Author:William Kavanagh (CEU San Pablo University, Madrid)
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines the processes of patrimonialisation of nature in a Spanish protected area – the Gredos Mountains – and how the declaration by the regional government of Castile-León of the area of Gredos as a park in 1996 has affected social actors and their interests.
Paper long abstract:
The Gredos range (Sierra de Gredos in Spanish), which includes both alpine and Mediterranean ecosystems, is one of the most biologically interesting areas of Western Europe. There have been various unsuccessful initiatives to have the area of the Gredos Mountains declared a National Park. On 20 June 1996 the regional parliament of Castile-León, one of the seventeen autonomous regions which make up Spain, declared that part of the mountain range under their jurisdiction to be a Regional Park. When previously informed of the proposal to declare Gredos a park, the reaction of the majority of the inhabitants of the villages to be included in the area of the park had not been favourable. The mayors of the affected towns had signed a declaration in which they stated that the plan for the park 'ignores many aspects of the socio-economic reality of our villages . . . with a total lack of information and participation on the part of the distinct sectors directly affected by the project'. What the mayors were expressing was the fear of many local people that, if the mountains were to become a protected area, 'all the sierra would be only for the wolves', as a number of them put it, in detriment to cattle-raising and agriculture. This paper examines the processes of patrimonialisation of nature in a Spanish protected area and how these changes affect social actors and their interests.
Societies and protected areas