ZEPA zones, regulations and measures to take into account

Special Protection Areas for Birds , that is the ZEPA zones . Natural areas, protected and cataloged by the member states of the European Union in order to protect birds.

Objectives of these ZEPA areas

In Spain, the Autonomous Communities are in charge of regulate the ZEPA zones by establishing certain rules:

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

A prominent place in our country as a ZEPA is the Santoña Marshes.

Measures to take into account in ZEPA areas

  • Control chemical substances: absence of herbicides, rodenticides, insecticides, control of the use of fertilizers 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, agri-environmental aid is promoted for replanting.
  • Promote the cultivation of legumes in these areas.
  • Include fallow areas, leaving land uncultivated for a time.
  • Include fallow areas, leaving land uncultivated for a time.
  • Leave borders with natural vegetation as well as make crops without harvesting.
  • The administration controls the planting of woody crops, especially trellis vine, intensive and super-intensive almond and olive trees. These represent a loss of habitat for birds.
  • Promote cereal production.
  • Carry out agricultural harvesting tasks with sunlight, to avoid devastating sleeping birds.
  • Encourage stubble and that the straw remains for days on the grounds to shelter the birds.
  • For the control of all Zepa zones, the satellite images are important.
ZEPA zones, regulations and measures to take into account

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Incidents with farmers to protect birds

At present 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 super-intensive crops.

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

The debate between administrations, ecologists and farmers to reach an agreement in this area is continuous.



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