Huelva (EFE).- The Doñana Natural Area closed the year 2022 with a record maximum temperature, minimum rainfall and a shortage of wintering waterfowl, according to the results of the Natural Processes Monitoring Program presented by the Doñana Biological Station (EBD). -CSIC).
The presentation was made at a ceremony held at the La Rocina Visitors Center in Doñana (Huelva) on the occasion of International Wetlands Day, attended by the director of the EBD-CSIC, Eloy Revilla, and the counselor of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy, Ramón Fernández-Pacheco.
Revilla has pointed out that the hydrological year 2021-2022 “has been one of the worst” since they began their work in the 70s of the last century; “The intense and prolonged drought caused by climate change, and the pressure exerted by human activity outside the protected area leave their mark on the different indicators of the state of Doñana’s biodiversity.”
«Our role as a research center is to obtain the information and make it available to the administrations and to society as a whole. Social concern for the conservation of Doñana is great and today, fortunately, the different administrations have started to work together to ensure that Doñana continues to be a value for the future”, he stated.
Andalusia will renew the Wetlands Plan
For his part, the counselor has announced that the Andalusian Government will renew the current Andalusian Wetlands Plan (PAH) and has assured that his department will invest 15.4 million euros for the restoration of wetlands in 2023 and 2024, charged to funds from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR).
“It is already necessary to update this plan to adapt it to the changes that have occurred both in the regulations and in the commitments and responsibilities regarding wetlands at the regional, national and international level,” Fernández-Pacheco pointed out.
Regarding the results of the monitoring program, the deputy director of the EBD-CSIC, Javier Bustamante, highlighted that the hydrometeorological cycle that runs from September 2021 to September 2022 was characterized as “dry and warm, following the trend observed during the last decade”.
Regarding temperatures, it has been the cycle with the highest maximum temperature (46.30°C) and the highest average annual temperature (18.53°C) recorded.
Doñana in 2022: low rainfall, dry lagoons, migratory scarcity of waterfowl…
The 2022 report emphasizes that the Doñana lagoons, especially those that depend on groundwater and have long hydroperiods, have suffered this year “a very pronounced shortening of it.” The Sopetón lagoon dried up at the beginning of July and the Dulce lagoon at the beginning of August; In addition, the Santa Olalla lagoon almost completely dried up at the end of August, despite being a permanent lagoon that had not suffered such intense desiccation even during previous periods of drought.
Likewise, the time that the Doñana marsh was flooded was very short, with a very negative anomaly (difference from the annual average), due to the scant rainfall, which caused wintering of waterfowl to be very scarce.
In the January 2022 census, the number of birds recorded was only 80,880, a low number as it was the second worst figure in the entire historical series of January censuses, having to go back to 1975 to find a lower figure.
The Doñana waterfowl breeding season was also poor due to drought.
The rabbit, a key species for numerous predators -including the Iberian lynx and the imperial eagle-, registered in 2022 one of the lowest density values in the historical series.