Spain is arguably the most biodiverse country in Europe. It is also the country with the largest surface area of terrestrial protected areas, covering around 27% of its land mass. However, many of Spain’s 3,705 protected areas lack effective management and public support, and though they have extensive coverage, more than 55% of Spain’s habitats are considered in poor condition under the Habitats Directive.
We are collaborators with the Nuestros Espacios Protegidos (i.e. Our Protected Areas) initiative. The project aims to foster national pride and public support for Spain's protected areas, increase their size and, most importantly, improve their management and conservation. Nuestros Espacios Protegidos has selected the Upper Tagus region as a model site for improving the management of one of the wildest regions in Western Europe. The Upper Tagus region is home to more than 400,000 ha of continuous Natura 2000 reserves, including two contiguous nature parks covering 180,000 ha. As part of the Iberian Mountain Range, this region includes the unspoilt upper reaches of the Tagus River - the longest in the Iberian Peninsula - a wide range of forest and grassland habitats and abundant wildlife populations; all situated in one of the least populated regions in Europe, with less than 1.5 inhabitants/km2.