Reserva Biosfera La Palma



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The territory zoning is a significant feature of the biosphere reserve concept.

For a proper preservation and maintenance of natural and cultural values of those regions taking part of the biosphere reserve, the territories are divided into three zones, according to their protection degree, where the level of conservation of each zone may be distinguished, as related to the number of activities performed:

  • Core area:these are zones conformed by natural protected spaces which basic goals are the preservation of biological diversity and ecosystems. The activities to be performed in these zones are based on research and those traditional exploitations in perfect harmony with the environment.
  • Buffer zone or protection of core areas:these zones allow the integration of basic conservation of core areas to the environmentally sustainable development in the buffer zones. The activities performed in this zone should be supplementary to the ones performed in the core area and in any way they should not obstruct its conservation goals.
  • Transition area:these are zones in which it is allowed to foster the socio-economic development so as to improve the populations' welfare, taking advantage of specific potentials and resources of biosphere reserves in a sustainable manner, respecting their goals and the Man and the Biosphere Programme. In this space almost all productive activities take place.


  Surface (Km2) Percentage Insular Percentage
Terrestrial Insular Extension 708,84 81,24 81,24
Marine Insular Extension 163,66 18,75 18,75
Total Extension 872,50 100 100
Terrestrial Core Area 206,02 29,06 23,61
Marine Core Area 31,05 18,97 3,55
Total Core Area 237,07   22,16
Terrestrial Buffer Zone 296 41,75 33,92
Marine Buffer Zone 100,25 61,25 11,49
Total Buffer Zone 396,25   45,41
Terrestrial Transition Area 206,82 29,17 23,70
Marine Transition Area 32,35 19,77 3,70
Total Transition Area 239,17   27,40


Zoning of La Palma Biosphere Worldwide Reserve

TheZoning of La Palma Biosphere Worldwide Reserve has been performed under the principle that each zone may comply with conservation, development and logistics functions as set forth by UNESCO, taking into account the spaces' functionality, their natural and heritage values.

For the zoning creation and process, different criteria and realities have been taken into account, such as: 

1. The existence of a National Park, the National Park of Caldera de Taburiente.

2. The existence of a complete Network of Natural Spaces consolidated according to the Act of the Canary Islands Natural Spaces (Act 12/1994).

3. The possession of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) included in Red Natura 2000.

4. The existence of an Ordering Plan of Natural Resources connecting all protection figures in the island territorial ordering system; so, it is a single planning instrument integrally ordering each island’s territory.

5. The existence of a Fishery Marine Reserve, with its corresponding zoning system already in existence.

From these bases, the zoning is set up as regards the spaces' category.

In order to adapt the concept and goals of the Biosphere Reserve to new existing challenges, it's necessary to get a better zoning integration passing from protected to protecting space. Therefore a zoning is given birth, integrated by conservation and sustainable and social development issues. The inclusion of ecological connectors around core areas and the sea environment offers the island a higher continuity, connectivity and consistence in both environments avoiding the "island on an island” effect.

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