Spain commits 1.4 billion euros to save the vital Doñana wetland from environmental threats.
In a significant environmental initiative, Spain has announced a substantial investment of 1.4 billion euros to protect the Doñana National Park, one of Europe's largest wetlands, from ongoing ecological threats. This collaborative effort involves national and regional authorities and focuses on revitalizing the park's fragile ecosystem.
Teresa Ribera, Spain's Minister for Ecological Transition, emphasized the plan's goal to reduce the cultivation of water-intensive crops, which have contributed to the overexploitation of the region's underground aquifers. These aquifers are crucial for maintaining the wetland, which has suffered from extensive damage in recent years. The initiative seeks to persuade farmers to abandon such crops in favor of more sustainable agricultural practices.
Andalusia's regional President, Juan Moreno, outlined the strategy, which includes financial incentives for farmers to cease cultivation and reforest land around Doñana. Those opting to continue farming will receive support for transitioning to dry crop cultivation that is environmentally friendly. This shift in agricultural practices is seen as vital for the park's survival.
According to ABC News, the agreement also entails the cancellation of previously proposed irrigation expansion plans near Doñana, which had faced criticism from UNESCO, the central government, and environmentalists for exacerbating the strain on the aquifer. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve, Doñana is a critical habitat for numerous bird species, serving as a wintering and migratory stopover. The park's marshes and lagoons have been under severe pressure due to agricultural activities, tourism, climate change, prolonged droughts, and record high temperatures.
Additionally, Andalusia has announced plans to expand the park by purchasing 7,500 hectares from a private owner. Currently, Doñana spans 74,000 hectares at the Guadalquivir River's estuary on Spain's southern coast, representing a vital intersection of ecological and biological diversity. This investment marks a significant step towards preserving one of Europe's most precious natural treasures.
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