The Doñana region.

Partners involved EBD-CSIC

People involved:

Zulima Tablado

Scientist, Coordinator of activities in the case study

Laetitia Navarro

Scientist, linking to Work package 3 activities on biodiversity data

Eloy Revilla

Director of Doñana Biological Station, Scientist, Engagement with policy and decision-makers

Maria Paniw

Scientist, linking to Work package 6 activities on connectivity modelling

Marcello D’Amico

Scientist, Engagement with Spanish Ministry of Environment

Virgilio Hermoso

Scientist, linking to Work package 6 activities on connectivity


The area comprises the Doñana UNESCO World Heritage area together with an array of Natura 2000 sites and other protected areas in the Northern parts of Andalucía, and towards Portugal in the South-West, with varying degrees of connection. The region remains one of the most important European conservation areas for migratory birds and endangered species and for the preservation of 35 habitat types of the Habitats Directive (almost 30% of the habitats included in Spain). Increasing the connectivity of the natural habitats, enlarging buffer protection zones, and putting green infrastructure in value across agricultural and peri-urban areas will be critical to reducing conservation threats while transitioning towards a more resource-efficient economy. Importantly, this area is also subjected to numerous pressures and conflicting interests, between conservationists and local economies, particularly due to water limitations in the area, which is expected to augment with the effect of climate change.

The purpose of the case study

This case study will assess and provide feedback on the application of NaturaConnect criteria and workflows to support the design and implementation of a coherent network of protected areas and areas of restored connectivity at the sub-national level.


  • Review of the state of the art in knowledge and management on connectivity and governance in the Doñana region.
  • Identify, mobilize and share relevant data on dispersal and, when appropriate, structural and functional connectivity.
  • Use species population modelling approaches to explore the impact of future scenarios and corridors design.
  • Explore the local applicability of the Nature Future Visions developed at the European scale.
  • Facilitate dialogue with the stakeholders from the National Spanish administration, the Regional Government of Andalusia, and municipalities within the Biosphere reserve and surrounding areas, in addition to protected area managers and the private economy sector.


From a methodological point, the case study encompasses an exhaustive scientific and grey literature review, data mobilization, population modelling and stakeholder engagement. Concretely, the Doñana region case study focuses on exploring the work on connectivity already done in the area, and mapping and comparing it with the NaturaConnect framework. Importantly, this case study will also integrate state-of-the-art population dynamics modelling with land-use change and land-use planning scenarios. This will allow identifying the challenges that the framework may find in complex planning contexts such as Doñana, where a large number of stakeholders and socio-ecological interests interact, as well as making a consensus proposal for improved connectivity together with relevant stakeholders. We will also use the framework to explore scenarios that will further connect the Doñana area to other protected areas nearby.