Building peace in the minds of men and women

Alto Bernesga Biosphere Reserve, Spain


Alto Bernesga Biosphere Reserve, designated in 2005, is one of three new units of a large-scale Biosphere Reserve that will encompass the entire Gran Cantabrica mountain range.

Designation date: 2005


Regional network:  EuroMAB and IberoMAB

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 33,442 ha

    • Core area(s): 8,637 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 14,764 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 10,041 ha

    Location: 42º55’36"N; 5º40’28"W

    Administrative Authorities 

    Fundación de la Reserva de la Biosfera del Alto Bernesga
    Plaza Mayor S/N
    Ayuntamiento de la Pola de Gordón
    24600 Pola de Gordón, León

    Tel.: 987 588003 Ext. 3

    Website ǀ Facebook ǀ Twitter



    Ecological Characteristics

    The wealth and biodiversity in the Alto Bernesga Biosphere Reserve is exceptional because of its bio geographic allocation in the transition areas between dry Spain and humid Spain; that is to say, between the Mediterranean region and the Euro-Siberian or Atlantic region.

    The flora includes high mountain grasslands in the crags, rocks and passes; Oak-groves, acidophilous Oro-Cantabrian Beach trees, Euro-Siberian riparian forests of Willow and Poplar trees; with the presence of endemic plant formations such as the Sabina Albar forests and Oro-Cantabrian Oak-groves.

    In terms of fauna, special mention should be made of the bird life, with some endangered species such as the Red Kite, the Egyptian Vulture, the Peregrine Hawk, and the Golden Eagle. The chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) is also an emblematic species of the region.

    In addition to a diversity of flora and fauna, the Reserve is also of great paleontological value due to the Devonian seafloor fossil sites.

    This wealth contributes to making Alto Bernesga very attractive to researchers and students from allover the world who visit these unique sites as there are only three similar ones and they are not as accessible.

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Traditionally the local inhabitants were engaged in animal husbandry but presently there is a clear predomination of the mining and energy sectors, followed by trade, animal husbandry, ecological agriculture and services.







    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Spain
    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Europe & North America
    Back to World Network of Biosphere Reserves

    Last updated: February 2019