The Llobregat Delta
This lies to the south-west of Barcelona, a short journey from the city. It is rounded in form, a result of marine erosion that is occurring at an approximate rate of 1 metre a year. The rich soil is intensively used for horticulture. Recent years have seen valuable farmland lost to the expansion of the Zona Franca tariff-free industrial park and the growth of Barcelona's airport, El Prat. The area also contains a refuse recycling plant.
The heavily polluted river has been diverted and channelised to allow for industrial expansion and a further diversion is planned to allow for the expansion of the airport. Sea water incursions are contaminating the aquifers in the area.
The area contains sand dunes suitable for vegetation succession studies and there are a number of salt and fresh water lagoons managed and preserved as a nature reserve. Visitor management and controlled grazing by horses are the main management techniques. The area forms a valuable wintering ground for many migratory species of birds and provides habitats for a number of rare orchid species.
Mediterranean wetland management issues.
Sand dune, salt marsh, and pine woodland ecosystem studies.