The Regional Government of Castile-La Mancha, through its Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development, was a beneficiary partner of LIFE10 project “La Mancha Wetlands”. The actions undertaken as part of this project are coordinated and implemented through its Directorate General for Forestry and Natural Areas.
The Directorate is the arm responsible for environmental conservation and management in the Castile-La Mancha region. Its responsibilities include the following areas covered under the LIFE project:
- Study, protection and conservation of natural flora and the soil, the conservation and restoration of natural eco-systems and geological heritage.
- Planning and establishing guidelines for the management, conservation, surveillance, custodianship, promotion and monitoring of the region’s natural areas and resources as set out in Act 9/1 999, of 26 May on Nature Conservation. The management of “Regional catalogues of endangered species and habitats, and Specially Protected Geomorphological Elements”.
- Drawing up programmes for the application of different State and European Union funds and financial instruments for nature conservation in the region and the implementation of the appropriate action.
- Cooperation and relations with nature conservation organisations and institutions at supra-regional level.
- Management of public use of the natural environment
- Promoting, administering, coordinating and disseminating the activities of the La Mancha Wetlands Biosphere Reserve.
- Planning and managing public use of protected natural areas, and developing programmes involving interpretation, dissemination and awareness-raising regarding the region’s protected natural areas and resources.
- Preparing reports on the status of the region’s protected natural resources and their development.
ACTIONS IMPLEMENTED BY THE REGIONAL MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE IN THE LIFE PROJECT
The actions undertaken by the Regional Ministry of Agriculture have included the production of halophilic plants for the restoration of sparto grasslands and native woody plants for the recovery of river basins and borders of the wetlands.
The production took place in the Malagón nursery (Ciudad Real) under similar conditions to those that the plants will suffer on site. More than 40,000 plants were produced of the species included in the Limonietalia formation such as: Lygeum spartum, Limonium carpetanicum, Limonium dichotomum, Limonium erectum, Juncus maritimus, Lavatera triloba; And woody plants as: Tamarix canariensis y Tamarix gallica, Populus alba, Quercus ilex, Quercus coccífera, among others.
Plot purchase: the Regional Government has developed for many years a programme for purchasing the plots in or near the wetland which has proved to be the best solution for the protection and restoration of the La Mancha wetlands. This acquisition has been gradually implement, according to the budget restrictions now increased by the current economic situation. The financing through the LIFE La Mancha Wetlands was an opportunity to support this program. About 274 hectares (ha) have been purchased in total. They are located in basins or areas around the wetlands. They are high-value areas because they host species of priority conservation and of interest for the Habitats and Birds Directives
In parallel, the Regional Government of Castile-La Mancha elaborated the Management Plan for La Mancha and the area was declared as Special Conservation Area (SCA) in the Natura 2000 network.
PROTECTED AREAS NETWORK IN THE PROJECT
The La Mancha Wetlands project was developed in protected areas included in the Natura 2000 network, the SCA and SCI “La Mancha Wetlands”, codes ES0000091 and ES4250010 respectively.
The action area included 27 wetlands in La Mancha region located in the following municipalities: Mota del Cuervo and Las Mesas in Cuenca; Lillo, Villacañas, Villafranca de los Caballeros and Quero in Toledo; and Alcázar de San Juan, Pedro Muñoz y Campo de Criptana in Ciudad Real province.
The area is included in the La Mancha Húmeda Biosphere Reserve, declared in 1981 by UNESCO. In addition, the Pueblo wetland (Pedro Muñoz) and the Manjavacas wetland (Mota del Cuervo) are also protected areas according to international agreements included in the Ramsar List.
Some of the wetland areas that are included in the “La Mancha Wetlands” are protected natural areas included in the Regional Network of Protected Areas of Castile-La Mancha. These areas are protected by instruments included in Act 9/1 999, of 26 May on Nature Conservation in Castile-La Mancha . There are 10 Natural Reserves and 1 Micro-reserve.