Areas of Special Protection for Birds , that is the ZEPA zones . Natural areas, protected and cataloged by the member states of the European Union with the objective of protecting birds.

Birds of the European territory are considered to be a common good. They must have certain spaces especially migratory and threatened with extinction.

In Plantae we write this post to warn of the importance of these areas if your farm or plot belongs to them, because it would define the possibilities of the crop to be planted. Through sigpac and other sources you can search the polygons and plots that belong to these ZEPA zones and check to which you belong.

Objectives of these ZEPA zones

In Spain, the Autonomous Communities are responsible for regulating the ZEPA areas by establishing certain standards:

  • Ensure the protection of birds that live in the wild.
  • Offer in the member states of the European Union necessary protected and restored habitats.
  • Regulate the capture and trade practices of these wild birds. The states are required to take care of the ZEPA zones. They should condition them for rest, reproduction and feeding of birds. Also prepare nest boxes.
  • Maintain a traditional agricultural and livestock use.
  • Delimit the zones.
  • Reduce as much as possible the mortality of birds in the area, light cables, stealth.

    Zonas ZEPA

A prominent place in our country as ZEPA are the Marshlands of Santoña.

Measures to take into account in ZEPA areas

  • Control chemical substances: absence of herbicides, rodenticides, insecticides, control of fertilizer use with the appropriate doses.
  • In case of pests, products recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development will be used.
  • Use seeds not treated with phytosanitary products. To compensate for this problem, agro-environmental aids are promoted to carry out reseeding.
  • Promote the cultivation of legumes in these areas.
  • Include fallow areas, leaving uncultivated land for a while.
  • Leave natural grasslands. Do not have animals grazing and avoid the increase of trees.
  • Leave borders with natural vegetation as well as sowing without harvesting.
  • The administration controls the planting of woody crops, especially the trellis vine, the almond tree and intensive and superintensive olive tree. These involve a loss of bird habitat.
  • Promote cereal production.
  • Carry out the agricultural work of harvesting with sunlight, to avoid sweeping the sleeping birds.
  • Encourage stubble and that the straw remain for days in the grounds for bird refuge.
  • For control of all Zepa zones, satellite images are important.

For (+ info)zonas ZEPA

Incidents with farmers to protect birds

Currently we can see news in the press denouncing agricultural practices at night. The reason is the large number of birds that sleep especially in intensive and superintensive crops.

The collection of the olive for example that is done at night with mechanical means, to avoid the hot hours, causes a lot of birds to die that seek refuge in these hedges.

The debate between administrations, environmentalists and farmers is continuing to agree in this area.

Olivo intensivo perjudicial en zonas zepa- Harmful intensive olive tree in zepa areas
Olivo intensivo perjudicial para las aves migratorias

They also warn the administrations and environmental groups of the problem of water in protected areas. Intelligent water saving and its management is vital in these areas.