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Doñana National Park

Travel Guide Europe Spain Andalusia Doñana National Park

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Introduction

Doñana National Park is a natural reserve in Andalusia, southern Spain, in the provinces of Huelva and Seville. It covers 543 km2, of which 135 km2 are a protected area. The park is an area of marshes, shallow streams, and sand dunes in Las Marismas, the delta where the Guadalquivir River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It was established as a nature reserve in 1969 when the World Wildlife Fund joined with the Spanish government and purchased a section of marshes to protect it. The eco-system has been under constant threat by the draining of the marshes, the use of river water to boost agricultural production by irrigating land along the coast, water pollution by upriver mining, and the expansion of tourist facilities.

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Geography

Doñana National Park has a biodiversity that is unique in Europe, although there are some similarities to the Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue of the Camargue river delta in France, with which Doñana Park is twinned. The park features a great variety of ecosystems and shelters wildlife including thousands of European and African migratory birds, fallow deer, Spanish red deer, wild boars, European badgers, Egyptian mongooses, and endangered species such as the Spanish imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx.

The Doñana nature reserve includes both the Doñana National Park, established in 1969, and the Natural Park, created in 1989 and expanded in 1997, creating a buffer zone of protection under the management of the regional government. The two parks, national and natural, have since been classified as a single natural landscape. Due to its strategic location between the continents of Europe and Africa and its proximity to the Strait of Gibraltar, Doñana's large expanse of salt marsh is a breeding ground as well as a transit point for thousands of European and African birds (aquatic and terrestrial), and hosts many species of migratory waterfowl during the winter, typically up to 200,000 individuals. Over 300 different species of birds may be sighted there annually. Considered the largest nature reserve in Europe, several different scientific institutions have monitoring stations within its boundaries to ensure appropriate development of adjacent lands and conservation of the threatened species that inhabit it. The area was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1994.

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Weather

Doñana Park has a mild, typically Mediterranean climate, characterized by dry summers and relatively wet winters resulting from variations in the polar front and the subtropical ridge of high pressure. The rainy seasons are intermediate, occurring in spring and in autumn; autumn especially can produce torrential rains caused by the accumulation during the summer of heat in nearby large bodies of water, and the arrival of polar air masses. In winter, however, thermal anticyclones may occur locally. Temperatures are mild throughout the year, with maximum temperatures varying about 17 °C from winter to summer. The most significant feature of the climate is the three to five months of dry weather in the summer, when it is dominated by the subtropical anticyclone.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 12:29 on Feb 17, 16 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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