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Tablas de Daimiel National Park

Tablas de Daimiel National Park

The Tablas de Daimiel National Park, whose WDPA code is: 4750 is a protected area of ​​Spain located in the Castile-La Mancha region.
This park has an extension of 19.28 km² and was established in 1973.

Geography –
The Tablas de Daimiel National Park is a natural area that protects the wetland of the same name. It is located in the municipalities of Daimiel and Villarrubia de los Ojos, in the province of Ciudad Real, autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha. It is also a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) and is part of the La Mancha Húmeda Biosphere Reserve. With 192,025 visitors per year (2015), Las Tablas de Daimiel is the thirteenth most visited Spanish national park.
Las Tablas are one of the last representatives of an ecosystem called river tables that are formed when rivers overflow in their middle course, favored by semi-endoreism phenomena and the scarcity of slopes. The wetland is formed at the confluence of the Guadiana river and its tributary Cigüela and is one of the most important aquatic ecosystems of the Iberian Peninsula for the variety and quality of the fauna and flora that inhabit it, as well as for the birds that use it in stages migratory.
However, the ecological balance of the park is in danger due to the excessive exploitation of the aquifers. For this reason, on 22 October 2009 the European Commission opens a file to Spain, while UNESCO had previously expressed the possibility of withdrawing the figure of Biosphere Reserve. Unesco has opened a file against Spain at the request of the complaint filed in November 2007 by environmental organizations (Ecologists in Action, Greenpeace, SEO / BirdLife and WWF); It was claimed that the La Mancha Húmeda Biosphere Reserve and, in particular, Las Tablas de Daimiel, exhibited a high level of degradation which meant the loss of the values ​​that had made them worthy of being classified as a Biosphere Reserve.
Among other things, at the end of 2009, peat fires had added to the decrease in humidity in the area, creating a critical situation. The degradation of the peat layer can compromise the waterproofing of the soil that generates the ponds or “boards”. The measures taken to control the fires had proved insufficient and, therefore, a transfer from the Tagus River was approved. When the waters of the Tagus reached the natural park, very abundant rains arrived at the same time which made it unnecessary to continue with the transfer and which in the first months of 2010 filled the entire floodable area of ​​the park, naturally suffocating the peat fires. Since then, water conditions have significantly improved and the level of the aquifer has risen by more than 20 m, due to the end of the severe drought and the measures already taken to control the overfishing of the aquifer, including the control of the abstraction of water. farmers and the acquisition of the farms surrounding the natural park, in order, among other things, to also acquire the corresponding extraction rights, for which two years later the park faces the third source from the recovery of the water conditions in a clear way recovery and with the enlargement of its size by the state as a protective measure.

Climate –
The Tablas de Daimiel National Park is characterized by a temperate climate with a summer that begins at the end of June and ends in September.
The highest relative humidity is measured in January (77.57%). The lowest in July (28.08%).
The driest month is July, with 5 mm of rainfall. The month of October is the one with the most rain, having an average of 56 mm.
The hottest month of the year is July with an average temperature of 27.1 ° C, while the average temperature in January is 5.6 ° C. This is the lowest average temperature of the whole year.
The difference between the driest month and the wettest month is 51 mm. Average temperatures vary by 21.4 ° C over the course of the year.
July has the highest number of hours of sunshine with an average of 13.02 hours per day.
In January, on average, there is the lowest number of hours of sunshine per day with an average of 5.53 hours per day.

Flora –
The Tablas de Daimiel National Park protects the last strip of an ecosystem called river tables that are formed by the overflow of rivers in their intermediate sections, favored by semi-endoreism phenomena and the scarcity of slopes.
The park has some wetlands formed by the confluence of the Guadiana river and its Gigüela tributary and is one of the most important aquatic ecosystems in Spain for the fauna and flora that inhabit it. It is also important for the large number of migratory birds that pass through the area such as mallards and geese.
The Daimiel Tables can be considered, within a hydrological-structural classification of wetlands, a “recharge hydro-marsh area”; in theory, with multi-year disposal of surface water, which constantly recharges the underlying aquifer. Although at present times, it is sometimes more like a “hygro-humid zone”, of temporary recharge.
The Tablas de Daimiel are formed by the waters of two rivers of different nature, which makes them a privileged ecosystem: the water of the Gigüela river that comes from the Cabrejas moors in the Cuenca mountain range provides brackish water, while the Guadiana river supplies water. sweet that comes out of his eyes about 15 km north of the national park, in the municipality of Villarrubia de los Ojos.
The fresh water of the Guadiana favors the growth of reeds (Phragmites australis, Phragmites communis), while the brackish water of the Cigüela favors the growth of marsh vegetation, mainly the masiega (Cladium mariscus). The predominant vegetation is marshy. The masegar is extraordinarily abundant, and is the largest of those that still exist in Western Europe.
In the lower areas we find large groups of cattails (genus Typha), bayunco (Scirpus lacustris), castanets (Scirpus maritimus) and reeds (genus Juncus).
One of the most characteristic formations of the national park are the carophyte grasslands, made up of different species of the genus Chara (Chara hispida, Chara major, Chara canescens) known locally as ovas, and which can form an almost continuous tapestry on the flooded bottoms. The tamarisk (Tamarix gallica), a representative species of the Tamaricaceae family, due to the harsh salinity conditions and periods of flooding, is the only tree species present within the wetland.

Fauna –
The fauna of the Tablas de Daimiel National Park is notably linked to the humid habitat of this area, even if it was put in crisis by fires and pressure from anthropogenic activities.
In the migratory fauna, the imperial heron (Ardea purpurea), the gray heron (Ardea cinerea), together with the black and white heron (Egretta garzetta), the heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), the bittern (Botaurus stellaris), l ‘red duck (Netta rufina), shoveler (Anas clypeata), wigeon (Anas penelope), northern pintail (Anas acuta), teal (Anas crecca), hawk (Falco subbuteo), little grebe (Podiceps auritus ), the black-necked grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), the stilt (Himantopus himantopus), the vulture (Cisticola juncidis), the mustachioed (Panurus biarmicus), etc.
Among the sedentary fauna, the crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes), which was once very abundant and an important source of income for the families of Daimiel, is now almost extinct in these waters. After the introduction of the great predator which is the pike (Esox lucius), native species such as the barbel (Barbus barbus), and the cachuelo (Squalius cephalus), also threatened with extinction, have been threatened with extinction.
In spring and summer you can meet amphibians and reptiles such as the San Antonio tree frog (Hyla arborea), the common frog (Rana perezi), the common toad (Bufo bufo), the salamander (Salamandra salamandra) and snakes. of water (Natrix natrix and Natrix maura).
Among the mammals, the polecat (Mustela putorius), the fox (Vulpes vulpes), the otter (Lutra lutra), the vole (Arvicola sapidus), as well as those living nearby: rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), hares (Lepus capensis), weasel (Mustela nivalis) or wild boar (Sus scrofa).
Also noteworthy are the Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), the Coot (Fulica atra), the Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), the Gadwall (Anas strepera), the Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) ), the brown pochard (Aythya nyroca) and the pochard (Aythya fuligula). These can be seen at any time of the year.

Guido Bissanti

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