Catalonia Region

Catalonia is one of the autonomous communities of Spain located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula. It has a population of 7.5 million and an area of 32,000 square kilometers, from the Pyrenees, with altitudes over 3,000m, to the Mediterranean coastline. Barcelona is its principal city and Spanish and Catalan are the official languages.

Sixty percent of the surface area of Catalonia is made up of forests, a large part of which are privately owned. Industry, tourism (with 20 million visitors a year) and services are the main economic sectors in Catalonia.

The Natural Protected Areas Service is responsible for planning and management of protected areas. A team of more than 200 people work together, most of them “in situ”, in each protected area, and a few in the central service, in Barcelona.

The system of protected areas in Catalonia is based on a network of 165 sites of special ecological value protected under the Plan for Areas of Natural Interest (PEIN).

The PEIN network was established by Law 12/1985, and includes a wide variety of habitats, from coastal plains to Euro-Siberian forests, covering an area equal to 30% of the Catalan territory (the areas forming part of the Nature 2000 Network are integrated into the PEIN).

Within these sites, the so-called natural areas of special protection receive additional protection under the designation of the following categories (the number of each indicated in brackets): national park (1), Natural Park (12), natural site of national interest (7) and nature reserve (60). Most of the nature reserves and some natural sites of national interest are inside a natural park, so that there are parks with different levels of protection for each area.

The natural areas of special protection have management teams and basic services to direct management in situ in accordance with the guideline of the central service.

  • The basic aim is to make the conservation of natural values compatible with the socio-economic development of the area and we work in three strategic lines: Heritage conservation
  • Improvement of socio-economic development
  • Planning and management of social-economic activities

Our contribution to MEET project:

  • Experience in planning and management of natural protected areas.
  • Knowledge about CETS implementation in two natural parks.
  • Contact with tourism managers and locals agents (business sector, associations, local population, etc.).
  • Experience organizing ecotourism activities like: bird watching, trekking, wildlife watching, fishing tourism, etc.
  • Experience in the participation of policies of responsible tourism
  • The possibility to undertake the pilot actions in one of the most known places in the Mediterranean: the “Costa Brava”. In a few kilometers, this coastal area has 3 natural parks connected by a path network, so it is possible visit them walking from one to another.
  • Montgr?-Medes-Baix Ter. is a terrestrial-maritime natural park which has a special value for its marine environment and, undoubtedly, for the underwater heritage with excellently preserved marine communities including outstanding populations of algae, Posidionia, coral,
  • fish, crabs, starfish, etc.
  • Cap de Creus was the first terrestrial-maritime natural park in Catalonia. It is a pristine natural area with its very particular ecological make-up of structures and outcrops that make the area unique in the world
  • ElsAiguamolls de l'Empordà is the second-largest wetland in Catalonia, consisting of an area of marshland, lagoons and water meadows. It is a wonderful habitat for wildlife and, above all, for wetland birds.

Natural Protected Areas Service
Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Food and Environment of Generalitat de Catalu?a
c. DrRoux, 80
08017 Barcelona
0034 93 567 41 77
0034 93 298 00 00 (Fax)

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MEET Partnership