Wetlands of International Importance: Spain, Humedales del Macizo de Peñalara
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Humedales del Macizo de Peñalara. 27/01/06; Madrid; 487 ha; 40º51'N 003º57'W. Natural Park, EU Directive Special Protection Area, Site of Community Importance, Biocynegetic Reserve. The morphological traits of the Macizo of Peñalara were shaped during the last ice age, which explain the high mountain characteristics presented by its wetlands and flora; there are 242 high altitude ponds and lagoons of glacial origin, some of them temporary, as well as some permanent and temporary creeks, and peatlands dominated by Sphagnum. The site also contains 11 natural habitat types in which the vegetation follows a clear altitude-specific distribution, with pine trees in the lower zones and high altitude shrublands higher up. All these factors combine to provide a great variety of landscapes. However, factors such as air pollution and forest fires also threaten the integrity of the ecosystem, and fungus infections have eliminated over 90% of a native toad (Alytes obstetricans). The contribution of traditional livestock grazing to the eutrophication of the wetlands is currently being investigated. Ramsar site no. 1673. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
-- photos courtesy Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, España