Paradise lost: Doñana wetlands going dry

Paradise lost: Doñana wetlands going dry
By Euronews
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Discover in this 360° video how climate change and human activities threaten the ecosystem of Doñana National Park, in southern Spain.


Doñana National Park, in southern Spain, is considered one of the most important wetlands in Europe.

This natural area of more than a hundred thousand hectares is a key stopover for 6 million migratory birds flying each year between Europe and Africa. It’s also home to several rare and endangered species.

The park, on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, boasts a mosaic of landscapes and ecosystems – beaches, wetlands, and dunes. But scientific studies warn that climate change is gradually turning Doñana into a desert.

Spain’s Doñana wetlands going dry, WWF warns

— The Local Spain (@TheLocalSpain) September 15, 2016

“Most of Doñana’s lagoons feed on groundwater. Climate change will mean less rainfall and a decrease in water table levels. Therefore, lagoons, like the one where we stand, will have more and more trouble filling up on water each winter,” says Francisco Borja, Professor of the University of Huelva.

Environmental scientists and NGOs say shrinking water supplies, combined with over-use of groundwater by local farmers and nearby urbanization, have already caused lagoons like Charco del Toro or el Zahillo to dry up.

The more arid climate and rising sea level are also playing tricks in Doñana. While new dunes are forming and encroaching on the park’s pine woods, by the coast, where the dunes should be, they’re disappearing.

Very thirsty

The farmlands around Doñana produce 70 percent of the strawberries grown in Spain. Add to that mining activities and a nearby golf course, and Doñana is getting very thirsty.

The World Wide Fund for Nature has warned that over 80 percent of Doñana’s marsh has been lost since the beginning of the 20th century, and it’s now only getting a fifth of the water it needs.

Global climate models predict more arid climate, a sea level that will rise up to 0,5 m towards the end of the century, and the reduction in fresh water wetlands, transforming the habitats of migratory birds and endangered species.

Only collaborative efforts by governments, local population, scientific community and environment organizations could minimize the foreseeable impact of climate change.

Doñana is a sanctuary for millions of migratory birds & endangered species in Europe #WorldMigratoryBirdDay

— WWF (@WWF) May 10, 2017

Video produced by Daniel González Acuña

Watch in Virtual Reality: how climate change is affecting Europe now

Inside this VR experience, you can watch seven different reports on climate change in Europe, either with a VR headset or through your normal browser on computer, tablet or phone.

You can choose your destinations by gazing at the icons on the map or by hovering the round cursor on them.
On a desktop browser, you can enter full screen mode by clicking on the glasses.

Please use Wi-Fi if you are on mobile, as well as headphones for the best experience. If you have trouble starting the experience below, please click on this link .

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