INDEX 1.What is Doñana? 2.Beach. 3.Dunes 4.Reserve. 5.Lagoons. 6.Verge 7.Marsh
What is Doñana? Doñana es un espacio natural protegido español situado en Andalucía que cuenta con 104.970 ha (50.720 ha en el Parque Nacional, y 54.250 ha en el Parque Natural).1 Comprendiendo tanto al Parque Nacional de Doñana (creado en 1969) como al Parque Natural de Doñana (también llamado Parque Natural del Entorno de Doñana o pre-parque, creado en 1989, y ampliado en 1997),
BEACH This beach is 30 km long following the general lines of the Atlantic coasts without cliffs or rocks. Its great distance between tides shows at low tide extensions of white sand and gentle slopes. The force of the South-West wind introduces a great dynamic in the sand which constantly changes the outline of the beaches and is the source of moving dunes. Doñana conserves one of the few mobile dune systems in the Iberian Peninsula. Certain peculiar human and natural events take place on the beach. On the one hand the presence of shellfish, fishermen and pedestrians. On the other hand the only buildings shown are the huts inhabited by fishermen and especially the sixteenth century watchtowers. These towers, which were built all at the same distance from the beach are witnesses of the coastal dynamic changes that have caused some to be submerged in the sea (Torre de la Higuera and Torre de Oro, outside the Park) and others (Torre Carbonero, Zalabar and San Jacinto) are tens of meters inland. They serve as hosts and breeding places of peregrine falcons.
BEACH 2º PART Among vertebrate species typical of this beach strip are: red-tailed lizard (Acanthodactylus erythrurus), plover (Charadrius alexandrinus and Charadrius hiaticula), sandpipers (Calidris Calidris alpine albicans), gulls (Larus ridibundus, Larus fuscus and Larus argentea) , terns (Sterna hirundo and Sterna sandvicensis). The seabed next to the shore, has Cymodocea nodosa and probably marine Zoostera, with abundant lamellibranches and gastropods on the soft bed, and algae of the genus Fucus. On the rocky seabed we can find oysters (Crassostrea angulata), mussels (Mytilus edulis), barnacles (Chlathamalus stellatus) and a large number of algae (Gelidium pusillum, G. spathulatum).
DUNES The large volume of sand on the dunes, when the plants recede or there is a strong wind, initiates a slow but steady advance inland. Theoretically this advance, at a speed of 2 to 6 m / year, will not stop until it reaches the wetlands. However the trains of the dunes may remain stationary before reaching that limit. The dense vegetation of large pine trees and other circumstances impede the dunes from moving. The immobilization of the dunes in the interior is also due to lower wind pressure or from the rising phreatic level which transforms the dune into a small hill covered with vegetation which fixes its position. The typical dune complex, located in the broad strip of ground between the beach and the inland stabilizes sands, is divided into fixed and mobile dunes.
DUNES 2º PART Among the most characteristic plant species in this area are the juniper (Juniperus macrocarpa), Armedia (Armeria Cadiz), figwort barking (Scrophularia canina), viborera (Echium gaditanum), dressing (Corema album), carnation (Armeria pungens), altabaca (Artemisia maritime), sarsaparilla (Carex arenaria). The most representative faunal species in this area are: snub-nosed viper (Vipera latasti) Montpellier Snake (Malpolon monspessulanus), tortoise (Testudo graeca), short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) and magpie (Pica pica).
RESERVE The shrub also called curb represents a type of terminal, mature ecosystem of Mediterranean forests which in the park, is enriched with more hardy species. The area covered by this ecosystem within the park occupies two distinct areas. The first is between the edge of the wetlands, the road from el Rocío to Matalascañas and the access road to the palace of Doñana. The bush is composed of thirty woody species which fall into two categories:Mont Blanc: The vegetation that accompanies jagurzo are some thickets (Cistus salvifolius, C. libanotis) and gorse (Genista anglica and Stauracanthus genistoides). In more open, drier areas other woody mediterranean species such as lavender (Lavandula stoechas), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and marjoram appear.(Thymus mastichina).
RESERVE 2º PART The black forest is dominated by several species of heather (Erica scoparia, E. umbellata, E. ciliaris) and mogueriza heather (Calluna vulgaris), which are interspersed with myrtle (Mirtus communis), labiérnago (Phillyrea angustifolia), brambles (Rubus ulmifolius) and daphne (Daphne gnidium). These species are unable to survive without a continuous supply of water in summer, but stand up well to winter waterlogging. In these areas there are about 80 species of vertebrates, half of which are birds.The bush is home to other species of interest, such as deer (Cervus elaphus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), foxes (Vulpes vulpes), badgers (Meles meles), polecat (Mustela putorius), hare (Lepus granatensis) and dormice (Elyomis quercinus) and large predators such as the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardina) and the Iberian imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti).
LAGOONS The formation of lagoons which are flooded in the cycles of rainfall, is typical in the bush area. The lagoons constitute a sufficiently significant lake ecosystem, formed by a large and varied range of lagoons with individual peculiarities in the majority of cases Amphibians are represented by the spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes) and reptiles by the Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanum) viper snake (Natrix maura), grass snake (N. natrix), shingles blind (Blanus cinereus) red-tailed lizard (Acanthodactylus erytrurus) and tortoise (Testudo graeca). The most common fish are eels(Anguilla anguilla) and carp (Cyprinus carpio).
VERGE This refers to the long narrow strip where the bush ends and the wetland begins. This strip is between 200 and 1,500 metres wide and corresponds to a large ecological discontinuity. It is the limit of clays. In this narrow strip in which plant and animal species of both types coincide, moisture emerges filtered through the sand, facilitating the growth of reeds and grasses. The transition from the bush to the wetlands implies a significant drop in the surface and an important rise in the water table resulting in great variations in the substrate and vegetation. Cork is one of the elements found on the important biotic verges. Most of the cork in the park is very old. Cork is a major habitat able to give shelter to a considerable number of species which are normally set in the trees. The Doñana Birdhouses are known worldwide as an ornithological phenomenon. These numerous colonial communities are formed mainly by herons, spoonbills and egrets, which are associated to reproduction.
MARSH The marsh represents approximately 50% of the park forming the largest ecosystem of the park, some 27,000 ha. The different seasons mark great variations in the wetlands due to the fluctuations in flood water to which it is exposed. It is a wetland of special importance as a transit, breeding and wintering area for European and African birds. Depending on the degree of flooding the marsh has different habitats in which different species are developed. This will distinguish the flooded marsh, dry marsh, pipes and arms (as deeper channeling) and veins (accident level).
FLOODED MARSH The part of the marsh that is completely flooded are those places slightly below the average height, which remain flooded for at least 6 months a year, in varying depth depending on the rainfall. The most common species are: mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos), European spoon (Anas clypeata), pintail duck (Anas acuta), red duck (Netta Rufina), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Wigeon (Anas penelope), teal (Anas crecca), coot (Fulica atra), pochard (Aythya ferina), ruddy duck (Oxyura leucocephala), grebe (Podiceps nigricollis, P. ruficollis), etc. The waders include lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Plover (Charadrius dubius), Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), etc. The massive birdlife is the focus of attention in the wetlands in winter which may reach a quarter of a million during this time.Other species in this area are carp (Cyprinus carpio), mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes) viper snake (Natrix maura).