We have garnered all the plaudits
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Our mountain ranges have been awarded every conceivable honour in recognition of their ecological and cultural value and the importance of their landscapes. The region was declared a Natural Park by the Government of Andalusia in 1986, although a substantial part of the southern half of the territory was declared a National Hunting Reserve in 1960 owing to the abundance of species such as the Spanish ibex, wild boar, red deer, fallow deer and mouflon. This reserve is today known as the Andalusian Hunting Reserve of Cazorla-Segura and covers an area of 70,000 hectares.

UNESCO turned its attentions to our mountain ranges in 1983, declaring them a Biosphere Reserve, which means they form a part of the select club of 553 enclaves in 107 countries around the globe that make up the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. These are areas that the United Nations has identified as examples of innovation in conservation, where preservation of the natural environment has been shown to act as a driving force for sustainable development.

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The European Union also considers the Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas mountain ranges to number amongst the continent's most important natural spaces. In 1988 they were declared a Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds, owing to their great importance to the conservation of bird species under threat of extinction. This status commits the Spanish State to their protection. An abundance and diversity of bird species demonstrate the high ecological quality of an area: the reintroduction of the bearded vulture in Andalusia via this park is a strong indication of precisely that. Moreover, thanks to the reintroduction program this extraordinary bird is now once again present to the south of the Pyrenees..

The most recent international recognition of the park came in 2006, when the European Union declared it a Site of Community Importance (SCI) and made it a part of Natura 2000, an ecological network made up of the most important areas for the preservation of Europe's biodiversity. An example of the international significance of the park resides in the fact that it is the European area that contains the second-highest number of endemic plant species, species that are found nowhere else in the world.

To ensure that visitors can enjoy this area of natural heritage whilst respecting the environment, the park was one of the first natural spaces in Spain to be accredited by the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, which forms a part of the Europarc Federation European Network. This accreditation requires a commitment to the environmental quality of tourist services and positions the park amongst Europe's areas of excellence in terms of sustainable tourism.

For several years now the mountain forests in the reserve have been managed in accordance with control systems that guarantee their sustainability. Some of these systems have been afforded Pan-European Forest Certification (PEFC), whilst others have been accredited by the even more stringent Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

This impressive series of recognitions and commitments serves as a guarantee that the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park will meet all of your expectations: a visit to our park will enable you to feel part of the natural world in all its splendour.

 

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