Some of the world’s most spectacular coastlines are in Spain, which has led to it being considered one of the world’s most popular yachting and tourist destinations. Unfortunately, with growing tourism comes a threat to Spain’s most revered locations, including Ibiza and other key wilderness areas that are being severely neglected by the Spanish authorities, a recent study reported. The protection and maintenance of 3 out of 5 of Spain’s most iconic landscapes; Ibiza coastline, Andalusia’s wetlands and Canary island of La Gomera, that are under Unesco World Heritage protection status, have come under criticism from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Chartering in Ibiza’s coastline attracts millions of tourists annually, which has put the magnificent Island’s natural ecosystem at risk. The seemingly uncontrolled tourism has led to problems that include sewage pollution for the countless yachts and boats in the area as well as various other threats that vary from disposal of improperly treated land sewage to an excess of visitors disrupting the protected areas of the UNESCO sites. The World Heritage Outlook report also stated that there are concerns that include, along with climate change, intentions to place a new submarine electric cable between the Islands of Ibiza and Formentera, along with an oil exploring and drilling project in the Ibiza channel, all major causes for concern.
One of the biggest wildlife aspects that IUCN is particularly concerned about in relation to the human impact on the area are the areas Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows, associated biodiversity as well as the Balearic Shearwater population. UNESCO is concerned that if this environmentally unsound trend persists, these once pristine landscapes will enter into the critical conservation state sooner rather than later. Apparently one of the main reasons for the current hazards affecting the Ibiza coastline is a major lack of efficient management of the environment. committed enforcement of the borders, insufficient staffing, border enforcement, visitor control, the current legal structure are evidently insufficient and part of the overall problem is a lack of monetary resources.
Doñana National Park
The IUCN is also apprehensive about a long term issue of Doñana National Park water levels, a landscape that includes wetland wilderness located near the breathtaking Andalusia’s Atlantic coast (also home to the world’s most significant population of Iberian lynxes). While the park’s management is said to be significantly more effective than in Ibiza, it doesn’t have an influence on agricultural guidelines outside of the park that have caused the long term and ongoing decrease in water quantity as well as the barrier effect brought on by the bordering uses of the land. The majority of the encompassing farmland is used to irrigate the areas heavy production of strawberries.
Garajonay National Park and Garajonay
The Garajonay National Park, located on La Gomera, is an environmental concern as well due to the destruction experienced in a fire that took place on the island 2012. The problem is that in the Ibiza area, fire hazards are amplified because of a lack of efficient maintenance of the woodlands, the urbanization of forested areas and more. Climate change and a boost in tourism are among the causes of the environmental vulnerability at Garajonay, however the situation appears to be improving.
The good news is that, at least for the time being, two of Spain’s Unesco Heritage sites passed the test, including Teide National Park in Tenerife’ and the Aragonese Pyrenees’s Monte Perdido.