Located in the Cabriel River basin in eastern Spain, the Valle del Cabriel Biosphere Reserve is characterized by a diversity of landscapes: mountains, rock formations shaped by the confinement of fluvial channels, agricultural use in alluvial plains, salt marshes and lagoons. Rich cultural heritage remains the area include Villar del Humo, part of the Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula World Heritage site. Fluvial channels across the Biosphere Reserve serve as ecological corridors connecting the whole territory and enabling the distribution of vegetation and fauna, as well as facilitating the dissemination of ideas and customs. The inhabitants of the Cabriel Valley have adapted to the their environment by employing unique, ancient sustainable practices based on agricultural activity, livestock and water use, which have helped them conserve their specific tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
Surface : 421,766 ha
- Core area(s): 61,251 ha
- Buffer zone(s): 90,489 ha
- Transition zone(s): 270,025 ha
Location: 39°43’38”N - 1°30’36”E
The biosphere reserve area is located in the Cabriel river basin in the autonomous communities of Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia and Aragón. The area is characterized by significant landscape diversity including mountainous areas, rock formations formed by the confinement of fluvial channels, agricultural zones of the alluvial plains, salt marshes and lagoons.
The area experiences climatic variability with rainfall varying from 400 mm to 1200 mm and average annual temperatures ranging between 7°C and 17°C. Lithological and pedological variability and altitudinal variance, which ranges from 340 metres above sea level to the south and more than 1,800 metres to the north, have led to a high diversity of ecosystems. The majority of the site enjoys a Mediterranean climate, although the northern mountainous area is located in a more temperate region.
Fluvial channels cross the proposed area and function as a network of connecting links not only for raw materials, but also for ideas and customs. They also act as an ecological corridor connecting the whole territory and enabling the distribution of vegetation and fauna. The vegetation is characterized by Iberian gypsum vegetation (Gypsophiletalia), karstic calcareous grasslands or basophils of the Alysso-Sedion albi, Mediterranean pine forests of endemic black pines, endemic forests of Juniperus spp., pre-steppe areas of gramineous and annuals of Thero-Brachypodietea. In relation to fauna, 249 species of vertebrates have been identified of which 154 correspond to groups of birds, 47 to mammals, 20 to reptiles, 19 to inland fish and 9 to amphibians.
The area is populated by 29,772 inhabitants; however the number of inhabitants in all municipalities has reduced drastically since the 1950s. The inhabitants of the Cabriel Valley have adapted to the conditions of the environment by employing unique, ancient sustainable practises based on agricultural activity, livestock and water use. These have enabled them to conserve their exceptional tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
This cultural heritage incorporates archaeological elements (more than 15 important sites) some of which have been designated World Heritage Sites (e.g. the Cave Paintings of Villar del Humo). It also encompasses 3 Historical-Artistic Complexes, 13 Cultural Heritage Sites, and a rich industrial and historical heritage.
Last updated: June 2019