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The progress and advancement of societies cause nature to be negatively affected by human activities, as shown by activities such as overexploitation of resources and uncontrolled urbanization. To prevent this damage to the environment, a government has the possibility to protect certain natural areas of special interest. Among these areas are natural parks and there are also nature reserves and protected areas, among others.
In this Green Ecologist article we will see what are natural parks and what is their importance.
What are natural parks
To begin, we will explain what a National Natural Park is and, in general, what are natural parks. Natural parks are outdoor green spaces which, due to their great biological or geological richness, are specially protected areas For the state. In these areas there are laws that limit human activities and whose objective is to prevent the deterioration of the ecosystems they host. In Spain, the concept of natural park is used to name some protected areas, either on the land surface or under the sea.
What is the function of a natural park
The functions performed by the protection of protected green areas such as natural parks that become National Natural Parks are diverse:
- Conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems: In these areas there are usually native and representative ecosystems of a region, which are home to a great variety of flora and fauna. Protecting these areas supposes the conservation of all these biological values.
- Protect endangered habitats: the parks conserve a large number of species threatened with extinction and others whose populations are very scarce or rare.
- Preserve important natural settings: These spaces can house a large number of natural spaces that come from the past of man. Protecting them allows them to be preserved away from human modification.
- Guarantee cultural diversity: Natural parks house samples of the relationship between man and his environment, both past and present.
- They promote education and recreation: These spaces are environments where environmental education activities or visits can be carried out. Of course, under a control.
- Promote research: These spaces are ideal for the development of scientific studies, because they offer very well-preserved environments.
- Protection of paleontological sites: natural parks are also home to fossil deposits, which can be studied and examined.
What is the importance of natural parks
With what has been said above about the functions of natural parks, the great importance of these can be clearly seen, but there is more. In addition to the functions mentioned, these are others that allow us to learn more about the importance of natural parks:
- Source of income for the countries: natural parks are also a source of income for countries. This is because they attract tourists to countries, which in the end represents a part of a country's GDP, both for the tourism sector and for job creation.
- Power source: In some cases, natural parks contain a large amount of resources that are used for power generation. A clear case of this is water.
- Protection of natural resources: Natural protected areas provide stability to soils, helping to mitigate the effects of natural disasters, reducing floods or protecting coasts.
Ultimately, natural parks are vital to the world, both for living beings in general and the planet itself, as well as for society.
How many National Natural Parks are there in Spain
In Spain there are various levels of protection of natural heritage. Thus, we find some 15 national parks and 195 natural parks all over the country. With the exception of Ceuta and Melilla, all the communities have at least two natural parks. The autonomous community with the largest number of parks and nature reserves is Andalusia with a total of 33. This autonomous community of Spain is followed by the Valencian Community (23), the Canary Islands and Castilla y León (20), Catalonia (15), Galicia (12), Asturias (11), Basque Country and Castilla La Mancha (10), Balearic Islands (8), Navarra and Extremadura (4), Community of Madrid (3) and La Rioja (2).
Next, we mention the most important natural parks in Andalusia and Galicia, as an example.
Natural parks of Andalusia
- Cabo de Gata natural park
- Sierra María-Los Velez natural park
- Bahía de Cádiz natural park
- La Breña and Marismas del Barbate Natural Park
- Strait natural park
- Los Alcornocales natural park
- Sierra de Grazalema natural park
- Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro natural park
- Sierra de Hornachuelos natural park
- Sierras Subbéticas natural park
- Sierra de Baza natural park
- Sierra de Castril natural park
- Sierra de Huétor natural park
- Sierra Nevada natural park
- Sierra Norte de Sevilla natural park
- Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche natural park
- Doñana natural park
- Despeñaperros natural park
- Sierra de Andújar natural park
- Sierra Magina natural park
- Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas natural park
- Montes de Málaga natural park
- Sierra de las Nieves natural park
- Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama natural park
- Sierra Norte de Sevilla natural park
Galicia's natural parks
- Complexo Dunar de Corrubedo and Lagunas de Carregal e Vixán Natural Park
- Natural park or Invernadeiro
- Fragas Do Eume natural park
- Monte Aloia natural park
- Baixa Limia Natural Park - Serra Do Xurés
- Sierra Da Enciña da Lastra natural park
In this other article by Ecologista Verde we give you a complete list of the 100 main natural parks in Spain.
What are the most important Natural Parks of Colombia
We also want to mention, to give more examples of what natural parks are and their importance, about Colombia because it is another area with a large number of protected outdoor green spaces. Colombia has a total of 56 natural parks. Nevertheless, the following Natural Parks of Colombia stand out:
- El Cocuy National Natural Park (which we can see in the image below).
- The Island of the Corota.
- Los Nevados National Natural Park.
- Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo Natural Park.
- Tayrona National Natural Park.
If you want to read more articles similar to What are natural parks and what is their importance, we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category.