by Robert Bovington

biosphere reserve –
sign in the Sierra de las Nieves

Spain has a rich scenic diversity and vast areas of the country remain wild, rugged and sparsely populated. Not only that, but large parts of the country are protected. Within Europe, Spain leads the way in the conservation of its heritage. There are many categories of protection including National Parks, Natural Parks and Biosphere Reserves.

A Biosphere Reserve is an international conservation designation given by UNESCO. To achieve this status it must not only be ecologically diverse but must demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the environment.

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves is the collection of all 482 biosphere reserves in 102 countries (as of mid-2005).

Spain has a proportionately higher number of biosphere reserves compared with other European countries with thirty-three.

These include the spectacular Ordesa National Park in the Pyrenees, the lowland wilderness of the Doñana National Park in western Andalucía, the beautiful Sierra de Grazalema and the snow-capped heights of the Picos de Europa in Cantabria.

Sierra de Grazalema

There are two biosphere reserves close to my heart and close to where I live – the Sierra Nevada and the Cabo de Gata-Nijar.

The Sierra Nevada contains the Iberian Peninsula’s highest mountains. They are the spectacular backdrop to the magnificent city of Granada and the Alhambra Palace and their southern slopes are sprinkled with the little white villages of the Alpujarras.

Sierra Nevada nr Puerta de Ragua

Just a few miles from Almería, is the pristine coastline of the Cabo de Gata-Nijar natural park. High temperatures and the lowest rainfall in the Iberian Peninsula have created a large semi-desert area but, despite its aridity, it is a nature lover’s delight. Its rich ecological diversity led to the park being designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1997.

Cabo de Gata – Las Salinas

About Robert Bovington

Robert Bovington is an English writer of travel books. These include “Spanish Matters” and “Spanish Impressions” Robert Bovington was born in Brighton, East Sussex, the son of Leonard and Audrey Bovington. He is the first-born and has eight siblings – six brothers and two sisters. Having worked for many years in both the telecommunications industry and the teaching profession, Robert wanted to take on new challenges. He and Diane decided to relocate to Spain and, in 2003, the couple moved to Roquetas de Mar in sunny Andalucía. However, lazing on the beach was not Robert's idea of fun - he wanted to explore his new homeland. It didn't stop there! He was so impressed with Spain, its countryside, its historic cities and its culture that it inspired him to write about his experiences. Robert Bovington has been married to Diane for over thirty years. They have no children. However, Robert’s short marriage to Helene resulted in twin daughters Carole and Sheila. The author is also a grandfather and great grandfather. Robert met Diane when both belonged to the Crescent Operatic Society. Music is one of the author’s great passions. At primary school he sang in a choir in a concert of Bach and Handel. Another of his interests is football and for many years he supported Brighton & Hove Albion home and away. His favourite premiership team is Arsenal. Other interests include information technology, writing and ten-pin bowling.
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