GNF - La Mancha Wetlands

La Mancha Wetlands – Spain


Background La Mancha Wetlands

La Mancha Wetlands (Humedales de la Mancha in Spanish) are situated in the district of Castilla - La Mancha in Spain. The wetlands cover an area of 40 sq. km and consist of 27 wetlands (La Mancha Wetlands Nature 2000 sites), 15 wetlands in the Ruidera Natural Park and one wetland in the Daimiel National Park.


The water of the wetlands partly has drinking water quality, but may also be saline or hyper saline, the electrical conductivity ranges from 500 to 50,000 µS/cm. The wetlands are shallow lakes, with a depth between 1.5 to 2 meters. Only the wetlands in the Ruidera Natural Park are 20 meters deep.


La Mancha Wetlands form a unique habitat for highly specialised flora and fauna. Some endemic species are threatened, such as Helianthemum polygonoides. Many migratory birds winter in the wetlands, such as Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope), Gadwall (Anas strepera), Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala), Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) and Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis).


The wetlands are surrounded by Mediterranean forest, seasonal grasslands and fields (cereal, vineyards and olive trees). These farming activities have the greatest negative impacts on the groundwater and wetland conservation. For the irrigation of the fields, an immense amount of water is withdrawn. Also the use of nitrate and phosphate has very negative impacts on the wetlands biology.


Biosphere Reserve

In 1980, the UNESCO has declared the La Mancha Wetlands as Biosphere Reserve, because of its importance for the waterfowl and its rich bio-diversity. This wetland complex is one of the species-richest wetlands in Western Europe.

 La Mancha Wetlands
 Salt Lagoon

Lentil cultivation in the Spanish wetlands of La Mancha

The ecological and sustainable cultivation of two traditional varieties of lentils, the Pardina and Troy lentils, provides a basic food supply for the birds living permanently or seasonally in the La Mancha wetland. Additionally, Fundación Global Nature's project significantly contributes to the conservation and resurgence of traditional cultivation techniques and crops. Another benefit of lentil cultivation is the increase in soil fertility, due to the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in the soil by Rhizobiaceae bacteria, which occurs in all legumes.


At present, 375 hectares of troy lentil fields are cultivated. In 2011, Pardina lentils were introduced as an additional crop in the region and are currently grown on an area of 114 ha. The excess lentils which the birds do not consume are marketed, the revenue going towards the project and its upkeep.


Award of the Fundación Daniel y Nina Carasso

The Fundación Global Nature has been awarded a prize for its innovation projects regarding sustainable farming. The organization was the winner in the category "Food that benefits people and the environment" of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation thanks to its project "Differentiated marketing based on the benefits for biodiversity". The ceremony took place on 3rd November 2015 at the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Madrid.

Further information (in Spanish) ...

 The winners during the ceremony in November 2015 in Madrid


Partner organisation La Mancha Wetlands

Fundación Global Nature (FGN)

Eduardo de Miguel

c/ Real, 48 local

28231 Las Rozas de Madrid (Madrid), Spain

Phone: +34 91 710 44 55



 Logo Fundacion Global Nature