Andorra’s second Ramsar Site
The government of Andorra, which joined the Convention in November 2012, has already completed the designation process for its second Wetland of International Importance. As described by Ramsar’s Laura Máiz-Tomé, based on the accompanying RIS, the Vall de Madriu-Perafita-Claror (4,247 hectares, 42°29'01"N 001°36'22"E) is a national Cultural Landscape that was accepted for the UNESCO World Heritage list as a cultural property in July 2004. The site, encompassing nearly 10% of the national territory, comprises 350 high mountain wetlands which support endangered species of flora and fauna as well as habitats of cultural and ecological interest. These wetlands are all well preserved due to reduced anthropogenic influence on the site. One of the most representative examples is the glacier lake l’estany de l’Illa covering an area of 12.5 ha.
The wetland complex offers a very good representation of the biodiversity characteristic of the Pyrenean acid water wetlands. Moreover, it plays a vital role in flood mitigation and is very important freshwater reserves. The whole Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley watershed is located within the boundaries of the drinking water supply for the population of Escaldes-Engordany in the lower part of the river catchment. The main activities within the site are related to tourism, mainly hiking from April to November, fishing, hunting and cattle raising during summer. The management plan for the valley was approved in December 2011.