Conhabit Initiative

The Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Andalusia are very important resources for ecotourism. With a diverse range of landscapes, habitats, and species, in addition to geomorphological and ecological processes, the coast is a place for rest and recreation as well as of incredible interest from a Preservation Biology point of view.

LIC/ZEPA Marismas del Río Piedras y Flecha del RompidoThe Atlantic coast is mainly made up of sandy beaches topped by sand dune systems facing the interior under the force of the dominant winds. This soft coastline is punctuated by the mouths of rivers that form estuaries, sometimes with impressive sandbars created by the longshore drift of the sands, giving rise to the marshy landscapes populated by halophilous vegetation and allowing the presence in the winter of large numbers of birds due to the high level of productivity.

For its part, the Mediterranean coast is characterised by its proximity to the Baetic system that sinks into the sea, creating rocky seafloors, as well as by the existence of a smaller river system, with large variations in altitude and very little tidal amplitude. The existence of these mountain ranges along with the coastline has allowed for the creation of steep cliffs caused by wind erosion, as well as beaches and bays coinciding with the mouths of the riverbeds.

LIC/ZEPA Acantilados de Maro-Cerro GordoAndalusia is rich in coastal habitats. On the coast there are diverse habitats listed as being of community interest due to their uniqueness, and for containing priority species, indigenous and threatened. Some of these habits include the Mediterranean salt steppes, the fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation (grey dunes), dunes with juniper or coastal savin plants, till Atlantic wet heaths.

In accordance with the analysis carried out by the Spanish Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), coastal ecosystems are among the most productive and simultaneously among the most threatened ecosystems in Spain. The presence of the coast presents an advantage for the well-being of its inhabitants by serving as one of the pillars of the economy and creating the greatest need for services by part of society. Over the last few years, aware of the threats (development, intensive agriculture, exotic invasive species, inappropriate public use, waste...), important programmes have been begun in order to improve the state of Preservation of wetlands, sandbanks, beaches, or coastal forests, many of them fragile and greatly valuable due to their uniqueness.

The Andalusian coast makes up 10% of the total area of Andalusia and contains 70 representative species of wild plant life under differing levels of threat (extinct, endangered, vulnerable, and of special interest), totalling 37.5% of all threatened plant life in Andalusia." (Protection Plan for the Andalusian Coastal Corridor).

LIFE CONHABIT ANDALUSIA: The LIFE+ project “Conservation and improvements in priority habitats in the Andalusian coast” (LIFE13NAT/ES/000586), addresses the correction of some of the main threats observed in Natura 2000 Network spaces in coastal environments and it works to achieve a social conscience on the need to protect the most vulnerable plant species and habitats.

In certain aspects, the project involves a great added value, which is highlighted by:

  • Being in line with the objectives of the EU’s strategy on Biodiversity until 2020, specifically with reference to its objectives 1 and 2: the full application of the Habitats Directive and the maintenance and restoration of the ecosystem and its services.
  • Developing the Spanish and Andalusian Strategy of Biological Diversity of Biodiversity. Furthermore, it will be developed in the environment of the habitats on which the Plans for Conservation and Recovery of Endangered Species act.
  • Being a reciprocal implementation amongst LIFE projects.
  • Developing a Manual for Managing Good Forest Practices adapted to different coastal sites of community importance (SCI)/SAC.
  • And promote the assessment of environmental and ecosystem services in the coastal environment.
  • “Millennium Development Goals": More information