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Mallarach: "Protected natural areas are indispensable, but not sufficient".

The environmental consultant delivered a lecture in the #GreenLearning cycle at the University of Navarra.

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Josep Maria Mallarach
PHOTO: Manuel Castells
12/03/14 12:18 Laura Latorre

The environmental consultant Josep Maria Mallarach stressed at the University of Navarra that protected natural areas are essential to conserve nature, although they are not enough. "The effectiveness of these spaces depends on many factors, some of the most important of which are not within the reach of those responsible for them". For Mallarach, who participated in the lecture series Green Learning with a session on the effectiveness of protected natural spaces and the challenges in times of crisis, "the level of protection of these spaces is as important as who makes the decisions on their management and the coordination with the activities that can affect them from other sectors".

According to this expert, a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas of the International Union for Conservation, protected natural areas serve, among other things, to preserve ecological and evolutionary processes, conserve ecosystems, ensure the sustainable use of resources, as well as improve the physical and mental health of society and promote respect for the associated cultural and natural heritage.

"it is difficult to improve the effectiveness of these areas in times of cutbacks."

From a political point of view, protected areas are generally considered an essential component of ecological, economic and social sustainability. They are a necessary complement to the policies of development local, health and Education environmental. "A society cannot be physically and mentally healthy in a deteriorated environment, with a polluted and destroyed nature," he pointed out.

In his opinion, it is difficult to improve the effectiveness of these areas in times of cutbacks, but it is possible: "it is necessary to integrate biodiversity conservation strategies into sectoral policies in order to reduce the negative collateral effects on conservation as much as possible. In addition, the effectiveness of protected natural areas must be evaluated in order to promote a good adaptive management , redirecting available resources to the most needed areas". In this sense," he said, "it is necessary to monitor ecological indicators core topic and in this field universities could get involved and offer their partnership".

status of natural areas in Spain

The expert distinguished six categories of protected natural areas, according to the International Union for Conservation: reservation integral, national park, natural monument, managed natural reservation , protected landscape and large ecosystems with traditional management . In Spain and Europe, category V sites, protected landscapes, predominate (70% and 65%, respectively).

In Spain, more than 27% of the territory is legally protected.

Specifically, in Spain more than 27% of the territory is legally protected (13% by national or regional legislation, the rest internationally). Natural areas in Spain receive more than 30 million visitors a year and support and promote significant local economies.

Regarding the governance of these areas, Mallarach distinguished four main types: management public, management shared between public bodies and private entities, of management private and spaces generally without legal declaration in the hands of traditional local communities (worldwide, most are within the latter subject). "In Spain, there is a predominance of public management spaces and, within these, those managed by administrations that depend on the autonomous governments", he explained. "The periodic assessment of the effectiveness would help to identify opportunities to promote new formulas, better adapted to the current status , more creative and effective to manage this valuable natural heritage".