Geography

Dimensions/Areas

Table I. Areas and percentage of zoning

ZoningArea (ha)%
Nuclear zones35.505,19,8
Buffer Zones79.934,522,0
Transition Zones248229,368,2
TOTAL363.668,9100.0

The core zones consist of areas of greater ecological value where the objective or main function is the preservation of landscapes, the most representative ecosystems and the species these contain. As for the normative field to be developed for the management of the territory proposed as Biosphere Reserve, the land classified as urban, building or rural centre by the municipal urban planning, will be excluded. This core zones constitute almost 10% (35.505 ha) of the area proposed as Biosphere Reserve. They are dedicated to the long-term preservation and there the non-harmful with the environment, use and traditional stock activities are allowed. Therefore, it is here where the first of the three goals of the Biosphere Reserve is accomplished. It has been attempted to have a sufficiently representative sample of these landscapes, ecosystems and species in these zones. This sample belongs to two groups: the water landscapes and the mountain landscapes of Xistral.

  • The water landscapes comprise the riverbeds and main tributaries of the Miño river, the alluvial forests associated to them and diverse lake environments. It occupies an area of 14440 ha (41% of the central areas). A great part of this zone, 30%, is currently protected by means of its declaration as Site of Community Importance, known as Parga – Ladra – Támoga.
  • The other core zone, the mountain landscapes of Xistral, comprises the range of the same name. It covers an area of 21064 ha (59% of the core zone). Its most characteristic habitats are the raised and blanket bogs accompanied by wet moors. Also, forest plantations are included, pine in its majority, which house locations with bogs and species of interest. This zone has also been recently declared Site of Community Importance, called range of Xistral, representing 100% of this core zone.

The buffer zones circle the core zones in their majority, serving as absorption of possible impacts originated in the zones with a greater number of economic activities, in this way, protecting these more valuable zones. They occupy almost 80000 ha, 22% of the area of the Reserve. As for the normative field to be developed for the management of the territory proposed as Biosphere Reserve, the land classified as urban, building or rural centre by the municipal urban planning, will be excluded. The activities developed in these zones will be subjected to Environmental Impact Assessment or Environmental Effects regulated by the national and autonomous legislation. These zones can be put into four units: the unit contiguous to the water landscapes, the contiguous to the mountain landscapes of Xistral and the mountain ledges.

  • The buffer zone of the water landscapes comprises a strip of 300 m. of width on both margins surrounding the riverbeds of the core zones. This delimitation will be adopted in isolated locations according to the presence of habitats of community importance. In this zone a management in accordance with the preservation objectives for the adjacent core zone will be implemented, particularly in relation to the activities involved directly or indirectly with the water courses: farming and livestock activities, management of alluvial forests, restoration of degraded areas, etc.
  • The buffer zone of the mountain landscapes of Xistral has, similarly to the previous one, the function of absorption of possible impacts produced in the transition zone in relation to the core zone. In this case, it partly surrounds the range of Xistral and, in it, ways of handling compatible with the landscapes, ecosystems and species to be protected are proposed, as well as the restoration and the change in use of those incompatible with the functions of the Biosphere Reserves.
  • The buffer zone of the mountain ledges situated at more than 600 m of altitude comprises the mountain ledges which form, almost in its entirety, the high basin of the Miño river. With its declaration as buffer zone the sources of the streams which give rise to the multitude of rivers and pools that drain this territory, will be protected.

The transition area is the most extensive, more than 240000 ha (68% of the total area). It houses the great majority of the populated centres and the majority of the productive activities developed. As for the normative field to be developed for the management of the territory proposed as Biosphere Reserve, the land classified as urban, building or rural centre by the municipal urban planning, will be excluded. In it, we can account a population of almost 160,000 inhabitants. In this area the Sustainable Development Plan is proposed, key element in the declaration of Biosphere Reserves, where innovative solutions for the harmonisation of economic development and environment are proposed. These solutions will show different ways of order of land uses, which allow the correspondence of economic development with the protection of biological and cultural diversity.

In this area the task of effecting a planning of soil uses is presented, which allow to reach a consensus, through the involvement of local communities and the wide variety of socioeconomic agents that act in these zones.

The transition zone also possesses a great economic and social meaning for the development of surrounding areas, since it is expected that the achievements obtained can be transferable to other territories. Therefore, in this zone the objective of sustainable development will be accomplished.