the water. By late spring, the DoĂąana Marshes have practically dried out, drastically reducing the area of open water throughout the area. If the water levels fall rapidly and nests are left high and dry, some of the chicks and fledglings will never fly. As summer approaches, the surviving small and highly eutrophied bodies of water show high primary production and often develop a layer of cyanobacteria over the bottom.The high temperatures and fluctuations in oxygen and pH levels during the daily cycle, due to photosynthesis, reduce the presence of zooplankton and, hence, insects give way to crustaceans as the predominant group of aquatic invertebrates. The fish that have proliferated thanks to the productivity of the plankton often become trapped in isolated bodies of water, where they die when the pools dry out, providing food for the herons, kites, gulls and other birds that exploit this fleeting resource. The beds of the ponds and riverbeds crossing the marsh, and the small sandy elevations, known as vetas, maintain areas of aqua-


tic vegetation during these periods. The damp beds of the ponds and channels are quickly colonised by annual herbaceous plants that are resistant to the salinity to various degrees; while it is the halophyte species that proliferate in the "pastures" as these are higher than the floodwaters. In the northern part of the DoĂąana Marshes, and on the higher levees, where the permanent macrophyte vegetation is replaced by salt wort, the common name given to the arid, salt-resistant plants of the Arthrocnemum, Salicornia and Sarcocornia genera that are resistant to the salt in the water and soil to varying degrees.They are usually accompanied by a cohort of herbaceous plants that will germinate when the water dries out to reveal the soil - forming a short-lived mantle of Parapholis, Lolium and Hordeum. Other interesting forms of vegetation associated with the aquifer discharge occur in the abovementioned contact zone with the sandy formations of Vera-Retuerta and the so-called "eyes". During the dry seasons, areas of standing water from the sand formations seep into the marsh, creating a moist strip that supports vegetation, maintaining the remains of wetlands in cycles of drought that can turn into streams running along surface channels. GonzĂĄlez Bernaldez coined these vegetated strips "crypto-wetlands". El

In the skies of Doñana, there are flocks of flamingos, spoonbills, herons, storks, magpies, geese, shoveler ducks; small birds like the partridge, robin, lapwing; waterfowl like great crested grebe, kingfisher and the little grebe; owls, kites, falcons, short toed eagle and majestic imperial eagles that find an inexhaustible source of food among so many species. In the picture, a young kingfisher. Photograph: CENEAM files.

Hondón and El Sopetón, for instance, are large spring-fed ponds situated on the sandy rim. But this phenomenon can also be detected, though on a smaller scale, on the edge of the Marshes. In these strips, a varied vegetation thrives that can iºnclude remains of woods with ash (Fraxinus angustifolia), poplar (Populus nigra, P. alba) and willow (Salix spp.), along with scrub species and heath land of Calluna vulgaris, Erica scoparia, E. umbellata, Ulex minor and a rim of brambles (Rubus ulmifolius) almost always accompanied by ferns (Pteridium aquilinum). The "ojos" (eyes), areas of less than 1000 m2 of open water, connect the aquifer that is confined by the Marshes with the surface, crossing the thick layer of silty marsh sediments, using sand and silt chimneys as conduits for the spring water to flow along. The ojos are filled with a thin water-saturated sediment. The dried out Marshes enable larger vertebrates to roam through them. Fallow deer are common around the edge touching the sands. Deer, hares and foxes venture further into the interior of the Marshes. Boars come into this area when the water level is low, eating the fish trapped in the pools and sometimes destroying the breeding colonies of flamingos and other birds. In summer time, in the middle of this drying out process when the aquatic species leave, steppe birds start to appear, like the pratincole (Glareola pratincola). Records show that flocks of wintering cranes (Grus grus) could be seen in the Marshes during the mid 20th century and it was not uncommon to see great bustard (Otis tarda), which can still be seen further east, in the cereal fields of Jerez. The interface between the Doñana Marshes and the Estuary is marked by the presence of other species.There has been an increase in fish species in this area, and other groups of deeper water

birds have appeared, including the great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus), the red breasted merganser (Mergus serrator), cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo, P. aristotelis), and sea birds like the gannet (Sula bassana). Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus) is often seen flying over the Marshes, as is the marsh harrier (C. aeruginosus) on the edges, a species linked to the flooding. Moving into the muddy flats of the estuary at low tide, you can see wading birds in abundance. There are large flocks of gulls on the coastal strip of Doñana and oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus) and you can often see the sandpipers and plovers on the beach, running back and forth with the waves.The Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) nests on the actual beach. Pods of whales and dolphins often come in close to the shore and, more occasionally, marine turtles too. The presence of the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is also worth mentioning. It is a regular visitor to the Guadalquivir Estuary and inlets. It migrates south from northern Europe to Africa, following the Atlantic coastline.

THE WORLD OF SANDS Sand formations in Doñana surround the Marshes to the west, offering highly structured ecosystems of scrub and forest.Although primary productivity is lower in this area than in the marshes, the resources that it offers are available for a longer time. Here we can see the Mediterranean woodland in its different modalities, offering an ideal habitat for many vertebrates, particularly birds and mammals. The scrub vegetation of the sands occupies what was the original forest.The old forests of prickly juniper, juniper and cork trees

The glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), unseen since the 1960s, started to reappear in the 1990s and soon began to nest, beating the record in 2004 with a breeding population estimated to be at least 1,100 pairs over six colonies (one in the managed enclave of Cerrado Garrido and the rest in the Doñana Marshes). Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


have been replaced by individual specimens of these species and a few groups, forming groves where there are more favourable conditions.The original forest was followed by maquis scrub and some original scrub with large strawberry trees, mastic trees, myrtle, mock privet (Phillyrea angustifolia) and Italian buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus).This scrub has been radically reduced by controlled burning regimes and replaced by the predominant contemporary vegetation, pyrophyte heather scrub in the moister parts, with Calluna vulgaris, Erica scoparia, E. umbellata, Ulex minor, and intermediate cover where these species are accompanied by halimium (Halimium halimifolium), white rock rose (Cistus salvifolius), Stauracanthus genistoides or Genista species. On dryer surfaces, you see thyme, lavender, rosemary and species of Dianthus, Arabis, Malcolmia, Cistus, Halimium and Leucojum. This scrubland offers an interesting case of symbiotic interaction between three of its inhabitants: the small Plebejus argus butterfly, the Lasius niger ant and the halimium (Halimium halimifolium), the pyrophyte bush that grows on sandy soils.This description was developed by Fernández Haguer in his contribution on the butterflies of Doñana. It reminds us that the greatest attraction of Doñana, as regards conserving our natural legacies, is to maintain the diversity of both species and populations, with their subtle

arrangements that make possible the survival of the whole, as in this case described. The most outstanding wildlife in this environment, which have been mentioned on several occasions, are the Iberian lynx and the imperial eagle. The diet of these species, and other predators like the badger, mongoose and fox, was largely dependent on the rabbit.The reduction in the numbers of rabbits due to a series of diseases, from myxomatosis to rabbit haemorrhaging viral pneumonia (NVHc), has placed a severe limitation on the populations of these predators, of which the lynx seems to have been the worst affected.The shortage of rabbits redirected pressure onto reptiles, large snakes like the false smooth snake or the Montpellier snake, or onto the eyed lizard, which suffered reductions in their populations. On the other hand, pressure increased on rodents, like the field mouse and the water rat, which started to compete for prey with their own predators, like the short-toed eagle, grey owl, long-eared owl, and others. The collapse of the rabbit population has had a major impact on the populations of many species of predator in Doñana, modifying the delicate balance typical of ecosystems of this kind, as described by Valverde in 1962. There is a series of ponds in this kingdom of sands that are distributed over both the National Park and the Nature Park.These

An interesting ecosystem associated with the water table discharge occur in the contact zone with the sandy formations of Vera-Retuerta. In dry seasons, water from the sandy formations seeps into the marshes, creating a moist strip that supports vegetation, maintaining patches of wetland and feeding surface canals. This allows for the growth of a varied vegetation that may include remains of the typical river bank forest trees and scrub, with heath land and a border of brambles. In the picture, contact between the shifting dunes and the Doñana Marshes in La Retuerta. This marshy border is a singular ecotone that represents one of the major assets of Doñana's diversity. Photograph: Paisajes Españoles S.A.


lagoons are interesting for a number of reasons. On the one hand, they constitute hundreds of bodies of water, usually small ones. For example, the largest of them, the Santa Olalla-Dulce pond complex in the National Park, only reaches an area of 1 km2 at times of maximum flooding. The hydro-geological conditions vary enough to allow for different behaviour arising from their specific connections with the water table. For this reason, the number of zooplankton species is high for this environment as a whole (68), although it is rare to find more than 30 species at a time in a single pond. The lack of an impermeable layer on the bottom of these ponds means that the water mass filters down towards the water table, or that the water table feeds the lagoons in periods of discharge.The result is a complex pattern in the nutrient balance, especially in the case of phosphorus. Another interesting process concerns the role of the scrub vegetation surrounding the lagoons.When there is heavy precipitation, polyphenols are dissolved from leaves and branches of the scrub, creating a run off of richly coloured waters, carrying large quantities of tannin into the ponds. This dark material interferes with the penetration of light and the circulation of nutrients until it disappears when ponds dry out in summer. Moving on from the wetlands, we come to another curious area in the world of sands: the system of shifting dunes. One of the most striking aspects is the intense dynamic of the system, with fronts that can advance several metres a year. The distinctive "corrales" or inter-dune valleys are created in the middle of dune fields. The scrub vegetation here reproduces all those described above in the sands.The highest sandy crests bear no vegetation, in contrast with the inter-dune valleys where grasslands with gorse and heather grow, and temporary bodies of water may accumulate.The natural tree vegetation consists of prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus ssp. macrocarpa), which is currently scarce. The umbrella pine trees have predominated in the corrales since they were introduced in 1805. But it is interesting to note how this introduced species has become subspontaneous, providing shelter for doves, pigeons, magpies, azure-winged magpies and other species.With the sand dunes advancing by up to 5 m/year, the pine forests have to be able to colonise the sands at a similar speed to avoid their disappearance, an important factor for primary forest succession. It would appear that the vector for the pines in this fast and continuous colonisation are the magpies and azure-winged magpies that take pine nuts from cones and bury them in small pockets, or they lose them in transit over the dunes. These are just a few sketches of the rich ecosystems to be found in Doñana. Our knowledge of them is gradually unfolding thanks to the work of many researchers in getting to the bottom of some of their mechanisms, and offering fascinating examples of

The umbrella pine trees have predominated in the corrales since they were introduced in 1805. With the sand dunes advancing by up to 5 m/year, the pine forests have to be able to colonise the sands at a similar speed. It would appear that the vector for the pines in this fast and successive colonisation are the magpies and azure-winged magpies that take pine nuts from cones and bury them in small reserves, or they lose them in transit over the dunes. In the picture, dune front invading Corral Largo. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

natural interactions in this space, where for centuries natural processes have been inundated with intervention after intervention.

BIODIVERSITY IN DOÑANA: INTRODUCED, ENDEMIC AND EXTINCT SPECIES It is worth remembering at this point that biodiversity reflects the distribution of the forms of life that exist in the biosphere, and should not be confused with simply the number of species. Biological diversity is established at three main levels of the organisation of life: ecosystems, species and genes. Up till now, we have taken a brief look at the different ecosystems in Doñana, illustrating this with many of the emblematic species that inhabit them. Taking a closer look at the concept of wealth being measured by the number of species, it has been calculated that almost 1.9 million species have been described in the biosphere to date and most of these are insects. Biodiversity estimations for the planet suggest that the number of species is at least ten times that. In this biological universe, extrapolations show that most of the unknown species are insects and, at the other end of the scale, there are very few bird species remaining to be discovered. Excluding micro-organisms and fungi, but including algae, the number of reported species in the Doñana Parks is over 4,000, of an estimated potential of 10,000.This is, therefore, an appreciable number in the context of a living planet that is only just starting to be discovered. Descriptions of the biodiversity of Doñana usually highlight the


The dried out marshes enable larger vertebrates to roam through them. Fallow deer are common around the edge touching the sands. Deer, hares and foxes venture further into the interior of the marshes. In the picture, male fallow deer in the pastures of La Vera. Their growing horns are covered in skin at this time. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

The slender mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon), in the picture, is one of the outstanding vertebrates of Doñana. It is a type of mongoose of African origin and it is currently causing problems as it competes with the lynx and the imperial eagle for its basic prey: the rabbit. Photography by Antonio Sabater.

large number of species that can be found in both the National Park and in the surrounding protected areas.This paradise contains an extraordinary mammal fauna, with 22 species, and a long list of birds, which the area is most known for, including 400 species sighted up to January 2004.There is also a large number of reptiles and amphibians that are being added to the list. Marine turtles coming ashore on the beaches add a further five species and the estuary fish that sometimes swim up the channels represent over 70 species. In the appendix, there is a list of 2,300 species covering a wide range of biological groups. Whenever the abundance of species and the biodiversity of Doñana are described, there are certainly always surprises when


any given group is studied in depth.The vertebrates, with 530 species, are the best-known taxonomic group.Animals are followed by crustaceans and other zooplankton groups, with some 360 identified species. Of the marine coastal organisms, in-depth studies from Portugal to the Mediterranean coasts have been done on the strikingly coloured and shaped opistobranchia molluscs.The 154 species found by Carlos Garcia Gomez, from the University of Seville, highlight the contact between the Mediterranean groups and the Portuguese and Mauritanian groups to provide a highly diversified set. 59 species have been reported in the sector between Cabo Roche and the mouth of the Guadalquivir in Doñana. Nine of these species have been described in the last twenty years, two of which are exclusive to this stretch of coastline (Cuthona thompsoni and Trapania sanctipretensis). Another two (Trapania orteai and Lomanotus barlettai) have a geographic range that extends as far as Gibraltar. Pisenotecus gaditanus and Cuthona willani have a range that reaches as far as Portugal. Aeolidiella glauca, Eubranchus linensis and the lovely Flabellina baetica, found on both sides of Doñana, are probably also found in the Doñana Coastal Sea Protection Zone7. Obviously, the number of insects is much higher than those reported, but this is a group that is not very well known in Doñana. Only the rhopalocera, diurnal (daytime) butterflies, have been studied in any depth, with total of 56 species found. Studies of the different families of coleoptera,hymenoptera,orthoptera and other groups of invertebrates like the continental, aquatic and

shoreline molluscs are relatively advanced. Our knowledge of the remaining invertebrates is quite incomplete. Finally, among the flora there are 896 vascular species described (cryptogams and phanerogams),330 plankton and epibenthic species of algae and some 20 lichens.Little is known,on the other hand,about the fungi and micro-organisms, although in-depth studies are sure to bring about surprises.

INTRODUCED SPECIES In a recent article, Ferrer and Donázar have suggested that Doñana's zoological gems, the lynx and the imperial eagle, must have reached the Iberian Peninsular from Asia about a million years ago, at the beginning of the Pleistocene Period, and have survived thanks to the abundance of rabbits, their prey of choice. This example shows that species evolve, their populations spread or they are fragmented and become extinct. The ecosystems they form part of change over time and, finally, our distinction between native and introduced species, surviving and extinct species, merely reflects the information we have on their distribution in the last few centuries. The Mediterranean has been a basin of unceasing exchanges and trials, and Doñana is an example of this. In the National Park itself, you can find Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis) and ombu (Phytolacca dioica). Castor oil plants (Ricinus communis) and tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca) are to be found in the Nature Park and the surrounding area, introduced species that have become subspontaneous. In the areas around the nearby towns and villages, we can find a wide variety of introduced fruit trees and ornamental plants, including the agaves and prickly pears brought from Mexico in the 16th century to be used as hedges.

In the picture, members of the Doñana 2005 Scientific Committee and directors of the National Park on a visit made during the project. In the background, a view of the Doñana Marshes flooded in spring. From left to right, Carlos Fernández Delgado, Cipriano Marín, Carlos Urdiales, Jesús Casas and Fernando Hiraldo. Photograph by Maria Ángeles Fernández

Studies of the newts Triturus pigmaeus and T. boscai in the Doñana Biological Reserve over the course of many years have highlighted the importance of maintaining the temporary pools, which are also important for other aquatic life forms. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.

When addressing the issue of introduced species, one should not forget that Doñana has always been on one of the most important cultural and trading crossroads of history, so the transit of species should be analysed in both directions. 1492, with Columbus' first voyage taking on supplies at Palos, marked the beginning of a grand bio-geographic exchange that took livestock, rabbits, chickens, fruit trees, wheat and other cereals to the New World.These were accompanied by rats, diseases and by accidental wild vegetation. Seed and forage was taken to feed cows and horses during the voyage, which proliferated in the first crops, transferring the high levels of biodiversity found in the pastures and fallow lands of Doñana, western Andalusia and Extremadura to the Americas. Once they germinated in the new continent, the Iberian species of Bromus, Lolium, Hordeum, Agrostis, Taeniatherum, Medicago, Melilotus, Ornithopus, Crepis and many others, displaced the native herbaceous plants, with the help of livestock. And their fruits, endowed with ridges or thorns to hook onto the hide of the animals, spread with the herds and flocks throughout the continent, recreating the pasture lands of their origin. This is a process of change in the biodiversity of the Americas that is still able to continue today.The novelties from the Indies were landed in the port of Sanlúcar, and that is where the Acclimatisation Garden was established for American flora. From this spot opposite Doñana, corn and potato started to colonise Europe.The first description of the pineapple was made here.Throughout this period, the introduction of American animals also covered a broad range, from excellent contributions like the turkey, to persistent plagues like the species of American cockroaches. Certain introductions are of particular interest because of their origin.The European silk industry suffered epidemics since the 16th


The Doñana Marshes offer refuge and food for the white headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala), one of the most endangered species of water fowl. In the 1950s, the ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) was introduced from America and it has since bred with the local duck, the white headed duck, which it has displaced. In recent years, a programme for protecting Oxyura leucocephala and for eradicating Oxyura jamaicensis has been successfully implemented.. Photograph by José Luis Perea (CENEAM, Autonomous National Park Authority).

century that affected the silk worm (Bombix mori). In the search for silk producing substitutes, a moth of Chinese origin was tried, the Samia cynthia.The enormous caterpillar of this silk moth, very similar to our large emperor (Saturnia pyri), measures some 10 cm and weaves a large cocoon with a thick silk thread, called “tusa” in the East. The trial was not suitable for industry, but the plant the caterpillars fed of, the tree of heaven (Ailanthus glandulosa), grew wild and has survived as a wild shrub in the area around Doñana, where the caterpillar can still be found.Another substitute that was tested was an asclepiadaceae, the narrow leaf cotton bush (Gomphocarpus fruticosus), whose fruits are filled with long, silky hairs. Once abandoned as a crop, this species also survived as a wild plant and is found in wet meadows, especially around temporary ponds, in the National Park.This is the first plant species that was targeted by a programme to eliminate exotic species in the protected area. Eradication of species that were introduced in earlier times is practically impossible.We can also find common brassbutton (Cotula coronopifolia) on hundreds of hectares of floodable areas, and the prickly poppy (Argemone mexicana), which thrives on sandy soils. The aggressive water fern, Azolla filiculoides, was first reported close to the Portuguese border, on the banks of the Guadiana. It has gradually spread through Extremadura and Andalusia, with the support of irrigated crops, until it finally reached Doñana, where it grows as a floating species on the surface of ponds and canals. A programme was implemented in the National Park to eradicate this species also. It has been operating since 1990 and has destroyed up


to 1200 kg of the plant each year. But unfortunately, in the damp winter of 2003-2004, the rise in water levels created connections between water masses, accelerating its spread once again.This fern may have become a permanent part of Doñana's flora. Introduced species can colonise empty environments, where there are no native equivalents. Spartina densiflora grows on the tidal mud flats of American tropical and sub-tropical coasts. It reached Europe, possibly in some shipment, and colonised the marshes of the south of England around the 18th century, and later reached the Huelva Estuary, from where it spread along the Gulf of Cádiz, thanks to coastal drift. In the Guadalquivir Estuary, it has colonised the recent mud flats that do not have their own stable plant communities: in wet cycles, the reeds and rushes are able to put down roots and grow in the mud but the salinity of the water kills them off in dryer years. S. densiflora easily tolerates both conditions, forming a dense band, 75-200 m wide and almost one metre high, throughout the inter-tidal areas of the Guadalquivir River and the Torre Branch (Brazo de la Torre), including some of the channels that cross La Montaña del Rio. The globalisation of trade and transport will progressively increase the presence of new species, and this introduced diversity will even be the dominant aspect of some environments. One example of this can be seen in the River Guadalquivir itself, up-stream from the Alcalá del Río dam that closes off the Estuary, where there are nine species of fish, six of which are introduced species (crucian carp, carp, black bass, sun fish and gambusia) and three are native (eel, bogue and barbel).As a consequence, these six introduced fish are listed among the animal species in the National Park. Another two aquatic species should also be highlighted because of the effect they have on the environment: the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), an American sub-tropical turtle from Florida, and the Louisiana crayfish (Procambarus clarkii). The redeared sliders inhabit ponds and channels, namely Laguna del Acebuche and, in much smaller numbers, some parts of La Rocina. They can grow to a much larger size than the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) and the Caspian turtle (Mauremys caspica), both of which are native species. It has been shown that the redeared slider turtles have appeared because they have been released by people who originally bought them as pets.Their owners, having tired of their pets, have gotten rid of them by releasing them in what they considered an "ideal" place. Through ignorance, they believe that they are simply "releasing them back into the wild" when what they are really doing is creating a problem of survival for the native turtles. The introduction of the Louisiana crayfish to the Doñana Marshes in 1973 has caused a considerable impact on the amphibians of both the protected areas of Park and its surroundings.This

The herons are a constant feature of the Do単ana Marshes, like the night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), the small cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), the little egret (Egretta garzetta) the Squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides), the grey heron (Ardea cinerea) and the purple heron (A. purpurea). In the picture, Squacco heron, a highly endangered species that can be sighted in Do単ana. Photograph: CENEAM files.

decapod has colonised practically the entire marshes, the edges of the shallow ponds and channels, the riverbeds of rivers even if they are not continuous, the ponds of the sands, and the rice paddies. Highly aggressive, it hunts amphibians and the larvae of macroinvertebrates and also scavenges the carrion of birds and fish. It churns over the deposits on the beds of the ponds and digs alcoves, where it seeks refuge.The effect on the amphibian population has been significant, as perhaps has the effect on the invertebrates and the bottoms of lakes also.The spread of this freshwater crayfish is due to the fact that it can move easily out of water, and to human distribution too, since it has become a valuable commercial product. One collateral effect that has amplified the overall negative impact of this species is the fact that it is caught in traps, which cause often-reiterated management problems:The fishermen place their traps in the Nature Park's canals and ponds, disturbing the terrestrial fauna and trapping aquatic life other than the freshwater crayfish, like eels, turtles, black necked grebes, coots and even ducks. On the positive side, otters, the white stork and herons eagerly catch the crayfish. In fact, the increase, in the 1990s, in the colonies of white storks in La Dehesa de Abajo, in Coria, close to the Parks, has been essentially due to the abundant food resources of these crayfish. The larvae of other decapods, and even adults, can travel in ballast waters of ships sailing the Guadalquivir River to the Seville

There are large flocks of oystercatchers and gulls (yellow-legged gull, lesser black-backed gull, and Audouin’s gull) on the coastal strip of Doñana, and you can often see the sandpipers and plovers on the beach, running back and forth with the waves. The Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) nests on the actual beach. In the picture, a group of oystercatchers. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


port. José Antonio Cuesta, of the CSIC Institute of Marine Sciences in Cádiz, has found Palaemon macrodactylus in the estuary, an oriental species to add to the native species of prawns (Palaemon longirostris, P. adspersus, P. serratus, P. elegans). Other, more recent introduced species have also been found, such as Rhithropanopeus harrisii, Synidotea laticauda, Eriocheir sinensis9. Some of the terrestrial animal introductions date back many centuries, like the genet (Genetta genetta), probably introduced by the Arabs, or the slender mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon), of African origin.The chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleo) too, rare in the protected areas of Doñana but frequent in the coastal dunes of Huelva and Cádiz, was introduced from Africa. The azure-winged magpie (Cyanopica cyanus), originally from the Far East, is cited in many reports as a species introduced as the result of Portuguese sailors roaming these coasts in the 16th century. But the recent discovery of remains of this bird at a Neanderthal site in two caves very close to Gibraltar would appear to invalidate the hypothesis in favour thus far12. The Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca ibera) is a case of an ancient introduction that experienced a sharp fall in population numbers, but then became established again on several occasions in the 20th century by means of successive re-introductions of specimens from Morocco. Other species have arrived thanks to the unintentional help of humankind.The sands, silts and trees of Doñana are a hostile environment for species that need substrates of stone, walls or cracks. Yet, houses offer excellent eaves for swallows, swifts and martins, and cracks for species of bats, and holes and stones for lichen.The mortar of walls is a lime substrate for hedge mustard. Wellheads, with their damp stones, are ideal for the fine leaves of maiden hair (Adiantum capillus-veneris), only found in these enclaves. Another curious case is the rock rose (Cistus ladanifer), with large white flowers, abundant in the western Iberian Peninsula but infrequent in Doñana and practically non existent on its dune cover. However, in the 1970s, an access road had to be built in the Reserve of the National Park to gain access to the Doñana Palace, using gravel and silt from outside of the area in its construction. The rock rose immediately colonised the favourable substrate, spreading in lines along the ditches on either side, although it has been unable to penetrate any further into these sandy soils. Voluntary introductions include, first of all, the fallow deer (Dama dama), introduced on several occasions, either as semidomestic livestock with herders, or for hunting. In 1829, the Marquis of Villafranca brought camels from the Canary Islands to Cádiz for farm work, but the bad tempered animals proved difficult to handle. Giving up his attempts, he released them into the Marshes, where the herd survived, despite periods of flooding and the pressure from neighbouring villagers who hunted them.

The legend says that the cows of Doñana jumped into the ocean in a desperate attempt to find the cattle taken to America, and that the sea returned their bodies on the Piedra de Salmedina. The herds of long horn cows and mustang horses that transformed the resources of America have this distant link with Doñana. In the picture, a bull of mostrenco breed in the pastures of Doñana showing its "beach" horns. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

Chapman came across them in the flooded Marshes in 1883, devoting long accounts to them in Wild Spain (1893) and Unexplored Spain (1910) that describe his failed attempts to catch up with them on horseback. His testimony was initially received with incredulity among European zoologists, but their existence was soon confirmed. Phillip, Duke of Orleans, read the description and, on the 17th of June 1893, he sent Chapman a letter with the details of his efforts to protect the camels from the "terrible poachers" that crossed the Guadalquivir from Trebujena village and sold their meat as venison. He enclosed some photographs taken in the spring of that year, with a pole device to catch a camel from horseback by passing a lasso over its head.William Garvey is also mentioned, for having easily caught up with three camels in the Marshes in 1907, having chased them by car! The last individuals survived until the 60s. The extensive area of grazing offered by the Marshes supports large flocks and herds in spring and summer, in a productive but hostile environment that has produced some interesting local breeds, like the Lebrija sheep, the retinto or stray cow and the marsh horse. The legend of the oxen of Gerion, the mythical King of

Tartessus in the Tasks of Hercules, could be a reference to the ancient livestock of the Doñana Marshes. The introduction of marsh cattle to the Americas is well documented, as the Indies Fleets sailed from Seville, loading freight all along the Guadalquivir Estuary with heavy cargos and animals in Sanlúcar.The herds of long horn and mustang horses that transformed the resources of America have this distant link with Doñana. The connection has survived among the fishermen of Sanlúcar in the legend of the Piedra de Salmedina, a reef close to the mouth of the Guadalquivir. The legend says that the cows of Doñana jumped into the ocean in a desperate attempt to find the animals taken to America, and that the sea returned their bodies on the Piedra de Salmedina. In the end, there may be an element of truth to the legend, as when the Guadalquivir suffered violent flash flooding, barges, huts, trees and many dead cattle were swept away to the beach of Bajo de Guia. It is feasible that some cattle carcasses may have been swept up onto the Piedra de Salmedina during these events. There has also been speculation about land animals crossing the Atlantic by their own means. In the 20th century, the cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), so abundant in Doñana and the surrounding area,


to be found here in the form of Asclepias curassavica and Gomphocarpus fruticosus. It is also worth mentioning that, in very recent times, 30-cm-long specimens of serrasalmidae, cousins of the piranha, and the red-bellied pacu (Piaractus brachypomus) have been caught by the Guadalquivir Docks in Seville, between 2002 and 2004.They are becoming one of the latest threats to the area from exotic species. A fleeting glimpse at tracking species introduction gives us a general idea of what Doñana is today and, basically, if we wish to conserve certain environments and ecosystems, then the control of exotic species is an essential task in the management of protected areas. Introductions are a "biodiversity time-bomb" that could explode at any moment, colonising Doñana with non-native species.

Herons are a constant feature of the aquatic ecosystems of Doñana. The grey heron (Ardea cinerea) is the most emblematic species, with its slow, elegant flight and its unmoving posture in the mudflats. The colony observed by Benis and Valverde in Doñana in 1961 had over 200 occupied nests and, thanks to the protection afforded to the species in the National Park, its presence has spread to other areas, further north. Photograph: CENEAM files.

colonised wetlands and pastures in the Americas. The first discovery was apparently in Guyana in 1930, and from there it spread through South America. It had reached Florida by 1948, spreading quickly through the United States in the 1950s, with occasional sightings in Canada. In the other direction, the ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) was introduced from North America in the 1950s, breeding with the local white-headed duck (O. leucocephala) and displacing it. In recent years, a programme has been successfully implemented to protect the native duck in the National Park. The Argentine ant (Iridomyrmex humilis), from its country of origin via the shipping ports, has colonised the middle latitudes. It has very recently displaced native species in certain areas, without any possibility of control. With introduced species, there are the two sides to the coin. In some cases, a species has arrived, to be followed later by a predator. For example, the potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) was introduced in Spain much later than the potato, its food plant, although it eats other species too. The processes that led the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) to settle in Doñana remain to be seen.This is a large American danaid butterfly that makes migrations lasting several generations between Mexico and Canada. It seems to have reached Europe from America, but the Doñana specimens may have come from migrations seen on the Costa del Sol and originating in the Canary Islands. Their presence has been confirmed in the National Park, where a large breeding colony of Gomphocarpus was found in Marismillas, in 2004. Introduced asclepiadaceae, its food plant, are



The attraction of a natural space lies in the diversity and uniqueness of its various manifestations: the landscapes, expressions of its flora and fauna, the forms of the terrain, its geological constitution. It also lies in the possibility of seeing species that are rare or nonexistent in other places, the chance to see them survive, flourish, nest, hunt and defend themselves, or the chance to admire large numbers of a single species.Among all the intense, yet ephemeral and dynamic processes, the ones that exert the greatest attraction in the end, are those that manage to convey the living elements of how nature actually works.. It is a kaleidoscope of images that triggers our memories of Doñana: the vibrant "open aviaries" in the cork trees of La Vera; the flocks of flamingos forming a pink brow over wet surfaces, which they light up with their reflection when they take flight; the flocks of geese flying to Cerro del Trigo at dawn to eat sand; the terns nosediving into the water for fish; the columns of white storks and black kites flying in spirals over the dry marshes when they prepare to migrate; the hundreds of dying carp in pools fast drying out, lying prey to the kites; the bellowing of the deer on autumn nights; the advance of shifting dunes with sheets of sand that creep forward as silent wraps to bury the vegetation; the furious flash flooding of Arroyo del Partido that has its delta overflowing and the marshes filling with turbulent and milky waters; the storm that reaches the foot of the El Asperillo cliffs, with parts of them collapsing; the first great storm of autumn that floods the parched and cracked marshes, releasing the aromas trapped by the summer drought to take command of the air and trigger a storm of smells... For nature lovers, the spectacle of Mother Nature spurs them to curiosity: the need to know what, when, how, how big, etc. Thanks to the high degree of conservation of its ecosystems and

Santa Olalla pond in Autumn Author: Regla Alonso Miura

the fact that the territory is relatively unchanged, Doñana has always offered excellent potential for answering these questions. This seems to be reason enough to see the attraction the National Park of Doñana holds for leading scientists to come and carry out research here.Thus, it is an important focus for scientific investigation. The symbiosis between researchers and the protected area has grown and continues to be reinforced day after day. But, beneath all of this, there is an experience that dates back to ancient times, because Doñana is and always has been a difficult and almost incomprehensible space, though always open to knowledge. The ongoing discovery of Doñana appears to have unfolded in a series of initiatives isolated in time and space, but nothing could be further from the truth. In Chapter 2, Fernando Hiraldo, Director of the Doñana Biological Station, provides basic detail of the research done in one of the most important natural areas of the world, especially in incorporating the wetlands with their surroundings. But to have gotten this far, one has to admit that we have come a long way:The knowledge, that now enables us to analyse Doñana from so many angles and in so many fields, is founded in a chain of inherited, and often little known, efforts. Following this path will also enable us to fairly assess the biological treasures that have been discovered to date. The first steps in the scientific discovery of Doñana

We start our journey at the beginning of the 16th century. Soon after trans-Atlantic voyages began, the Casa de Contratación (Trading Company) was founded in Seville in 1503.This became the city's leading scientific and technical centre.The Pilot in Chief was responsible for their education and navigation, and the professors

The dryer areas of the sands of Doñana are the home to thyme, lavender (Lavandula stoechas in the picture), rosemary and several species of Dianthus, Cistus, Arabis, Malcolmia, Leucojum. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.


of cosmography were responsible for cartography and making instruments. Leading international figures were chosen, often changing Court in the process. The list of these leading names is impressive, including Amerigo Vespucci, Juan Díaz de Solís and Sebastian Cabot. The inclusion of American plants was soon begun and, in 1574 Monardes, from Seville, added descriptions of the sassafras and tobacco plants, detail of dissemination of maize and peanuts from Seville, and reports on the pineapple. This excellent beginning ran aground economically in the 17th century and, unfortunately, culturally and scientifically too, despite the immense potential of relations with the Americas for driving knowledge and discovery.Three quarters of the science books published in the 17th century were included in the index of the officers of the Inquisition, like Fernando Valdés (1612) and Antonio Zapata (1632). The writer Miguel Delibes recreates the suffocating atmosphere for new ideas during the reign of King Phillip IV in El Hereje. In this context, the institutions fell into decline and the Hispalense University of Seville, founded in 1505, followed suit. The recovery of science and the appearance of the natural sciences occurred through the Enlightenment, which advanced through Europe and was consolidated in Spain when the House of Bourbon replaced the House of Austria in 1701. In Seville, a group of doctors, chemists, priests and "enlightened scholars" maintained the Medical-Chemical Tertulia Hispalense. In 1700, King Charles II approved the statutes of this group as the Royal Medical Society, which were endorsed by King Phillip V a year later.This society was founded at approximately the same time as the Cimento Academy of Florence and the London Royal Society.This was the age of scientific revolution; perhaps the most important change in direction in the history of science. The Tertulia Hispalense discussion group became ever more active in its natural fields, especially in medicine which included medicinal plants. It employed a botanist,Antonio Ramos, from 1776 to 1780, to collect plants from the region and develop the Botanical Gardens, which would have as many as 300 species. From 1786 to 1800, the Gardens were directed by Pedro Abad, who managed to create a herbarium of 2000 sheets, 1709 of which have been conserved in Seville University. The Society became the Seville Academy of Medicine and Surgery and they ran the Gardens until the 19th century, when they took over the San Telmo Palace, later surrendered to the Montpensier family and practically lost when alterations were carried out in 1913. In 1804, Godoy sent oil-producing Argania spinosa seeds to the Sanlúcar Economic Society for Acclimatisation.This was the nucleus of the La Paz Experimental and Acclimatisation Gardens designed by Esteban Boutelou in 1806. The Gardens were

The marine coastal organisms have been studied in-depth from Portugal to the Mediterranean coasts, all along the Andalusia coast. The 154 species of opistobranchia molluscs found highlight the contact between the Mediterranean groups and the Portuguese and Mauritanian groups to provide a highly diversified set. 59 species have been reported in the sector between Cabo Roche and the mouth of the Guadalquivir in Doñana. The knobbed triton (Charonia lampas lampas), in the picture, is a prosobranch mollusc, and one of the endangered species of this coastline that is now protected.

destroyed in 1808 when Godoy fell into disgrace. Esteban returned to Aranjuez and, together with his brother, Claudio Boutelou, he worked with the Chair of Applied Botany of the Royal Botanical Gardens of Madrid. But Claudio was expelled from the Botanical Gardens in the political purges of 1813, and was hired in Seville in 1819 by the Guadalquivir Company "to take charge of all the Agriculture works, plough and plant the lands granted to the Company with all kinds of trees". He started a nursery in 1826. Hence, Claudio Boutelou designed the abovementioned Acclimatisation Gardens in Seville in 1832, in the grounds of the San Telmo Palace.The gardens were endowed with a Chair of Botany, and Boutelou was appointed professor, a post he maintained until his death in 1842. He was appointed in 1833 to run the Alcazar Gardens, which included the Palacio del Rey in Coto del Lomo de Grullo as an annex, which explains his repeated botanical trips to the area of Doñana, visiting the islands, the marshes and also taking samples from Sanlúcar on the left hand riverbank.This means that the Doñana area had a professional botanist in the mid 19th century. Claudio Boutelou's grand herbarium (7,000 sheets) includes the plants of Doñana and Seville, specimens from the Royal Botanical Gardens of Madrid, from his brother Esteban Boutelou and from other botanists. Willkomm, author of Prodromus Florae

Hispanicae, visited Seville in 1844, to study the plant collection, of which he described 10 new species and one variety. He also appointed Iberis bouteloui and Tetragonolobus bouteloui to this family of scientific accomplishments. As far as we can see, this did not go unnoticed by the scientific community of the early 19th century. Mariano Lagasca, a favourite pupil of the great botanist Cavanilles, explored the right bank of the Guadalquivir in the summer of 1823, from Coria to Coto del Rey, studying the vegetation of Lomo del Grullo. On this first expedition, he found three new species for science that he described: Loeflingia baetica, with the diagnosis that "its corolla is longer than the calyx and it has five stamens", and Malva anodaeformis and Ononis subspicata in the same area. Of the Malva, he adds "I have seen it in flower from mid May until the 7th of June and I surmise that it will flower until July. I picked it in Coria del Rio, in damp grounds, on my way to the area called Coto del Rey". He indicates two forms: the A, with a single stalk, and the B with a branched stalk. Each of these forms is now considered a different species.A is Malva althaeoides, described by Cavanilles a few years earlier in 1793, and B is Linneaus' Malva hispanica. About Ononis, he points out that "it grows in great abundance in sandy areas of the mentioned Coto del Rey and especially next to the track. It blooms in


The water crowfoot is one of the most showy element of the fresh water vegetation. It is a submerged or partially floating plant widespread all over the marshes, including the relatively brackish areas of Marismillas and Las Nuevas Photograph: CENEAM. files.

May and June and it appears to me to be an annual plant. I have seen it eaten frequently by the cattle, but I do not know what kind of livestock grazes it". Ononis subspicata is now considered as the baetica variety of Ononis baetica, described by Clemente in 1807. There is another variety of O. baetica, described by Devesa (1986), the donanensis variety that is typical of the Doñana dunes. The exploration of Lagasca provided the first scientific inventory of Doñana. The list of 22 species of vascular plants, three new ones for science that the author had found in Coto del Rey together with the species he describes, is reproduced in Table 2. The Hispalense University played a fundamental role in this long process. In 1857, the Moyano Plan created the Faculties of Exact, Physical, and Natural Sciences, with a Department of Natural History. Miguel Colmeiro, Professor of Botany from 1847 to 1857, was responsible for the repeated collection expeditions to Doñana and the Guadalquivir. After he was transferred, Antonio Machado Nuñez (1845-83) was appointed Professor of Mineralogy and Zoology, and he too organised scientific expeditions to Doñana, the Marshes and the Guadalquivir. At this time, the Hispalense University planted a Botanical Garden, with greenhouses, for conducting trials with crops and other plants. In 1864, Machado was sent some eucalyptus seeds from the Ministry of Agriculture, for a trial in the Garden. It is ironic that this early scientific presentation of the eucalyptus led to its domination of vast areas of Doñana in less than a century. Antonio Machado Nuñez, grandfather of poets Antonio and Manuel Machado, promoted the Natural Sciences and the University of Seville in general. In fact, he was Chancellor of the University. He introduced the ideas of evolution, translating and annotating Darwin and other authors. His research work included vertebrate collections, which incorporated the data of Antonio Cabrera, Canon of Cádiz (1763-1827), who had studied the marine flora and birds of the Gulf of Cádiz and published works on the fish in 1817. In 1854, Machado published a Catalogue of the birds of


Seville, including parts of Huelva and Cádiz. Unfortunately, he did not tackle Doñana, arguing that "in the Marshes of the left bank of the Guadalquivir, not far from Lebrija and Trebujena ... there is a diversity of waders and web-footed birds that I have found most striking; the right bank of the river is also very abundant in the same TABLE 2 Inventory of plant species in Coto del Rey drawn up by Mariano Lagasca in 1823. This is the earliest scientific inventory of the Doñana region.


Loeflingia baetica


Malva anodaeformis (=M. hispanica)


Ononis subspicata (=O. baetica)


Malva hispanica


Thapsia foetida (=Elaeoselinum foetidum)


Seseli ammoides (=Ammoides pusilla)


Cachrys sicula


Cistus albidus


Cistus crispus


Cistus thymifolius (=Fumana thymifolia)


Lavandula stoechas


Scorpiurus vermiculata


Nigella hispanica (=N. papillosa)


Herniaria annua?


Polycarpon tetraphyllum


Oenanthe peucedanifolia


Oenanthe globulosa


Satureja capitata (=Thymbra capitata)


Ornithopus compressus


Ornithopus nudiflorus?


Corrigiola littoralis


Festuca alopecuros (=Vulpia alopecuros)

The species name within brackets is the name currently in use, if it has changed. Two of the species are doubtfully identified. Lagasca mentions this list of species as accompanying plants to Malva anodaeformis, but C.littoralis, F. alopecurus and Leoflingia baetica, which accompanied Ononis subspicata.

orders, particularly in El Rocío and Almonte, and the Coto de Doñana, but, as I have not been able to study them sufficiently, I will leave it for another occasion to provide a list of these...". It is a pity that his wish never came true. In 1856, he published Fish of the Guadalquivir and the Gulf of Cádiz, in 1859, a list of amphibians and reptiles, and in 1869, a valuable study of the mammals of western Andalusia that includes an anthropological essay. Hence, Machado completed the first wildlife review of the vertebrates of Seville and the surrounding area, including the Guadalquivir and the Gulf of Cádiz. The area of Doñana now appeared in the scientific literature. The author pointed out in his catalogue of fish that "there is a need for teachers to gradually disseminate the creatures of each province", foreshadowing by many years what we now understand as environmental education. The catalogue of fish includes some errors, attributable to the level of ichthyology of the times, such as classing eels and elvers as different species. He offers a list of species for the Guadalquivir and the other rivers and, for the River Guadaira, for example, he lists the killifish Aphanius baeticus (which used to be considered as the fartet, Aphanius iberus), the most recently described species of vertebrate in Andalusia (2002). He mentions the sturgeon, pointing out that it swims up the Guadalquivir as far as Cordoba, although, sadly, this species was only to survive about another century after this mention. He also talks about the Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso), a sturgeon of the eastern Mediterranean that is unlikely to be found in the Guadalquivir. Curiously enough, he also mentions the presence of carp "in the water tanks of the Seville aqueduct". Carp and tench were bred in El Alcázar and in the pools of La Buhaira Estate, in Seville, both of which are served by the aqueducts known as Los Caños de Carmona. When Machado left, González Fragoso took over his post at the Hispalense University, conducting the first studies of cryptogam plants. In 1881, he published a list of medicinal plants; in 1883, the cryptogams of Seville; and in 1886, the marine algae of the Gulf of Cádiz. Salvador Calderón Arana took over from him in 1884, organising the University of Seville's excellent collection of minerals and fossils and the collection of natu-

Boars enter the Marshes when the water level is low, eating the fish trapped in pools and sometimes destroying the breeding colonies of flamingos and other birds. Picture of boar hunting with a lance, taken in the 1940s in La Vera. Photograph: Files of the Doñana Biological Station.

ralised animals that came to be known as "The Cabinet". In 1913, Mineralogy, Zoology and Botany were brought together under one faculty chair, held by Francisco Barras Aragón, who organised the University Herbarium and completed it with new collection expeditions that also included Doñana and the banks of the Guadalquivir. Manuel de Paul and Manuel Molina Ramos worked with Calderón on the Cabinet, organising new collection expeditions and re-arranging herbaria, re-labelling the sheets and suppressing the original identifications, which has prevented us from discovering the origin of many of these plants, including some of the plants collected in Doñana. The remains of the insect collection that was in the Cabinet in 1970 may be the work of Molina, as he had worked with the great entomologist, Ignacio Bolivar, in the Central University of Madrid. In the 20th century, the Hispalense University created its Faculty of Sciences and started to set up research centres for the CSIC (Spanish Higher Scientific Research Council). In support of conservation biology and molecular biology, the Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, created in 1965, attracted an excellent teaching staff and promoted the integration of research in Ecology, Zoology and Conservation. Botany took the lead over Zoology in spreading the word about Doñana. Moreover, the The hobby (Falco subbuteo) is a small summer hawk that nests late in the abandoned nests of other birds of prey. It is not especially abundant in Doñana, where it hunts in the open ecosystems of the marsh and dune scrub, catching small birds and insects on the wing. Photograph: CENEAM. files.


To a certain extent, the Doñana Marshes had the appearance of an archipelago, in which the risen vetas on which people built huts and settlements were the islands. The inhabitants travelled with livestock and belongings from one to another on horseback through the shallow waters or, if the water was deep, in "cajones" - flat bottomed punts that they pushed along with a pole. In the picture, Veta Luenga cut off in the flooded marsh. Photograph: Paisajes Españoles S.A.

material that was identified was added to the herbariums to finally form the Historic Herbarium of the University of Seville, where this great scientific legacy is conserved and studied in depth by Salgueiro González. Table 3 lists a few of the hundreds of specimens collected in Doñana during the first series of scientific campaigns, including some collected by Pedro Abat, who had also explored the region of Doñana in search of plants. Some of the plants that he collected are also conserved as part of the Historic Herbarium. E. Boutelou explored the left bank of the Guadalquivir, collecting samples from Sanlúcar and indicating the community he was exploring for some of them: the Guadalquivir riverbank, the beaches and the La Algaida dune. Other collection expeditions are labelled: the Islands of the Estuary (Isla Mayor, Isla Menor), the Doñana Marshes, and many others, "banks of the Guadalquivir", without any further details, so we do not know if they are from the Doñana stretch of the Estuary or from collections made further upstream. The area around the Palacio and El Coto de Doñana, that borders the Marshes to the south, was explored in detail by C. Boutelou, who collected plants in this area systematically. Colmeiro conducted another expedition both to this area and to Almonte in May 1885, reaching the dunes, where he collected samples of juniper and prickly juniper in the Coto, and characteristic species of the low areas between dunes, including many species of heather. In the field of Geology, Francisco Lujan published in 1851 a structural description of Western Spain from Toledo to Huelva, where he inserts a description of Doñana and the evolution of the Guadalquivir Estuary. Marcelino San Miguel de la Camara (1913) described the dunes of the province of Huelva in an historic essay on their evolution, based on old geographic documentation, includ-


ing the journeys of Hemilco, Pliny and Strabon. He offers the first data on granulometric classifications and apparent density (2.23 g/cm3), along with the mineralogy of the sands, which were dominated by 81% quartz, and he described the deposits of ilmenite and goethite interspersed in the formation. His experiments on the absorption of air moisture by the sands, increasing its weight by 12%, were the first to be published on the field capacity of Doñana sands. His explanation of how the infiltrating water is retained in the sandy profile is correct. However, the mechanism he proposes for the advance of the dune front, with the sand crossing the interdune flats with the help of the wind, is incorrect. In the 1930s, Gavala studied the geology and geomorphology of the coastal sector of Cádiz, the dunes and aeolian mantles, and the erosive morphology of the Doñana surfaces, in the reports of his Geological Map.The quality of his field work is striking, as his mapping is very accurate in the extension and location of the rocky outcrops, bearing in mind that he did not have the help of aerial photography in the region until the mid forties. Gavala was a photography enthusiast and he set up his own laboratory. Because of this, the extensive archive that helped him to illustrate the reports of the map has been preserved. His greatest contribution is the description of the sheets of Geological Map 1:50,000 of El Asperillo, El Rocío, and Palacio de Doñana, printed between 1936 and 1956, offering high quality geological mapping.The cartographTABLE 3 Examples of pressed plant specimens from historic collection expeditions in each sector. EXPLORED AREA

Coto del Rey





M. Lagasca

Loefflingia baetica Ononis baetica Malva hispanica

E. Boutelou

Limonium ferulaceum


Juniperus sabina

Coto del Rey Almonte


Erica inflata

1858 Almonte

P. Abat

Calluna vulgaris


E. Boutelou

Atriplex halimus


Althea officinalis

Sanlúcar coast

Lithrum acutangulum Eucalyptus Cakile maritima Sanlúcar


P. Abat

1800 Sanlucar Algaida



Marshes and islands

E. Boutelou


C. Boutelou

Myrtus communis

Frankenia maritima

ic interpretation of Avieno's Sea Itinerary is an outstanding personal effort of will that has not won any critical praise.The evolution that he proposes for the old Lacus Ligustinus up-dates the description of San Miguel de la Camara and has been quoted repeatedly in the literature. However, it is not accurate, as it incorporates a complex process that includes advances and retreats of the coastline and major climate changes in a single episode of erosion fill. Moreover, some of the present forms have been inherited from preceding glacial cycles and prior eustatic changes as Cary Zazo, Joaquin Rodriguez Vidal and other coastal geomorphologists have shown. These are summarised in one of the contributions to this book. The first monographs on Doñana

As can be inferred from the scientific historiography described above, Doñana does not appear with its own profile in the research conducted in the region until the early 20th century.Abel Chapman, in Unexplored Spain published in 1910, devotes several chapters to certain species present in Doñana, like flamingos, providing interesting details on their populations. He found a "mystery" in the flamingo that he was unable to solve: its reproduction. He spent years searching the Doñana Marshes for the breeding colonies until he found them. Yet, he found that clutches of eggs failed to hatch because of the weather and chicks only hatched every four years, which he considered incompatible with maintaining population levels. It was to take almost half a century for the mystery to be solved - by Valverde who discovered that the main breeding ground was Laguna de Fuentepiedra, in Malaga, and that the parents raised their chicks by bringing the food they needed from Doñana and elsewhere.The flamingos of Western Mediterranean behave as a single large population that is currently growing thanks to the protection afforded to these enclaves and to the fact that they have established new breeding colonies, like the one in the Ebro Delta, in 2004. The Hispalense University botany publications and campaigns, Machado's study of the fish of the Guadalquivir, Gavala's geological works, and the forestry study on the dune mantles and their reforestation, all these did not focus on El Coto de Doñana. It was only after 1953 that a series of important scientific publications appeared that were to lay the foundations of the future of Doñana, based on research. Francisco Bernis had the honour of starting this series.Working with Valverde, he ringed birds in the pajareras, the nesting colonies, in 1952, providing the first censuses and descriptions of colonies, along with an outline of the vegetation, ecosystems and landscapes. Francisco Bernis Madrazo was a superb naturalist with training in botany and a great interest in birds. In fact, early on he published articles on them, aimed at determining a list of species to be found

in Spain and to establish common names to make their study easier. He also launched an ambitious attempt to take a national census of the white stork, by correspondence. But, Bernis had heard of Doñana and decided to make a visit. He obtained financial support for the campaign from a doctor in Lugo and he invited a bird enthusiast student of his, José Antonio Valverde, to accompany him. In the González Byass Company wineries in Jerez, he asked the family for their permission to visit the Coto de Doñana, of which they were co-owners. In June 1952, the three leading figures in the zoological re-founding of Doñana came together: Paco Bernis, José Antonio Valverde and Mauricio González, who were to work together for half a century, changing the course of history of nature conservation in Spain. In 1952, Bernis and Valverde published a description of the pajareras (nesting colonies) of Doñana, cork oaks famous for the enormous quantity of birds that nest in them that they describe as the crown jewels of the Iberian wildlife. In the following, and most expressive paragraph, they reflect: "As we write these lines, the threat of colonisation and industrialisation hang over the famous hunting grounds of the Guadalquivir.Will it not be possible to leave even one small corner of this natural wilderness intact forever?" This important text clearly highlights the urgency of conserving Doñana and planted the seed that was to bear fruit seventeen years later with the creation of the National Park. General Franco, Head of Spanish Government, visited Doñana in 1952 to monitor the success of the eucalyptus plantations that the State had imposed on the area. He asked about the impact that replanting had on hunting. The González Family thought it worth writing to Franco to explain that if the government continued to plant eucalyptus, it would put an end to all big game hunting.

Red crested pochard (Netta rufina). The Doñana Marshes shelter most of the Andalusia population, with an average of almost 2000 specimens wintering there. Photography: CENEAM files.


For nature lovers, the spectacle of Mother Nature spurs them to curiosity: the need to know what, when, how, how big, etc. Thanks to the high degree of conservation of its creatures and the fact that the territory is relatively unchanged, Doñana has always offered excellent potential for answering these questions. El Acebuche pond in the Doñana National Park. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.

Although they agreed, the other owners did not have the courage to sign the letter. Mauricio González, with the co-operation of Francisco (Paco) Bernis, gave shape to the idea, suggesting that a protected area be created, offering: "…as long as we remain the owner of the Estate, we undertake to conserve it, should your Excellency so desire, as a reserve worthy of Spain, as we consider that this unique estate deserves the privileges that national parks and reserves enjoy". González personally explained the situation and delivered the report to General Franco who made no comment, but he did read it the very same day. He did not support the idea of creating a Park, but he suspended the order to repopulate Doñana with eucalyptus, saving the area from the death sentence hanging over it. Through this little known part of the history of Doñana, Mauricio González and his father created conditions to its future conservation. At last, and thanks again to the González family, Doñana was presented to the international scientific community in the "Doñana Expeditions" of 1952, 1956 and 1957. Guy Mountfort, one of the participants, has described them in a magnificent book that we would like to pay tribute to here: Portrait of a Wilderness. As the author explains so well in his dedication, Mauricio Gordon and his wife Milagro were the heart and soul of the Expeditions, enabling their interest in birds to overcome the Customs problems that arose with the logistics and communication equipment in that small ornithological Babel. Mauricio, a chemist by trade, had shown an interest in ornithology since his youth. Attracted by the descriptions of


Doñana in Chapman's book, Wild Spain, many naturalists and ornithologists had attempted to reach this nature sanctuary. The González family kindly met their requests and, in Mauricio, they came across an expert in the local fauna. In 1952, Professor François Bourlière and a group of French ornithologists planned a trip to the south of Spain, inviting Guy Mountfort and Dr. Roger Peterson to join them in a small expedition in April of that year. After exploring La Janda Lagoon, the River Guadalete and other wetlands, they reached Jerez, where Mauricio helped them to plan a visit to the Doñana Marshes. Roger Peterson and Guy Mountfort crossed the estuary and rode with Antonio Chico, Head Warden, to the Palace, making the First Expedition, lasting a week.The great diversity of birds and resources convinced them to organise a serious major scientific expedition, inviting specialists in mammals, vegetation and other biological groups and, thus, they managed to put together a outstanding team in 1956, including Mauricio González, Roger Peterson and Guy Mountfort, together with Eric Hosking and a group of six experts in scientific photography and nature documentaries that were starting to become popular at the time. Lord Alanbrooke, a leading field marshal of the British Army, and his wife formed part of the expedition as documentalists.The scientific results of the Second Expedition were excellent, identifying 171 species of birds, one of which, the masked shrike (Lanius nubicus), was reported for the first time in Spain. The Third Expedition, the most ambitious of all, set out on the th 28 of April 1957, when the advance party reached Jerez. It was made up mainly of members of the earlier expeditions, together with Nobel Laureate, Sir Julian Huxley and his wife, Max Nicholson, Director of Nature Conservancy in Great Britain, José Antonio Valverde, Mauricio González and his wife Milagro, or "Doña Milagro" as Guy Mountfort called her.The scientific and cinematographic results of the Third Expedition were also of great importance, identifying 168 birds in Coto Doñana and 204 in all, 22 of which had not been found in 1956, and making the first documentaries of the imperial eagle with chicks in the nest. Lynx, reptiles, insects (some 300 species collected by Guy Mountfort) and the vegetation (240 species collected by Julian Huxley), were also studied. In 1956 and 1957,Valverde published new contributions in which he mentions the herons of Doñana and an important article on the lynx, also in 1957. In 1958, he published An ecological sketch of the Coto Donana,inspired by the recently published work by Nicholson on the Camargue and Doñana. His description, with profiles and bar charts by Valverde himself and photographs by Eric Hosking, is a milestone for the area. In the references, he mentions Portrait of a Wilderness by Mountfort, the first monograph on Doñana, which was also published in 19589.

The Portrait text follows the tradition of 19th century British travel books, but it completes the information about the route with precise scientific detail of species, and excellent sketches and photographs by Eric Hosking. The accounts of the Coto Doñana Expedition convey an adventurous image of a team of scientists overcoming difficulties in the remote south of Spain, filled with picturesque characters like Pepe Menegildo, travelling barefoot, and uneducated folk attached to their ancestral traditions and incapable of understanding the efforts of science. The text considers Valverde an excellent zoologist, an absolute expert in vertebrate wildlife, and it reproduces his diagram of relations for the lynx, and his ecological profiles. But, in line with the cliché of romantic travellers in Andalusia, he is presented as a fun loving and entertaining figure, unafraid of animals or of the perils involved in catching them by hand, as he often did with snakes and vipers, taking lizards or amphibians out of his pockets at lunch or explaining how he caught a lynx by hand by covering its head with a jacket.According to the book, the scientists, mostly British, were exploring uncharted territory, about which little was known, offering the contents of Portrait to science.The works of Valverde and Bernis on Doñana appear in the references to Spanish authors, together with the classic works by Cabrera on mammals, the works of Baca on the birds of Spain the works of the Duke of Almazán on hunting, and little else. This is something that is in sharp contrast, as we have seen here, with the fact that the flora and fauna had already been studied for over a century, with surveys of the fish, reptiles, mammals and birds, and the fact that there were already descriptions and maps of the geology. Corema album, mentioned as a novelty, had already been collected by Clemente around 1880 in Cádiz and trials had been done with it as a species for anchoring the dunes at the turn of the century. The principal merit of Portrait was that it validated for zoology the presence of a long list of birds, the existence of colonies,

Since 1969 J.A. Valverde has promoted the study of the most emblematic species of Doñana in the Biological Station. The pioneering group of researchers conducted highly advanced studies, receiving international acclaim. In the picture, view of the Marshes from El Bolín Laboratory, located in the Doñana Biological Reserve. Photograph by Cipriano Marín.

the "pajareras" of great size living in a preserved natural environment, and the existence of an exceptional world of dunes, marshes, forest and scrub. It also offered excellent pictures of species that had hardly been seen before, like the imperial eagle on its nest with chicks. Doñana as a valuable nature sanctuary was consecrated as such. On re-reading the book, one can find interesting information about the unique situation of the estuary, marshes, ponds, and "pajareras", an enormous wolf shot by rangers, the huts of the sturgeon fishermen on the banks of the Guadalquivir that they visited in 1953, and the last individuals of the camel herds as described by Chapman, the descendents of the camels brought in by the Marquis of Villafranca in 1829.They are testimonies to a former world that had survived but which was already feeling the impact of new forces that would lead to its disappearance.To the north, the transformation of the marshes into rice paddies and the projects for irri-

In 1913 Marcelino San Miguel de la Camara made a first geomorphological description of the dunes of the province of Huelva in an historic essay on their evolution. In the picture, an umbrella pine tree (Pinus pinea) on a fixed dune sticking out from wandering dunes of Doñana. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


Malcomia lacera, a member of the Brassicaceae family, grows on sandy soils, sometimes so poor in nutrients that the plant only reaches a height of an inch. The result is a carpet of flowers covering the desolate area of sands with colour. Photograph: CENEAM files.

gation in the sands.To the west, extensive plantation of pines and eucalyptus.To the south, the pressure from the tourist industry to develop the shoreline. The Guadalquivir, the whimsical god that invaded the marshes at his will, was losing his power as the dams starved him of his waters. Two scientific monographs by Valverde were published between the first and second editions of Portrait. The first dealt with The Vertebrates of the Guadalquivir marshes, published by the Almería Institute of Acclimatisation in 1960, offering an excellent description of the vertebrate communities, using the food chain as the common thread. It analyses the diets and habitats, the use of the


area, and reproduction of these vertebrates, becoming the first ecological description of the wildlife of Doñana and their ecosystems.The second monograph, published in 1962, entitled Structure of a community of terrestrial vertebrates, was undoubtedly a landmark that rounds off the previous works and makes an in-depth analysis of the structure of the community, proposing ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that explain its functional structure. Neither the foreign scientists, nor Valverde or Bernis, both from Castile, had contacted the Hispalense University or the Cabinet of Natural Sciences and its collections, nor were they familiar with publications on the area dating back more than a century. In 1963, Emilio Fernández Galiano was appointed as Professor of Botany in the recently created Biology Section of the University of Seville. His experience in the Chair of Botany at the Complutense University and his time directing the Royal Botanic Gardens of Madrid meant that he realised the importance of a reference herbarium for the south of Spain and he located the old items and organised the return of the material that had been deposited with the Royal Botanic Gardens of Madrid. He prepared the Floras of Seville and Cádiz, published the floral novelties and preserved classic herbaria. Finally, he completed his great contribution to science: The Vascular Flora of Western Andalusia (1987), magnificently illustrated and published in collaboration with two of his former students, Benito Valdés and Salvador Talavera, now appointed to the Chairs of Botany t the University of Seville. Fernández Galiano, who had been familiar with Doñana since the seventies, began the studies of its vegetation.As full Professor of Botany, he was to play a decisive role in creating the Biological Reserve as a member of The Marshes Biological Station Board. Later on, as Chairman of the UNESCO Spanish MaB Committee, he pushed for the declaration of the National Park as a Biosphere Reserve, implementing the first environmental education programmes in the Park (1981-82). Doñana's contribution to the MaB programme has certainly been an important one throughout this time, compelling the Spanish Committee Report authored by F. García Novo, to be published in 1993. UNESCO was to later include the National Park to its World Heritage List in 1994.

ICONIC SPECIES AND THE BUZZ OF THE MARSHES Valverde had successfully tried to protect the imperial eagle and the lynx in the 1950s, seeking support from the owners of the estates to prevent hunting and the collection of eggs from nests.As the director of the Reserve and Park, he promoted a sophisticated study of these species in 1969 that won recognition from the international scientific community for its authors and collaborators: Miguel Delibes, Fernando Hiraldo and Miguel Ferrer.

The two felines that used to live in Doñana, the lynx and the impossible for young animals. In this context, successive "lynx wild cat, have suffered declines that has placed them on the edge of plans" were launched after 1988 with actions such as creating extinction, although with very different perceptions towards them. crossings for lynxes on the roads from Matalascañas to Mazagón The lynx has been studied in depth and major efforts and extraorand El Rocío, the release of vaccinated rabbits in the National Park, dinary resources have been devoted to conserving it.The wild cat the creation of rabbit warrens and treatment of areas to foster rabhas been lost in a tide of indifference from zoologists and conserbit population growth, and breeding lynxes in captivity. But, unforvationists. tunately, the lynx continued to decline and there are probably no The collapse of the lynx population, starting in the second half more than 200 specimens left. Dead animals keep appearing, killed th of the 20 century, was so intense that skeletons of dead specimens by hunters, run over by cars, poisoned or caught in traps. could still be found in some areas. There were many reasons for A broad sector of society is committed to defending the lynx: this: hunting, poisoned bait, transformation of its habitat for farmanother sector considers that it is responsible for its own extincing, the construction of roads and the increase in traffic. Sometimes tion and they are opposed to traffic speed limits or to building a single intervention, like filling in a reservoir, fragmented the area, crossings.This is the tragedy of conservation. Politicians sometimes triggering a local catastromake enthusiastic comphe. In Doñana, the threats mitments; other times to them were the draining their pathetic analysis of the marshes, the traffic explains why certain on the road to attitudes can accelerate Matalascañas, clearing fields its disappearance. And for crops, surrounding the one example of this is fields with wire fencing, and from a presentation by the large wells where they the Ministry of the drowned. The conclusions Environment before the of the research work done Senate in 2003: at the time were devastat"It is true, the suring: their almost continuvival of the lynx is comous range that used to plicated, and I think that cover the Iberian Peninsula you will agree with me from north to south, was on this. It can also be a being fragmented into a problem of space, series of small, discontinubecause we are limiting ous areas where many surits territory.That is why viving populations were I say that I hope it will In Doñana, the threats to the Iberian lynx were the draining of the Marshes, the traffic on the road condemned to extinction. to Matalascañas, clearing fields for crops, surrounding the fields with wire fencing, and the large be intelligent enough to wells/reservoirs where they drowned, as well as the decline of rabbit population, its main prey. The species was only left adapt to the new cirPhotograph by Antonio Sabater. significant areas in the cumstances, because southwest of Spain. Reality has, in the end, been even bleaker than these things happen in life... Luckily, man is more intelligent and can the forecasts, and twenty years on, the lynx only survives in two adapt to it. The lynx seems to be quite a lot less smart than we small areas of its former range: Doñana and Sierra Morena. thought. It may have good eyesight, but then, in its behaviour, it is an The dangers hanging over the lynx and interest in the results animal that runs very fast, and when running very fast, it sometimes drove new research programmes with a permanent monitoring of fails to see; it does not stop to see where it is going and so goes individuals fitted with radio collars. The results revealed that the over instead of under... I believe there must be a factor of adapting lynxes of the Biological Reserve ranged far and wide, making conto the environment, as others have had to, to survive, unless there tact with the lynxes of the rest of the National Park and the Nature are other causes that we are trying to mitigate... I hope we will Park, and sometimes going much further afield, crossing roads and shortly be able to say, because there aren't many left, that our lynxfarmland.Their food resources suffered from the decline in rabbit es are adapting to the circumstances, while, of course, helping them populations, leading them to seek other prey and this was often in everything they need because the Ministry is open to sugges-


33 species of mammals have been counted in Doñana, including fallow deer, deer, mongoose, otter, genet and rabbit. In the picture, a genet with its young in Doñana. Photograph: CENEAM files.

tions, and I hope we will be able to find them in Extremadura, because they are to be found in the south of Portugal, and even a bit further up, if possible, although the environment does not seem as appropriate". As regards the imperial eagle, its breeding habits were closely monitored, and individuals marked to study their mating habits (they are usually faithful to their mate), the chicks that hatched each year and what happened to them.After many close observations of their nests, which were started in the Coto Donana Expeditions of 1956 and 1957, detailed information was obtained on the catch of prey, and the rhythm, selection and size of the prey caught. Along with the data already known about the presence of rabbits and some reptiles, the importance of coots and other waterfowl in the diet of the imperial eagle in Doñana was striking. The dispersion of the chicks was crucial for understanding how the territory was used and to establish conservationist strategies. It was important to increase observations in the surrounding areas in an increasing radius. Furthermore, by improving the monitoring in other regions, like Los Montes de Toledo, El Monte de El Pardo and the Spanish Central Mountain Range, and exchanging records between areas, a picture started to emerge about the status of the population and their problems, of which Doñana was just a sample. The young birds, after leaving the nest, disperse and spend between one and two years in any available territory, where they perfect their hunting techniques as, in fact, they learn to hunt rabbits.The fledglings return to their original area to mate and try to establish


a range there or, at least on the periphery of their home range.This homing effect has a positive result in that it guarantees that dense breeding areas are maintained in favourable environments like Doñana, although there have not been more than six chicks a year of all those counted during the period 1998-2004. The negative effect of this homing instinct is that these birds are forced to occupy marginal areas when the central area becomes saturated.And in Doñana, the protected core is surrounded by built up areas and farms, with fewer resources and greater risks.The use of radio collars on some individuals led to a quantum leap in our knowledge of the movements of the young birds that could be monitored continually around the region. In some cases, it also meant that their remains could be recovered, to discover the cause of death: impact with power lines, poisoned bait or poaching. These eagles are animals with good longevity, 20-22 years, but their breeding success for Doñana is modest (0.75 chicks/pair/year). Pre-adult mortality is high: 80-87% per year, falling to lower figures among adults: 4.8-7.3% per year. Genetic studies have now been carried out on the populations and genealogy studies have been pursued on many individuals and offsprings. Their pathology has been studied, and their diet is well known, as is how to supplement it during critical periods. Nests are monitored from the early phase of occupation or construction and measures are taken to prevent activities or car traffic in the area that could compromise incubation or the raising of chicks.The key is not so much to increase productivity, but to reduce juvenile mortality. One single factor, power lines, represents a disaster for population numbers and merely correcting them would enhance the expectations for the species.This would be a worthwhile step because the impe-

Black vultures build their nests as platforms in the top of large trees. They used to be common in the north of Doñana, in Coto del Rey, the ranges, and even in the olive groves. They now nest in the foothills of the Sierra Morena far apart. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.

rial eagle currently faces a bleak future. It is not enough to keep a tiny network of spaces where the eagles can mate in order to maintain the population, while allowing favourable areas to disappear in the rest of the territory and the risks to multiply. On the other hand, other resident species of birds of prey in Doñana face a brighter future: Bonelli's eagle, the kestrel, buzzard and the peregrine falcon, although the last of these is scarce due to the absence of crags or cliffs for nesting. The honey buzzard and, above all, the black kite gather in large numbers during migrations. In his memoirs,Valverde records the impression that the concentration of kites had on him in 1952: "they formed large colonies in the pine forests on both banks of the estuary".The same cannot be said for the short-toed eagle, with a small nesting population in Doñana (around 2-3 pairs), or the serious decline in the population of the red kite (5-6 pairs), made worse by the fact that they are the only birds of this species in western Andalusia. Finally, the Gibraltar Straits see the passage of hundreds of thousands of birds, from storks to swallows and swifts. For many waterfowl and scrub birds, Doñana is an important staging post and it has been calculated that some 6.5 million birds pass through the park each year. These include the osprey, a determined aquatic predator capable of catching its prey down to a depth of two metres with its spectacular dives. At the end of the summer, it leaves its territories in the north of Europe and follows the Atlantic seaboard down to the Doñana Marshes, where it spends a few weeks fishing in the canals before continuing its journey south over the straits.There is a growing shortage of perches in the Marshes and sometimes rows of ospreys can be seen using the telegraph posts of power lines to perch on. It does not currently breed in mainland Spain, although one individual was seen in 2002, trying to build a nest in Doñana, in the restored Algaida Marsh, in Sanlúcar. Miguel Ferrer, heading up a team from the Biological Station, has done "transplant" trials, transferring osprey chicks to artificial nests, built on the banks of reservoirs rich in Andalusian fish, to accustom them to their new environment and re-introduce the species.Their efforts have been met with success. Other characteristic species to be found in Doñana are the Egyptian vulture, which winters here, and the honey buzzard that only migrates through. They migrate along the route through Doñana and the coastal mountain ranges to Tarifa and, once they have crossed the Gibraltar strait, they set out on a spectacular journey, crossing the Sahara to reach their wintering grounds. Black vultures build their nests as platforms in the top of large trees.They used to be common in the north of Doñana, in Coto del Rey, the ranges, and even in the olive groves.They now nest in the foothills of the Sierra Morena, almost 100 Km to the North. The griffon vultures, somewhat smaller in size and much more gre-

The ferruginous duck is a species that is almost extinct in the Doñana Marshes; the one in the picture is a captive, maimed bird. The ruddy shelduck has suffered the same fate, as it has disappeared as a nesting species in Doñana for over a century and only accidental specimens or specimens that have escaped from captivity have been observed. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.

garious, nest on crags, forming colonies that they sometimes share with Egyptian vultures and other birds of prey.The protection that they have been afforded in the second half of the 20th century has increased their numbers throughout Spain.They come to Doñana on sunny days from the vulture colonies of Sierra de Aracena, Picos de Aroche and Sierra Pelada, sometimes flying in long rows of up to one hundred birds, in search of dead deer, fallow deer, boar or cattle to feed off. The pecking order for eating the carrion is established according to the hierarchical status of each bird in the flock. If there are birds of different species together, the black vultures will take preference over the griffon vultures and these will take preference over other birds like Egyptian vultures, kites, rooks, magpies and azure-winged magpies that will also take turns to feed off the carrion.The small wagtails will feed off the insects that are attracted by the corpse, including the fresh generation of maggots that emerge from the carrion after a few days. González Bernaldez remembered a visit he made in the winter of 1972 to the lower stretch of the Guadiamar, accompanied by Caballero, Professor of Plant Physiology, and Ramon Margalef, the famous limnologist. Some sheep caught in the mud were surrounded by griffon vultures that gradually set siege to them.The naturalists tried to free the sheep from the mud, but if the animals were exhausted or they had injured themselves in their attempts to get free, the vultures would return for the kill. In the 1970s, after rainy years or floods, this was a regular occurrence and there was an abundance of carrion for vultures in the Doñana Marshes and watercourses. When the pools dry out, the small ducks, carp and other trapped fish, still attract vultures and black kites. Herons and


In Unexplored Spain Abel Chapman and Walter Buck found a "mystery" in the flamingo that they were unable to solve: its reproduction. They spent years searching the Doñana Marshes for the breeding colonies until they found them. Yet, they found that clutches of eggs failed to hatch because of the weather and chicks only hatched every four years, which was incompatible with maintaining population levels. It was to take almost half a century for the mystery to be solved by Valverde who discovered that the main breeding ground was Laguna de Fuentepiedra, in Malaga. Photograph: CENEAM Files.

storks eat the eyes of the fish, along with eels and other small fish. Excrement-feeding insects and their larvae near the water are also eaten by geese.The cycle of life and death is characteristic of the marshes, inseparable from its fluctuating wetland character of flood and drought. After the autumn floods, bird life flocks to the Doñana Marshes, occupying the different environments according to the depth of the water or, later on, depending on the growth of the aquatic vegetation. They come from regional wetlands, or they have started their migrations from more distant regions, seeking their wintering grounds in Doñana. In the ponds and somewhat deeper waters, we find coot, known locally as gallaretas, common mallards, shovelers and gadwalls, pintails, wigeon, shelduck, teals, garaganey, marbled teal, red-crested pochard, pochard and grebes. In very shallow bodies of water, we find waders. Near the banks, there are herons, storks, moorhens, water rail and the striking gallinules.The terns feed in pools, canals, lagoons and the estuary. Grebes and cormorants leave the Marshes as the water levels drop, but they can still be seen in the estuary, in the pools and ponds of Isla Mayor. The geese form flocks on the open waters, approaching the banks to feed off the rhizomes, particularly the round castañuela. One of the unforgettable sights of Doñana is the image of the geese when they gather at dawn on Cerro del Trigo to eat sand. The ornithological rarities of Doñana include the crested coot,


the white headed duck and the glossy ibis that has recently established stable colonies, recovering a population that had become extinct in Doñana years ago.The black stork, a shy elusive bird in comparison with the white stork, can also be seen in the Doñana Marshes, although in small numbers.And the most spectacular, distinct and iconic sightings of marsh bird life are the flocks of flamingos, the colonies of spoonbills and the abovementioned "pajareras" over the cork trees and scrub of La Vera. Gulls (the common lesser black-backed, and the black-headed), common terns, little terns, black terns, and oystercatchers, which are keen bi-valve feeders (especially of wedge clams in Doñana), dominate the beaches. In the sea off Doñana, there are common scoters and marine ducks and, occasionally, gannet, razorbills, Balearic shearwater, skuas and petrels. And to round off the continual spectacle on the beach, foxes, black kites and even boar occasionally in their wanderings make it down to the beach.The sandpipers and plovers run around in search of water fleas and other crustaceans, or they approach the embryonic dune vegetation in search of insects and seeds. Chapter 7 offers a list of bird species to be found in the Doñana Marshes, including the most emblematic species. But as observers and recordings have increased, more outstanding birds are added. Chapman and Buck have reported tundra swan and pelican; and Marabou stork, also sighted, could either be from zoos or wandering specimens. There are exceptional reports of birds sighted far from their normal range, like Allen's gallinule (Porphyrula alleni) and

Grebes and cormorants leave the Marshes as water levels drop, but they can still be seen in the estuary, in the pools and ponds of Isla Mayor and occasionally in lagoons. In the picture, a great crested grebe. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.

the red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus). Others, previously abundant, have become rare, like the Hubara bustard, cranes, little bustards and the buttonquail. The presence of large concentrations of individuals of the same species, which often happens in the Marshes, makes it more difficult to identify other, similar species that accompany them. For example, there may be 80,000 geese flying around in flocks of several hundred specimens, forming larger groups of thousands, most of which are greylag geese. But there are sometimes specimens of greater white-fronted goose, bar-headed goose and snow goose, and more occasionally, specimens of lesser white-fronted goose, bean goose or pink-footed goose. These groups sometimes also include barnacle geese, including the Canadian barnacle goose, well established in Europe, the white-faced barnacle goose, the blackfaced barnacle goose and, very rarely, the red-necked barnacle goose. Testimonies from the 1950s recall the presence of overwhelming numbers of waterfowl in the Doñana Marshes, the immensity of the "pajareras", and the clouds of mosquitoes that rose like smoke at dusk.Yet, they also mention the abundance of reptiles, the concentrations of amphibians and the massive migrations of ribbed newts and spade foot toads leaving the marshes for the ponds of the sands, accompanied by an amazing number of water snakes. In a pool, next to the track leading to Palacio de Doñana, you were able to find newts and after spawning, the water used to bubble with the activity of tadpoles that slid their way with difficulty through the flooded grass. In the mid 1960s, anyone walking through the scrub of the sands in late spring would constantly see scaly and red-tailed lizards, and often ladder snakes, false smooth snakes and horse shoe whip snakes, too.They would also witness

the challenge of the eyed lizard or feel the ill humour and snorts of the Montpellier snake. In the water, the water snake hunted among the turtles. It is easy to spot traces of lizards among the bushes, but they do not venture far from the cover of the vegetation. In the shifting dunes, it is surprising to find snakes, vipers and slow moving tortoises, which move from one corral (inter-dune basin) to another, covering hundreds of metres of dune front and leaving an unmistakeable trail.As with the rabbits, reptiles and amphibians play and have played an important ecological role as energy transmitters in the food chain, although they are not part of the group of iconic species of Doñana. Depending on their size, the amphibians eat filamentous and epiphyte algae, submerged macrophytes, crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates, insects and their larvae, and they fall prey to fish, grebes, herons and storks.And, in larger concentrations, they attract other waterfowl, foxes, boars and other predators. Reptiles basically eat insects, and they are the prey of other reptiles, birds of prey, hunting birds like shrikes, opportunists like kites, blackbirds, magpies, azure-winged magpies and some mammals. We could continue, in this way, down the flow chart of species and their functions. That is why the same conclusion is reached every time we embark on describing the iconic species of Doñana: that there is nothing unnecessary here and maintaining the area involves being aware of the intricate network of inter-dependencies created by all the different forms of life.

The two felines that used to live in Doñana, the lynx and the wild cat, have suffered declines that has placed them on the edge of extinction, although with very different perceptions towards them. The lynx has been studied in depth and major efforts and extraordinary resources have been devoted to conserving it. The wild cat has been lost in a tide of indifference from zoologists and conservationists. The greatest threat to this specie in Doñana is inter-breeding with domestic cats, leaving very few pure-blooded specimens. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.


The aquatic systems of Doñana he Doñana region includes an extraordinary variety of aquatic systems, from salt pans to peatbogs. They are broadly classified according to their location on either eolian sands or marshland as their hydrology largely depends on the geomorphology of their basins.The permeability of each geomorphologic unit is very different: the eolian sands correspond to an unconfined aquifer (with a shallow water table and several flow systems) while groundwater is confined below the silty-clay deposits of the Marshes floodplain. Both units composed an aquifer system of about 3400 km2 bottomed by impermeable marine marls known as the Almonte-Marismas aquifer36. Groundwater recharge is produced by rainfall infiltration in the unconfined aquifer66 at an estimated annual rate of 200 mm while it flows at 0.1-1cm in the confined aquifer35. The contemporary Marshes occupy a vast floodplain of about 23,000 ha, while hundreds of small ponds are scattered over the aeolian sands during floods.A total of 568 temporary wetlands on sandy soils have been recorded in the area by the local administration34. Additionally, salt pans operate on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River, numerous artificial wetlands (about 3000 ha) are devoted to extensive fish cultures in the estuary islands (Veta La Palma, on Isla Mayor), and tidal marshes are reduced to a narrow fringe along the banks of Guadalquivir River28. Most running waters are intermittent streams. Major hydrologic projects have reshaped the flow of the main rivers, Guadalquivir and Guadiamar that used to drain and flood over the Marshes. Small streams are fed by rainfall and groundwater seepage; some of them drain to the Marshes and others to the sea, across the cliffs formed by ancient dune fields (Medano del Asperillo), providing shelter to some hygrophyte species that hold vestiges of Atlantic peatbogs20. Outside its protected areas, Doñana watersheds are severely altered by human activities, featuring a wide variety of pressures regarding the use and assignment of water resources. Despite its significance for wildfowl, research into the limnological processes of the Doñana aquatic systems started merely two decades ago.The first ecological studies (aimed at relating biological populations to environmental variables) were published in the early 80's24,44. The water composition of the Doñana marshland and the quality of the surface waters entering the Marshes were thoroughly studied during the 80's16. Later, the Doñana ponds were typified according to



* University of Seville, Spain.

Studies of the ecological processes of the floodable areas of Doñana have only recently started to play the role they deserve. The Landsat 7 satellite image (2000) shows in false colour, the lower area of the Marshes during the floods, rimmed by dune formations and the course of the River Guadalquivir. The Marshes used to be isolated from the course of the river by a natural levee, which has now been replaced by what is known as La Montaña del Río. Photograph: Landsat 7 (2000). NASA.

their hydrology and chemical composition29,42, their hydrology and substrate18 or their hydro-chemistry and littoral vegetation45. The larger size of Santa Olalla and Dulce ponds made them suitable for many limnological studies37,64,50,57,65,41 compared to the rest of ponds17, 39, 54 . Additionally, the relevance of sediment in the functioning of these shallow aquatic systems has been brought forward in numerous publications32,33,40,21,15,61. The interaction with their surrounding terrestrial ecosystems has also been studied under different perspectives, such as vegetation-groundwater interactions30, 67, climate change63 and landscape management47. Research into the processes that determine the environmental quality of the Doñana aquatic systems should be the basis for conservation and management strategies.This approach requires a huge spatial scale and the support of long-term studies because the chemical composition of its waters is influenced by multiple processes: rainfall, evaporative concentration, groundwater discharge, biogeochemical reactions at the sediment-water interface, and the interaction with soils and vegetation of the terrestrial systems within their watersheds.


THE MARSHES The Doñana Marshes are basically fed by direct rainfall on its floodplain and by several watersheds: Guadiamar River (1,180 km2), El Partido stream (300 km2) and La Rocina stream (1,000 km2) which are included in the lower sector of the Guadalquivir River watershed (57,500 km2). The land is basically occupied by agriculture and range. The flatness of the vast extension occupied by the Doñana Marshes (about 23,000 ha) is altered at a topographic scale of a few dm creating shallow pans (locally known as lucios) and old levee remnants (paciles) which have the appearance of emerged islands (vetas) during floods. Quantitavely less important, but ecologically relevant, is the ground water seepage along the ecotone border (La Vera) that provides soil moisture to grass meadows and hygrophyte vegetation, feeds small creeks (sotos) and maintains permanent sub-surface springs (ojos). The tidal influence from the estuary of the Guadalquivir River on the Marshes is currently impeded due to the construction of a levee (Montaña del Río) that isolates the marshland from the estuary. Several outlets along this levee are provided with floodgates to maintain the confinement of the water outflow during winter and spring though, occasionally, the levee is overflowed at heavy floods. On the north-western area, surface water is supplied by rainfall and the over flood of small streams (La Rocina, El Partido, Caño Marín and Cañada Mayor) which drain southwards into the Park feeding a large riverbed, the Madre de las Marismas del Rocío channel. On the north-eastern end the Guadiamar River used to drain southwards into the Marshes through numerous small channels (caños). Nowadays, the lower stretch of the Guadiamar River runs between two earthen dikes (Entremuros) finally draining to a dead arm of the river (Brazo de la Torre) so most of its water-flow and the drainage of the nearby paddy-fields are presently deviated to the estuary of the Guadalquivir River. Only a minor flow reaches the Marshes (Guadiamar channel) passing through both pipes and a complex canal network.The marked seasonality of flooding periods followed by summer drought, and the isolation of the Marshes from the estuary has imposed an endorreic character to the historical marshes. Freshwater is accumulated in the depressions causing the solubilization of salts from the top sediment.As the confined water evaporates, their salts and particulates become increasingly concentrated.The resulting ionic composition of the lucio pans is then dominated by Cl- and Na+, the concentration of salts being dependent on the frequency and duration of flooding in each area19. Carophytes are particular abundant in the submersed vegetation of the Doñana marshland as only five carophyte species account for 98.4% of total biomass22.The following environmental units, with their local names, can be distinguished in the Marshes,


according to flooding duration, water composition and vegetation23: 1) Lucios in depressions with long flooding periods and no emergent macrophytes (helophytes) though some carophytes may develop (Nytella hyalina and Chara canescens). 2) Pajas in depressions with long flooding periods where helophytes grow on both caños and margins of lucios. Scirpus maritimus and Scirpus litoralis are the dominant annual emergent species in either monoespecific or mixed populations. Submersed macrophytes such as Nytella hyalina and Chara connivens are also found. 3) Candilejar in areas with an intermediate flooding period. Vegetation composed of Juncus subulatus and Arthrocnemum macrostachyum. Submersed vegetation including Chara gallioides, Chara canescens, Callitriche truncata occidentalis and Zanichellia obtusifolia. 4) Almajar in upper areas with no flooding or very shortly. Vegetation dominated by Arthrocnemum macrostachyum, annual grasses and no helophytes. 5) Estero in upper tidal areas along the coast line of the Guadalquivir River and its dead arm-river (Brazo de la Torre). Brackish waters with dense Spartina densiflora stands. 6) Salao in elevated dry areas (former levees). Vegetation of Limoniastrum monopetalum. 7) Tidal areas where vegetation community composition follows the frequency and duration of tidal flow, from Spartina densiflora and Salicornia europaea (lower areas), Sarcocornia fruticosa and Sarcocornia perennis (intermediate) to Artrocnemum macrostachyum (upper areas). Submersed vegetation is rich (Ruppia drepanensis, Chara canescens, Callitriche truncata occidentalis, Zanichellia obtusifolia and Rannunculus peltatus fucoides), and with some rare species (Tolypella glomerata, Tolypella hispanica,

The Marshes can be divided into eight environmental units, based on the flood regime and the characteristics of the water, each of which is associated with a certain kind of vegetation. In the picture, view of the Marshes from the Doñana Palace. Photograph by Cipriano Marín.

Do単ana is famous for its wealth of biodiversity of organisms to be seen, especially the birds, but the wealth of species of organisms that cannot be seen, like the algae and microinvertebrates, is even greater. This high level of biodiversity can be explained by the vast ecological wealth of the temporary aquatic systems. Some of these species are endemic to the area, or they have been described for the first time in specimens collected in Do単ana, like Daphnia hispanica and Daphnia mediterranea. In the photograph, from left to right, view of: D. hispanica male, D. mediterranea female, D. mediterranea ephippial female, D. similis ephippial female and D. similis male. Photograph by Adam Petrusek, Charles University, Prague.

FIGURE 1 Sketch showing the hydrological feeding of sandy substrate ponds.

Riella helicophylla and Riella notarisi). 8) Carrizal in particular sites, such as the upper stretch of Torre

branch, intersection of Guadiamar channel with Madre de las Marismas del Roc鱈o, below-surface springs (ojos) and other sites with a semi-permanent flooding. Emergent vegetation dominated by Phragmites australis and Scirpus litoralis; submersed vegetation by Nytella hyalina and Chara connivens. THE PONDS ON THE SANDS The Holocene eolian sand mantle is composed of several dune generations originally deposited on the beach by marine action. A system of moving dunes with several dune fronts run parallel to the coast-line with a NW-SE direction, both within the National Park limits (max. altitude: 30 m) and along the Asperillo dune system (max. altitude: 100 m). Within the Do単ana Biological Reserve, the sand mantle is mostly covered by Mediterranean scrub (stabilized dunes) with a species composition closely following water availabil-

FIGURE 2 Changes in some physical, chemical and biological variables over 4 hydrological years in the sandy substrate ponds of Santa Olalla and Dulce. The vertical dotted lines separate the different hydrological years. The continuous vertical line indicates the beginning of a period of heavy rains, with surface run off. (according to Toja et al., 1991).


TABLE 1 List of some ponds on a sandy substrate in the Doñana Parks29. PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY PERIDUNE PONDS

Santa Olalla Dulce Taraje Zahillo Charco del Toro Complejo de las Pajas

ECOTONE AND LITTORAL ZONE Hondón Lucio del Faro Navazo largo Llano de Velázquez

EPHEMERAL PONDS LAS ROCINAS Eutrophic Charco del Acebrón Algaida de los Naranjos Algaida 1

ity which, in turn, depends on groundwater flow systems of different spatial scales47. In this undulating landscape, hundreds of small ponds appear when the water table rises above the topographical surface during heavy rains.These ponds are fed by freshwater (rainfall, runoff and groundwater discharge), and have no surface or groundwater connection to the sea so they cannot be properly called lagoons (in English) though they receive salts of marine origin through airborne deposition.Their groundwater feeding is relatively complex due to changes in recharge and topographic boundaries that modify their connection to different aquifer flow systems FIGURE 3 Depth distribution and daily cycle (June 1991) of temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll concentration, in the Las Verdes and Santa Olalla ponds (according to Serrano et al., 1994). The high concentration of polyphenol compounds in Las Verdes and the protection from the winds afforded by the surrounding vegetation cause the pond to behave in a polymictic manner, stratified during the day and mixing at night. Santa Olalla is open to the wind, so it does not stratify, but its hypertrophy leads to pronounced variations in Oxygen and pH, depending on the predominance of photosynthesis or respiration at any given moment.


Aquifer discharge

Caño Martinazo Alcornoque de las Monjas Corral close to Charco del Toro Bajada de Martín Pavón El Caballo Berraco El Brezo Alcornoque Escobar La Jabata

Non eutrophic Acebuche de las Palomas Navazo del Toro Ojillo Rodrigo Pérez Los Pájaros Tojal del Lobo Alcornoque

Aquifer recharge Eutrophic Encinillas Bajas El Moral Caño de la Raya

Non eutrophic Corral largo 1 Corral largo 2 La Mogea El Rico El Pino Caño Tio Antoñito Las Baquetas

through time50.They range widely in size (from rain puddles to shallow lakes) and in flooding duration (from days to decades), but they all have been reported to dry out eventually. Hence, they all are temporary water bodies that exhibit wide fluctuations of water level. Those ponds located at the boundary between the moving dunes and the stabilised sand mantle are called peridune ponds. Ponds also appear amid the interdune valleys of the moving dune system, creating a wet-slack formation. Many attempts have been made to classify ponds into different categories (permanent, semi permanent, seasonal, ephemeral), but a short number of observations have produced contradictory results.As a whole, the Doñana ponds form a system of temporary water bodies of remarkable singularity in Europe due to their abundance, diversity and high protection status.The density of ponds in the Biological Reserve was estimated during winter floods in six ponds per 100 ha (holding water for 1-6 months) and one pond in 100 ha (holding water for more than 6 months)30. A few artificial wetlands are maintained by groundwater pumping; another common practice in the area is to dig water-holes near ponds (zacallones) for wildlife during dry periods.The only permanent non-artificial aquatic system over sands is the lagoon of Tarelo, located on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River, fringing the pine woodland of La Algaida of Sanlúcar. Its basin was excavated for sand and gravel extraction, became flooded in 1989 by rainfall and groundwater seepage from the estuary of the Guadalquivir River, and was later declared a protected site of the Doñana Nature Park for its importance to the white-headed duck62. The chemical composition of the unconfined aquifer is dominated by Ca (HCO3)2 and with a salinity usually lower than 0.5 mg/l.The high proportion of NaCl in rainwater due to marine influence affects the composition of shallow groundwater.The successive cycles of flooding and evaporation in the discharge areas have enriched in NaCl the shallow free groundwater (or phreatic) below the pond basins39. Ca2+ dominates over Na+ only in small depression

within the dune tail where recharge dominates over discharge flow and water is temporary deposited. The chemical composition of water filling the ponds results from an interaction of both surface (rainfall and runoff) and groundwater sources during discharge, but general trends are difficult to predict (Figure 1). Firstly because water budgets have not yet been elucidated with sufficient resolution and, secondly because of the impact of sparse local events on these shallow systems. For example, heavy rainstorms (>80 mm) that only represented 1.4% of total observations in a 7-year record58 disrupted the pond development and reverted it to earlier succession stages64. A general hydrologic budget for Santa Olalla and Dulce ponds estimated that rainfall (and runoff) accounted for 48% and 100% of the water input during the rainy season (October-March) of very dry (<250mm) and extremely wet cycles (>1000 mm), respectively.The rest of the water input was due to groundwater discharge (from both the shallow and deep watertables)49. A review of studies on the ionic composition in the Do単ana aquatic systems reveals the influence of the different scales of observation in each study.The hydroperiod (or duration of water on the surface) and the water origin are relevant hydrologic features that influence the ionic composition of water, but their assessment is greatly affected by the duration of the study period. The first extensive survey (47 ponds) of water chemical composition was performed during the heavy floods of winter 199029.Again, Na+ and Cl- were the dominant ions in all pond waters. The Ca2+/Na+ ratio was not a good predictor compared to the Mg2+/Na+ ratio, probably due to the local effect of micro topography and vegetation on CaCO3 precipitation. A Mg2+ /Na+ ratio higher than 0.25 (in meq/l) corresponded to discharge areas, and a lower ratio indicated recharge areas where water runoff could be temporary deposited due to the presence of a high concentration of organic matter or clay in the sediment.They segregated the ponds in three discharge groups according to their location, mineralization and trophic state (Table 1): 1) ponds in Las Naves, 2) those along the boundary between the moving dunes and the stabilized sands (peridune pond system), and 3) those between the stabilized sands and the Marshes (La Vera). Later, this classification was enlarged to 5 groups by including the wet-slack formation of the moving dunes, and dividing the peridune ponds in two other groups according to pond size45.Water pH is usually alkaline in the discharge areas due to the dominance of Na+ over Ca2+, but acidic water (pH 4-5) has been occasionally reported when rainfall is temporary deposited on rich organic soils. The combination of alkaline waters over siliceous sand basins makes these water bodies rather singular compared to other European wetlands54.

Hydro-chemical classifications of ponds based on absolute limits have, so far, proved evasive as the ionic composition of the Do単ana ponds change widely in time.The change in water conductivity (at 20尊C) recorded in some of the most visited ponds during the last two decades (Taraje, Dulce and Santa Olalla) ranges from 0.1 to 8.5 mS/cm during wet years, and from 1.0 to 28.4 mS/cm during dry years. Low maximum conductivity values corresponded to wet cycles while high minimum values to dry years in all ponds, but the relationship between conductivity and rainfall was not linear because conductivity also reflected the past conditions of previous dry cycles: the minimum conductivity values were not attained in 1995/96 despite it was the wettest cycle in the record as it had been preceded by several dry years. The conductivity range was widest in the larger pond of Santa Olalla (0.3 to 28.4 mS/cm). Its larger watershed ensures a higher contribution of rainfall and the flooding of a considerable extension of soil and vegetation which accounts for the solubilization and leaching of salts which progressively concentrate in the water as evaporation proceeds. The higher mineralization of Santa Olalla pond was also achieved by the down gradient movement of solutes through seepage from its neighbouring ponds (Dulce and Las Pajas) due to its larger evaporative discharge and lower altitude49. During extreme-

Do単ana's reputation depends to a large extent on the fact that it receives hundreds of thousands of birds every year. The food for these birds comes from the aquatic macrophytes, as in most of the refuges that these birds use. The nutrients they deposit in the environment are also re-cycled by the macrophytes, which also organise different habitats, thus contributing to maintain the high level of biodiversity. Photograph: CENEAM files.


FIGURE 4 Concentrations of soluble phosphorous and organic matter that can be liberated by the rain from different components of the terrestrial ecosystems adjacent to the lagoons, which are flushed out and transported laterally into the lagoons (According to Serrano et al., 1999). Units: mg/kg dry matter weight.

xerophytic scrub 1250.0

xerophytic scrub >2mm 2-0.1 mm <0.01 mm

83.7 651.0

5.7 950.0

25 1500.4

VEGETATION hygrophytic scrub 455.7

pastures 205.1

SOIL hygrophytic scrub


>2mm 2-0.1 mm

>2mm 2-0.1 mm

78.6 331.7

46.8 756.4

10.7 630.0

ly wet periods, this pond complex (Santa Olalla-Dulce-Las Pajas) behaves as a flow-through floodplain of about 100 ha that evacuates water and solutes to the nearby Marshes through intermittent discharges on wide river beds29.

Ponds as fluctuating environments Wetlands are generally fluctuating environments.The variability of the Do単ana ponds is particularly high, both within and between years (Figure 2). Daily variations are also drastic in those ponds sheltered from the prevailing winds (Figure 3). Dulce pond illustrates an average limnological cycle37. At the beginning of a moderate flooding period, submersed macrophytes and associated algae start growing on the pond basin. The primary production of the pond is, then, basically benthonic. The biomass of these primary producers reaches a maximum in mid-spring, coincident with a clear-water phase. Submersed macrophytes eventually die and leach nutrients that enhance phytoplankton growth. As water evaporates, the concentration of both dissolved nutrients and plankton cells increases, and phytoplankton reaches very large densities throughout summer and mid-autumn. If the pond finally dries up, the organic matter deposited on the dry sediment is photo-oxidized and its nutrients mineralized. Smaller ponds will hold water for a shorter time.Therefore, they go through the different stages quicker and annual plants tend to colonise the dry bed more easily.This general functioning is not applied to the larger pond of Santa Olalla because it rarely dries up so phytoplankton prevails and hypertrophic conditions are usual. During heavy rainfall, all ponds change dramatically which led some authors13 to state that they had


2.4 1354.7

cow 954.8

sand 2-0.1 mm

0.5 961.0

EXCREMENTS horse deer 409.2


SEDIMENT >2mm 2-0.1 mm

46.4 440.2

20.2 1097.4

distrophic phases during floods: their water colour was dark and, their conductivity and primary production were very low.

Interaction with terrestrial ecosystems As any other aquatic system, the Do単ana ponds are not isolated from their surrounding watershed. Despite rainfall infiltrates very quickly in sandy soils, surface runoff develops during heavy floods for sufficient time to produce a significant contribution of nutrients and organic matter to the ponds.The concentration of phosphate is usually higher in surface runoff water than in groundwater discharge, but these differences are brief and can be detected only during heavy rainfall54.A careful study of the P-fractional sediment composition showed that the incoming phosphate was efficiently adsorbed by the sediment during the first weeks of their filling period21. The Do単ana ponds received a significant concentration of phosphate from the leaching of soils, organic matter and vegetation within its watershed during heavy rainstorms after drought58 (Figure 4). In Dulce pond, phosphate concentration was 100 times higher in the littoral than in the open-water area (Figure 5). Soil samples from the sandy uplands and the floodplain meadow, fresh xerophytic scrub, and cattle manure leached phosphate concentrations higher than 0.9 mg/g dw in distilled-water under laboratory conditions, suggesting that this material was a source of P to runoff water draining to the pond.The slow decomposition rate of litter in arid sandy soils of Do単ana can explain the accumulation of nutrients in the upland areas of the pond watersheds where leaching of soluble compounds from litter can last up to 4 moths after deposition27.The

accumulation of organic matter, in turn, accounts for the dominance of organic P-fractions in the pond sediment61.The contribution of terrigenous lipids to the sedimentary composition32 and the detection of organic P-compounds derived from vegetation in the sediment, such as phytate59, proved the strong influence of the watershed on these aquatic systems. Rainfall itself accounted for the leaching from fresh vegetation of soluble polyphenols such as tannins51. During floods, dissolved organic matter is washed from the fringing vegetation and carried by runoff to the ponds where the concentration of DOC can reach up to 120 mg/l, turning the water into a dark brown colour52. Although the input of DOC by rainfall and runoff water is a common process in all aquatic systems, the singularity of this process in Doñana lies on the unpredictability of flooding events under Mediterranean climate. Consequently, the Doñana ponds can exhibit very contrasting conditions in different years with variable rainfall intensity. Flooding itself produces the dilution of solutes and particulates, bringing about a drastic reduction of the phytoplankton populations and disrupting their previous succession development64. No direct effect of polyphenols on the primary production has been proved in the ponds56, despite these compounds are able to chelate micronutrients53.Vertical attenuation coefficients of light in the water of a pond rich in dissolved polyphenols were similar to those of the hypereutrophic Santa Olalla pond where chlorophyll a concentrations57 reached up to 2 mg/l. Flooding is, therefore, the cause of both the polyphenolic enrichment and the phytoplankton decrease (due to flushing or dilution).The perturbation caused by flooding in the ponds is so extreme that it resembles the flood pulse of tropical floodplains, in which heavy floods can clean water bodies and rearrange the communities to earlier succession stages.The drainage and vegetation pattern in the watershed determines the extent and variability of the runoff input to each pond during floods30. Xerophytic scrub dominated by Halimium halimifolium, growing in the upland areas of the pond watershed leached a higher amount of polyphenols than bulrushes (Juncus spp. and Scirpus spp.) from the floodplain under artificial rainfall experiments51. The fate of the dissolved polyphenols was also different in each pond till they disappeared on the dry sediment52. Dissolved polyphenols are easily degraded by sunlight so photo-oxidation can account for their disappearance in the water.The depth of the water column limits the amount of sunlight that can penetrate in each pond and thus the extent of the photo-degradation of polyphenols in each pond60. The expected development of the Doñana ponds during a moderate hydrologic cycle would be a low concentration of polyphenols in the water which, in combination with a moderate

water depth, would allow the growth of extensive macrophyte beds. Biomass of submersed vegetation have been reported to reach up to 450 g dw/m2 in Dulce pond37. As the ponds dry out, organic matter is partially mineralised on the dry sediment51. Hence, the concentration of sediment organic matter is inversely correlated to the duration of flooding33. During dry periods, the vegetation pattern surrounding the ponds changes rapidly: hygrophyte species showed regression while xerophytic species advanced to lower areas67. A flooding period following a long drought, therefore, will produce a larger impact of the watershed on the pond water composition regarding nutrient and dissolved organic matter concentrations.The variability of the hydro-meteorological conditions in the area ensures the unpredictability of this terrestrial-aquatic interaction. Furthermore, vegetation changes induced by anthropic disturbance in relation to groundwater abstraction, add more uncertainty to this interaction46.The study of both ecological and historical records showed that the vegetation of Doñana has been deeply affected by management practices since the first quarter of the 17th century31. Deep sediment cores from Dulce and Santa Olalla ponds showed that total P concentrations had increased exponentially since 1960's suggesting that recent changes in land management have contributed to their eutrophication38. THE BIODIVERSITY OF THE AQUATIC SYSTEMS Doñana wetlands are famous worldwide for their great importance to water birds, but the diversity of microscopic and invertebrate organisms is also remarkable. The heterogeneity of temporary aquatic environments is usually the cause for high species rich-

Despite the importance of Doñana as a biodiversity sanctuary, the ecological processes of the marshy areas are only now starting to be discovered. A detailed knowledge of the bio-geo-chemical cycles of the nutrients and their relations with organic matter is essential, as these factors determine the characteristically high biodiversity of these ecosystems. Photograph: CENEAM files.


FIGURE 5 Concentration of phosphorous in samples of water taken from Dulce pond, in the National Park, from the edge to the centre, immediately after a large storm (108.5 mm) on December 15th, 1995 (according to Serrano et al., 1999).

ness.The richness of temporary waters is not particularly high at a momentary scale though it can be very large when wide fluctuations are taken into account.A list of planktonic species recorded in Do単ana is presented in Chapter 7. Despite these lists accumulate a large number of species (438 for phytoplankton and 205 for microinvertebrates), they are not exhaustive, as they collect the results of only a few studies. The more samples accumulate from the same site or from new sites, the more species are identified. During a monthly sampling (1985-87) of Santa Olalla and Dulce ponds, 120 phytoplankton species were identified (14 cyanobacte-

ria, 1 pyrrophyte, 12 euglenophytes, 3 cryptophytes, 1 heteroconte, 44 diatoms and 45 chlorophytes)37. Fifty-four taxa of ciliates were identified in merely 50 ml of water from the littoral of Santa Olalla pond48. The number of zooplankton taxa (micro crustaceans and rotifers) coexisting at a given time in the same pond tend to range widely, from 3 to 27 species, but the number of species inhabiting a site over several successive cycles is always larger. Resting eggs provide the mechanisms for organisms to withstand dehydration and, at the same time, create a long-time pool of species that will eventually develop as the environment changes. Some rotifer species, unrecorded over 3 successive years, hatched from the pond sediment incubated in the laboratory55. Extensive surveys in numerous ponds also accumulate a large richness: 34 rotifer taxa and 41 micro crustacean species were recorded in a total of 33 ponds43.The study of 7 ponds over 3 successive cycles yielded 71 zooplankton taxa (40 rotifers and 31 micro crustaceans)25. A new rotifer species, Lecane donyananesis, was described in small pond of merely 30 cm of depth26. Other endemic species recorded in Do単ana include the copepod Dussartius baeticus, while specimens collected in Do単ana have been used to describe endemisms of the Iberian-Balearic region14. The collective richness of zooplankton from both ponds and marsh is likely to be greater as salinity is a major factor affecting the composition of micro crustacean assemblages (Figure 6).

FIGURE 6 Distribution of some species of micro-crustaceans over the course of a flood cycle in 3 sandy substrate ponds and in 3 shallow pools of the Marshes (according to Furest and Toja, 1981).


The ecology of Doñana scrub

oñana National Park is composed of two geological formations: continental detritic deposits of Pliocene age covered by Holocene aeolian mantels and recent estuarine deposits of Guadalquivir river. Based on this geological origin three main ecological domains are found in the Park: the floodable plain filled with silt deposits, the mobile dunes and the stabilized sands. The Mediterranean type climate bears with some oceanic influence, resulting in milder temperatures (average16.7ºC), higher air moisture and rainfall (540 mm) than further inland. Under this climate, the mature vegetation of sandy substrate is the Mediterranean woodland, giving way to scrublands and grasslands if some kind of disturbance or limitative process occurs. The history of Doñana well documented since the XIII century, recorded the sandy areas covered by woodlands dominated by Quercus suber, with Arbutus unedo, Myrtus communis and Pistacia lentiscus and several species of vines on the humid areas, Juniperus phoenicea on the dry elevated ground, and Juniperus oxycedrus closer to the littoral. The destruction of natural vegetation by falling and overgrazing helped setting in motion the sand mantles largely destroying the natural vegetation and even the deeper layers of the organic soil profile.Ancient woodlands gave way to scrublands that follow the topography and only remains as isolated spots generally around a discharge area of the underground aquifer, survived to the present day. Three main types of scrub communities are now found on the stabilized sands depending on water table depth: "Monte Blanco"



(Xerophytic sites), on crests of ancient dunes where soil water table in Summer was deeper than 4 m, and always lies over 3 m below the soil surface.The community is dominated by Juniperus phoenicea, Halimium commutatum, Halimium halimifolium, Rosmarinus officinalis and Cistus libanotis. Standing crop is 500 g/m2 dry weight (SD 250 g/m2). "Monte Negro" (Hygrophytic sites) located at depressions, where water table in summer rarely lies 1 m below soil surface and temporary flooding of the ground occurs in winter. Plant community is dominated by Erica scoparia, Erica ciliaris, Calluna vulgaris, Ulex minor, Myrtus communis and Cistus salvifolius. Standing crop is 2200 g/m2 (SD 500 g/m2). "Monte Intermedio" is located on the slopes of the dune ridges with water table depth in transition and no surface flooding. Community is dominated by Halimium halimifolium and Ulex australis and standing crop attains 1300 g/m2 (SD 350 g/m2)71,72 (Figure 1) The sandy soils of Doñana exhibit a low field capacity (13% w/w)76.This implies that plants from the elevated areas have almost no water available during the summer period, while plants from depressions can reach water from the water table the whole year. We were interested to find out how the scrub species stand the summer drought conditions under a brilliant sun and a quartz sand that reflects as much as 30% of incoming radiation. The seasonal variation of some physiological variables in permanent plants of the dominant species of xerophytic and hygrophytic communities has been monitored seasonality79. Leaf water potential, as a measure of the water status of the plant, and maximum photochemical efficiency, an indirect measure of photosynthesis and a global phys-

* University of Seville. Spain.

FIGURE 1 Seasonal variation of groundwater table depth and approximate location of main species of the xerophytic and hygrophytic communities in the studied area.


TABLE 1 Leaf water potential of the main scrub species in the xerophytic and hygrophytic areas during the study period. COMMUNITY













Juniperus phoenicea






Cistus libanotis






Lavandula stoechas






Halimium commutatum






Halimium halimifolium






Stauracanthus genistoides






Ulex australis






Halimium halimifolium






Cistus salvifolius






Myrtus communis






Pistacia lentiscus






Erica scoparia






iological index of the plant, were selected as the significant physiological variables. Leaf water potential presents always negative values, and maximum photochemical efficiency shows an optimal range between 0.8-0.85. On dune crests where summer conditions are harsher, some species as Cistus libanotis, Rosmarinus officinalis and Juniperus phoenicea suffered a severe water stress (leaf water potential lower than -10 MPa that is a sign of a conspicuous water stress). Other species exhibited a moderate decrease of leaf water potential, with values not lower than -3 MPa as Halimium halimifolium, but the legume species Stauracanthus genistoides did not show signs of water stress at the end of summer (-1.7 MPa). On the depressions almost all the species did not present signs of water stress, except for the small shrub Cistus salvifolius that suffered the lowest values of leaf water potential (-8.9 MPa) and a significant leaf shedding (Table 1). H. halimifolium plants present optimal values of their photochemical efficiency the whole year, due the leaf pubescence that increases leaf reflectance, the control of leaf FIGURE 2 Seasonal variations of maximal photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) for all the study species in the xerophytic area and the hygrophytic area. Summer time represents the stress period for the xerophytic vegetation underlined by a drop in photochemical efficiency.



Rosmarinus officinalis

angle and some others physiological mechanisms79. In summer the maximum photochemical efficiency for other species is correlated with the leaf water status of the species, but in winter although all plants present an optimal water status some woodland species, from the depressed areas, showed signs of photoinhibition (photochemical efficiency decrease) (Figure 2). Myrtus communis, a sclerophyll species from the lower areas, presented very low values of maximum photochemical efficiency (35% from the optimum) even though water supply to roots was plentiful this is probably due to cold stress as winter air temperatures in scrub may approach freezing point for several days79. In clear winter days light irradiation in Do帽ana may be high (1500 渭moles路m-2路s-1 in clear days), but temperatures were too low for the photosynthetic apparatus and thus plant activity decreases. If these conditions continue for a long time leaves turn red and they can even be shed of. From the evolutionary point of view sclerophyll species belong to taxa evolved in the Tertiary (pre-Pliocene), under a tropical type

climate before the quaternary glaciations and thus they are more sensitive to cold winter days. An attribute x species matrix was analysed by a cluster analysis to sort out groups related to each one of these strategies.The results are plot in Figure 3. On the xerophytic community the main plant strategy (74% of relative importance) is formed by species that withstand harsh summer conditions, without active control mechanisms (sufferers), showing unusual values for their physiological variables (summer leaf water potential of -11 MPa for Rosmarinus officinalis and -13 MPa for Cistus libanotis), but they recover very fast after the first autumn rains. On the hygrophytic community the main plant strategy (73% of relative importance) is formed by species that maintain moderate values (controllers) of their physiological variables (being Erica scoparia the most representative species). Wild fires are a common disturbance in Mediterranean ecosystems. Scrub species from Do単ana sands regenerate after fire either by seed germination (seeders) or by resprouting from below ground organs (resprouters). These strategies are closely tied with physiological and morphological attributes77. Lamiaceae and Cistaceae from the xerophytic areas are obligate seeders and they experience the lowest leaf water potentials in summer, and their leaf tissues are less sensitive to water stress, while Erica and woodland species from the depressions are deep-rooted or possess underground organs and they are resprouters. In the case of Do単ana the destruction of the former organic soils has transformed the succession after fire in a process of autosuccession74, because most of the species are present since the first stages and the successional process does nor occur as a species substitution. Halimium halimifolium, a species of the Cistaceae family, is the dominant species of the scrub of the Monte Intermedio areas on the stabilized sands, it does not resprout after fire, being an obligate seeder. Its seedlings germinate very well with the autumn or winter rains after fire on the whole topographic gradient on the stabilized sands. Martin Vicente75 has studied the succession after fire on Do単ana sands and has shown that in the first year after fire the relative importance of this species is around 90% in both elevated and depressed areas. It remained with an average figure of 50% on the slopes of Monte Intermedio, but decreases to 10% in the previous areas after several years post-fire. H. halimifolium also spreads easily on the surface of dry ponds during drought periods, but as this species does not tolerate flooding all individuals will die during a new wet period. This process originates lateral movements of plant communities, as a result of fluctuation in the phreatic level.Although changes in the water regime may originate irreversible changes of plant commu-

FIGURE 3 Relative importance of the plant strategies described in the xerophytic and hygrophytic areas. HYGROPHYTIC SITE

Pistacia lentiscus

Cistus salvifolius

Myrtus communis

Stauracanthus genistoides

Controllers 72.4%

Sufferers 6.7%

Legumes 15.3%

Cold stress 5.6%


Ulex australis

Cistus libanotis

Halimium halimifolium

Sufferers 74.1%

Legumes 4.1%

Controllers 21.8%


nities towards a more xerophytic community, like it has been described in the Brezo pond closed to the pumping area of Matalascañas tourist resort78. H. halimifolium also withstands a moderate browsing from cattle and deers mainly in the more humid areas as the border of ponds and the ecotone between the sands and the Marsh. Browsing stimulate lateral growth through axyllary meristems. This species was subjected to stimulated and natural browsing in the stabilized sands. In a drier area without herbivores, plants were subjected to different intensities of clipping and were compared with control plants. In a more humid area with high herbivore pressure, control plants were isolated using cages.The experiment showed that biomass removal caused by herbivores has an enhancing effect on shoot growth. On the mobile dune system, especially in the inland fronts and as isolated plants on the top of the stabilized sands an endemic species of the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula is found. Corema album is a dioecious shrub up to 1 m, densely branched from the base, with persistent ericoid leaves. Fruits are white or pink-white berries (5-8 mm diameter). Flowering and fruiting occur from February to August, but fruits can be found until November or December. Fruit production is high ranging from 4.000 to 13.000 fruits/m2 of plant cover. They

contained 75% of water from dry weight 77% was composed by non structural sugars and 8% by lipids and proteins73.The fruits are consumed by a number of vertebrates during the summer (rabbits, foxes, wild boars, seagulls) and probably contribute to animals' water balance during the dry season. Field observations and laboratory experiments have shown that animals´ consumption favours seed germination68. Germination occurs after the autumn rains although 99.9% of the seedlings die during the next summer. Detailed studies on the ecology of Doñana Mediterranean scrubs reveals a surprising diversity of physiological mechanisms to stand adverse conditions taking advantage of favourable periods. Each environmental tesela tends to reward the presence of some plant characters while punishing others, thus selecting the local composition of plant communities. As short and long-term interactions overlap, what is left is a most diverse occurrence of shrub species, which will change endlessly in response to climate change, wildfires and human interactions. Fruits and leaves, nectar and pollen, roots and plant debris all contribute to consumers and decomposes thus maintaining the trophic network that supports the extraordinary biodiversity of Doñana.

Corema album is an endemic shrub of de coastal dunes of Portugal and Atlantic Spain, in Galicia and Western Andalusia. In the picture, a female plant showing the large number of fleshy round fruits, like pearls, sharply contrasting with the deep green colour of leaves. The twisted stem, sticking from the ground, recalls a long history of the plant alternatively engulfed by wandering sands and eroded by strong winds. Photograph by Leonor Alvarez in Asperillo cliffs, Doñana Nature Park.


Freshwater algae of Doñana


n recent years, the Doñana Biological Reserve, on the right hand bank of the Guadalquivir River, next to the sea, has attracted the converging interest of naturalists and has become a paradigm for other, equally endangered wetlands (the Ebro Delta, for example). Until recently, high mountains and marshlands were the only systems that had not suffered direct and intense human pressure and we now cling to the illusion that can conserve something of their disappearing primitive nature.The dangers overshadowing these ecosystems are many and varied, but they can be summed up in the word "development". Tourists from countries that have obtained a certain level of local protection, in their countries, can be particularly destructive. Fluctuations in the environment are characteristic of marshy areas. Unpredictability is essential for the life of marshes, which suffer in their essence if we try to regulate them. Their most characteristic organisms are opportunists, defended by the same irregularity of the living conditions, with little water some years and too much water in others.These varia* This chapter has been included as a tribute to its author, Spain's leading ecologist, who died in 2004. The work reproduced here was published in Oecologia Aquatica, 2: 72-93, in November 1976. The authors of this publication are grateful for having been authorised for reproducing this article.

Chlorophyceae of genus Spirogyra with their characteristic ribbon-like chloroplast rolled into a spiral.


tions prevent ecosystems from either becoming too complicated or from stagnating. Marshes are maintained in a dynamic state, or, if you prefer, they are stabilised on a fluctuating regime, by the very mechanism of fluctuation and exploitation, governed fundamentally by the physical environment. Temporary accumulations of biomass mean that much of the transfer of energy at the upper end of the food chain is attained in the form of detritus, with the intervention of bacteria, with little of this energy being harnessed, or it is based on the mobility and activity of animals, like birds, that can exploit large areas. These systems are relatively easy to conserve and even to reconstruct; they do not require so many years for this as the more complex, more internalised systems, which can be described as more mature. Regulating water flows is a serious threat and all drainage works or works that lead to a variation in salinity can affect the Marshes. The characteristics of the waters of Doñana include a lack of stability and the continual fluctuations that explain, in part, their high productivity. This is the same principle that the monks of the Middle Ages learned when they first started breeding carp in pools and they would leave these ponds dry from time to time.At this time, we do not have any exact data on production values, which are indirectly recognised as high. The interest of the ponds as dynamic temporary residences or the habitats for creatures at the end of one stage in life should also be pointed out.They have been highly effective for distributing a large number of aquatic animals, especially diaptomids and ostracods.The aquatic vegetation of flowering plants is also interesting, although here, I will only mention the presence of Wolffia (Punta Umbría). In a series of visits to Doñana, made by different people from the Department of Ecology of the University of Barcelona (Marta Estrada, María Rosa Miracle, the team charged with studying Spanish reservoirs, and myself), a certain number of samples of water and aquatic organisms have been collected. These samples were not collected systematically; they were collected randomly from wherever the researchers happened to be. Having said that, without spending too much effort on searching for rarities, an examination of the material has easily produced a list of some 300 species that form the substance of these pages.


Many of these species are common species to be found almost anywhere, but many of them had still not been reported on Mainland Spain, which is not saying very much as very little research has been done in this field in the past. The local diversification of communities is of certain interest.The ponds behind a row of dunes contain plankton with an abundance of organisms that are siderophile to a varying degree, such as Trachelomonas, and other euglenal algae or xanthophyceae. A more banal flora is to be found in the flood waters, with a good number of diatoms and filamentous algae that develop in pulses. The plankton in all these waters, in general, is characteristically formed of very small elements (nano-plankton) that indicates, at the very least, an extreme reactivity of the populations, which are capable of rapidly increasing in a mere few days. Taken as a whole, when all these species and communities are compared with those described from other regions of Spain, based on the many tables published, often with the name of an association or a higher education centre, in accordance with the customs of plant sociologists, they fall into the category of communities grouped under Tribonemion the name of (Tribonemetum siderophilum in stagnant waters, Eunotieto-Fragilarietum in flowing waters) with a series of highly characteristic components. These include species of Tribonema and other xanthophyceae, Oedogonium, Bulbochaete, Eunotia pectinalis, Apiocystis, a variety of euglenal algae, etc. The influence of the salinity is less pronounced than we expected, it can only be seen in the distribution of Nodularia, Cylindrotheca and other diatoms of the genera Nitzschia, Chaetoceros, Campylodiscus, etc. Unfortunately, no further information was gathered on the characteristics of the waters sampled in the visit of January 1973, and the information gathered was only partial. These waters are very rich in silica, which remains in solution thanks


to the high alkalinity of the waters. Paradoxically, they are also very rich in phosphorous and metals, despite the high oxygen concentration and pH. The nitrogen/phosphorous relation is extremely low, which can be associated with the periodic development of cyanophyceae, including some very interesting ones (Anabaenopsis). In the sediment of ponds there is an abundance of silica remains of organisms, such as fresh water sponge spicules, chrysophyceae cysts (so-called chrysostomataceae) and diatom valves. Moreover, in other ponds, there have been observations of recent deposits of silica on Tribonema filaments and dead diatom valves, obliterating their structure. The presence of iron and manganese is evident from the abundance of organisms that precipitate these elements in shells membranes (Trachelomonas), Closterium, (Oedogonium, Tribonema) and sheaths (mainly bacteria). Non quantitative samples of algae were available, collected in small tubes and preserved in formol, and some water samples fixed with lugol. These latter samples have been used for the counts presented in table 2, which give an idea of the plankton (nano-plankton) to be found in the ponds. Analyses of the other samples have made it possible to prepare lists of communities, with an estimate of the relative abundance, expressed by means of a notation applied with personal criteria, from 1 (scarce) to 5 (very abundant). Different lists from the same place and date have been merged, and similar communities have been grouped together in tables, which can be considered representatives of these kinds of communities (tables 3 to 6). In order to keep the lists manageable, the rarest species, or those with a very limited presence, have been left out. Table 3 includes the most permanent ponds, containing richer life forms; table 4 includes the more stable and the poorer ponds; table 5 includes flowing waters and table 6 the flood waters, shallow pools and marshes.

TABLE 1 Some characteristics of the waters of several Doñana ponds, according to samples taken on January 28th 1973. One or more samples from each pond. TORO





Temperature, ºC




Oxygen, ml O2/l














3.65 , 3.67 , 3.75

pH Alcalinity, meq./l

9.05-9.22 7.80-8.54

SiO4 μg-at Si/l




345.44 , 363.44 , 388.81

NO3 μg-at N/l




1.08 , 1.74 , 1.84

NO2 μg-at N/l




0.49 , 0.55 , 0.58

PO4 μg-at P/l




9.89 , 10.64 , 10.78

Chlorophyll, mg/m3





82.75 , 92.30 , 112.39

Pigment diversity index D430/D665






TABLE 2 Composition of phytoplankton in some of the Doñana ponds. The figures represent the number of cells per ml; in some cases (cyanophyceae and bacteria) the length of the filaments per ml; they may also indicate the number of colonies per ml. The category "other species" lists the species present in densities of less than 10 cells/ml. Laguna del Toro, 30-XII-1968

Trachelomonas oblonga Actinastrum hantzschii" Chlorella sp." Aphanocapsa elachista Trachelomonas volvocina Scenedesmus opoliensis Scenedesmus falcatus Ankistrodesmus falcatus Trachelomonas intermedia Fragilaria capucina Phacus pusillus Euglena sp. Phacus psudonordstedtii Fragilaria construens Scenedesmus denticulatus Cryptomonas erosa Cylindrotheca gracilis Diploneis elliptica Anomoeoneis sphaerophora Amphora ovalis Nitzschia sp.

27,600 23,320 6,220 5,125 3,040 1,545 1,466 667 614 614 480 240 160 107 107 95 50 27 27 27 27

Other species: Merismopedia tenuissima, Chroococcus limneticus, Scenedesmus quadricauda, Tetraedron caudatum, Anabaenopsis tanganykae, Chlamydomonas, Navicula cuspidata ambigua, Euglena sp., Synedra unita.

73,600 40,500 22,900 19,600 12,900 6,450 5,160 2,310 1,680 1,550 1,162 1,033 1,033 905 905 905 516 516 387 254 254 129 129 129 129 129 129 539 mm 3 mm 129 129

Laguna de Santa Olalla, 30-XII-1968

Laguna del Taraje, 30-XII-1968

Cymbella sp. Navicula sp. Nitzschia sp

Laguna del Toro, 28-I-1973 (Bacteria, 500,000-800,000/ml) Microcystis aeruginosa Selenastrum minutum Ankistrodesmus falcatus Scenedesmus quadricauda Chlorella sp. Scenedesmus falcatus Chroococcus dispersus Sc. quadricauda maximus Cylindrotheca gracilis Tetraedron trigonum Trachelomonas volvocina Scenedesmus opoliensis Flagelados pequeños Navicula sp. (cf. protracta) Tetraedron caudatum Nitzschia sp. Chlamydmonas sp. Pediastrum boryanum Trachelomonas oblonga Fragilaria construens Trachelomonas intermédia Phacus pusillus Gymnodinium sp. Navicula sp. Chryptomonas sp. Eunotia pectinalis Synedra ulna Lyngbya limnetica Spirulina labyrinthiformis Pinnularia microstauron Amphora sp.

258 129 129

Other species: Navicula cuspidata ambigua, Gyrosigma sp., iron oxide bacteria.

Anabaenopsis tanganykae(12,750 colonies) A. tang. Recta Microcystis aeruginosa Bacterias filamentosas Aphanotece clathrata (241 colonies) Pediastrum boryanum Pediastrum duplex Scenedesmus acutus (+falcatus) Scenedesmus quadricauda Merismopedia punctata Pediastrum tetras Navicula cuspidata ambigua Legerheimia wratislaviensis Oocystis sp. Glenodinium sp Elakotothrix gelatinosa Cyclotella sp. Nitzschia sp. Surirella ovata

140,300 12,300 21,360 1,152 mm 15,400 640 240 187 107 107 107 80 53 53 53 27 27 27 27


El Chorrito, 31-XII-1968

Laguna Dulce, 30-XII-1968

Scenedesmus quadricauda Pediastrum boryanum Navicula sp. Trachelomonas volvocina Cyclotella sp. Thalassiosira fluviatilis Scenedesmus opoliensis Anabaenopsis tanganykae Nitzschia sp. Cyclotella sp. Ankistrodesmus falcatus Phacus raciborskii Lepocinclis ovum Cryptomonas erosa Saelenastrum capricornutum Synedra acus Navicula cuspidata Cosmarium laeve Eunotia pectinalis Melosira varians Amphora ovalis pediculus Pinnularia sp. Acromatium oxaliferum (bacteria)

Synedra rumpens Chlorella sp. Trachelomonas volvocina Nitzschia sp. Eunotia pectinalis Closterium kuetzingii Synedra acus Gomphonema sp. Cyclotella sp. Closterium moniliferum Synedra ulna Lyngbya maior

534 426 267 187 160 133 107 (80 colonies) 880 80 53 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27

1,001 213 93 93 93 80 53 53 27 27 27 8 mm

Other species: Trachelomonas orenburgica, Trachelomonas verrucosa, Cryptomonas reflexa, Rhodomonas sp., Gonyostomum sp., Staurastrum pedunculatum, Euglena sp., Navicula radiosa, Pinnularia sp., Zygnema sp., Mougeotia sp., Spirogyra sp., Nitzschia tryblionella, Ankistrodesmus falcatus, Closterium sp.

Other species: Tribonema angustissimum, Rhopalodia gibba, Synedra ulna, Navicula cryptocephala, Pediastrum clathratum, Phacus pyrum.


1 1

1 1

1 1 2 3

1 1

1 2

1 1 3 1

1 2



1 1 3 1


1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 1

1 1 1

2 2

1 1

2 1 2 3 2 1 2

1 3 2 2 1 1 2

2 1 2 2

3 1 1

1 2 2

2 1 2



3 1 1 1 1 1 1 2

3 1 1 1

1 1 1

1 1 1 1

2 2 1 1

2 3 1 1

1 1 1 2 1 2 2 2 2

2 1 2 2 1 2 2 3 2 1

1 2 2 2 1 2 1 3

2 2

1 1



1 3 1 1

1 2 1 3 1

1 1

2 2 2 1 1

1 2 2 1 1 2 1 3 1 1




2 3


1 1 1

1 1

1 2 1

1 2 1

1 1 1


1 1

2 2

3 1 1

2 1 1

1 4 1 1 2 1 1

1 2 1 1

3 1


4 2 1 1

Laguna de Santa Olalla, I-73

1 3 4 2 2 1 1 1

1 1 2 1

1 2 1 2 1

1 1 1 1

1 1 1

1 1 1

1 1 1 1

1 1 1

2 1 4 1

1 1




2 2




1 1 1 3 2 1 1




Laguna de Santa Olalla, XII-68

Laguna Grande, XII-68


1 1 1

3 2

Laguna Dulce, I-73

Laguna Dulce, XII-68

Laguna del Taraje, XII-68

Laguna del Zahillo, I -73

Laguna del Zahillo, XII-68

Charco del Toro, I-73


1 1 1 2


Acebuche Matalasca単as, XII - 68


Scenedesmus abundans Scenedesmus opoliensis Scenedesmus ecornis Thread bacteria Fe oxide Mougeotia sp. Caloneis silicicula Cocconeis placentula Amphora veneta Stauroneis phoenicenteron Lyngbya limnetica Microcystis aeruginosa Apiocystis brauniana Pinnularia microstauron Ophiocytium majus Navicula dicephala Amphora ovalis pediculus Nitzschia hungarica Fragilaria construens Nitzschia amphibia Stauroneis anceps Selenastrum minutum Pinnularia major Spirogyra sp. pl. Bulbochaete sp. Cosmarium laeve Colacium vesiculosum Nitzschia subtilis Synedra ulna Monallantus sp. Diploneis elliptica Tetraedron minimum scrobiculatum Epithemia zebra saxonica Anomoeneis sphaerophora Fragilaria capucina

Laguna del Taraje, I-73

1 1 1 1

Charco del Toro, XII-68




El Chorrito, XII - 68


2 1 2

Acebuche Matalasca単as, XII - 68



1 1 1

El Chorrito, XII - 68


Laguna de Santa Olalla, I-73

2 2 2

Laguna de Santa Olalla, XII-68


Laguna Grande, XII-68

Laguna del Taraje, XII-68

Laguna del Zahillo, I -73

Laguna del Zahillo, XII-68


Laguna Dulce, I-73

2 1

1 + 1

Laguna Dulce, XII-68


Laguna del Taraje, I-73

Trachelomonas volvocina Trachelomonas hispida Trachelomonas oblonga Trachelomonas intermedia Trachelomonas orenburgica Trachelomonas scabra Trachelomonas stokesiana Trachelomonas sp. Lepocinclis ovum Phacus pl. sp. Ankistrodesmus falcatus Navicula sp. pl. Oedogonium sp. pl. Cymbella sp. Eunotia pectinalis Pinnularia viridis Amphora ovalis Synedra rumpens Nitzschia sp. pl. Nitzschia clausi Navicula cuspidata ambigua Eunotia lunaris Tribonema minus (+ elegans) Tribonema aequale Tribonema viride Gomphonema gracilis Navicula cryptocephala exilis Cyclotella meneghiniana Pediastrum boryanum Achnanthes minutissima Scenedesmus quadricauda Scenedesmus quadricauda var. maximus Scenedesmus falcatus S. quadrispina

Charco del Toro, I-73

Charco del Toro, XII-68

TABLE 3 Communities of algae rich in species, with siderophile organisms, typical of longer lasting stagnant waters.

1 1 1

1 1 1 1



1 1

1 2 1 1

2 1 1 1




2 5 3


5 5 2 2 1 1

1 1 1 2 2 2

Spirogyra perforans Tetraspora gelatinosa Cymbella affinis Pinnularia brauni Phormidium fragile Melosira granulata Epithemia turgida Diploneis ovalis Phormidium tenue Nitzschia spectabilis Closterium aciculare Cystodinium cornifax Tetradesmus wisconsinensis Nitzschia sigmoidea Glenodinium dybowski Closterium moniliferum Closterium leiblenii

1 1 1 1 1 1



Acebuche Matalascañas, XII - 68


El Chorrito, XII - 68

Laguna Grande, XII-68

Laguna Dulce, I-73

Laguna Dulce, XII-68

Laguna del Taraje, I-73

Laguna del Taraje, XII-68

Laguna del Zahillo, I -73

Laguna del Zahillo, XII-68

Charco del Toro, I-73


Laguna de Santa Olalla, I-73

1 1 1 1

Charco del Toro, XII-68

Acebuche Matalascañas, XII - 68

El Chorrito, XII - 68

Laguna de Santa Olalla, I-73

Laguna de Santa Olalla, XII-68

Laguna Grande, XII-68

Laguna Dulce, I-73

Laguna Dulce, XII-68

Laguna del Taraje, I-73

Laguna del Taraje, XII-68

Laguna del Zahillo, I -73

Laguna del Zahillo, XII-68


Laguna de Santa Olalla, XII-68

1 1

Charco del Toro, I-73

Charco del Toro, XII-68

Staurodesmus dejectus Surirella ovata Epithemia sorex Synedra acus radians Merismopedia punctata Dinobryon sertularia Oocystis solitaria Cylindrospermum stagnale Chrysostomataceae Cladophora fracta Navicula hungarica Anabaenopsis tanganykae Zygnema sphaericum Anisonema acinum Gomphonema abbreviatum? Cosmarium humile Pleurotaenium ehrenbergi

2 1

2 1 1

1 1



1 1 1

1 1 1


1 1 1 1 1


Crisostomatáceas, restos cistes Eunotia pectinalis Pinnularia viridis Synedra rumpens Nitzschia sp. Synedra ulna Navicula sp. Gomphonema gracile Gomphonema parvulum Mougeotia sp. Oedogonium sp. Scenedesmus falcatus Nitzschia clausi Lyngbya limnetica Microcystis aeruginosa Spirogyra sp. pl. Microcoleus steentrupi Eunotia lunaris Tribonema minus Navicula popula Pinnularia brauni amphicephala Zygnema sp. Spirogyra communis Tribonema aequale Colacium vesciculosum Pinnularia gibba Scenedesmus quadricauda + var. maximus Cylindrospermum stagnale Lyngbya aeurugineocoerulea Stauroneis phoenicenteron Oscillatoria formosa Phormidium foveolarum

1 2 1 2 1 + 2 1 3 2 1 1 2



2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

3 1 1

2 2 1 3

1 1


4 2 1 1 3

1 4 5

1 3 1

2 3

2 1

2 2 1

1 1 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 2


3 3 4 3 4 3 2 3 1 1 4 5 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 2 1

2 2

2 2

3 2 2 1 1 1 3 3

3 5


1 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1

2 2 1 1 3 2 1

1 1

Cylindrospermum stagnale Navicula sp. pl. Oedogonium sp. pl Spirogyra sp. pl. Anabaena scheremetievi Navicula cuspidata ambigua Navicula lanceolata Lyngbya limnetica Nitzschia sp. pl. Rhopalodia gibba Gyrosigma acuminatum Mitzschia spectabilis Surirella ovata Anomoeoneis sphaerophora Navicula cryptocephala exilis Nitzschia hungarica Epithemia sorex Amphora ovalis Cymbella sp. Crisostomatáceas, cistes Amphora veneta Zygnema sp. Botrycoccus braunii Ulothrix sp. Nitzschia obtusa Eunotia pectinalis Nostoc sphaericum Apiocystis brauniana Stauroneis anceps Tetraspora gelatinosa Nitzschia tryblionella Nitzschia lorenziana Colacium vesiculosum Epithemia turgida Cladophora fracta Lyngbya maior Gomphosphaeria lacustrisCosmarium botrytis Hantzschia amphioxis

1 1 1 1 3 3 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1

1 1 1 3 2 1 1

2 3 2 4 1 1

1 1 1 5

2 1 2

1 1

1 1 1

1 2 1 1 1 1




Guadiamar, III-71

HInojos Marsh, III-71

1 3

Close to Leo Biaggi laboratory, III-71

1 1 1

Guadalquivir Marshes, XII-68

Lucio del Palacio, III-71

Caño Aulaga, XI - 68


Eunotia pectinalis Melosira varians Tribonema elegans Tribonema vulgare Tribonema viride Oedogonium sp. pl. Spirogyra sp. pl. Spirogyra ellipsospora Pinnularia viridis Ophiocytium maius Synedra ulna Bacterias precip. Fe Nitzschia sp. Synedra acus Synedra acus radians Mougeotia sp. Closterium kuetzingii Apiocystis brauniana Bulbochaete sp. Cosmarium laeve Synedra rumpens Gomphonema acuminatum Nitzschia spectabilis Diploneis elliptica Stauroneis phoenicenteron Gomphonema gracile Ankistrodesmus falcatus Cyclotella meneghiniana Microcoleus, 2 sp. Gomphonema constrictum cap. Cosmarium vexatum

Rocío.V-71L. Duna V-71

TABLE 5 Communities of algae with siderophile species in flowing waters.

Ojillo, XII, 68

Navazo Toro, XII-68

L. Duna V-71

Detrás Duna,V-71

L.. Brezo, I-71

TABLE 4 Communities of algae poor in species, in unstable stagnant waters. Elevated persistence of silica remains.

Lucio del Palacio, XII-68

TABLE 6 Communities relatively poor in species in unstable waters (Marshes).




2 1


1 1 1 1 5

1 1 1 1



1 2


2 2 3 2

1 1 1 1 1


2 1 5

2 2 3 2 2



Mallard (Anas platyrhynhos) in Doñana. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

Birds and Hunting

Bronze plaque, the work of Jose Manuel Diaz Cerpa, as a tribute to Jose Antonio Valverde. Valverde was a basic reference for Doñana, as he is considered the father of most of the initiatives that led to the conservation of this space. He was the founder of the Doñana Biological Station, he published books and articles helping lay the foundations for its conservation, as well as creating the National Park, of which he was the first Curator Director.

here are a few places in the world, all situated in the mouths of large rivers in the temperate zone, that have always attracted vast flocks of birds that move between the polar regions and the tropics.The banks of some of these deltas saw the birth of fabulous nations: the civilisations of the Tigris and the Euphrates, the Nile delta, the Guadalquivir and the Tartessos.These deltas have also been magnets attracting men, in search of the excitement of hunting and relaxation inspired by an open horizon. The great open plains of the Guadalquivir Marshes, where the river broadens to a width of several miles, is one of these privileged places. As far as hunting is concerned, the lower Guadalquivir has been a kind of paradise for as long as the records go back.As soon as it was taken back from the Moors,Alphonse X settled his huntsmen in the Marisma (marsh), who bought lands in what is now Hato Ratón, then called Mures (which means mice, or "ratones" in Spanish).The Lomo de Grullo Royal Hunting Grounds, or "Coto" was established in the same area, which was mentioned in the times of the Catholic Monarchs together with Las Rocinas. The bar between the river and the sea and the north western area of the Marshes have been a hunting grounds for aristocrats ever since,


* This chapter has been included as a tribute to its author, a leading conservationist, researcher and driving force behind Doñana. The text was published in 1973 in the book entitled "El Río. El Bajo Guadalquivir", published by Grupo 28. The authors of this publication would like to thank Grupo 28 for being so kind as to authorise the transcription of this chapter from their work.


only ceasing to be so as I write (in 1973), with the enactment of the Doñana National Park Use and Management Master Plan... It is a shame that no documental data remains - as far as we know - on what hunting in the marshes was like for the ordinary people. The towns that have lived in close association with the marshes were those of the eastern bank (Los Palacios, Lebrija, Trebujena) and those overlooking the river, particularly Coria, La Puebla and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.The kinds of hunting that took place must be based on what we know happened last century, and which is probably also true for the last four centuries. The most important use of the marshes must undoubtedly have been the collection of eggs in spring and of coot and duck chicks in the early summer.The people of the marshes even had to invent a special kind of boat for this, the "cajon", a flat bottomed, very narrow, very sharp, doubled ended type of punt designed to open the way through bulrush patches in shallow water. Leaning on two poles, used for propulsion, collectors could move as fast as a game-keeper on horseback, who could not catch him when the waters were up to its hocks. Moreover, a "cajon" could be hidden almost anywhere if necessary. Hundreds of thousands of eggs were collected every year in the early 20th century, by two teams that supplied the Sanlúcar market. Each team was made up of half a dozen men, each with a "cajon" punt, hunting for eggs beyond Las Nuevas, where they set up their headquarters.All kinds of eggs were collected, but mainly the eggs of the coot (Fulica atra), whose floating nests, half covered by a roof of sheep's fescue bent into the nest, held an average of 6-8 eggs. But although these were the most sought after eggs, they also took eggs from other birds, like the pochard (Aythia ferina), black necked grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) and black tern (Chlidonias hybridus). On the islets, next to the clutches of several species of ducks (mallard, marbled teal, pin tails, etc.), they could often find the excellent eggs of the avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), black winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus) and lapwing (Vanellus vanellus).The two great colonies of gullbilled tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) were systematically plundered year after year. For a month, people from Sanlúcar, Lebrija, Trebujena and Los Palacios went out collecting eggs, filling their punts with a confusing mixture of brown, white, red and green eggs that they later sold in the shops.There are still many people who consider coot eggs


to be far tastier than chicken eggs, and they would buy them withYou could hunt with the "bulla" method almost every day, at out a second thought if they came onto the market. They were least you could during the time of calm you find at mid morning and right too, because they really do have an excellent taste and, as in the afternoon when the wind is going to change direction - from most birds can lay a second clutch, reaping the enormous harvest an off-shore to an on-shore breeze -, cooling the marshes. But of eggs from the marshes should not have caused any great harm. when the wind made this method impossible, and especially when These egg collectors could also distinguish incubated eggs from the the water level was low and the panicky swimming of the birds left fresh ones at a glance - incubated eggs start to show a shine that is a wake of bubbles and sediment from the bottom, or when the brought out by the contact with the brooding mother as the incupollen from the plants covered the water with billions of yellow bation progresses, and, when necessary, they test them on the spot. spots, marking the tracks of the birds like a map, then the coots To do this, they cup the egg in the palm of their hand and gently were hunted using what is still called "el rastro", the tracking submerge it in the water: if the egg remains horizontal, it is fresh, if method. For another month, caravans it turns fat end up, it is starting to of men and beasts entered the incubate. A well incubated egg marshes from every side, hunting almost stands on its pointed end, young coots that, mixed with the and can even float. fresh eggs of the second clutch, A month after the second egg make an excellent omelette. The harvest finishes, they started huntyoung coot chicks do not suffer ing coots and ducks. Now the from the problem of the toughpunts were only used for carrying ened leg tendons, as rigid as the cargo, an incredible cargo colbones, that make coot legs so diflected by the hunters. ficult as a meal. Boiled, boned and Men and their horses set out served with scrambled eggs, they from every village each day for the are delicious.Taken live to the vilmarshes to hunt ducks; this was a lages and sold in pairs, they soon unique and exciting hunt. There found buyers. were several forms of hunting, but How many coot chicks were the most important ones were "la produced by the marshes in a bulla" and "el rastro" (tracks). good year? It is impossible to calThe "bulla" method was used In the early 20 century, hundreds of thousands of eggs were collected each year by teams that supplied the SanlĂşcar market. Each team was made up of when there was no wind and the half a dozen men, with a punt each, which set out to collect eggs beyond Las culate. Probably between 250,000 and 500,000. There is an incredimovement of the birds, transmit- Nuevas, where they set up their headquarters. On the islets, together with the clutches of several duck species (mallard, marbled teal, pin tails, etc), ble density of coots' nests in the ted to the waving stems of the they could find the excellent eggs of the avocet, black-winged stilt and lapwing. In the photograph, a black-winged stilt in the DoĂąana Marshes. marshes. I finally came to really rushes, easily gave away their posiPhotograph: CENEAM Files. understand this when erudite tion.A family of coots surprised by men of science with years of experience told me that they had a hunter approaching on horseback or on foot, would fan out in found that this was the most productive biotope known to man in their flight and after a short "race" over the water. "AhĂ­ va la bulla" shouts the hunter: they would dive under the water and hold on shallow fresh waters.The coots, which transformed the grass of the with their long toes.There they would be found, where the noise bottom into a rich protein, harnessed this wealth directly before stopped, rolled in a ball with the silver colour of the air around being passed on to the towns of the marshes, for which the their grey feathers. Marshes had always been the main supplier of meat. Used rationalThe men went out hunting in groups, with their animals fitted ly, the Marshes, with their coots and ducks, would have remained with large panniers in which the "gallaretos" (large coot chicks) and the most profitable per hectare meat producing zone ever in "mancon", or crippled ducks (i.e. they could not fly as their wing Andalusia. But it was destroyed by a few short sighted and selfish feathers were changing) were thrown, tied together in pairs. The men. teams were often accompanied by poodles, almost always with an The hot summer that dried the pools, saw the arrival of the eye missing from the evilly aimed pecks of older coots.They were hares from the banks of the marshes. Driven out by the winter expert hunters that almost doubled the take of a man. floods, the hares returned when the waters dropped, first of all to th


With the autumn came hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese from the north, and with the ducks, came the duck hunters: incredible, solitary men who set out from their villages on horseback, with a gun and a blanket when the October rains started to amass the birds on the "beaches" of the Marshes. In the photograph, a flock of geese flying over Doñana. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

the meadows, and later, when the water only remained in channels and shallow pools, spreading out everywhere. Good food and a lack of enemies guaranteed good breeding and hence the marshes, or at least the higher ground to the north, were full of hares.When they started to be exterminated at night, using lamps, the Guardia Civil, a rural police for the countryside, stopped the car of a hunter with as many as forty hares. It is true that there were lots of them, and there would be again if they were left alone. I think that hunting hares cross country with a motorbike, enjoyed so much by the people of the eastern margins of the marshes, should be made legal and regulated.After all, it would only be a modernisation of a tradition that is probably as old as man's encounter with the marshes. I am referring to hunting hares on horseback and with a club, a tradition among the villages of the marshes, and which started when the first waters packed the animals together among the islets. I do not think that any local tradition should be killed off by general and uniform laws, and I do not see why greyhounds can hunt, but boys cannot. With the arrival of the autumn came hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese from the north. The Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez pointed them out to his donkey Platero in his famous book.With the ducks, the duck hunters: these were incredible, soli-

tary men, who rode out of the villages on horseback, with a gun and a blanket, when the October rains started to accumulate the birds on the "beaches" of the marshes.They used punt guns, "big guns" as they call them. They made their own powder with a consecrated formula that is reminiscent of the original musketeers: so many measure of saltpetre, so many of sulphur and so many of charcoal. They ground this powder in large stone mortars, pounding it with a thick wild olive stick to avoid sparks.They carried the powder in their bags, slung their gun over their shoulder and off they went hunting. They could spend days before they managed to get enough ducks together for a good shot, and enough to make it worth going back to the village to sell their bag. It could rain during the day, with the rain falling on their large rubber treated ponchos, and it could rain at night, when they sometimes had to sleep under their horse, with the saddle for a pillow. This is what the legend says and, undoubtedly, it was the truth. "I swum across Torre Branch (Brazo de la Torre) with the horse to speak to the duck hunter that was on the other side", one told me, relating the story of a day on which the loneliness and the Marshes got the better of him. But there were great days too.When clouds of geese and ducks had arrived from the north, and when the heavy rains had come


from the south west to flood all the lower part of the marshes, there were sunny days on which there were crowds of ducks and duck hunters. Up to three hunters could shoot at the same time from behind a single horse, one at the hind quarters, another at the shoulder and a third at the head.Three large bore shotguns as black as Judas' soul that vomited half a pound of lead among a cloud of sulphur, leaving the countryside covered with writhing bodies.They also remember the lucky shots, which are best forgotten now. Much of the merit of these shots was owed to the training given to the horse.The horse had to move forward pretending that it was grazing, with its head down, hiding the man walking behind it in soft shoes through the freezing water. The horse had to be trained in summer, getting used to the salvos of gun powder, starting off with just a few grams of powder in the gun, and then increasing the load, to prepare them for the deafening boom that would explode around their ears on the day of the hunt. Then they had to carry dozens of the victims, carried in a pannier that, in turn, they transported to market in Seville or to the local markets of the towns and villages.

The people of the Marshes even had to invent a special kind of boat for collecting eggs: the "cajon", a punt that was specially designed to open the way through patches of bulrushes, in the shallow waters. This boat is also called a "sornajo" and it could be tied to the tail of a horse that acted as the means of propulsion. They were also used for transporting people and belongings, and sometimes a rough mast and sail were added to cross the wetland during the floods. The photograph shows a curious adaptation of a "cajon" in the early 20th century, which has been fitted with a propeller. Photograph: Archves of Do単ana Biological Station.

The duck hunters had their own strange form of accounting that was undoubtedly learned from experience. All ducks were counted in pairs, but a pair did not necessarily mean two. It was two if they were mallards or pin tails, but three if they were wigeons or shovelers, and four if they were any kind of teal. In the photograph, a specimen of shoveler duck (Anas clypeata). Photograph: CENEAM Files.


As far as hunting is concerned, the lower Guadalquivir has always been a kind of paradise, as long as there have been records. They were scarcely re-conquered from the Moors, when Alphonse X settled his huntsmen in what is now Hato Raton, known as Mures at the time (which means mice, "ratones" in Spanish). In the same area, the Royal Hunting Grounds of El Lomo del Grullo were established. Centuries later, interest in hunting was replaced by an interest in observing nature. The Marshes had started to win an international reputation as an area of extraordinary ornithological interest since 1856, when Saunders wrote about his travels in Spain in The Field. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

These duck hunters had their own, strange form of accounting that they had obviously learned by experience. All ducks were counted in pairs, but a pair did not necessarily mean two: a pair was two if they were mallards or pintails, but three if they were wigeons or shoveler, and four if they were any kind of teal. This yardstick evened out the shots, because it was not the same thing to wipe out half a hectare of teals with a shot as it was to bring down a few mallards, or just a few geese. But it is also true that the large bore duck gun was totally indiscriminate.The family was back at home awaiting the results, and any kind of kill, as long as it went into the bag, was counted as a good shot.When the storks arrived in mid winter, they could get a load of pink meat by skinning the bodies and cutting off the necks and legs that would betray them. Everything goes into the pot in the villages of the Marshes, and I would go as far as to bet that there were recipes for stork and flamingo too. This is how it was in the immense Marshes for centuries, the cradle of recurring fevers, but also the source of birds and fish throughout the year.This was the homeland of a few men who lived there almost from the cradle to the grave. No less than 1,674 square kilometres of fishing grounds and bird colonies that bred ducks, hares, coots and snails. Because collecting snails, an ancestral rite for man, was of tremendous importance.There were millions of snails, (Theba pisana), of different colours on each islet, collected by women and children among the reeds up until July or August, when the white worm starts to kill them. How much does each bunch of reeds produce in snails? And the Marshes as a whole? Has anyone worked it out? How much do

we spend on importing snails from Morocco now? The platonic contemplation of nature is a recent phenomenon in Europe. It probably emerged as a consequence of the Second World War, which left mankind sick to the stomach of horror and with a new desire for peace of the spirit that could only be found in nature. Moreover, there were several other circumstances: colour photography had been discovered, and the grand illustrated magazines could offer their pages to the photographers that opened the grand book of wildlife and its environment. Moreover, the world had become a much smaller place with the impressive advances in aviation and the off-road vehicle. Legions of photographers and film makers set out in search of what the western world demanded, and many of them turned their gaze to the mighty River Guadalquivir, its marshes and the famous Coto de Doñana that forms the upper lip of the mouth of the river. The Marshes had started to gain an international reputation as an area of extraordinary ornithological interest since 1856, when Saunders wrote the stories of his travels in Spain in The Field. In the following years, the yachts of kings and nobles dropped anchor in the Guadalquivir, while their owners practised what could be called scientific hunting, although it was more hunting than science. Thus, the illustrious list of visitors included Prince Rudolph of Austria, the Duke of Orleans, Lord Lilford - an excellent ornithologist - and after them, a swarm of egg collectors that discovered and laid waste to the Marshes in the last century and at the beginning of this one (the author is referring to the 19th and 20th centuries). So, with an international reputation, it is hardly surprising that


How many coot chicks could the marshes produce in a good year? It is impossible to calculate. Probably between 250,000 and 500,000. The density of coot nests in the Marshes is truly amazing. In the photograph, a coot. Photograph: CENEAM Files.

the waters had barely recovered their calm after the world war, when ornithologists started to visit the Marshes, coming in through the main gate of Doñana, which Mauricio Gonzalez opened for them.The first expedition, French, arrived in 1952, a few days ahead of another, Spanish expedition that started an uninterrupted ornithological work.The first film was made in 1957. A phenomenon then started for the Marshes that would later spread to many other places.Through a process of feedback, photographers provided people what they were asking for, and the growing interest of these people led to the appearance of zoological tourism - fundamentally ornithological - that with the help of

useful Field Guides was undertaken be a wide circle of Europeans. This enthusiasm for Nature snow balled and the Marshes, the first place in Europe that decided to approach conservation with a joint effort, immediately became a Mecca for Nature Tour Operators. They came from as far away as the United States from the 60s onwards, in regular expeditions organised by the Audubon Society. The Spanish government helped to develop the Marshes for tourism and for research. But the most important aspect of the Marshes, even though both hunting and tourism were important, has been the multiplier effect. People have come from all over Spain, and from many places beyond, to photograph the wildlife - an excellent school was created here - and to plan scientific and conservationist activities. Many people now believe that Doñana and its Marshes are an obligatory visit, as you would visit the Prado Museum, but the truth is that they are better known than the museum.There is an index that clearly illustrates the vitality of this issue: the number of hours that Spanish State Television devotes to it. In this aspect, between the Marshes and the Prado - with an apology for art lovers -, there is just no comparison. What really happens is that going out on a Sunday in pursuit of light and peace in the countryside, or let both of these stream in through the little screen, is now a pressing need for society, and this oasis of calm waters, with a green sea of waving grasses and a sky in which the only clouds are the birds flying across it, make the Marshes - and Doñana - something that we all need at one time or another.This is the release that we need; to escape, if only for a few hours, from the cities that overwhelm use with their overcrowding, stress and pollution.

Many people consider the Doñana Marshes as an obligatory visit, the same as a visit to the Prado Museum would be, but the truth is that they are much better known than the museum. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


Doñana fish species


threats affecting a community in decline


he relatively recent origin of the formation, the characteristics of the climate and the joint effect of winds, tides and river dynamics have afforded extraordinary environmental heterogeneity to the Doñana Ecosystems.The aquatic environment, with its highly diverse and comprehensive range of permanent and temporary ponds, with or without tidal influence, fresh or hypersaline waters, isolated or connected, turbid or clear, natural or subject to intense human activity, is a good example of Doñana's heterogeneous nature. Fish have made the most of this heterogeneity and comprise one of the area's most interesting zoological taxon.Table I lists the species found in Doñana and its environs, including those now extinct. Some of these species complete their entire life cycle in the area, others only certain stages, and yet others use it only as a migratory path between the river and the sea. Diadromous (migratory) fish species are the most numerous and are divided into three representative groups: anadromous (which live in the sea and spawn in freshwater), catadromous (which live in freshwater and spawn in the sea), and amphidromous (whose movements are for trophic and not reproductive purposes). The latter is typical of juveniles that remain in the estuary during several months to feed and grow. Amongst the sedentary fish species, one must distinguish * Department of Zoology, University of Cordova, Spain.

The Guadalquivir River was dammed in 1930 at the town of Alcalá del Río, with disastrous effects for the shad and sturgeon whose spawning areas were located just upstream from the insurmountable wall. The situation was seriously exacerbated by intensive fishing at the foot of the dam during breeding migration periods. The photograph, taken in 1992, shows one of the last sturgeons fished in the river. Photograph by Carlos Fernández Delgado.

FIGURE 1 Conservation status of species found in the National Park of Doñana and its surroundings.

9% 70%

Least Concern - Near Threatened (LC-NT) 4 Vulnerables (VU) 30 Endangered (EN) 1 Critically Endangered (CR) 5 Extinct (EX) 3

2% 12% 7%

between highly euryhaline estuarine species (which readily adapt to salinity changes) and freshwater species, some of which are resistant to low degrees of salinity. Each group can be subdivided into indigenous species, most of which are in decline and some already extinct, and extraordinarily abundant exotic species. Last of all are the sporadic species caught in the area and which present no apparent biological pattern. Most of these species are of marine origin and enter the Lower Guadalquivir basin, when freshwater flow rates are low and tidal inflows are higher. The conservation status of this community varies greatly (Figure 1). Of the three migratory groups, the anadromous species present the worst conservation status, with two extinct species, sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) and shad (Alosa alosa), and two critically endangered species, sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and twaite shad (Alosa fallax). The catadromous and amphidromous species can be classified as vulnerable.This difference is a clear indication of the poor conservation status of the riverine habitat. In the case of the anadromous species, the most complicated stage in their life cycle - breeding - takes place in the river, whereas the catadromous and amphidromous species breed in the sea, which is a less degraded environment and has a greater capacity to recover from human disturbance. The conservation status of the sedentary species is also very poor.The three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus gymnurus) is now extinct, whereas the chub (Squalius pyrenaicus) and the killifish (Aphanius baeticus), recently described as a new species, are on the


TABLE 1 Species found in DoĂąana National Park and surroundings.





Sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus Sturgeon, Acipenser sturio Shad, Alosa alosa Twaite shad, Alosa fallax

Eel, Anguilla anguilla Thick-lipped grey mullet, Chelon labrosus Thin-lipped mullet, Liza ramada Golden grey mullet, Liza aurata Leaping mullet, Liza saliens Flathead mullet, Mugil cephalus

AMPHIDROMOUS Sardine, Sardina pilchardus Anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus Africa halfbeak, Hyporhamphus picarti European sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax Spotted sea bass, Dicentrarchus punctatus Bastard grunt, Pomadasys incisus Senegal seabream, Diplodus bellottii White seabream, Diplodus sargus Common two-banded seabream, Diplodus vulgaris Blue butterfish, Stromateus fiatola

Gilthead bream, Sparus aurata Shi drum, Umbrina cirrosa Canary drum, Umbrina canariensis Meagre, Argyrosomus regius Transparent goby, Aphia minuta Wedge sole, Dicologoglossa cuneata Senegal Sole, Solea senegalensis Sole, Solea vulgaris Bluefish, Pomatomus saltator Blenny, Lipophrys trigloides




Barbel, Barbus sclateri Chub, Squalius pyrenaicus Moroccan loach, Cobitis paludica

Big-scale sand smelt, Atherina boyeri Black goby, Gobius niger Rock goby, Gobius paganellus Killifish, Aphanius baeticus Three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus gymnurus Black-striped pipefish, Syngnathus abaster Greater pipefish, Syngnathus acus Common goby, Pomatoschistus microps Sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus



Goldfish, Carassius auratus Carp, Cyprinus carpio Eastern mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki Largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides Pumpkinseed, Lepomis gibbosus

Mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus



NATIVE FRESHWATER Iberian Nase, Chondrostoma willkommii Pardilla, Chondrostoma lemmingii

MARINE European conger, Conger conger Serpenteel, Ophisurus serpens Lusitanian toadfish, Halobatrachus didactylus Garpike, Belone belone Small sandeel, Ammodytes tobianus Short-snouted seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus Seahorse, Hippocampus ramulosus Broad-nosed pipefish, Syngnathus typhle Black-striped pipefish, Syngnathus abaster Straightnose pipefish, Nerophis ophidion Tompot blenny, Parablennius gattorugine Brown comber, Serranus hepatus Portuguese sole, Synaptura lusitanica European barracuda, Sphyraena sphyraena Brill, Scophthalmus rhombus Echelus mirus Lesser weever, Echiichtys vipera Atlantic horse mackerel, Trachurus trachurus


Derbio, Trachinotus ovatus Mojarra, Diplodus annularis Annular seabream, Diplodus puntazzo Salema, Sarpa salpa Striped red mullet, Mullus surmuletus False scad, Caranx rhonchus Baillon’s wrasse, Symphodus bailloni Grey wrasse, Symphodus cinereus Five-spotted wrasse, Symphodus roissali Ocellated wedge sole, Dicologoglossa hexophthalma Two-spotted clingfish, Diplecogaster bimaculata Leerfish, Lichia amia Peacock blenny, Lipophrys pavo Shanny, Lipophrys pholis Armless snake eel, Dalophis imberbis Common torpedo, Torpedo torpedo Greater weever, Trachinus draco

EXOTIC SPECIES Freshwater Northern pike, Esox lucius Rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss Extinct species in the zone


Species found in the National Park

verge of extinction. Threatened by the introduction of exotic species and isolated from a larger population of barbels living in the Guadalquivir River, the reduced population of barbel (Barbus sclateri) found in the Rocina stream must be added to this list as well. Although somewhat more abundant than the previous species, the Moroccan loach (Cobitis paludica) is also endangered. The black goby (Gobius niger), rock goby (Gobius paganellus) and pipefishes (Syngnathus abaster and Syngnathus acus) are classified as vulnerable, whereas, the big-scale sand smelt (Atherina boyeri) and two goby species (Pomatoschistus microps and P. minutus) are considered to be less endangered. The overall conservation status of Doñana's ichthyofauna and their environs is very poor, with clear evidence of a declining community.Three species are extinct and 36 (84%) have been listed in one of the three main threatened species categories (Figure 1). Of these 36 species, five are on the verge of extinction - three of which (barbel, chub and killifish) live within Doñana National Park, and two (sea lamprey and twaite shad), the only surviving anadromous species, in neighbouring watercourses. The community's poor conservation status is the result of anthropogenic transformations of the area's water environment over the last century, as well as its downstream location from the human activities taking place further up the river. The deterioration of the navigational conditions of the Lower Guadalquivir gave rise to the implementation of waterworks, that reduced the navigational distance between Seville and the sea by 50 kilometres. These modifications brought about significant changes in the river dynamics of this stretch of the Guadalquivir, to the extent that the tidal flow rate is currently higher than in the past. Other significant modifications, such as the construction of the Alfonso XIII Canal (1926) and the canalization of the Guadiamar River (1944) and the Eastern Branch (1964) reduced flooding in Seville, and confined agricultural land from the marshes. Currently, only 27,000 hectares (12% of the original area) are preserved in their natural state within Doñana National Park. Transformation of the land brought with it the extensive modification of the natural drainage system of the Marshes as well. Many natural channels within the Marshes (caños) dried and silted up, while others were canalized, deepened and locked with floodgates. In Doñana, the natural levee The fishing of commercial species such as elver and prawns is a serious problemafwas raised resulting in the fecting fishes living in the estuary during so-called Montaña del their juvenile stage. Photograph by Carlos Fernández-Delgado. Río. These interventions

The Doñana Marshes, as well as their marine environment, are of great interest not just from a biological viewpoint but from that of commercial fishing as well, owing to the high market value of many of the species targetted by the fishing industry in the Bay of Cadiz. Moreover, as products from the fishing industry constitute one of the main attractions of the Andalusian coasts, the aquatic communities of the Lower Guadalquivir take on an important social dimension by indirectly contributing to the livelihood of thousands of Andalusian families . Photo by José María Pérez de Ayala. CENEAM files.

resulted in the confinement of the Marshes and the loss of the intertidal habitat with all of the processes and species associated with it. Typical estuarine dynamics are currently present only in the main channel of the Guadalquivir (approximately 2% of the original area) and the lower reach of the Torre Branch.The fauna and associated processes (such as diurnal and tidal migrations) characteristic of this type of ecostystem are therefore limited to this area resulting in a high diversity zone with over 70 species of fish, 49 species of crustaceans, 22 species of water insects and 8 species of non-anthropod invertebrates. Given that very few areas, including terrestrial habitats, in Andalusia present such a high diversity of species and processes as in the last few kilometres of the Lower Guadalquivir, the area in itself can be considered one of the major hotspots of Andalusia's aquatic biodiversity. Furthermore, the area is of great interest not just from a biological viewpoint but from that of commercial fishing as well owing to the high market value of many of the species targetted by the fishing industry in the Bay







Until recent times it was thought that the distribution of the “fartet” (Aphanius iberus), a small Cyprinodont fish endemic of the Iberian peninsula, extended along the Mediterranean coast from Catalonia to Andalusia, and included a few small populations of the Atlantic coast of Andalusia. Nevertheless, a research project financed by the Board of the Environment of the Andalusia Government, with the participation of the Universities of Cordova and Murcia and the National Museum of Natural Sciences (CSIC) showed that the Atlantic populations come from a different evolutionary line.This difference has been demonstrated through genetic and morphological analyses of specimen from both areas. The two populations could have diverged about three million years ago, after the desiccation of the Mediterranean Sea and its posterior isolation during the Late Pliocene. The new species has been named Aphanius baeticus, in honour of the River Guadalquivir (the Baetis of ancient Romans), because its largest populations are found in the Guadalquivir’s basin . Eight populations have been found until this moment.The westernmost one is localised at Laguna del Hondón within the Doñana National Park, while the easternmost is found near to Conil de la Frontera (Cadiz).The conservation status of the new species is very poor and, according to UICN’s categories, this species has been catalogued as "Critically Endangered" (CR). An appealing and integrative proposal for its conservation has been developed within the framework of the Doñana 2005 project. An action within this project included an advanced water-treatment plan for the villages discharging their wastewater to the Marshes. Taking advantage of the outflow canal of the El Rocío treatment plant, the one with the most advanced treatment cycle, the idea was developed to create a sanctuary for this species.The treatment process was complemented with a network of canals bordered by vegetation and fed by the outflow canal, where the fish population can be maintained.


of Cadiz. Every year many different species of fish, including anchovy (Engraulis encrasicholus), sardine (Sardina pilchardus), sea spotted bass (Dicentrarchus punctatus), meagre (Argyrosomus regius), sole (Solea vulgaris and S. senegalensis), and prawn (Melicertus kerathurus) remain in the Lower Guadalquivir for a span of several months. It can thus be expected that the survival rate of the fry of these species and the subsequent abundance of the same in the fishing grounds will depend on the conservation status of the area. Moreover, as products from the fishing industry constitute one of the main attractions of the Andalusian coasts, the aquatic communities of the Lower Guadalquivir take on an important social dimension by indirectly contributing to the livelihood of thousands of families. Another important anthropogenic impact is the retention of approximately 7,000 hm3 of water in reservoirs throughout the watersheds, affecting the hydrological system of the estuary and bringing about its gradual salinisation.The reservoirs retain not only water, but sediments and nutrients as well with the subsequent threat of lateral erosion (i.e. loss of territory from a decrease in alluvial deposition) in the estuary and the progressive loss of productivity in the area.The loss of productivity may be offset for the time being by the high nutrient load of the water draining agricultural fields and from untreated urban waste water. Even the main channel of the Guadalquivir was dammed in 1930 at the towns of Alcalá del Río and Cantillana, with disastrous effects for the shad and sturgeon whose spawning areas were located just upstream from the insurmountable walls. The situation was seriously exacerbated by intensive fishing at the foot of the dam during breeding migration periods. The eel (Anguilla anguilla), a migratory species, was also affected with the resulting loss of the only natural fish predator among the fish species of the Guadalquivir basin. Human activity in the sub-catchment areas of the marshlands is one of the greatest threats not only to the aquatic communities, but to the whole of Doñana National Park itself. Erosive processes have become predominant in most of the sub-catchments and wide areas are silting up as in the case of the 300 hectares of marsh filled in by sediments from El Partido stream. Added to this is the threat arising from very poor water quality with an excessive nutrient load and toxic substances from untreated urban waste water, farmlands and industrial activities such as mining and table olive production. Farming activities also led to aquifer depletion with a subsequent decrease in the flow rates of rivers and the lowering of the water table. The most immediate effect has been the alteration of the natural hydrological regime of the Marshes: with shorter hydroperiods and more severe droughts. This has resulted in the loss of many bodies of

The large number of exotic fish species is one of the bigger problems to be faced in Doñana. The first to colonise the area were most likely carp (Cyprinus carpio) and goldfish (Carassius auratus) native to Eastern Europe and Asia, probably in the 19th century and by natural means. In 1921 the Eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) was introduced from the United States to fight malaria. The pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) became the last American species to colonise Doñana . Above, couple of Eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki).

surface water, such as the so-called “ojos” (eyes) of the Marshes, which are points at which groundwater reaches the surface, and this in turn has affected the vegetation. Another major problem for the aquatic community is the completely unregulated fishing taking place along the last 40 kilometers of the Guadalquivir's main channel. The fishing of commercial species such as elver and prawns is a serious problem affecting fishes living in the estuary during their juvenile stage. They are confronted at the inlet with several thousand square metres of 1mm mesh fly net used to catch prawns and elver. Further complicating the matter are the large number of allochthonous species. The first to colonise the area were most likely carp (Cyprinus carpio) and goldfish (Carassius auratus) native to Eastern Europe and Asia, probably in the 19th century and by natural means. In 1921 the Eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) was introduced from the United States to fight malaria. Both native to North America, the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and the mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) were introduced in the 1970s, the first into the Rocina stream and second into the Marshes.The red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarki), which had such a marked impact on Doñana's freshwater ecosystems, also arrived in the 1970s. During the heavy rain seasons in 1996 and 1997 the pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) became the last American species to colonise Doñana. Exotic species will normally replace the native species through competition, predation or parasitism, altering the functional dynamics of the system. In this specific case, goldfish, Eastern mosquitofish, largemouth bass, and pumpkinseed put pressure mainly on fresh-

Typical estuarine dynamics are currently present only in the main channel of the Guadalquivir and the lower reach of the Torre Branch. The fauna and associated processes (such as diurnal and tidal migrations) characteristic of this type of ecostystem are therefore limited to this area, giving Doñana an extraordinary importance for fish conservation. The image shows hypsometry of the outlet of the Guadalquivir’s main channel into the Torre Branch. Image extracted from the Digital Surface Model of Torre Branch (Brazo de la Torre).

The Black Goby (Gobius paganellus) is one of the oddest fish species living in the estuarine environment of Doñana. Photograph by Carlos Fernández Delgado.

water species, whereas the mummichog affects estuarine species. The carp and goldfish uproot submerged vegetation and stir up the riverbed, increasing water turbidity and reducing the depth of the photic layer. The Eastern mosquitofish predominantly attacks the eggs, larvae and fry of other species. Like the carp, it is highly aggressive and, thanks to an efficient breeding strategy, it becomes the dominant species shortly after colonizing a habitat. Conversely, the main effect of the largemouth bass and the pumpkinseed arise from their direct predation upon the adults and juveniles of other species. Other human activities also have a negative influence on the estuarine environment. The impact of periodic dredging of the

Guadalquivir's main channel and of maritime shipping traffic in the area has not yet been assessed.The hull and ballast water of large vessels can be an efficient means of transport for exotic fish species.The risk stemming from these new species in an environmentally vulnerable area is yet to be evaluated. Species such as the dangerous Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) have completed their life cycle in this zone and may well be in the adjustment phase. River dredging and the subsequent increase in sea traffic are the new threats on the horizon of a territory already threatened by other activities. The intention of the two main restoration projects following the Aznalcollar mining accident is to mitigate some of the problems found in the area with a special emphasis on fish communities. Fostered by Spain's central government, the Doñana 2005 project aims to regenerate the surface water hydrology of the marshlands, reconnecting isolated zones and restoring large extensions of marshland, such as the areas of Caracoles and Marisma Gallega. On the other hand, the Guadiamar Green Corridor, fostered by the Regional Government, aims to counteract the effects of the mine tailings spill on the Guadiamar River, the main tributary flowing into the Marshes. Nevertheless, the biological integrity of the system can only be guaranteed if the restoration of the water quality is dealt with to the same extent as habitat restoration has been addressed in the aforementioned projects.

Vertical photograph of the marshes in contact with the estuary of the Guadalquivir River, which is coloured in green. The Montaña de Río, a man-made barrier that substitutes the ancient levee and isolates the Marshes, can be seen close to the river bed, and parallel to it. Higher up, lighter in colour, the inundated “lucios“ (shallow lakes). The biggest of them, Lucio de los Ánsares, is in the uppest part of the photo. Lower down, the a-shaped Lucio del Membrillo, and, on its right, the contiguous Lucios of Sanlúcar and of Seville.


The amphibians of Doñana

mphibians have a complex aquatic cycle, since most species lay their eggs in aquatic environments, in which larvae develop until metamorphosis. Later, their juvenile and adult stages usually take place in terrestrial environments. Some species have aquatic habits and are always found in the water or next to it, but many adult amphibians are fully terrestrial and only venture to water to breed. The presence of appropriate water environments for their reproduction is therefore necessary for amphibian populations to exist. Not all aquatic environments are appropriate as breeding grounds. Eggs and larvae of most amphibian species are vulnerable to predators such as fish, typical residents of permanent water environments. Only species that have developed defence mechanisms against predation usually breed in this type of environment. However, temporary water environments are generally optimal for amphibian breeding. Pools and small ponds of this type abound in the Doñana area and host the eggs and larvae of a rich and abundant amphibian fauna. Temporary ponds are formed in Doñana in autumn after heavy rainfalls. Both the time when they are formed and their duration


* Doñana Biological Station.


are highly unpredictable since both are dependant on weather conditions. However, the characteristic flexibility of the reproductive cycle of amphibians makes it possible for them to settle and use such ponds by adjusting their aquatic phase to the duration of such environments. Since larvae can metamorphose under environmental conditions that are inappropriate for their growth and Currently, there is a worldwide decline in amphibian species. development, their metamorphic The alteration and loss of habiperiod may be shortened or tats, climate change, increase in ultraviolet radiation, introducextended according to the condition of exotic fauna, pollution, tions of the environment, resulting diseases and animal trade are some of the primary potential in a highly variable duration of causes that may explain this their embryonic and larval stages. decline. Photograph by Carmen Díaz Paniagua. Eleven species of amphibians can be found In Doñana in a wide variety of reproductive habitats. Species that undergo metamorphosis at smaller sizes, such as the common toad, the natterjack toad and the Portugal painted frog,

Stripeless tree frog singing during courtship. Photograph by A. Portheault.

only need two or three months to complete their larval stage and can start their terrestrial phase when they reach the length of 10 mm. The two latter species thus breed in very shallow and ephemeral ponds that are often inhabited by a single species with few predators and little competition for food resources. Natterjack toads lay strings of some three thousand eggs in two long rows that are easy to detect on the banks of the ponds in which they breed. The Portugal painted frog takes advantage of small ephemeral ponds where it can lay its eggs several times a year, i.e. any time heavy rainfalls flood the ponds. However, since the eggs of common toads contain toxins to prevent them from being eaten by fish or other predators, this species is adapted to more permanent aquatic habitats.The common toad is not a very abundant species in Do単ana but can be found in large permanent ponds such as the Santa Olalla and Dulce lagoons. At the other end of the spectrum we find amphibians that require more stable habitats to complete their larval stage.As the larvae of Western spadefoot are characterised by their large size, sometimes similar to that of the adults, the larval stage of this species is longer.They usually remain in the water from the time large temporary ponds or even marshes are flooded in autumn until the ponds are drying up in late spring or early summer.The same habits are shared by the morphologically different sharpribbed newt, an amphibian of the Urodela group frequently found in the marshes and other large temporary habitats which allow larvae to reach large sizes before undergoing metamorphosis.The larvae of this species prey upon invertebrates and even larvae of other amphibian species that share their habitat. Another unique species also found in the marsh area and in the small ponds that form on its borders is the Iberian parsley frog, which is capable of


developing relatively large larvae in less than three months, usually in the autumn/winter period.The characteristic courtship songs of the males reveal the presence of this species in the Do単ana marshes.The early breeding period of the species probably spare the larvae from having to compete for food with other amphibian species. The amphibian species most frequently found in the sand dunes of Do単ana are those that breed in the countless temporary ponds that flood in the autumn, reach their maximum productivity in the spring and dry out in the early summer.The ponds are located in small depressions and are frequently surrounded by monte negro heathland or situated in cork oak groves.These ponds are the typical habitat of the stripeless tree frog, the Bosca's newt and the Southern marbled newt.The stripeless tree frog is a colourful tree-dwelling amphibian, which is capable of climbing up vegetation and usually ventures to the ponds to breed once the coldest days of winter are over. Its continuous courtship songs are a typical feature of winter and spring nights in Do単ana. Because the tree frogs have a longer egg-laying period, the arrival of the females to the pond does not take place massively as it does with toads.The male/female couple scatters the eggs in small groups that stick to plants. Larvae can complete their cycle in about three months and, just after completing their metamorphoses, small frogs can be observed over an extended period of time before ponds dry up. Newts arrive immediately after the ponds are formed to commence their charming underwater courtship in which males make repetitive movements of their tails to attract females that will collect the sperm that has been deposited on the bottom of the

Couple of of Iberian parsley frogs in amplexus. Photograph by A. Portheault.

pond. Egg-laying does not take place until winter and lasts a long time as females must lay their eggs by wrapping them one by one in the leaves of aquatic plants and thus require one to two months to complete the process. Likewise, larvae can complete their metamorphosis in around three months but the extended egg-laying period results in a wide variation of larva ages and sizes within the pond.We can find larvae undergoing metamorphosis during several months before and up until the time the ponds dry up. The Southern marbled newt is more common than Bosca's newt and both use similar habitats. The adults of both species are very small and Doñana's newts are the smallest of their distribution area.An adult Bosca's newt, for example, can breed at just 0.5 grams weight, and a Southern marbled newt at just 1 gram. Very small size is a characteristic of the newts found in the Doñana area, as the newts even in nearby locations are larger. This feature could be attributed to the shorter annual activity period, to their reaching maturity at an earlier age, or to the greater longevity of the individuals living in Doñana. Southern marbled newts in this area also have a characteristic breeding male pattern which is less conspicuous than that of other populations. In general, the majority of Doñana's amphibian species characteristically exhibit a smaller size as compared to other populations. Some water environments are not necessarily permanent but do last well into the summer. Nevertheless, during this dryer period they display poorer conditions than during the spring, with less submerged vegetation, a lower concentration of oxygen, higher temperatures, and

Bosca’s newt larva. Photograph by W. de Vries.

A characteristic feature of the Western spadefoot is that its larvae can reach a large size, sometimes similar to that of adults. Photograph by A. Portheault.

so forth.This type of medium is used by the Iberian green frog for breeding. This species lays its eggs later (around April) than other amphibian species. Its larvae usually do not coexist with those of other species and thanks to their lungs they can tolerate lowoxygen concentrations in water. They are even able to aestivate and complete their metamorphosis the following autumn, if ponds did not dry up. Adults have aquatic habits and are active both day and night and are therefore usually associated with permanent water environments. Among the amphibian species found in Doñana there is one that stands out because of its peculiar breeding process. This is the Iberian midwife toad, which is quite rare in the area, although some individuals have been found north of the Park. Females lay 20 to 40 large-sized eggs each which the males collect and place between their legs after fecundation.The


Scientific and common English names of DoĂąana's amphibian species Urodela Triturus pygmaeus Triturus boscai Pleurodeles waltl

Southern marbled newt Bosca’s newt Sharp-ribbed newt

Alytes cisternasii Discoglossus galganoi Pelobates cultripes Pelodytes ibericus Bufo bufo Bufo calamita Hyla meridionalis Rana perezi

Iberian midwife tod Portugal painted frog Western spadefoot Iberian parsley frog Common toad Natterjack toad Stripeless tree frog Iberian green frog


Endemic species of the Iberian Peninsula.

males, which have nocturnal terrestrial habits, then carry the eggs during the embryonic stage until they are close to hatching,when they are placed and released into the water. The larvae will then remain in the water until they complete their metamorphosis. Currently, there is a difficulty to explain worldwide decline in amphibian species. The alteration and loss of habitats, climate change, increase in ultraviolet radiation, introduction of exotic fauna, pollution, diseases and animal trade are some of the primary potential causes that may explain this decline. But none of them suffuces to cause the overall amphibian recession. It is the accumulation of small deleterious effects what is driving the whole group into risk of extinction.There is a public concern among conservationists that the amphibian collapse was an early warning to the foreseeable biodiversity crisis of the biosphere. The amphibian fauna of DoĂąana include both a large number of species - among which six endemic Iberian species stand out -

Eggs of Western spadefoot laid in shallow water. Photograph by A. Portheault.


and local populations with unique characteristics, such as their small size. Although the protection level of the Park guarantees the preservation of amphibian habitats, the duration of the hydroperiod must be controlled in order to ensure successful breeding. Water abstraction in the surrounding areas and the inter-annual climatic variability, with occasionally long drought periods, could affect the dynamics of these habitats and of the amphibians that depend on them. Among other threats, the introduction of invasive species could have a considerable impact, especially during dry years. One of the most significant invasive species is the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii that was initially introduced into the Marshes area in 1973, and has since then spread to almost all of the aquatic environments in the Park, including temporary ponds. The impact on amphibian populations has not as yet been clearly ascertained. However, it has been found that the red swamp crayfish consume the amphibian eggs adhered to the plants that comprise the crayfish's main food and can pray on larvae and adults. Amphibian populations exhibit a large production in spring, providing predators (fish, birds, some reptiles and mammals) with a large food resource.Their reduction will be felt along the trophic chain. In former times the migration of toads and sharp-ribbed newts across the Vera grasslands on the Marshes border, implied the movement of hundreds of thousands of animals that almost covered the ground, forming an appealing wandering carpet. Nowadays with the regression of these populations also in the Park grounds, massive migrations ceased, and during drought intervals surviving populations are confined to some areas.

The uniqueness of marsh butterflies


he richness of butterfly species in Doñana National Park is not surprisingly high: 43 species in a 540 km2 area is not an exceptional amount. In southern Spain, a much larger number of species can coexist in other geographical zones of similar extension, particularly in mountainous areas. This number in Doñana can be explained based on several characteristics of the park.The first of these, is that an important part of the park area is seasonally flooded marshland and butterflies cannot complete their life cycles in this kind of habitat. Second, the stabilized sand dunes that make up most of the park are quite monotonous, lacking the heterogeneity of other areas, with a more varied relief, that offer a greater diversity of resources and microenvironments. Doñana National Park was obviously not created with the butterflies in mind. Hence we have a clear example of how other species, namely the vertebrates, have acted as an umbrella species that protect many others coexisting in the same habitat. Nonetheless, on the butterfly checklist of Doñana, several of them stand out because their existence in this geographical location is unexpected.These species are the satyride Pyronia tithonus and the lycaenides Cyaniris semiargus and Plebejus argus. These three species are usually found in habitats that tend to have more oceanic characteristics. In the southern Iberian Peninsula they are mainly limited to the mountainous areas with more favourable conditions for humidity. The vegetation associated with the shallow water table in Doñana probably has played a significant role in the survival of these species, which undoubtedly should have been more abundant in southern Iberia during colder and damper periods. This species is commonly found in Central and Northern Europe, whereas in the Iberian Peninsula it mainly inhabits mountain areas. The mountain ranges in Granada are the only other areas in Andalusia where this species has been found, with some populations living over 2500 metres above sea level. Particularly remarkable is the fact that this butterfly is the most abundant found in the Park, to such extent that there are as many butterflies of this species as the sum of all the other 42 butterfly species combined. It is surprising that this species is so abundant in spite of being located in the southern limit of its continental distribution, and at sea level. * Professor of Ecology. Department of Botany, Ecology and Plant Physiology. University of Cordova, Spain.


In order to explain this situation, one must pay attention to the way in which the butterfly's life history develops. This species is univoltine, that is to say, butterflies emerge from their chrysalis once a year, between mid-May and late June. Male butterflies usually emerge before females (protandry), hence there are many more males in proportion to the females at the beginning of the season.The newly emerged females are quickly spotted by males and after copulation lay their eggs at the base of the foodplants for

Several of the Doñana butterfly species stand out because theirexistence in this geographical location is unexpected. These species are the satyride Pyronia tithonus and the lycaenides Cyaniris semiargus and Plebejus argus (in the picture). Photograph by Miguel G. Muñoz Sariot


their larvae. Larvae will not hatch until the following spring and then transform quickly, within a few weeks, into pupae. Other butterfly species, denominated multivoltine, can complete this cycle several times per year. However, the most unique aspect of their life history is the relationship that develops between the butterflies and larval foodplants and, in turn, with the ants living on these

An interesting case of mutualistic interaction is observed between three species found in Doñana: the small butterfly Plebejus argus (Lycenid), the ant Lasius niger and the shrub Halimium halimifolium, very widespread on sandy soils. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


plants. Butterfly larvae have specific food requirements and therefore they cannot feed on a wide range of plants.They will usually feed on a small number of closely related plant species with a similar chemical composition. The biochemical and physiological system of the larvae is capable of detoxifying the chemical defence compounds developed by foodplants, assimilating their nutrients. This is an evolutionary response to the "chemical war" developed between plants and herbivores. In Doñana, the Plebejus argus feeds mainly on Halimium halimifolium, the most common and abundant scrub in the Park. The abundance of scrublands on which larvae can feed could be the underlying reason for the abundance of this butterfly species. However, this butterfly does not inhabit all locations in which Halimium is plentiful. It is concentrated in specific areas where another important insect species with which it interacts can be found, namely the ant Lasius niger. Since the substrate of the Doñana scrubland is mainly sand, building ant nests in this unstable medium is not easy. Many ant species therefore use plant roots as a support structure for their nests. Furthermore, by placing the nests at the base of the scrub, the ant can create a more favourable microclimate in terms of temperature and dampness, particularly during the summer when the surface temperature of the sand is too high. In addition, ants will not select Halimium plants situated at locations that are too high above the soil water table, as they would be too dry, or too close, as they would be flooded during rainy winters.Thus, ant nests are located in a range of intermediate heights close to the "monte negro" heathland. During spring, females lay eggs close to the ground, beneath the Halimium plants and its leaf litter, selecting plants with ant nests. The mechanism used by gravid females to detect ants is yet unknown, however, a combination of visual and chemical reactions seem to be involved.Ants ignore the eggs as they are of no interest to them. The mortality rate over the next ten months until spring, when the larvae hatch from the eggs, is very high. After hatching, the ant is attracted to the larvae, and both species begin to interact henceforth. During their development stages, or instars, larvae develop several organs that secrete substances alluring to ants.The button-like organs distributed over the body, produce chemical compounds similar to the pheromones used by ants to communicate. Larvae also have a dorsal nectary organ that develops in the third instar, which secretes droplets rich in sugars and amino acids upon which the ants avidly feed. Lastly, the larvae have a pair of reversible tentacular organs that produce substances which excite and alarm the ants. Thus, there are always several ants around or on top of a larva feeding on a plant. Indeed, given the mimetic nature of lar-

In Do単ana, the Plebejus argus feeds mainly on Halimium halimifolium, the most common and abundant scrub in the Park. There are always several ants around or on top of a caterpillar feeding on a plant. Indeed, given the mimetic nature of caterpillars, the best way to locate them on a plant stem is to look for ants. Photograph by Miguel G. Mu単oz Sariot.

vae, the best way to locate them on a plant stem is to search for ants. The obvious question is: why do larvae endeavour to attract ants? Why do they expend so much energy on ensuring that several ants are on or around them while they feed on Halimium? The answer involves a third party or group of protaganists of this story, which are- tiny, parasitic wasps that complete their life cycle at the expense of butterfly larvae.These wasps are extremely efficient in locating caterpillars, when they try to deposit their eggs inside their bodies.The eggs develop very quickly into wasp larvae, feeding on butterfly larva tissues. The wasp larvae emerge when they have completed their development, consuming the butterfly larvae which in the end have helped to produce new wasps instead of butterflies.The ants will effectively protect larvae from parasitoid attacks, in most cases preventing the assault of wasps. To reduce parasitoid attacks, larvae have the habit of feeding at night; hence, one must wait several hours after sunset to find larvae feeding on tender leaves. During the day, larvae crawl down the scrub stems into the ant nests, where they will remain protected until night falls. The transformation from larvae to pupae also takes place in the ant nest. The adult butterfly emerges from the chrysalis within two weeks, drying and spreading its wings outside, thus initiating a new cycle. Consequently, one could think that the presence of an ant nest beneath a Halimium could negatively affect the plant, given that there is a great probability that oviposition takes place on these plants. Larvae must complete their cycle on these plants, feeding on vegetal material (particularly apical leaves) that the plant itself needs for its own development, especially for its

annual reproductive output (flowers, fruits, seeds). Densities of larvae vary considerably from plant to plant and more than one hundred have been counted on a single plant. Such a large number of larvae will consume a substantial part of the foliar surface. Even if a leaf is not completely eaten by the larvae, it will dry up and fall. Due to their defoliation or leaf abscission, plants that have been attacked by larvae can be easily spotted in early summer. Summertime is the least favourable season for plants in Do単ana.The sandy soil retains very little water and consequently plants suffer from severe water stress.A plant's capacity to survive the dry season is related to the balance between root absorption of water and leaf transpiration. If absorption is reduced to minimum levels, transpiration must be reduced correspondingly. Defoliation could paradoxically contribute to the reduction of water loss. In September, the water stress of plants to which a known larvae density was applied was lower than the stress of equivalent control plants without larvae. Those plants also produced more seed capsules, indicating a higher degree of reproductive success of this seeder species. There is definitely a complex interaction across different levels.The position of the plants with regard to the aquifer will determine the presence of ant nests' and, in turn, these will influence the presence of larvae, which seek the protection of the ants from parasitoids. Although in principle the presence of ants, and therefore larvae, would seem to entail a negative effect on the plant, our experience shows that in fact plants were proved to benefit from this relationship, at least in terms of reduced water stress and increased reproductive success.


Spanish iris (Iris xiphium) in Doñana. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

The rabbit in Doñana


the tale of two different tales

t is undoubtedly the most widespread mammal throughout


the Iberian Peninsula. Its high fertility rate is offset by a high mortality rate. In Spain alone, almost 40 species of vertebrates that prey on the rabbit have been reported (Figure 1), apart from man. They are the basic prey item of two specialist and highly emblematic predators of Doñana: the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) and the Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti). Few species are capable of attaining such high densities naturally, with such a large number of predators and bearing in mind that the rabbit accounts for a major part of their diet.

the years after 1970, Pat Rogers was the first to quantify not only the rabbit populations of the Biological Reserve, but also their spatial distribution and ecological characterisation.At this time, populations had already been locally decimated in comparison with previous years, although large areas in which the rabbit was very abundant could still be seen.These areas were close to La Vera and the pond borders grazing meadows. Other plant communities like the undergrowth were also within their range, although abundance was very much lower. Rogers observed the extremely low capacity of


The rabbit and the original Doñana In Doñana, the history of its numeric dynamics is so well documented that it reveals to us some really unknown features of the species.The first records were made in historic times, dating back over 300 years. These records describe the rabbit as abundant in the hunting grounds and this has been a constant feature over the last few centuries. From the early years of the 20th century to the late 50s, the tales and testimonies of old game keepers of El Coto de Doñana confirm the abundance of rabbits, although populations were unevenly distributed, as they were far more frequent in “cotos” and in the forests of cork trees and wild olives with an undergrowth of mastic, especially among the ferns and meadows of La Vera and areas around the ponds. They were also abundant in areas of sage leaf rockrose, bordering on damper depressions. In the area of the dunes, there were only abundant populations to be found temporarily in the meadows of inter-dune valleys. Finally, in the Marshes, they were very rare, limited to an occasional specimen on the islets, walls or around buildings. All this changed in 1959, with the appearance of myxomatosis, which caused a genuine catastrophe: Valverde (1960) calculated a mortality rate of over 90%. It was also at this time when the true value of the rabbit was recognised and the importance of its contribution to the stability and wealth of Mediterranean ecosystems. In

* Department of Applied Biology. Doñana Biological Station. CSIC. Seville. Spain. ** Lab. Ecol. System. & Evol. Univ. Paris XI. Department of Applied Biology. Doñana Biological Station. CSIC. Seville.


FIGURE 1 Diversity of rabbit predators (number of species).

the rabbit to colonise the new pine forests and the thick, closed bush. He also revealed the importance of ecotonal areas and interfaces between different plant communities for rabbit populations and the important role played by soils and the water table depth in the stability and viability of rabbit communities. The most striking result, however, was the detection of a tendency among rabbit populations to decline in abundance, although in a less spectacular and dramatic fashion than the trend shown by Valverde in the previous decade. As with Valverde, we are once again surprised when the close association between the distribution and abundance of rabbits and lynxes is demonstrated. In the 80s, M. Beatriz Kufner (1986) analysed the impact on rabbits of the different predators of Doñana in the different areas and

depending on the time of day and time of year. Beatriz showed how the generalist predators have a special impact on the rabbits of Doñana, and that these general predators could come into competition with the specialist predators. She also showed how rabbits are most frequently distributed on the edges of moist pastures and medium cover shrub, although their distribution varies, depending on the time of year. A study similar to Rogers', conducted by Rafael Gerschwiz twenty years later (1994), shows us a very different pattern: low abundance figures, more isolated patches of distribution and almost reaching local extinction in some of the populations identified by Rogers. But what has happened in the course of these last twenty years? These two decades have witnessed two opposing phenomena: on the one hand, a recovery of populations (although not necessarily in the same places or to the same levels reported previously) as a consequence of their greater resistance to myxomatosis and, on the other, a dramatic mortality rate, from the early 90s, due to the appearance of a new viral infection: rabbit haemorrhaging disease. So what was the situation as we entered the new millennium? From 1994 to date (2004), there has been a pronounced change in the National Park's conservation policy, because of both the implementation of specific recovery plans for some endangered species and because of more interventionist environmental policies in general. In the course of the last ten years there have been controlled translocation and re-introduction programmes with rabbits (over

TABLE 1 Clearing the scrub in Doñana National Park. Analysis of the effectiveness of rabbit re-populations and other management measures in Doñana National Park. Final report. IREC. Nov 2001. RBD: Doñana Biological Reserve. YEAR


























































































TABLE 2 Re-stocking actions undertaken in Doñana National Park, data modified in accordance with the PML report, 1998. Figures in individuals 1993















El Lobo La Algaida


Re-stocking in cleaned area. Monitoring through faeces counting until 1999.



Construction of artificial warrens. Monitoring through faeces counting in 1998.





El Puntal



La Rocina


La Mogea

243 2275


823 Research Project. Radio-monitoring to prove efficacy.


Yearly total




8000 releases), thousands of hectares of pines planted in the 50s have been cleared, dozens of plots have been pruned to favour rabbit habitats and hundreds of rabbit warrens have been dug (Tables 1 and 2). The decline in the rabbit was attributed to a series of changes in the ecosystem; in particular, the abandonment of traditional practises, like the prescribed fire regime and clearing the brush. In 1985, interventions started in the form of clearing scrub on plots, schemes that were honed with the results of research conducted. In the early years, these plots were large and square, and in patches of the same kind of scrub. In the early 90s, the effectiveness of this clearing was seen to depend on the quality of the habitat. Since then, clearing is usually accompanied by either sewing herbaceous seeds or improving herbaceous plants to enhance the availability of food for the rabbits, and these operations were carried out in ecotone zones, where two different habitats meet. It was also discovered that the rabbits only use the edges of these plots, so the optimum size and shape of the areas to be treated were defined (lobed plots of no more than 50 metres between any of their sides, benefiting the lynx' predatory strategy; stalking). These clearing operations and their effectiveness in Doñana were weighed up once again in 1999, and it was found that there was still a positive effect (greater abundance) in most of the areas that had been targeted since 1988, although maximum effectiveness appeared to occur three years after the intervention. Stocking with rabbits has been a frequently used strategy in Doñana National Park, despite the fact that it is not contemplated in the Park's management plans or in the initial plans for addressing the problems of the lynx and the Imperial eagle1. After the first studies were conducted, 8,000 rabbits were transfered to Doñana between 1993 and 1996 (see Table 2), using mainly rabbits from areas a good distance away from Doñana National

Park and at different times and in different areas.There was no serious and exhaustive monitoring of any of these trans-locations in the long term. In 1999, rabbit abundance of the re-stocked areas was compared with other areas close by or with similar habitats, and it was observed that re-stocking had no long term effects. The conclusion of these studies was that the recovery of rabbits by means of trans-locations is characterised by concentrating management efforts in a few, and never isolated, plots.The history of rabbit re-stocking work, in Doñana and in the rest of Spain, shows us that it is a tool of limited use; it is controversial and should only be used in specific situations. Like medicine, it can have unwanted side effects.

The rabbit in Doñana today Despite the lack of efficacy of most of the actions carried out, there has been a slow but continued trend for rabbit populations to increase in Doñana today. This tendency would probably have been observed anyway, or may even have been stronger, as in other rabbit populations nearby, where no trans-locations have been done. The difference from previous decades is not the kind of spatial distribution, but the lower abundance of rabbits on these plots today.This patchwork system is not a static one; on the contrary, it is highly dynamic in both time and space, adapting very efficiently to changes in the physical environment (soil and vegetation), abiotic factors (climate) and epizootes. The rabbit's extraordinary capacity to grow and breed, together with the fact that it is so adaptable, has changed the situation slightly in 2002 (see Figure 2). A pronounced increase was observed in the area of Las Marismillas and El Puntal, and isolated populations appeared in Monteruelos and Los Sotos.The juniper forests remained the habitat in which rabbits abounded, and the re-planted pine trees, Las


FIGURE 2 Spatial distribution map of rabbit abundance (faeces/ha) in Do単ana National Park. Developed by Soringer and Fandos, 2003.

Spectacular scene of a lynx hunting a rabbit in Do単ana. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.


Naves and El Matorral, once they were cleared, started to show a gradual increase. On the contrary, El Coto del Rey and Matasgordas, although they sill maintain remarkable densities, are showing a decline. The Marshes, most of which is a habitat that excludes rabbits, is showing the presence of major rabbit warrens, and although these are restricted to the islet meadows and buildings, and although they have not to date been very striking, there have been more and larger colonies observed in the course of the last year and they seem to be more active since they have been protected from trampling by large herbivores. The spectacular increase in grazing in the Park between 1992 and 2001 (with over 4,000 head of large livestock) is increasingly considered as an element that disturbs the viability of rabbit populations, as they concentrate in higher areas (preferred by rabbits for building their warrens), collapsing rabbit warrens. Fortunately, the Livestock Plan of 2001-2002 has rationalised this situation to a certain extent. The real causes of the changes in abundance of rabbit populations remain unknown.Working hypotheses currently being given consideration include both the local intensity of predation, changes in the structure and distribution of the habitat, changes in the water level regimens and the length of the floods as a consequence of modifications made to the marshes drainage system.

The Iberian lynx


rescuing a species for Doñana and for the world

he Iberian lynx is a highly endangered species and it is known to breed only in two small areas of Spain: Doñana and the mountain ranges of Sierra Andujar and Sierra Cardeña.This makes conservation of this species, now restricted to Spain, a top priority objective for Doñana. Many hunting stories mention the killing of lynxes in Doñana in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Some skins and skulls from this time, deposited in different European museums, seem to bear witness to the fact that the Iberian lynx was an abundant species at the time. But things may not have been quite as clear as they seem.The authors who have devoted most effort to this issue are undoubtedly English authors Abel Chapman and Walter J. Buck, who wrote at least two books in which Doñana was the main, but not only, scene (Wild Spain, published in 1893, and Unexplored Spain, in 1910). These enthusiasts of El Coto de Doñana, which they considered "a fragment of the wild loneliness of Africa (...) in this corner of Europe", talked of catching live lynxes, shooting bullets (successfully or not) or shot at the great cat, a variety of methods for drawing to the guns, etc. But, although they say that the lynx is "even common" in the southern provinces of mainland Spain in their first work, in the second, they claim, with apparent surprise, that "it is difficult to explain why an animal whose only enemy is man can be so scarce". Was the lynx ever abundant in Doñana? Undoubtedly it was abundant locally, but maybe less so than we are tempted to imagine. After his first visits to the area, in the 1950s, Jose Antonio Valverde was pessimistic about the survival of the lynx, postulating that only a few pairs probably remained in the district, so few that they could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Around 1967, now working in the Reserve and with rangers and ringers conducting a detailed register of all observations, he was a little more positive in his opinion: "In Las Marismillas, only a single pair from Doñana remained in 1956, and we do not know whether it will survive.There are probably no more than ten pairs in Doñana, possibly not even half that number.According to the rangers, in Coto del Rey, there was still one pair in the summer of 1958. Around the same time, the Head Game Keeper of La Rocina claimed that only one other pair remained in his estate. In Hato Blanco and Hato


* Doñana Biological Station, CSIC.

Although the Iberian lynx has been able to survive in Doñana for over half a century with numbers scarcely larger than the current ones, the small existing population is extremely vulnerable. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.

Ratón, no pairs remained, as the last ones had been killed shortly before. Nor are there any lynxes in La Juncosilla, or further east of Hato Ratón, so the population can be calculated as no more than about fifteen pairs, if there are any pairs on State lands". These figures are clearly higher than now, but not much.


Between 1984 and 2000, dozens of lynxes have been tracked in Doñana and we have got to know their habits well. Only the territorial females breed, and their territories, which they will not share with other females, vary in size between 300 and just over 1000 hectares. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.

I reached Doñana in late 1972, and soon became fascinated by the lynx, which I did not manage to see. For months, I had to limit my work to collecting its faeces, which I analysed enthusiastically, and to describing the bodies of some fawns and young bucks that had been brought down by the predator.Thus, I managed to get an idea about which areas of the Reserve the lynx frequented. My impression, at the time, was that the protection given to the district and to the species for the last ten years had been a success. Inside the National Park (the boundaries of which had still not been extended, 35 ha at the time), there seemed to be lynxes more or less all over the place. A decade later, however, when we started putting traps to catch and tag the lynxes with radio collars, I was deeply disappointed: there only seemed to be stable pairs in La Vera, near the edge of La Marisma Marshes, and there were none, in contrast, in the countryside or near


Many hunting stories mention the death of lynxes in Doñana at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. Photograph: Doñana Biological Station Files.

the dunes and the lagoons. Even though myxomatosis had been affecting rabbits since the seventies and the disease had not yet reached Doñana, rabbits had become frankly scarce in these zones between 1970 and the first half of the eighties. Between 1984 and 2000, we radio tracked dozens of lynxes in Doñana and we have even got to know their habits well. We know that only the territorial females breed, and that their territories, which they will not share with other females, vary in size between 300 and just over 1000 hectares. We also know that males may overlap the territories of more than one female, that the cubs are usually born in mid to late March and that the females usually give birth to a litter of three cubs. Three months later, however, only two cubs usually accompany the mother in her wanderings. At an age of between one and two, the young leave their maternal range and disperse.

Leaving their home range, which represents a great danger for the peripheral populations of the exterior are easily extinguished and young, allows animals born in the National Park to colonise the few require re-colonisation every so often. favourable areas outside of the protected terrain (if they manage to So, what can we do to prevent the lynxes of Doñana from survive the traffic, guns and traps). In recent years, there seems to becoming extinct and to increase their numbers and, thus, their be a slight increase in the number of territories in the Nature Park, chances of survival? We know the solution, but applying it is more in the area of El Abalario. difficult: we need to increase the numbers of lynxes, and they have As we have reported to the Board of the Nature Park, in 2002, to enhance their breeding success, inside the National Park, and at apparent signs of breeding have been detected for at least nine the same time, the mortality rate outside the Park has to be females, although it has not always been possible to confirm the reduced. Increasing breeding and survival of the cubs in their first posterior survival of the young (i.e. successful breeding). In the case months of life requires that we enhance the availability of food (rabof six of these females, their litters were either directly observed bits or alternative prey items) in the regular breeding grounds.We or photographed.The largest breeding colony was in Coto del Rey even need to resort to artificial feeding points or "exclusive restau(within the borders of the National Park), followed by La Vera rants for lynxes", as is now done in the Biological Station, sponcolony (Puntal-Reserva-Algaida, inside the National Park). Other sored by BP and under the direction of Paco Palomares. On the females bred outside the National Park and sometimes, outside of other hand, new breeding grounds must be made available outside the Nature Park too (Acebuche, Rocina and Hato Ratón). Lynx the Park and, above all, we have to prevent lynxes from getting run tracks were also observed in Las Marismillas (where no breeding over by cars, or shot or trapped by hunters. Building traffic calming has been detected), inside the National Park and beyond its bormeasures, like speed bumps to force cars to slow down is undoubtders, in Torrecuadros, Mazagón, Bonares and several areas of El edly a good idea, but it is no good if the construction of black top Abalario and the upper reaches of La Rocina.The total number of roads continues in the district at the rate it has over the last twenadult and sub-adult specimens (excluding yearling cubs) has been ty five years. estimated at just over Coming back to the forty. beginning, a century Even though it has ago, two English travmanaged to survive for ellers, romantic hunters over half a century with who had found their population numbers "heaven on Earth" in that are barely higher Doñana, warned us that than those of today, such the lynx were inexplicaa small population is bly scarce. We now extremely vulnerable. know not only that they The situation is even are scarcer now than worse if we consider then, we also know that the fact that it is not a if they disappear altocontinuous population. gether, they will disapThe breeding specimens pear for ever and from are located in scattered the entire world. But, areas. We call this a moreover, we now have meta-population, which the explanations that is merely a "population they did not, and, thereof populations" confore, we can fight nected by the dispersing against the motive for specimens. The most their scarcity. In the persistent nuclei of the The Iberian lynx is a highly endangered species world wide. In fact it is only known to breed in 21st century, that two small areas of Spain: Doñana and the mountains of Sierra Andujar and Sierra Cardeña. This makes the salvation of meta-population are makes its conservation a top priority objective for Doñana. The penetrating stare of the lynx has become proverbial. the lynx an inexcusable located inside the Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala. CENEAM Files. mission. National Park, while the



1. OJEDA RIVERA, J.F., 1987. Organización del territorio de Doñana y su entorno próximo (Almonte) siglos XVIII-XX. Monografía 49. ICONA. Ministerio de Agricultura. Madrid. 459 p. 2. MENÉNDEZ AMOR, J., FLORSCHÜTZ, F., 1964. Resultados del análisis paleobotánico de una capa de turba en las cercanías de Huelva (Andalucía). Estudios Geológicos 3-4:183-187. 3. STEVENSON, AC., 1984, 1985. Studies in the vegetational history of SW Spain Journal of Biogeography 11:527-551; 12:293-314 4. STEVENSON, AC., MOORE, PD. 1988. Studies in the vegetational history of SW Spain IV Journal of Biogeography 15:339-361 5. CONSEJERÍA DEL MEDIO AMBIENTE, 2004. El pino piñonero (Pinus pinea L.) en Andalucía. Junta de Andalucía. Sevilla. 261 p. 6. LAMA GUTIÉRREZ, G., 1951. Diez años de trabajos forestales. Montes 39 (mayo-junio): 195-201 7. CONSEJERÍA DE MEDIO AMBIENTE, 2004. Las poblaciones andaluzas de vid silvestre. Junta de Andalucía. Sevilla. 173 p. 8. OCETE, R., LARA, M., PÉREZ, M.A., ROMERO, R., PÉREZ, J., 1996. Prospección del estado sanitario de Vitis vinifera sylvestris (Gmelin) Hegi situadas en el entorno del Parque Nacional de Doñana (Huelva y Cadiz) y en el Parque Natural de la Sierra Norte (Sevilla). Bol.San.Veg.Plagas 22(2): 433-441 9. MOORE, P., GARCÍA NOVO, F., STEVENSON, A., 1982. Survival of a wilderness. New Scientist 96(1331): 352-355 10. STEVENSON A.C., 1985. Studies in the vegetational story of SW Spain II Palinological investigations at Laguna de las Madres SW Spain. Journal of Biogeography12: 293-314 11. GARCÍA GÓMEZ, J.C., 2002. Paradigmas de una fauna insólita. Instituto de Estudios Campo Gibraltareño. CEPSA Cultural. Algeciras. 397 p. 12. KRYUKOV, A., IWASA, M.A., KAKIZAWA, R., SUZUKI, H., PINSKER, W., HARING, E., 2004. Synchronic east-west divergence in azure-winged magpies (Cyanopica cyanus) and magpies (Pica pica). J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Research 42 (2004) 342-351. Blackwell Verlag, Berlin.

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Doñana National Park Spain. Master Thesis. University of Virginia, US. 173 p. 50. SACKS L.A, J. S. HERMAN, L.F. KONIKOW & A. L. VELA. 1992. Seasonal dynamics of groundwater-lake interactions at Doñana National National Park, Spain. J. Hydrology 136: 123-154 51. SERRANO, L. 1992. Leaching from vegetation of soluble polyphenolic compounds, and their abundance in temporary ponds in the Doñana National Park (SW, Spain). Hydrobiologia 229: 43-50. 52. SERRANO., L. 1994. Sources, abundance and disappearance of polyphenolic compounds in temporary ponds of Doñana National Park (South-western Spain). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 45: 1555-1564. 53. SERRANO, L. & C. GUISANDE. 1990. Effects of phenolic compounds on phytoplankton. Verh. Int. Verein. Limnol. 24: 282-288. 54. SERRANO, L. & J. TOJA. 1995. Limnological description of four temporary ponds in the Doñana National Park (SW, Spain). Archivfiir Hydrobiologie, 133: 497-516. 55. SERRANO, L. & J. TOJA. 1998. Interannual variability in the zooplankton community of shallow temporary pond. Verh. Internal Verein Limnol., 26: 15751581. 56. SERRANO, L. R. SEMPERE, L. TORRES & J. TOJA. 1993. Efecto de compuestos polifenólicos naturales sobre el crecimiento de Chlamydomonas sp. en lagunas del P.N. de Doñana. In: L. Cruz-Pizarro, R. Morales-Baquero, P. Sánchez-Castillo & P. Carrillo (eds). Actas VI Congreso Español de Limnología. Granada, Spain: 245-252 p. 57. SERRANO L., R. M. LAMELAS, J. JAUREGUI & J. TOJA. 1994. Daily variations in two ponds of different mixing dynamics in the Donana N. P. (SW, Spain). Verh. Int.. Verein Limnol. 25: 1345-1349. 58. SERRANO, L., M. D. BURGOS, A. DÍAZ-ESPEJO & J. TOJA. 1999. Phosphorus inputs to wetlands following storm events after drought. Wetlands, 19: 318-326. 59. SERRANO L.5 M. REINA, E. DE VERD, J. TOJA & H.L. GOLTERMAN. 2000a. Determination of the sediment phosphate composition by EDTA method of fractionation. Limnetica 19: 199-204. 60. SERRANO, L., P. PÉREZ-ROMERO, A. PLAZUELO, A. TORRES & J. TOJA. 2000b. Microbial degradation of dissolved polyphenolic compounds in sesonal ponds. Verh. Int. Verein. Limnol. 27: 3252-3259. 61. SERRANO, L., I. CALZADA-BUJAK & J. TOJA. 2003. Variability of the sediment phosphate composition of a temporary pond (Doñana National Park, SW Spain). Hydrobiologia, 429: 159-169. 62. SERRANO L., M. REINA, A. ARECHEDERRA M. A. CASCO & J. TOJA. 2004. Limnological description of the Tarelo lagoon (SW Spain). Limnetica 23 (1-2): 1-10. 63. SOUSA A. & P. GARCÍA-MURILLO. 2003. Changes in the wetlands of Andalusia (Doñana Natural Park, SW Spain) at the end of the Little Ice Age. Climatic Change 58: 193-217. 64. TOJA, J., T. LÓPEZ & N. GABELLONE. 1991. Succesional changes in two dune ponds (Doñana National Park). Verh. Int. Verein. Limnol., 24: 1556-1559. 65. TOJA, J., T. LÓPEZ & N..A. GABELLONE. 1997. Limnology of the permanent dune ponds in Doñana National Park. In: F. García-Novo, R. M. M. Crawford & M. C. Díaz-Barradas (eds.). The Ecology and Conservation of European Dunes. Serv. Publ. Universidad Sevilla, Spain: 221-228 p. 66. VELA, A. 1984. Estudio preliminar de la hidrogeología e hidrogeoquímica del sistema de dunas móviles y flecha litoral del Parque Nacional de Doñana. Master Thesis. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. 221 p. 67. ZUNZUNEGUI M., M. C. DÍAZ-BARRADAS & F. GARCÍA-NOVO. 1998. Vegetation fluctuation in Mediterranean dune ponds in relation to rainfall variation and water extraction. Applied Vegetation Science 1: 151-160

THE ECOLOGY OF DOÑANA SCRUB 68. CLAVIJO, A., DÍAZ BARRADAS, MC, ZUNZUNEGUI, M., AIN-LHOUT F., ALVAREZ CANSINO, L., CORREIA, O. & GARCÍA NOVO, F. 2003. A conservaçâo de Corema album no litoral Atlântico da Península Ibérica; A influência de dispersores animais na regeneraçâo natural. Revista de Biología 21: 4356 69. CLEMENTE, A., REGO F.C. & CORREIA, O. 2005. Growth, water relation and photosynthesis of seedlings and resprouts after fire. Acta Oecologica 27: 233-243. 70. GARCÍA NOVO, F. & MERINO, J. 1993 Dry coastal ecosystems of Southwestern Spain. Dry coastal ecosystems (ed E. van der Maarel), pp. 349362. Elsevier. Amsterdam.

71. GARCÍA NOVO, F., ZUNZUNEGUI, M., MUÑOZ REINOSO, J.C., GALLEGO FERNÁNDEZ, J.B. & DÍAZ BARRADAS, M.C. 1996 Surface and groundwater control on ecosystem development: the case of Doñana National Park (SW Spain). Wetlands: A multiapproach perspective (eds J. Cruz San Julián & J. Benavente), pp. 81-101. Universidad de Granada. Granada. 72. GARCÍA NOVO, F. & MERINO, J.A. 1997 Pattern and processes in the dune system of Doñana National Park, Southwestern Spain. Dry coastal ecosystems. Part C. General aspects (ed E. van der Maarel), pp. 453-468. Elsevier. Amsterdam. 73. HERRERA, C.M. 1987. Vertebrate-dispersed plants of the Iberian Peninsula: a study of fruit characteristics. Ecological Monographs 57: 305-331. 74. MERINO, J. & MARTÍN VICENTE, A. 1981 Biomass, productivity, and succession in the scrub of the Doñana Biological Reserve in Southwest Spain. In Components of productivity of Mediterranean-climate regions. Eds. N S Margaris, H A Mooney. pp 197-203. Dr Junk Publishers, The Hague. 75. MARTÍN VICENTE, A. 1982. Sucesión tras el fuego del matorral en las arenas estabilizadas de la Reserva Biológica de Doñana. Phd Universidad de Sevilla. Spain. 76. SILJESTRÖM, P. 1985 Geomorfología y edafogénesis de las arenas del Parque Nacional de Doñana. Ph. D. Thesis, University of Sevilla. Sevilla , Spain. 77. TRABAUD, L. 1981 Man and fire: impacts on Mediterranean vegetation. In 'Mediterranean-type shrublands' (Eds F di Castri, DW Goodall and RL Specht). Pp. 523-537. Elsevier Sc. Pub., Amsterdam. 78. ZUNZUNEGUI, M., DÍAZ BARRADAS, M.C. & GARCÍA NOVO, F. 1998. Vegetation fluctuation in Mediterranean dune ponds in relation to rain fall variation and water extraction. Appl. Veg. Sci. 1:151-160. 79. ZUNZUNEGUI, M.; DÍAZ BARRADAS, M.C.; AIN-LHOUT, F.; CLAVIJO, A. Y GARCÍA NOVO, F. 2005. To live or to survive in Doñana dunes: Adaptive responses of woody species under a Mediterranean climate. Plant and Soil 273:77-89

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THE RABBIT IN DOÑANA 89. ANGULO, E., 2003. Factores que afectan a la distribución y abundancia del conejo en Andalucía. Tesis doctoral. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. 90. ROGERS, P.M., ARTHUR C.P. Y SORIGUER, R.C., 1994. The rabbit in Continental Europe: 22-63. In: The European wild rabbit": the history of a successful colonizer. Thompson & King. Eds. Oxford Univ. Press. 245 p. 91. SORIGUER, R.C., ROGERS, P.M., 1981. The european wild rabbit in mediterranean Spain.(600-613).: Proc. I World Lagomorph Conference. Univ. Guelph, Canada. 92. SORIGUER, R.C., 1981. Biología y dinámica de una población de conejos (Oryctolagus cuniculus, L.) en Andalucía Occidental. Doñana, Acta Vertebrata, 8(3): 1-379. 93. SORIGUER, R.C., 1977. Mixomatosis en una población de conejos de Andalucía Occidental. Evolución temporal, epidemia invernal y resistencia genética. 94. VALVERDE, J.A., 1967 . Estructura de una comunidad de vertebrados terrestres. Monografías, 1. CSIC. Madrid. 219 p.


The context of restoration and the new paradigms of Doñana


efore facing the challenges of restoring the hydrology of Doñana and its catchment areas, it is useful to first recognise the perceptions that have been held about this space from a number of perspectives.This is a district of 2,700 km2, the heart of which is the National Park, enveloped within the embrace of protected areas like the Nature Park and extensive lands that border settled districts. These areas make up what is known as Greater Doñana and cover an extensive natural region of 53,958 ha that crosses ten municipal districts in the provinces of Huelva, Seville and Cádiz. All of these natural areas are closely interrelated with the National Park's ecosystems.They are surrounded by a fringe of land that has been heavily influenced by human intervention, where there are many activities with direct impact on the natural systems of Doñana. Water is the backbone of the relationship between Doñana and its surroundings. It is a dynamic vector that makes up the dialogue

on the survival of this gem, and the final form that it takes. It should not be forgotten that we are talking about a natural area situated at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River Basin and, therefore, it is affected by almost everything that occurs throughout the region. The same is true of the Doñana Marshes watershed and the recharge surface of Aquifer 27, the water reservoir beneath Doñana soils.These are areas in which practically all human activity is reflected in the water that finally wells up or drains into the Marshes. Another important feature is that Doñana is one of the last major unspoilt coastal territories in Europe, in which temperature and sunshine conditions and the sandy nature of soils form a foundation and valuable support for intensive farming and for other economical activities like tourism.These conditions have generated conflicts of use and a temptation in the past to build on the coastline and to continue to do so. In the broad sense of the term,

Articles and descriptions of Doñana usually start with the tales of the travellers that visited the area out of some sort of scientific interest and who spread the word about its wildlife, or they presented it as an out-of-the-way spot full of surprises. In the picture, a lynx attentively follows a prey from the base of a cork oak. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.


In less than two hundred years, the Doñana region has changed its appearance and uses surprisingly often. Each time, the changes have been driven by the prevalent thinking of the time, a process that has not always been either linear or without conflicts. In the photograph, umbrella pine trees on sandy soils in the Biological Reserve. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.

The beginning of the 20th century marked the destiny of the land owners in Doñana, consolidating their estates. On the death of José Garvey in 1912, half of the Coto de Doñana passed to his niece Maria Medina Garvey. Maria Medina bought the other half of the Coto from the Count of Niebla. Her husband, Carlos Fernández de Córdoba, Duke of Tarifa, was a dynamic person who built the Marismilla Palace and repaired the Doña Ana Palace, as well as building houses for the game keepers and installing the metal plates marking the boundaries. The planting of pine trees, started by Garvey, continued, and magnificent hunts were organized in both Palaces. The King of Spain Alphonse XIII attended on several occasions up until 1931, usually on the 25th of January, to shoot deer, birds, and even lancing boar. He even presided over the Council of Ministers in Doñana. There are photographs of the King moving around the Doñana Estate with the aid of the latest technology of the time, such as the one above showing a half-track “Citroën” vehicle that has been adapted to the sands of Doñana. Photograph: Archives of the Doñana Biological Station.

Greater Doñana is a territory characterised by an extreme polarization between natural uses - nearly 60% of this area is made up of marshes, river banks and forest of great ecological and environmental value - and urban and agricultural uses that make up 36%,


where intensive, highly productive farming (rice fields and strawberries) coexist with more extensive and traditional farming (vineyards and olive groves)1. In less than two hundred years, the Doñana region has changed its appearance and uses surprisingly often. Each time, the changes have been driven by the prevalent thinking of the time, a process that has not always been either linear or without conflict.The protected areas have been successively extended since the conservationist movement began, while intensive uses of the land were becoming increasingly widespread and enormous building developments appeared with the growth of the tourist industry. While the pressure on groundwater resources increased in some areas, in others, like El Abalario, restoration work was done on the wetlands. Doñana grew into a protected natural area by means of the transformation of hunting estates into what have become real laboratories for science and for the observation of nature. During each stage, a specific model or paradigm for Doñana has arisen, which permeates how it is seen. There was the romantic view, the "productivist" approach, the speculative and development views, the nature conservation view and, more recently, the appearance and implementation of ideas on sustainable development. Each of these perspectives marks a different stage, sometimes over-lapping in time and space.A review of these ideas and the actions they have upheld enables us to gain a better idea of the multi-faceted perception of Doñana in the great debate on the best approaches to its conservation and restoration, especially in the area of water resources.


Articles and descriptions of Doñana usually start with the tales of travellers who visited the area, inspired by a particular scientific interest. They spread the word about the area's wildlife, or they presented it as an out-of-the-way spot full of surprises. These tales formed part of a tradition known as the "Grand Tour" among upper class youth of Great Britain and northern Europe. Such formative travel involved a romantic interest in Spain in general and in Andalusia in particular. In 1976,Alderich compiled 124 travel books on Spain just from the first half of the 19th century, by English authors, some wellknown, like Saunders, George Borrow, Robert Murray and Richard Ford, who came to Seville and took trips to Sanlúcar. In a letter dated January 1st, 1831, Ford relates that he had taken part in a hunt in the Coto del Rey, at the invitation of the Asistente Arjona, describing Doñana as "magnificent country for hunting, full of wild cocks", and he reproduced the Coto del Rey Palace in one of his illustrations2. In the late 19th century, the Coto de Doñana (Doñana game reserve) attracted hunters, some with a defined naturalist interest, who have left us some interesting descriptions. Abel Chapman (1851-1929), merchant, hunter and traveller to many countries, and amateur naturalist, published Wild Spain in 1883, which was to be followed by other books.The recurring references in many of these publications included the difficult access, the harsh landscapes of shifting sand dunes and the inhospitable nature of the wild marshes for mankind, made worse by their isolation at the time. In the spring of 1883, Abel Chapman wrote a frank entry in his diary: "There are no comforts. Spanish tobacco. No meat. Strong, dry, salt cod and other repugnant things.All wet, no fire and no hope of getting dry. Nobody speaks English. Nothing to read, drink or sit on!"3 Walter J. Buck (1843-1917) was British Vice Consul in Jerez, the capital of a rich Sherry producing region of Spain and close to Doñana. A keen hunter, Walter Buck founded in 1969 the first Pigeon Shooting Society, setting a precedent that was to become highly popular in Spain. In 1910, together with his friend Abel Chapman, he published Unexplored Spain. Along with Alexander Dingwall Williams and the Marquis of Torresoto de Brivieisca, Chapman and Buck formed the group of "escriturarios" (scripturals) that leased out the hunting in Coto de Doñana to the successive owners between 1872 and 1912. Wild Spain and Unexplored Spain combine an interest in hunting with a description of nature in a lifestyle that highlights adventure and exotic situations and which evokes images of incredible shoots with hundreds of ducks brought down by one hunter in a single day's hunting. These works, written almost thirty years apart, offer the best

data on Doñana to appear in the travel books of the time, including geographic descriptions and reports on the local customs that, however, deal with issues in a way that is, at times, more insulting than harsh.An example of such is the chapter "The Hurdes and the wild tribes that inhabit them" found in Unexplored Spain. These works remained un-translated for years and were little known in Spain, but in Europe, they became basic reference books for duck and big game hunters in Doñana and other parts of the Iberian Peninsula. In the end, they were the stories that wrapped the Coto Doñana in an aura of myth that helped to drive later initiatives. For Chapman and Buck, Doñana transcended the hunting estate to become a legend. Late in life, in his memoirs, Chapman recalles "For us... it has always seemed like a fragment torn from some wild African solitude and especially prepared for our personal benefit in this remote corner of Europe... Beyond the far edges of the known world... For us, field naturalists and lovers of the wild, Doñana represented nothing short of Heaven on Earth"4.This quotation immerses us in the perceptions of Spain that were held by travellers from Great Britain and central Europe in the late 19th century, filtered by their romantic ideal, "Le pays de l´imprévu". It was a time in which the Andalusia of Washington Irving's Tales from the Alhambra was more believable than the real thing. Doñana embodied the naturalist version of the romantic ideal, where the exotic was represented by the prodigious and incredible wildlife, described as "African" to highlight just how extraordinary it was. It

The recovery and restoration of the aquatic ecosystems of Doñana and its surrounds has become one of the main challenges faced in the framework of the new conservation and sustainable development strategy that has gradually taken hold in the area. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


"Without seeing them, it would be hard to believe that the shifting sands of Sanlúcar were endowed with the fertility they have. It would appear that, in ancient times, the sea has bathed most of the beaches and sandy lands, now used for growing vines. The remains of shells, zoophytes and other marine produce, mixed with the sand, provides evidence of its ancient origin". Esteban Boutelou 1807. Memoria sobre el Cultivo de la Vid en Sanlyucar de Barrameda y Xerez de la Frontera.Imprenta Villalpando Madrid 160p. Edición Facsimil de la Consejería de Agricultura y Pesca, Junta de Andalucía.Sevilla 2001. Photograph: CENEAM files.

was an extremely difficult place to get to and the wildlife was hidden in the immensity of a flat landscape. The version of Doñana as a "paradise" has lasted almost up to the present day, and a proportion of its visitors, estimated at 7%, come here for what is almost a mystic experience.Threats, like the mining accident of 1998, have been reported by conservationists as a transcendental assault capable of converting this protected area into a "Paradise Lost". But the reality of the Greater Doñana area and the River Guadalquivir estuary as perceived from its region Andalusia, and from its capital Seville, was very different at this time. First of all, we should not forget that, centuries earlier, the discovery and exploration of the Americas and the Philippines meant the arrival of animals, plants, minerals and other natural objects totally unknown to Europeans, turning this region into one of the major gateways to the new worlds. But during the same decades as the romantic view was being forged, this district was seen as an area for livestock, fishing and forestry, a centuries-old hunting ground, along with other similar ones, situated in a dynamic region open to world trade.The paddle steamer Real Fernando had been sailing up Guadalquivir River in a regular line between Seville and Cádiz with a stopover in Sanlúcar facing Doñana since 1817, just 10 years after Fulton's boat sailed up the Mississippi. In the second half of the century, the railroad networks spread over the region, connecting Seville with Jerez, Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlúcar. Mining in the Sierra Morena had caused a thick web of railway lines to spread out, which reached Niebla and the Tinto River, and the largest mineral


wharfs in Europe had been built in the Huelva Estuary, the work of Eiffel. Seville was an important city, and in it the Court of Montpensier, a noble family of pretenders to the Throne of Spain, was to incorporate the latest European cultural and artistic trends. From a scientific point of view, the Doñana region had been an object of study by botanists and zoologists from Seville.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE DUNES Some of the motives that prompted the waves of reforestation of the coastal area were attempts to bring the wasteland into production by "exploiting Doñana".This is the case of the battle against the dunes that began in the 19th century. The period of climate fluctuation in Modern Age known as the "Small Ice Age" lasted from 16th to 19th century. From 1830 to 1870, a period of heavy precipitations did take place with intervals of severe drought, such as that of 1850-53.The wet period gave way to a progressively more arid interval during which the wind-borne layer of sand that had stabilised and been colonised by vegetation again during the wet phase, once again became instable and started to shift.At the end of the 19th century, shifting sand dunes invaded farmlands in the Spanish coasts of Galicia to the North and of Catalonia and Murcia on the Mediterranean coast, and they threatened some settlements.This was a time in which there were several active dune fields in the coast of the South of Spain such as in Huelva and Cádiz provinces; in Barbate, the dune front even reached the first rows of houses. The "threat" of the dunes mobilised the public authorities.The

Directorate General of Agriculture appointed a commission of experts in 1887, to stabilize the SW coastal dunes from River Guadiana to River Guadalquivir mouths.The chairman, Luis Heraso, presented a study in 1889 and the South-West Dunes Afforestation Commission was established in 1892. Measures were implemented in the 20th century: 1902, Isla Cristina; 1905, Puerto de Santa María and Barbate; 1906, Vejer; 1924, Odiel (Moguer and Palos); 1938, Almonte.After these stabilizing schemes, the planting of pines and eucalyptus continued until it reached 30,000 ha by 1948. In the Revista de Montes in 1900, Luis Heraso published a documented study of the Almonte dunes6 and their stabilisation, which was the first scientific description of the Doñana dunes. He describes the region as an immense 20,000-ha wilderness, dotted with fouled lagoons and ponds, and with a vegetation of pines, poplars, oaks and cork oaks, referring to shifting sand dunes with little vegetation and the remains of pine forests "from 40 years ago".This must have been the afforestation which started in 1850 on the outer stable dunes of the system. He estimated that the area covered by the dunes was 8,397 ha, including what is now El Asperillo and El Abalario in the Nature Park of Doñana to the east. He describes the morphology as 4 or 5 major dune fronts separated by "corrales" or small interdune valleys, and in several sectors he made the first estimates in measuring the dynamics, getting values for the dune advance of between 1 and 25 m/year, which are in line with more accurate studies conducted in the 1970s that gave values of 3-6 m/year with an observed range of1-15 m/year. In contrast with the current idea of Doñana as a World Heritage Site, it is worth reproducing here the terrible impression that the dunes and the sandy areas of Doñana left on Heraso6: "..the dune band ...stretches down to the sea, and to give it a bleaker appearance, it runs into the poor land of flying sands and one part that covers 80,000 ha. It has unvarying vegetation that forms a mass of scrub comprising gorse, heather, mastic, rock rose and liquorice, and only insignificant remains of the magnificent pine forests that covered it 40 years ago. Furthermore, countless fouled lagoons and ponds can be observed dotted over about and they fill the atmosphere with unhealthy marshy emissions. And in another one next to the sea, the most complete bareness, with only the pure white surface of sand in continuous movement to be seen, whirling around on the wind, forming dunes, which advance unceasingly, which invade and sterilise everything, which block up the natural courses of the water, generating new hubs of infection, and which present an image of an African desert throughout the length of this place.To complete the picture, it is suffice to say that this is a zone in which the only thing usually to be found is the odd herd of goats guided by sallow-faced goat herders, their faces marked by fevers that have not left them since childhood, a few groups of wild

animals, or animals turned wild, like deer, lynx, rogue bulls7, stray asses and water fowl, such as the brightly coloured flamingo and the geese and ducks; a district wanting in all resources...." p262. "...the appearance of everything to be seen in the 70 square kilometres that the dunes occupy in these parts is that of a sea of sand, almost completely devoid of vegetation, with many places giving the appearance of snow-covered land or of a desert. One would say, on seeing the monotonous surface of this region, that it had been the scene of a great catastrophe, as the accidents that show up in this zone appear before one's eyes to be in complete disorder..." p285. Heraso also includes two interesting historic details concerning the Torre La Higuera. He mentions that the ruins of the Tower (Torre) were situated on the dune, from where it fell into the sea. This was apparently based on an account from oral history, although there is a report of 1855 confirming the evidence. Heraso also mentioned that the Poleosas ponds formed a tributary, a stream called the Arroyo de la Higuera, at times of high water, which drained into Arenas Gordas by the Tower, although the movement of the sands had blocked its course. He records that the Santa Olalla pond had lost half its basin to the invading dunes between 1860 and 1890. He then completes his analysis with meteorological data on Sanlúcar (1888) and the well water temperature, as an estimated average temperature of the area. It comes very close to the values accepted nowadays: Sanlúcar at 17.2º, and the first known data on the waters of Doñana: 18º to 19º for the Los Carabineros and Charco del Toro wells.

Water is the backbone of the relationship between Doñana and its surroundings. It is a dynamic vector that makes up the dialogue on the survival of this gem, and the final form that it takes. It should not be forgotten that this natural area is situated at the mouth of the Guadalquivir and, therefore, it is affected by almost everything that occurs throughout the region. The photograph shows a view of the mouth of the River Guadalquivir with the arrow of dunes, hosting the Marismillas pine forest, ending at Punta del Malandar. Photograph: Paisajes Españoles S.A.


The idea of that wild Doñana described by romantics, completely isolated from civilisation, was very different from the truth. In the same decades as the romantic view was being forged, this district was seen as an area for livestock, fishing and forestry, a centuries-old hunting ground, along with other similar ones, situated in a dynamic region open to world trade. The paddle steamer Real Fernando had been sailing between Seville and Cádiz with a stopover in Sanlúcar, since 1817, just 10 years after Fulton's boat sailed up the Mississippi. In the photograph, the homonimous boat that is now used to visit Doñana, leaving from Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.

He also did research into analysing replanting techniques that would be applicable to the dunes and potential species to be used, discussing their behaviour in terms of plant physiology, photosynthesis and nutrients, and showing a good scientific background. His suggested candidates for planting the shifting dunes included European beach grass (Ammophila arenaria), Leymus arenarius, broom, gorse, salt cedar and Corema album. Tree species include the umbrella pine tree and the pinaster pine. As a technique, he gives a detailed description of the "navazos"8 (orchards excavated in the sands) of Sanlúcar, pointing out the early use of cat's claw to stabilize sand walls. All the work was done by hand using animal power, and it must have been extremely hard for men working on sandy soils in the summer months.The author calculated that an ox cart covers an average of 20 km per day with a load of 500 kg and a man can walk 30 km carrying a 20 kg bundle. In 1900 and 1912, Castro documented the advances made in replanting the Huelva and Cádiz dunes and he supplies a long list of species used for stabilising them, including eucalyptus, acacias and pine trees.

THE CHALLENGE OF CONSERVATION With the help of Mauricio González, Doñana was presented to the international scientific community in 1953. Since then, a wave of information on the enclave has begun circulating around Europe and the world. Famous expeditions to Doñana bore important fruits. In order to promote the unification of common bird names around Spain,


which Prof. Bernis had published in his handbook called Prontuario de las aves de España, Mauricio González took on the task of translating Peterson's "A field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe", published in 1953, transliterating the song of each species into Spanish phonetics. Moreover, in 1954, Mauricio González, Pedro Weickert, Rubio Recio, José Antonio Valverde and Francisco Bernis together created the Spanish Ornithological Society, which commemorated its founders in 2004. The Andalusia Regional Government awarded its Environmental Award to the first three of these in 2004. Valverde's active participation in the Third Expedition (1957) allowed him to contact leading scientists. Max Nicholson invited him to visit reserves in Great Britain and this experience proved to be a catalyst for his efforts to create a Biological Reserve in Doñana. In 1959, he prepared a summary on the decline of the Doñana Marshes wildlife for the IUCN and, in 1960, he documented the decline of the Spanish imperial eagle which, in light of agricultural changes, could have been driven to extinction. He saw that the conservation of this bird, in the end, depended on the owner of the land and that a change in ownership or a change in land use could easily wipe out the endangered population. He saw the answer to conserving the eagles and other threatened species was to buy a large enough area of land in the heart of the Doñana Marshes and to create a research centre there. He agreed to buy in the core part of the Marshes the Estate of Las Nuevas, from the Marquis del Mérito. To raise the necessary finance, he set up in London in 1961 an international fund for the protection of nature, which later became the World Wildlife Fund, with the collaboration of Max Nicholson, Peter Scott and Guy

With the help of Mauricio González , Doñana was presented to the international scientific community in 1953. Since then, a wave of information on the enclave has begun circulating around Europe and the world, always highlighting the exceptional bird life. In the photograph, a bean goose (Anser fabalis) in the Marshes of Doñana. Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.

Doñana was created as a 35,000-ha Park in 1969, under pressure from the north by the intensive farming of the Almonte-Marismas Plan, to the east by processes of change implemented in the Marshes, and to the south by tourist developments, whose driving idea, based on what was known as the Fraga Act of 1963, was to convert the magnificent beaches of Doñana into an uninterrupted strip of development from Sanlúcar de Barrameda to Matalascañas. In the photograph, an early view of Matalascañas, a tourist resort set between the sea and the National Park. Photograph: Paisajes Españoles S.A.

Mountfort, in London in 1961. In Spain, the Board of the Biological Station of the Marshes was created, which remained in operation from the 17th of January 1962 to the 22nd of December 1964. In December of 1963,Valverde, the Secretary of the Board, negotiated with the González family the purchase of 6,974 hectares bordering the Doñana Marshes, with funds coming from the WWF and a similar contribution from the Spanish State. The Biological Reserve was handed over to the Council for Scientific Research on the 22nd of June 1965 and the Council created the Doñana Biological Station in Seville the following year.This initial core was to act as a nucleus for creating the 35,000 ha of National Park that was declared as such in 1969, in response to the question asked by Professor Bernis twelve years before as to whether it would be possible to conserve this natural paradise or not. The scientific community, government and society now recognised the existence of Doñana, but the new Park was surrounded by initiatives that could have been its death toll: the AlmonteMarismas Agricultural Plan, the coastal road and beachfront urbanisation. In the seventies, Spanish society, during its transition towards democracy, after General Franco death in 1975, was to witness a stubborn fight put up by scientists and conservationists against developers, speculators and "experts" in the service of an out-of-date administration. In 1979, Doñana National Park was extended to the south coast and pushed back the irrigated farm-

lands to the north, as well as absorbing large cultivated areas in the "pre-park" zones, which were given a new protection status within the Doñana Nature Park in 1982, increasing the protected surface area to over 1000 km2.The role of research was key to the success of the conservationists, as the scientists accepted the controversy, fostered environmental education and communication and used international scientific forums to great success in their famous "Save Doñana!" campaign. THE HOPES AND DREAMS OF TOURISM

Sun, sea and sand tourism burst onto the scene in the 1960s as the great panacea for the development of the Spanish coastline and, of course, Doñana was not to be left out of this tide of urbanisation. The entire coast of Doñana suffered a wide range of attempts to build tourist rersorts at this time.These were the years when everyone thought that the magic wand of tourism guaranteed prosperity. The tourist development point of view was even more powerful, if that were possible, than the "utopia" of agricultural development advocated by the Almonte-Marismas Plan. Even today, it is still surprising that the coastal road in pursuit of this goal was never built, although it was planned, as was the case along most of the virgin coasts of Spain. In 1986, on the western corner of the National Park that borders the coast, Matalascañas resort was declared a Centre of


For Chapman, Doñana transcended the hunting estate to become a legend. Late in life, in his memoirs, Chapman writes "For us... it has always seemed like a fragment torn from some wild African solitude and especially prepared for our personal benefit in this remote corner of Europe... Beyond the far edges of the known world... For us, field naturalists and lovers of the wild, Doñana represented nothing short of Heaven on Earth.” Photograph: José María Pérez de Ayala.

National Tourist Interest, an enclave like Mazagón, located on the same coast and close to Huelva.At the time of the declaration, the tourist industry was limited to a few summertime vacationers, mainly from the bourgeoisie of Seville's Bajo Aljarafe who, since the 1920s, had been renting the ranches that farmers and hunters had built along the coastal strip.The case of Mazagón is somewhat different, being associated with the infrastructure that came out of the reforestation process of the 1940s. Matalascañas, however, is now a built up wedge that literally borders on the National Park, where there are summer peaks of 300,000 visitors and residents. Like most of the major operations of this kind at the time, so called tourist development did, in fact, become real estate operations in which construction was the main aim.Yet, the buildings were for second residences rather than for the tourist industry. Much of the present effort is focused on attempts to integrate this development into the surrounding area. Hence, Doñana was created as a 35,000-ha park in 1969, under pressure from the north by the intensive farming of the AlmonteMarismas Plan, to the east by processes of change implemented in the marshes, and to the south by tourist developments, whose basic idea, based on what was known as the Fraga Act of 1963, was to convert the magnificent beaches of Doñana into an uninterrupted strip of development from Sanlúcar de Barrameda to Matalascañas, supported by a coastal road.The end of the dictature


of General Franco in 1975 and the new Constitution of 1978 created a more favourable climate for integrated conservation in Doñana and, as a highpoint of the decade, the National Park was extended to reach the sea in 1979, including a maritime-shoreline area along its coastal front to the Gulf of Cádiz. It was also extended north to protect other areas.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND DOÑANA As was to be expected in a naturally and socially dynamic zone that was always on the edge of controversy, Doñana was early early identified as a potential area for sustainable development. Ideas on sustainable development generated in the eighties, with the Bruntland Report (1987), led to the creation of an International Committee of Experts in 1991 with Prof. Manuel Castells as its Chairman. In 1992, the Committee published a report entitled "Basis for the Sustainable Development of Doñana and the surrounding area". Based on their estimates, in December 1993, the first Plan for Sustainable Development was approved by the regional Andalusian Government for the Greater Doñana area. The Plan for the Sustainable Development of Greater Doñana took the shape of eight action programmes with general objectives that focussed on resolving the issues of natural heritage conservation and establishing the foundations for compatible social and economic development. In an area of such extremes, this experience

and the intentions of the programme have produced one of the most exhaustive known exercises in social debate and project implementation in the area of sustainability, a concept so difficult to put into practice.The programmes dealt with an the integrated management of water, farming, environment, tourism, road equipment and infrastructure, the development of economic activity, education, cultural heritage, planning and management. The starting point for the International Committee of Experts was to raise a model of sustainability for the Greater Doñana encompassing over 2,700 km2 of area of influence. There are very few cases of regional planning in which a protected area exercises direct influence over such an extensive area, and fewer still in which the natural area is the leading player. Greater Doñana was forty times the size of the initial area of the Biological Reserve set up by Valverde and three times the size of the protected areas to date included in the National Park and Nature Park.This is perhaps the most important aspect and it has left its mark on the last twenty years of Doñana's history. It involves the whole territory, even where it does not contain relevant natural value, and it marks the turning point in the destruction of the marshes and natural areas that was proceeding at an average rate of over 500 ha/year.The Plan for Sustainable Development not only slowed down this process, it also increased the rate of recovery and restoration over and above the rate of destruction.What is more, it recognizes water as the key asset in the new definition of the territory. The initiative was ten years ahead of its time: this was the central concept of the World Parks Conference, held in Durban in 2003, "Benefits before Boundaries". However, the same cannot be said of the ambitious programmes that the Plan attempted to implement because, among other reasons, it is still too early. Concerning the integrated management of water resources, the balance is somewhat poor, with the exception of the two major initiatives in course, Doñana 2005 and the Green Corridor of the Guadiamar River, whose driving force was the Aznalcóllar mine tailings accident of April 1998.Water continues to be drawn from the Aquifer 27 at the same rate.The number of wells and the total volume drawn has increased since the ruling was made.The International Committee of Experts recommended not irrigating rice with water from this aquifer. But, for example, the "Hato Blanco" concession has maintained the same rate of water consumption (around 10 hm3/year), causing a significant drop in the phreatic levels year after year, mainly in Vera Norte, the northern boundary of the Marshes of the National Park. El Arroyo de la Rocina stream has lost some of its original flow because of the wells that have been dug for the intensive farming that is practised throughout the headwaters of the catchment basin.The basic methods of intensive farming have hardly changed, which means a con-

stant reduction in the quality of the waters and a widespread pollution that is difficult to assess. Nevertheless, the most notable point is that the systematic monitoring of water quality conducted after the accident of 1998 has enabled experts to learn that all catchment areas draining to the Nature Park now have some disfunctions to be addressed. The problem lies in the fact that once a policy is established to solve a local problem (or because it has been promised by politicians), new amendments are often assayed as new options where none exist. In order to avoid affecting Doñana aquifer today, the politicians are discussing transferring water from the Guadiana catchment basin some 200 km apart. But, at the same time, other alternatives have arisen within the original scope of the Plan and have been successful. For example, the Doñana 21 label provides an ecological quality certification system for farm produce and services that has been a clear success since it was promoted by the Doñana 21 Foundation. Innovative developments like the Dune Park, which has, in fact, acted as a buffer against the urban spread of the Matalascañas tourist resort, are now a reality. Such is the case of the long awaited Maritime Museum and the CICEMA, a research centre of the University of Huelva. The Museum exhibits the sea mammal collection that José Antonio Valverde campaigned so long

The banks of the Guadalquivir River have been often re-shaped and altered, being saltworks among the oldest man-made interventions. In the above photograph, remains of the Levante saltworks, located within the National Park opposite to Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Although salt exploitation has been abandoned, they are preserved for the important ecosystems they support. Photograph: Ayesa.


After La Algaida marsh was restored, monthly censuses of the birds have been carried out by 2000, which show an increase in diversity, reaching 91 species in 2004. Given the characteristics of the area that belongs to the Nature Park, the potential diversity could be as high as some 200 species. In the photograph, an avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta). Photograph: Spanish Autonomous National Park Authority.

for, ever since he began to realize that the boundaries of the Doñana concept did not stop at the beach.Will this be the new Doñana paradigm?


The recovery and restoration of the aquatic ecosystems of Doñana and its surrounds has become one of the main challenges faced in the framework of the new conservation and sustainable development strategy that has gradually taken hold in the area.The first stage, basically aimed at conserving species and ecosystems, and including new protected areas, especially the development of the "pre-park" zones. Experts have now turned to addressing the main challenge: to recover, restore and rehabilitate outstanding aquatic ecosystems that were in an advanced state of degradation.This policy received an enormous boost after the Aznalcollar accident, in which, after clearing up the pollutants, two major projects were tackled: Doñana 2005 (restoration and regeneration of all the water drainage basins) and the Green Corridor of the Guadiamar River (functional and ecological restoration of the watercourse). Apart from these major projects, however, another two earlier ones should also be mentioned, as they have allowed scientific understanding to amass and they act as benchmarks in restoring a range of different ecosystems.These were the El Albalario


Landscape Reconstruction, a large number of ponds and other wetlands on sandy substrates of an extraordinary interest that is dealt with in depth in this chapter, and the ecological restoration programme for La Algaida Marsh of Sanlúcar, a clear illustration of the potential opened up by restoring a tidal marsh10. The banks of the Guadalquivir River Estuary, where La Algaida is located, have been re-shaped with every flood, leaving visible remains of former lucios (shallow lakes), cut-off river branches, tidal marsh channels and levees that have had tracks, walls, channels, salt flats and erosion defences built on them. Since 1985, four million cubic metres dredged from the shipping channel have been dumped in the tidal marsh along an 8 km stretch of the left bank, most of which belongs to the Nature Park. The dredged material was dumped in a series of enclosures that measured 250 m wide by up to 500 m long, raising the mounds to 3 m high. For this reason, the Ministry of the Environment has included in the Doñana Sustainable Development Plan the restoration of 52 ha of enclosures from the Martin Ruiz channel. The first phase consisted of removing the disposed dredged material (some 600,000 m3) that was to be used to improve farm holdings in the neighbourhood.The Ecological Restoration Project, carried out by Francisco García Novo and Juan Bautista Gallego of the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology of the Seville University, was implemented in 2000, and the follow-up programme, run by the Ministry, was implemented over the four-year period 2001-2005. The Andalusian Regional Government has also funded the monitoring of vertebrates, an important aspect as it involves the Doñana Nature Park. A panorama of the area to be restored, including the tidal marsh of the estuary, was that of vegetation dominated by Spartina densiflora (a highly aggressive introduced species) and bunches of Phragmites australis and Scirpus maritimus reeds, with a poorly diversified vegetation cover.The initiative also faced an added challenge, as the conditions of this part of the marsh meant that conservation had to be compatible with the public use of the area. Hence, three restoration options were considered: 1. Ecological restoration to re-establish ecological functions and processes and the characteristic species and communities of the area, all in a selfsufficient regime. 2. Rehabilitation to recover elements of the degraded ecosystem with a view to conserving species and processes under a regime of artificial regulation. 3. Re-building, constructing different habitats from pre-existing ones, designed to maintain certain species. The ecological restoration applied was aimed at recovering the ecosystems associated with tidal marshes, which had been reduced to a very small area in the Guadalquivir Estuary, with actions being focused on the basis of four criteria: to increase biodiversity,

restore tidal flow, promote the self-organisation of the system and facilitate public use.Two restoration methods were applied, dividing the zone into two areas: the north (22 ha), with intensive intervention, and the south (30 ha) with moderate intervention and a higher degree of self-organisation (see Figure 1).The use of cement or metallic sluices was ruled out, in order to maintain a natural appearance of a dendritic marsh landscape, with undulating channels and giving rounded shapes to the contours of ponds and islands. The intensive intervention on the north area maximised water renewal and the maintenance of 0.5 m of water or more in 20% of the surface area.To study this system, a simulation programme was used with fluctuating tidal levels in the estuary, and trials were done with different channel lengths and cross sections, and opening two mouths, each one 13 m wide, to connect to the estuary, and excavating 2,060 m of channels. Removable gravel sluicegates were installed in the mouths.The material removed (30,000 m3) was used to build three islands, each of which stood up to 0.5 m above the surface of the surrounding areas.Two of them have had 0.15 m topsoils added from areas nearby. In order to import propagules to the “islands�, submerged deposits of sand and gravel were prepared, in order to offer an array of substrates to aquatic organisms. In the southern area, the moderate intervention consisted of opening small channels and three wide mouths into the estuary. The tidal flow facilitated the self-organisation of channels, generating a typical tidal marsh dendritic network that made a diversity of habitats possible. Access was opened up to the species from terrestrial and aquatic environments, enhancing connectivity with the help of tidal flow, letting species move into the zone. The result of this is a highly diverse system in terms of the diversification of habitats.The hydrology was the main factor that defined the zoning of animal and plant species. This was attained through introducing variations in the height and the slope of the surfaces.Along with the tidal cycle, it has determined the extension, depth and duration of the flood, thus, in turn, facilitating the colonisation of the area by different communities of plants, macro-invertebrates and ground fauna, an essential resource for water fowl, mainly wading birds. The channels are a suitable habitat for algae, water plants, fish and decapods, and they also provide food resources for herons, cormorants, geese, terns and other waterfowl. On two of the islands, the introduction of seed banks and propagules from neighbouring sandy pasture lands was opted for. These came in the sandy soil that was brought in, which already contained insects and other soil invertebrates. As they are free from flooding, these islands have allowed fully terrestrial communities to develop, and have also acted as breeding grounds for some birds.

After this stage was completed, a monitoring programme was established, including: a system to regulate the flow of the tide, measuring of the rate of sedimentation and erosion, and the monitoring of physical, chemical and biological variables in the water, the plant succession, and the use of the different habitats by wildlife. In accordance with the model of adaptive management, small modifications have been when the succession or the regime of floods on the Guadalquivir River made it necessary. This follow up has shown that the re-vegetation of the area has occurred very quickly, with colonisation by typical tidal and nontidal marsh species. Most of these are Chenopodiaceae (Salicornia, Sarcocornia, Atriplex, Salsola, Suaeda, Halimione), apart from other genera like Spartina, Mesembryanthemum, Spergularia and others. These species have distributed in varying numbers and cover, with greater alpha diversity in the higher marshes and lesser diversity in the lower marshes. On the sandy islands, the pasture is similar to FIGURE 1 La Algaida Marsh Restoration Project. Designed by the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology of the University of Seville. 2000.


the original small hills with gramineae (Lolium, Pholiurus, Hordeum, Phalaris) and legumes (Meliloltus, Medicago, Trifolium) and Arctotheca calendula, an introduced species.Together these form a diverse community (up to 15 sp/m2) with a good vertical structure (up to 40-60 cm in height). In the southern area, the water moss Riella helicophylla made its appearance in crystal clear waters in 2002 in a very few sites in Doñana, creating a community that has multiplied in 2003 and 2004, suggesting that the restored marsh acts as a secondary diffusion centre for the species in the estuary. Other rare or critical species in the Doñana Parks and their surroundings may also find in the restored zone a base to support their presently endangered survival. The area was used by wildlife immediately after the first flooding, with fish appearing in the channels and birds throughout the marsh, coming here to find resources and refuge. Rabbits and moles appeared on islands and pastures, along with the fox, which immediately learned how to reach the islands. During the process of monitoring the fish life between February and December 2002, 8,831 specimens of 22 different species were caught - a very high number bearing in mind that the potential diversity of estuary fish is 60 species. Fundulus heteroclitus was the most abundant (75.6%), followed by Liza saliens (11.5%) and Pomatoschistus microps (7.7%). Monthly censuses of the birds have been carried

Talking of Doñana always revives a kaleidoscope of images in our memory: the vibrant pajareras, nesting colonies of herons perched on the cork oaks of La Vera, the flocks of flamingos forming red eyebrows over the water line of the Marshes and lighting it up with their reflection when they take flight; the enormous flocks of geese flying to Cerro del Tigre at dawn to eat sand; the columns of white storks or black kites flying in circles over the dry marshes preparing their migration; the hundreds of dying carp in a pond as it dries out, food for herons and kites, the bellowing of the deer in the autumn nights… Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


out, which show an increase in diversity, reaching 91 species in 2004. Given the characteristics of the area, the potential diversity could be as high as some 200 species. In the lower and mid marsh areas, there is a constant abundance of waders like dunlins, redshanks, greenshanks, ringed plover, little ringed plover, Kentish plover, grey plovers and godwits. In areas of shallow waters, avocets, black-winged stilts, spoonbills, flamingos, great white egrets, mallards, red-crested pochard, European pochard and whistling ducks are in abundance. In the interior channels, there are grey herons, purple herons, egrets, cormorants and several species of terns. Marsh harriers, black and red kites fly over the area. But one of the great surprises that came out of the restoration of La Algaida has been the presence of several ospreys that stop to fish the channels for several weeks during their winter migration. Three years after the restoration, the marshes have been functionally zoned, according to the frequency of flooding and the colonisation (that has followed water, aerial and land routes) by all groups of organisms to be found in the zone.The diversity of the communities has, in the first instance, been structured with dominant species or groups, Fundulus heteroclitus in fish, waders in birds, Salicornia perennis and Spartina densiflora in the vegetation, diatomaceae and green-blue algae in floodable areas, and so on. Restoring unusual environments like permanent tide water channels, temporary clean water masses with low salinity, or poor substrates like porous rocks, perches and roosting sites, has promoted the introduction and presence of typical marshland species that were previously absent in the area, and typical species of marine water environments, like pitchers, put into in the gravel of the sluicegates that close the mouths. Vegetation planting accelerated some of the system characteristics (primary productivity, accumulation of nutrients in the necromass, structuring), favouring higher trophic levels and the presence of later species in the succession.The downside is that it initially creates communities with reduced diversity, because of the colonising effect. Taken as a benchmark for the new way of seeing Doñana, this intervention, along with others, has allowed scientists to gain experience in the restoration initiatives for the marshes of the National Park, that are being implemented within the framework of the Doñana 2005 Plan. In this latest view of Doñana, the challenge is no longer just to conserve and protect. Science, society and the administration have now all joined in an alliance to reverse the process of aggravation that Doñana has been subjected to in the past. In this emblematic Biosphere Reserve, one of the world's most impressive living laboratories in the recovery of wetlands has been established.

The agricultural J C V development in the surroundings of Doñana OSEFINA



spatial and landscape changes

he circumstances of the area surrounding Doñana stand in contrast to the trend of progressive decline of farming activities that took place in Europe over the 20th century. While the area was agriculturally marginal and non-productive at the beginning of the last century, it later became a target of intense agricultural transformation, especially during the second half of the 1900s.Today, upon viewing the composition of gross income, agricultural employment and even the influx of immigrant farm workers, Doñana continues to be agricultural territory in both economic and social terms.This is truly disconcerting if we consider that rather than being located in a remote rural area, Doñana is the centre of the most important population triangle in the southwestern Iberian Peninsula. In addition, the surrounding metropolitan areas -Huelva, Cadiz and, especially, Seville- put a great deal of pressure on the territory in demands for recreational, tourism and residential land uses.


THE PRISTINE STATE If one could speak of a pristine state regarding Doñana's surrounding areas, this could be considered to have lasted until well into the 20th century, despite the attempts at transformation carried out in the second half of the 19th century. Up until then the landscape of Doñana and its surrounding area was dominated by the Marsh of the Guadalquivir. The marshlands extended along both banks of the river downstream of Seville all the way to the sea and included the large sandy coastal areas in the western area and the strip of consolidated Tertiary soils that characterise the countryside in the southern Condado region. The soils in the marshlands sustained a wide array of productive uses, such as hunting, fishing and pasture for livestock grazing, in an area that had undergone very little change with minimal human presence. The wide expanses of sand plains were considered to be "sterile by nature". In contrast, the Condado region sustained traditional Mediterranean dry farming such as cereal, olive groves and vineyards. This was conducive to the establishment, distributed all along the border

* Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sevill,.Spain. Member of the Doñana National Park Board.. Member of the International Experts Commitee (Sustainable Development Plan for Doñana)

between the Condado and the Marshes, of rural settlements typical of the Andalusian countryside.These towns and villages, including Aznalcázar, Pilas, Hinojos, Almonte, Moguer, Villamanrique de la Condesa, and later Isla Mayor and El Rocío, were the farthest outreaches of human settlement into the marshes.

THE PRIMARY CHANGES IN AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY Afforestation Through the years, Doñana and its surrounding area have been the target of a variety of afforestation plans, with varying degrees of intensity, extent and results. The year 1737, for example, can be considered an emblematic date as this was when the first umbrella pine trees were introduced onto the private estate of Marismillas, close to the stuary of Guadalquivir River. However, the afforestation schemes that had the greatest impact on the transformation of Doñana's territory and landscape were the public initiatives implemented since the early years of the 20th century. Afforestation was mainly the result of public intervention motivated by a productivist frenzy and the need to remedy the

Forested areas Protected areas Boundary of the Doñana region


Agricultural production has been refocused responding to the market demands, being the significant expansion of citrus groves and strawberry plantations around El Rocio a good example of it. In the picture, view of El Rocío shrine from the Marsh. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala. Ceneam files.

dearth of supply in the Spanish timber industry, and to a lesser degree, from the need to stabilise the dunes that threatened the towns along the south-western coast of the peninsula. Between 1904 and 1924 the Seville-Huelva District Forest Brigade carried out an intensive transformation of nearly 17,000 hectares in the wilds of Almonte, Hinojos and Aznalcazar. Nonetheless, the most significant transformation took place after 1940 and was implemented by the National Forest Heritage Authority. Although they peaked in the 1950s, the activities of the Heritage Authority lasted well into the 1970s and were not limited to afforestation, but also involved a resettlement process that led to the construction of several forestry villages (Bodegones, Acebuche, Abalario, Cabezudos, etc.), built to host the working population.This is an excellent indicator of the demographic vacuum that existed in the area. However, these population settlements neither endured nor changed the prior settlement system. They only survive today as testimonies of the aforementioned afforestation schemes and they might play a complementary role in the tourist model for Doñana's surrounding areas. Pursuing rapid growth rates of trees, the area was afforested with eucalyptus and to a lesser extent with umbrella pines. The current trend in public policy is to replace eucalyptus with pines and cork oaks, in programmes aimed at environmental improvement and the regeneration of native vegetation.Whereas the initial drive behind afforestation was the productive value of forests, today greater value is placed on the role that forested areas play


in preserving Doñana's ecosystems and as buffer zones that mitigate human impact on the Parks and their associated landscapes.

Transformation for agricultural purposes In following with the trend taking place in other European territories of similar characteristics, and in the strictest sense of "cleaning them up" and "improving" their value, since the 19th century there have been several attempts at draining the Guadalquivir Marshes and turning it into arable land. Nonetheless, due to a lack of financial or technical resources, all attempts failed and the marshes thus remained in their semi-natural state until well into the 20th century. Rice farming was successfully introduced in the 1920s under private initiative on what were once the central islands of the Guadalquivir river. The industry was bolstered by support from the incoming authorities during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), after General Franco's rebel forces took the rice-producing areas from the control of the Republican government. Currently, the Guadalquivir rice fields comprise the largest and most productive rice farming area in Spain, with a total surface area of about 35,000 hectares. With the exception of some that have been pumping water from the aquifer in direct conflict with preservationist interests, most rice farmers use surface water from the Guadalquivir River. As the farmers have increasingly taken up measures to rationalize herbicide and pesticide use, it can be affirmed that rice farming not only peacefully coexists with the Parks, but helps to

sustain the population of migratory birds as well. The survival of rice faming is conditioned by the availability of scarce water resources, which is in turn determined by the granting of water rights by the Guadalquivir River Basin Authority, by periodical droughts, and by the subsidy policies of the European Union regarding rice crops. From the perspective of spatial development, the agricultural colonisation of the central islands of the Guadalquivir estuary entailed human settlement as well and the construction of farming villages, whose original names (Alfonso XIII, Queipo de Llano,Villa Franco del Guadalquivir) are clear indications of the historical time period in which they were founded, the first half of 20th century.The firmly established humanisation of this territory, directly resulting from rice farming, became patent on an administrative level when the village of Villa Franco del Guadalquivir, until then administratively dependent on the town of La Puebla del Río, was granted independent status as a municipality in 1988.Villa Franco changed its name to Isla Mayor in 2001, with a population of over 6,000 inhabitants. The marshes situated on the Guadalquivir's left bank were successfully transformed into arable land as a result of a government intervention project targeting over 70,000 hectares of which 33,000 were marshlands. Starting in 1960, the publicly funded "Irrigation Area of the Lower Guadalquivir" project entailed the construction of several colonisation settlements that later became

Dry-farming fields Rice fields Almonte-Marismas irrigable area Other irrigated areas

Doñana and its surrounding area have been the target of a variety of afforestation plans. The year 1737 was when the first pine trees were introduced onto the private estate of Marismillas, now within the National Park. However, the afforestation schemes that had the greatest impact on the transformation of Doñana's territory and landscape were the public initiatives implemented in the 20th century. In the picture, prearation of a charcoal pit in Doñana. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala. CENEAM files.

permanent.The project divided the area into geometric plots and caused profound spatial and landscape changes. Due both to its location on the left bank of the river and to the fact that the irrigation water comes from reservoirs that are external to the water resources affecting the Parks, there is an increasing trend to disassociate this area from the so-called "surroundings of Doñana". However, it must not be forgotten that a large part of this area is the result of the draining of ancient marshes on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River. On the right bank of the Guadalquivir River, and based on FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) reports regarding the existence of a large aquifer in the area, the Spanish government began transforming the sandy plains of the Doñana surroundings into irrigated farmland in 1971. The initial project intended to transform a total surface area of 46,000 hectares into irrigated farmland, estimating that 160 hm3 could be abstracted from the aquifer. But from its very inception, the story of the Almonte-Marismas Irrigation Plan is a story of controversy and redesign.This was evidenced as Doñana Park became embattled in formal disputes on two fronts that were interconnected to each other. The first dispute focuses on water resources: the planned volumes of irrigation water were reduced as knowledge of the true conditions of the aquifer increased, leading to the conclusion that its capacity had been initially overestimated. At the same time, the relationship between water abstraction for irrigation and the lowering of the piezometric levels inside the Parks became better understood.


North-east of the National Park the Marshes meet the rice fields and the farms previously dried to grow cereals. In both photographs it is possible to see the Finca de Caracoles, included in the National Park in 2004 for its restoration. The above aerial photo clearly shows the outline of the Travieso channel after a period of flooding: the Marsh is claiming it back. Photograph: CENEAM files.

The second dispute is related to the evolution of the Park's boundaries and of the irrigated area: the larger the extension of the Park, the greater the reduction in irrigated farmland. Currently some 15,000 hectares are being irrigated with groundwater, nearly 10,000 of which were transformed for agricultural purposes under the Almonte-Marismas Plan, while somewhat over 5,000 are located outside the boundaries of this scheme. These two areas, which together consume between 55 and 60 hm3


of water per year, are in direct contact with the natural protected areas. Agricultural production has been refocused according to water availability - with new extensive irrigation crops and, in the case of Villamanrique, even dry-farming - or responding to the market demands in recent years, resulting in a significant expansion of citrus groves and strawberry plantations around El Rocio. Finally, also beginning in the 1970s, the farthest reaches of the western sector of the National Park have undergone substantial changes with the development of strawberry farming in areas that up until then had been unproductive, forested or used for dryfarming. Strawberry farming was introduced experimentally on a private farm and owing to its high economic returns and labour requirements spread in a very fast and uncontrolled manner.The phenomenon has even involved illegal occupation of public land by local landless agricultural workers (in Palos, Moguer, Lucena and Bonares to the west of the National Park) who saw it as the solution to their depressed economic situation. The uncontrolled occupation of public land seems to have slowed down in recent years. For this very reason, now is the time to undertake a public initiative aimed at reorganizing the territorial changes caused by the spontaneous and irregular phenomenon of anarchic land use.This public initiative could include legal normalization of land property and water abstraction rights, improving and organising rural trails and, above all, controlling the different types of waste and pollutants that are endangering Do単ana and its heritage.

Currently the Guadalquivir rice fields outside the National Park comprise the largest and most productive rice farming area in Spain with a total surface area of some 35,000 hectares. Photograph: CENEAM files.


Co-existence of livestock in the Marshes of Doñana


One of the largest concentrations of equids in Spain, a long-held tradition called the “saca de las yeguas” (The Mares' Roundup), takes place every year on the 26th of June. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


ince time immemorial domestic livestock has ranged the Doñana Marshes under an extensive grazing system. At present, the livestock herd is comprised of three native races: the Doñana cattle (vaca mostrenca), the Retuertas horse (caballo de Las Retuertas) and the Andalusian churra sheep (oveja churra lebrijana).The bulk of the herd is comprised of cattle and horses, which, from several perspectives, play an important role in the area. On the one hand, we find highly significant pre-existing historical-cultural components. There are strong indications it was from here that the first horses and cattle were taken to the New World in the early 16th century. In addition, every year on the 26th of June a long-held tradition takes place, called the "saca de las yeguas" (The Mares’ Roundup), which is one of the Spanish largest concentrations of equids. The horses that graze in Doñana Marsh are herded together and then driven to the town of Almonte where their manes and tails are trimmed and their foals are sold before they are herded back to the countryside. Another cultural tradi* Doñana Biological Station

tion closely linked to horses is the Rocio pilgrimage, which stems from the deep devotion of the people of the surrounding towns to Our Lady of El Rocio, a title of the Virgin Mary.Thousands of devotees journey, mostly on horseback, to the village where the shrine is located at the very edge of the Marshes. Because they are Doñana's largest herbivores, cattle and horses play an important role in marshes and dunes by modelling the vegetation. Their presence has been an overriding factor in Doñana's vegetation being what it is today. In addition, the way in which they graze makes certain foodplants available to the small herbivores (rabbits, small rodents, etc.) that are so very important to Doñana's ecosystems given that they in turn are preyed upon by the wide array of raptors and other carnivores. Still, it is essential that the delicate balance between the grazing load of the cattle and horses and the vegetation that they consume be maintained. Care must be taken that their presence does not endanger their own survival nor that of the other herbivores (rabbits, hares, geese, ducks, deer, fallow deer, and so forth) during prolonged droughts.The Livestock Plan recently came into force with


It is essential that the delicate balance between the grazing load of the cattle and horses and the vegetation that they consume be maintained, avoiding possible impacts on the complex marsh system.

the intent of achieving this balance even under the most adverse conditions. Another important role played by livestock is that of food for carrion feeders, among which we find vultures, Egyptian vultures, foxes, imperial eagles, kites, and others.These animals have an ever more difficult task of finding places in which large herbivores are left in the countryside when they die. Doñana is now one of the few natural feeding grounds for vultures, for whom fallen livestock is the main source of food. The particular manner in which livestock exploitation is carried out in Doñana has created a remarkably close bond between the inhabitants of the surrounding area and the protected area. In fact, it has led many nature-loving livestock breeders to become frequent visitors of Doñana, creating an emotional bond with the area at the same time it affords them financial benefits. Nonetheless, social benefits constitute the primary value that the National Park obtains from livestock. Maintaining this, without increasing the upsetting movement of people carrying out these activities within the park, is the main challenge of the Livestock Plan, which is the result of consensus between management and livestock breeders associations in the surrounding area. On the other hand, recent analyses are starting to reveal that Doñana cattle and the Retuertas horse have genetic singularities worthy of preservation. It would not be surprising to discover that limited human intervention in selection processes has given rise to two races that are superbly adapted to the environment with a high degree of genetic richness. Confirmation of preliminary impressions would afford further biodiversity, in this case to domestic animals, to Doñana's already privileged domain of biological variety.

Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.

Doñana cattle (vaca mostrenca) present genetic singularities worthy of preservation. Photograph by José María Pérez de Ayala.


Reconstruction of the Abalario landscape


a referent model for environmental restoration in Doñana

"...the land is used exclusively for hunting, it is unsuitable for agriculture and is permanently and on the most part comprised of dunes

FIGURE 1 Setting of the study area.

and unhealthy marshes" Executive Decree, September 3, 1941 (BOE 265 of 22 September)

ntil just a few years ago, the landscape of Doñana National Park stood in stark contrast to the panorama viewed upon crossing its western boundaries.The idyllic landscape of the famous protected area gave way to a bleak territory; an immense space, mostly arid but covered by monotonously endless eucalyptus plantations at its most northerly reaches, and by rickety pine trees in the areas nearest the coast.The area presented numerous ponds and dry washes covered over with a tapestry of eucalyptus leaves, ghost villages and an endless array of paths that led nowhere. Although the area targeted for restoration lay within the Natural Park, for reasons of landscape coherence the team of botanists conducting the restoration expanded the study area beyond the limits of the Protected Area26. Specifically, a surface area of nearly 25,000 hectares (Figure 1) was included, enclosed between the Rocina stream (northern boundary), Castilla Beach (southern boundary), the C-445 motorway (eastern boundary) and the wildlands known as “Montes Propios de Moguer” (western boundary). Apart from climate factors and focusing on the physical medium, the area presented two basic features that characterised the landscape. In the first place, the substrate was very poor, comprised mostly of sandy sediments of relatively recent origin (from the Quaternary eolian mantle), a product of the successive appearance of a number of dune fronts. Secondly, the very low relief of the area, which is altered only by the presence of the Asperillo sand cliff to the south, with elevations exceeding 100 metres.


THE LANDSCAPE IN 1993 The study zone had undergone little change in recent decades. Preliminary surveys clearly revealed the difficulties to be overcome in interpreting the vegetation cover of the landscapes, which had been so highly modified as a consequence of afforestation activities *

University of Seville.

National Park Nature Park Limits of the study area

that the organisational pattern of autochthonous vegetation could not be clearly established. Broadly speaking, the zone's vegetation cover could be divided into two well-differentiated parts (Figure 2): - The northern half and the pond complex, where the soils were moister and the ancient pond basins were occupied by huge masses of dense eucalyptus groves that in many places had grown spontaneously from seeds. - The southern half, which was comprised of the area with the lowest soil moisture, was populated with often stunted pine trees which in many places afforded minimal cover. The native vegetation had been reduced to poor ephemeral pastures and open and occasionally sparse scrubland, corresponding to the subserial stages of the former native forests. Additionally, although a few ponds formed following the rainy season, there was virtually no aquatic vegetation owing to the basins being occupied by the eucalyptus trees and to the effects of the terpenic compounds from their leaves (Figure 2). Among the difficulties encountered in analysing the vegetation cover, as there were not sufficient samples of either palustrine or land vegetation, the team of botanists decided to combine traditional techniques of floristic (plant survey and collection) and vegetation



FIGURE 2 Eucalyptus forest plantations in the northern zone

Eucalyptus in the Ribatehilos ponds.


FIGURE 3 Preliminary surveys clearly revealed the difficulties in interpreting the vegetation cover, which had been so highly modified as a consequence of afforestation that the patterns of native vegetation could not be clearly established.

(transects surveying and analysis of aerial photography and satellite imagery studies) with techniques more in line with history and geography disciplines, such as the search for documents offering information on the area's landscape in the past, testimony from former inhabitants, studies of land use, toponymy and study of the surface hydrology. With the information gathered via both channels, the group was able to sectorise the space according to natural vegetation types. The different plant communities observed were grouped into vegetation units. In most cases the units were related to the most prominent woody communities and usually included various communities that were identified following phytosociological methods, with the purpose of facilitating comparisons to other studies.A summary of the recognised units can be found in Table 1. In addition, bearing in mind how environmental factors and afforestation had influenced the vegetation, functional models of the acknowledged vegetation units were elaborated in relation to different environmental parameters. The conclusion was that the most influential factors in the


View of the village and surroundings of the Abalario, where the umbrella pine plantations and the masses of eucalyptus trees can be observed around the ponds.

organisation of the different plant communities of the zone were, apart from afforestation activities, soil moisture and time. Data from a diachronic study of aerial photographs (from overflights in 1946, 1956 and 1987), as well as satellite images from Landsat TM (1986 and 1990) and Spot (1989) were then added to the results obtained in the vegetation study.The maps enabled surface area measurements of the recognised vegetation units and the afforested zone (Table 2) to be taken, thus enabling the magnitude of change to be quantified. Through the analysis of aerial pictures, it was possible to note important changes in the surface drainage network as well as in the surface area associated to the wetlands. In the same way, in order to obtain a better perspective on the changes, diverse historical maps were used together with current maps to carry out an exhaustive toponymic study that proved to be highly useful in the landscape analysis19,29. Once compiled, the data were used to draw up an array of thematic maps among which we highlight those of vegetation, afforested areas, surface drainage and the evolution of the surface areas of the ponds (Figure 3).

HISTORY OF THE LANDSCAPE AND ITS ECOLOGY Finally, with the information that had been compiled, the changes that had taken place in the Abalario were reconstructed from a chronological viewpoint following the evolution of its landscape.The result was the identification of three well-defined stages, each with a vegetation cover clearly distinguishable from the others and reflecting the different land uses of the zone: Stage 1 (17th century?-1930), Stage 2 (1940-1970) and Stage 3 (1993-2005). Stage 1 (17th century?-1930) This period was characterised by a landscape with little human intervention in which the vegetation cover presented maximum complexity.This was possible owing to the marginal nature of the lands as its soil was not suitable for agriculture, not good for livestock and situated in an area that was seasonally flooded and con-

sidered to be a focus of malaria. Due to this, human settlements in the zone of study were very few and isolated and roads were practically non-existent.This stage corresponds to the periods of communal ownership (18th and 19th centuries) and private ownership (1855-1940).The vegetation landscape during this period was articulated around three distinct formations: Sclerophyllous woodlands: situated in the areas with moist soil and comprised of cork oaks and wild olive trees, with irregular cover; abundant lianas and a quite diverse and developed array of woody strips located in the northern half of the territory. Psammophilous communities: Located on the most sterile substrates, mobile and with a very low degree of moisture in the soil; cover was minimal and the mature communities were characterised by the presence of Phoenician juniper (Juniperus phoenicea subsp. turbinata), accompanied by xerophytic scrub such as Halimium halimifolium and gorse (Stauracanthus genistoides). Broadly speaking, their location corresponded to the area forested with pine groves. Pond and palustrine formations: undoubtedly the wide scattering of ponds is one of the most unique features of the Abalario landscape.Together with the cork oak groves, the pond and palustrine formations were the landscapes most damaged by human intervention in the following stage. Among the diverse types of palustrine environment that were present in the zone, especially relevant were the peat bogs, that were extremely abundant during this period but are today restricted to an very reduced surface area (Figure 4). Stage 2 (1940-1970)

This stage, coinciding with the period of widespread afforestation, underwent the most considerable amount of change.As a result of the dearth of raw materials following the Spanish Civil War (19361939), a new model of intensive environmental exploitation was tested and put into practice. Immediately following the declaration of southwest Huelva as a Region of National Interest in 1941, fastgrowth forest plantations were tested and developed by the Patrimonio Forestal del Estado (National Forest Heritage Authority) and these marginal "wastelands" were turned into a model, both in Spain and abroad, for forestry actions.The activities were overseen by the chief engineer of the Huelva Forest Brigade, Gaspar de la Lama Gutierrez, whose imposing personality pervaded his colossal task. De la Lama, who began by following the directives of the 5th Forest Hydrology Division, radically changed his forestry policies when he became deeply impressed by the 1930s Coto Cabezudos (to the north of the territory) operations of the Dutch company Handelmaastchppij IbĂŠrica, owners of the Forestal de Villarejos


FIGURE 4 The high number of scattered ponds was undoubtedly one of the singular elements of the Abalario landscape.

company, and with their fast-growth tree plantation experience in Indonesia. He saw in the eucalyptus plantations a solution to Spain's dearth of national products, and as a source of products for which there was a strong national and international demand (pulp for paper, essential oil, wood for timber, etc.). He therefore ordered a massive reforestation of these trees, primarily Eucalyptus globulus and E. camaldulensis, and built the network of infrastructures (roads, villages, work shops, tree nurseries, and so forth) required for their exploitation. By the late sixties, the forest plantations covered most of the Department of Forest Resources lands, 24,316 hectares (Table 2); most of the ponds had been targeted for the task and the autochthonous woody vegetation had been virtually eliminated. Stage 3 (1993-2005)

There was a fall in the yield of the plantations after the seventies. Advanced age, a plague of Phoracantha beetle, low timber prices and a rise in maintenance costs caused a plunge in the high market value that had characterised the territory. At the same time, the rise of environmental ideology led to an increasing trend towards


TABLE 1 Native vegetation types in 1993 UNIT



Intertidal zone Semi-stable coastal sand-dunes Phoenician juniper groves Abalario scrubland Western scrublands Peat bogs

Cakilion aegyptiacae-Ammophilion australis Rubio longifoliae-Coremetum albi Osirio quadripartitae-Juniperetum turbinatae Halimio halimifolii-Stauranthetum genistoidis & Erico scopariae-Ulicetum australis Halimio commutati-Cistetum libanotis Erico ciliaris-Ulicetum (minoris) lusitanicus

Lowland scrub Atlantic streams Strawberry tree (Arbutus) groves

Erico scopariae-Ulicetum australis & Lonicero hispanicae-Rubetum ulmifoliae Lonicero hispanicae-Rubetum ulmifoliae & Viti viniferae-Salicetum atrocinereae Phyllireo angustifoliae-Arbutetum unedonis

Sandy coasts. Elevated parts of the sand-dunes. Base of the coastal dune range. Found between the Phoenician juniper grove, strawberry tree and western scrubland units. Western zone. Center of the zone, in places called Ribatehilos and Peladillo. North to the zone of study. Streams crossing the sandbanks. Bordering the most southern reaches of the peat bogs.

FIGURE 5 The Ribatehilos peat bog is an exceptional example of the successful restoration work conducted at the Abalario ponds. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.


FIGURE 6 Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) groves on the south side of Ribatehilos pond. Photograph by P. GarcĂ­a Murillo.

rejection of this type of plantation. Thus, in a manner more in accord with the environmental significance of the territory, its management underwent a change in course after the Junta de AndalucĂ­a's Environmental Agency took charge of its administration. Under its mandate, work on the restoration of the Abalario ponds started and was later continued by the Ministry of the Environment, which presently administers the zone. In this context, the most significant work has been the: - Supresion of eucalyptus plantations - Remediation of the pine groves - Restoration of the Ribatehilos peat bog and ponds - Restoration of the temporary ponds - Increase in the level of protection of the most sensitive zones: ponds, peat bogs, the Asperillo Sand Cliff, the Loro Ravine. The restoration tasks developed with remarkable success (Figures 5 and 6):The "sea" of eucalyptus trees has been cleared; the Ribatehilos peat bog has recovered and presents a notable sheet of water with significant populations of singular plants such as Erica ciliaris, Potamogeton polygonifolius, Pinguicola lusitanica, Genista ancystrocarpa and Sphagnum inundatum, all virtually extinct in the area in 1993; the Phoenician juniper population is rapidly recovering and the entire zone has become a key area for such rare and valuable animal species as the water rat and the Iberian lynx.


DATE 1936 1940 1941 1942 1943 1946 1947 1948 1950 1951 1952 1956 1966 1968 1987

Evolution of the surface cover of planted groves


100 508.1 968.1 968.1 7041.1 7282.6 7301.3 7410.3 7643.6 9414.2 13672.3 14522.2

EUCALYPTUS 1245.5 1245.5 1245.5 1248.7 1955.2 1955.2 4567.8 6060.3 8089.2 8127.7 11143.4 8966.6 8591.3 6550 4571.8

TOTAL FOREST 1245.5 1245.5 1345.5 1756.8 2923.3 2923.3 11608.9 13342.9 15390.5 15538 18787 18380.8 22263.6 19094


The Guadiamar Green Corridor


a research programme, example of science's social responsibility.

The fact that researchers and managers, and sometimes NGOs like ADENA/WWF, have worked together has been essential for the general success of the Green Corridor project, both in controlling pollution and in the functional restoration of its ecosystems. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.

he greatest ecological catastrophe seen to date in Andalusia happened in April 1998. Six million cubic metres of pyrites sludge and acid waters from a mine tailings repository in the Boliden mines of Aznalcollar spilled into the River Guadiamar. The mines were located in the middle of Guadiamar River, a tributary of Guadalquivir River, which fed water to some of Do単ana Marshes.As a consequence of the mine spill that contained a high concentration of heavy metals, a 62 km stretch of the river, as far as Do単ana National Park, was polluted with mine tailings, covering a surface of 4,634 ha of the water course, alluvial plain and the Entremuros Marsh. The Urgent Measures Plan designed by national and regional environmental authorities was implemented, basically aimed at removing the sludge and treating the polluted waters.The Regional Environment Authority of Andalusia started implementing a project called the Guadiamar Green Corridor as a long term response to the Aznalcollar catastrophe. The top priority objective was to


* Inter-University Department of Ecology. Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain. ** Department of History II (Area of Geography) University of Huelva, Spain.

remediate the metal pollution, but this was not the final objective. Advantages can arise from crises, as they drive change and create opportunities. And that is exactly what was done, going beyond merely recovering the sludge and abating impacts.An integral management project was implemented for the entire basin, allowing the ecosystems that had been destroyed by the mine spill to be restored, and helping to regain the basin's function as an ecological corridor between Sierra Morena ranges to the North and the Do単ana coastal plains to the South.This also helped restoring economic activaties in the area, improving the quality of life of the inhabitants of the basin. The Action Plan known as The Guadiamar Green Corridor Strategy was designed as a Demonstration Project that could be applied to other areas of Andalusia and the Mediterranean. The project highlighted the fact that maintaining the functionality of the ecosystems of Guadiamar basin, due to its relations with Do単ana, was compatible with meeting the economic demands for attaining a good living standard for its inhabitants. In the end, the aim was to break away from the traditional sectorial and water-tight approaches to tackling environmental problems, moving towards a new style


of management based on inter-disciplinary scientific knowledge, education, environmental training and environmental sustainability. Thus, the project was designed, right from the beginning, as a test bed to put into practise advanced procedures and strategies concerning the integral management of ecological-economic systems. From this viewpoint, and given the complexity of the original problem, it was understood that the Project should be developed on the basis of a wide multi-disciplinary scientific knowledge of the natural and human systems of the Guadiamar basin. Hence, the Guadiamar Green Corridor Research Programme (PICOVER, its acronym in Spanish) was created in 1999, and implemented in two stages: PICOVER-I (1999-2001) and PICOVER-II (2002-2003).

One of the greatest ecological disasters to occur in Spain happened in April 1998: six million cubic metres of pyrite sludge and acid waters from Boliden mines in Aznalcollar (Seville) spilled into the River Guadiamar, reaching the very boundaries of the National Park. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.

The PICOVER programme, with a budget of almost six million Euros, was the largest multi-disciplinary research programme that has ever been set up in Spain to address an environmental problem. Nearly three hundred scientists from all the universities in Andalusia and many of the Higher Spanish Scientific Research Council Centres covering a broad spectrum of fields from natural sciences, social and health sciences, technology, etc., have been incorporated. They have provided know-how to develop the different lines of action included in the Green Corridor Strategy, reducing the room for uncertainty and developing Management approach. Scientific and technological research then became one of the basic traits highlighting the Green Corridor Project. In this context scientists, government experts and environmental NGO’s worked together, sharing responsibilities and easing decision making with regard to the management of a territory in crisis. The PICOVER succeeded in avoiding the dialectics that confronts the world of science to the world of management, that has separated them, each going his own way, when they possess com-


plementary languages that enable us to discover and interpret nature and its relations with human beings. Science and management are are two different worlds that are trying to answer the same questions, but, unfortunately, the world of science and the world of management have organised separate living and learning spaces that have caused us to loose our global view. With the Green Corridor and its Research Programme, an attempt has been made to lay the first stone for the foundations of a genuine scenario of a scientific-technical mix in addressing the mine spill. A forum for discussion and debate in which managers, government experts and researchers from a range of professional fields, languages and expertise have worked together in a search for integrated knowledge, planning and management models that will pave the way for the environmental sustainability.A merger, a combination of science and regional management, has been promoted to generate an idea of the two concepts as expressions of a uniquereality, rather than as different realities. Science with a conscience and committed management have much to offer and to share, with regard to how to address environmental problems and how to tackle them in a society like today's society, subject to fast, profound and globalising changes for which most of society's institutions are not ready. Dialogue on this issue has to act as a catalyst for creating a new, integral and integrating environmental discourse like the discourse initiated with the Green Corridor.The PICOVER programme has attempted to show how the scientific and management discourses are complementary for addressing the Aznalcollar catastrophe and to pave the way towards the best possible sustainability model for the affected area. It has been essential for researchers and managers to work together, and sometimes with NGOs like ADENA/WWF too, for the Green Corridor project to be successful in both controlling pollution and in attaining the functional restoration of its ecosystems. It is true that dialogue between research and management is easier at times of crisis and that the acid test for this combination lies in what relations are like during times of "environmental peace". Obviously, the aim must be to promote science to avoid, rather than solve catastrophes.That is, we must promote a preventative, rather than a curative Science, one that is above a science of environmental crises or disasters. Several lessons can be learned from the five years that researchers and managers have been working together, to act as a foundation for future projects: Lesson 1. Scientific know-how has to be present from the beginning and at all stages of the design and development of management projects and programmes, and not an element to be brought on board at a later stage, once these programmes have been elaborated, as happens so often.

Lesson 2. Given the complexity involved in solving environmental problems, they usually have to be addressed from an inter-disciplinary point of view, including the areas of natural, social and technological sciences. Lesson 3. It is essential to have a conceptual reference for providing meaning to these projects and to provide a common thread running through all the actions included in a project. In this sense, every attempt must be made to avoid projects drawn up as a catalogue or a mere list of more or less independent and insufficiently articulated actions. Lesson 4. It is essential to translate the results of the research into specific management proposals, couched in simple and direct language. Lesson 5. It is important to adjust the times of research to those of the development of technical projects. That is, we must try to harmonise the co-ordination to avoid the pressures of urgency generated by management and the knowledge generated by scientific research. Lesson 6. Given the uncertainty inherent in management programmes, especially programmes related to Mediterranean ecosys-

tems, it is essential to have the funds to finance long term research. Once the PICOVER programme finalised in 2003, the Regional Environmental Authority of Andalusia started a new research programme for implementing the Eco-Regional Monitoring Plan for the Green Corridor (SECOVER, its acronym in Spanish).This new Plan focuses on evaluating the socio-ecological state and the tendencies to change that have started in the Gudiamar ecologicaleconomic system as a consequence of the major direct and indirect interventions that have taken place in the course of recent years, either to their natural or man-made systems, through the application of the Guadiamar Green Corridor Strategy. One of the aims of the new Research Programme is to provide continued support for a dialogue between scientists and managers, creating an inter-disciplinary space for discussion, opinions and decisions, to move forward in designing specific future projects that will mobilise public awareness to promote a scientific culture that will enable us to understand the social role played by science in general and demonstration programmes like the Guadiamar Green Corridor, in particular. In other words, we need a civic Science, rather than a selfish Science that locks up scientists in their research laborato-

The aim of the Green Corridor of River Guadiamar and its Research Programme (1999-2003) has been to lay the foundations of a mixed scenario of scientific and technical approaches. A forum for discussion and debate in which managers, government experts and researchers from different professional areas, languages and expertise have worked together in the search for integrated knowledge, planning and management models to pave the way towards environmental sustainability for the area. Photograph by Antonio Sabater.


The Guadiamar River Green Corridor project is a creative response to the Aznalcollar mine spill of 1988. It went beyond the clean up of the sludge from the river bed to the integral management of the basin strip to restore the ecosystems destroyed by the mine spill and to recover its function as an ecological corridor between Sierra Morena and the coastal plains of DoĂąana. The left picture shows a mosaic of aerial photographs of the Guadiamar Green Corridor, taken in April 1998, August 1998 and January 1999. The dark shadow of pirite sludge is very noticeable in the April picture. After a strenuous effort, the area was again clean by January 1999. Photograph: Junta de AndalucĂ­a.

ries, totally isolated from the problems and concerns of society. As a final thought, the PICOVER programme has attempted to develop a new way of addressing large scale environmental problems like the Aznalcollar crisis. The new approach has turned its back on the mechanistic scientific approach that promotes a sectorial, compartmentalised and over analytic approach, to move towards a holistic, mixed, preventative, civic, scientific approach, aimed at solving environmental problems. A science that accepts uncertainty, the unpredictable, the undetermined, i.e. nature in all its complexity. From gauges to clouds, as Karl Popper used to say. Anyone taking an interest in what has been done in the last five years, in the conceptual and methodological context of the Green Corridor Project, will most probably find few definite, complete and final answers to their initial questions. But, we hope and trust that, once they have finished examining what has been done, that they will ask new questions that will stimulate and challenge their creativity and that will motivate them to participate actively in developing the current project and apply its best aspects and experiences elsewhere. Should this happen, then the adventure of the Guadiamar Green Corridor and its Research Programme has been worth while.The important thing is the journey‌


Doñana and its district, on the same path.


It is practically impossible to guarantee the functional viability of large areas of land if the ownership is fragmented and their management is based on criteria other than the conservation of their natural assets. In the picture, a flock of avocets flying over the Marshes. Photograph by Jose Maria Perez de Ayala.


here are few simpler things in Doñana than the region in terms of municipal districts and the distribution of the ownership of the land among a handful of proprietors. These circumstances date back at least to the year 1293, when the Crown, embodied in the figure of King Sancho IV, know as “the Brave”, granted these lands, then belonging to the County of Niebla, to Don Alfonso Perez de Guzman surnamed "El Bueno", the good, a concession that was truly made effective for his son,Alonso Perez de Guzman, by King Ferdinand IV in 1309. Most of traditional Doñana lands have belonged to a very small group of families ever since, apart from the local authorities of the municipal districts of Hinojos and Almonte. * Director of Doñana National Park.

THE WEIGHT OF EIGHT CENTURIES OF HISTORY Time and time again, many authors have suggested that one of the keys to the excellent degree of conservation of Doñana was the fact that so little of the land has been shared out in the last eight centuries, apart from the unhealthy conditions and the isolation that reigned over Doñana during this long period. The idea has a certain logic, although it sometimes provides support for the theory of a virgin Doñana, cut off from its surroundings and from the action of man, which bears little relation to reality. The works of F. García Novo,V. Granados, J. Casas, J. F. Ojeda and many others have made it perfectly clear that everything, or almost everything, has been affected by man in Doñana and that the changes in the landscape until it attained its present appearance, run in parallel with


The value of the traditional uses of the land is not limited to their quantitative importance, high in itself. It is founded on a deep rooted historic base. For example, La Saca de las Yeguas (Doñana Mares' Roundup), the leading exponent of horse breeding activity in the region, celebrated its five hundredth anniversary in 2004. Photograph: CENEAM Files.

human intervention in a wide variety of forms. Does this all mean that nothing is original in Doñana? Does the fact that it has lost its virginity mean that its ecosystems are worth any less? Or that there is something wrong with its state of conservation? Not at all. We must not get into discussions that have very little to do with the idea of a permanent human presence in Doñana and, moreover, which do not fit easily into the framework of the analysis of the Mediterranean ecosystems, which have suffered the intervention of man throughout their history. Returning to the idea of the concentration of the ownership of Doñana over the centuries, there are records that show that, historically, there have been endless episodes of tension among the inhabitants of the neighbouring towns, as they sought to appropriate lands that they felt they had the a right to as they had exploited them for so long.The aim of this contribution is not to analyse problems caused by these ambitions, although a general overview would be appropriate: The municipal ownership of properties of Almonte in Doñana were based on a one hundred and fifty year conflict between the Council and the Duchy over the ownership of the lands in question, while Hinojos would support its claim to ownership of the Marsh of Hinojos with another court case in 1961, in this case a suit brought against the public administration. Livestock - and other traditional resources - has been another of


the recurring points of confrontation since at least 1628, with the latest episode in this long running battle, being the livestock invasion of 1993. In short, isolation of the ownership of the land in comparison with the social environment in which Doñana is submerged, has historically provoked a long series of tensions and problems of very different kinds, maintaining a flank or perennial confrontation between Doñana and its inhabitants throughout this time.

A NEW SCENARIO, THE DE-PRIVATISATION OF THE LAND. The conservationist history of Doñana starts in the year 1964, when the State bought the lands of the current Biological Reserve from the Marquis of Merito. Five years later, by 1969, the National Park was constituted, with just over 35,000 hectares and the forestry administration that managed the area made perfectly clear their wish to buy any properties that may come on the market.This policy has been maintained and practically all the land in question has now been de-privatised. In fact the Gonzalez family, the historic owners and earliest advocates for Doñana conservation, is currently the only private landowner, holding a few small properties. The logic behind this de-privatisation was overwhelming, based squarely on the recommendations of the international

conservation doctrine for National Parks. It is practically impossible to guarantee the functional viability of large areas of land if ownership is fragmented and management is based on objectives other than the conservation of their natural assets; even in these conditions, conservation is a difficult and, above all, costly task. Doñana is a luxury and, as such, it must be paid for. Imagine what it would cost if the land was in private hands, or subject to the principles of profitability!

DOES DOÑANA BELONG TO EVERYBODY? But we run a risk. Doñana is a singularly fragile and accessible environment - in fact, with a 4 whhel drive vehicle, you can drive round the