Somiedo Natural Park
||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Spanish Wikipedia. (April 2009)|
|Somiedo Natural Park|
|Parque Natural de Somiedo|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Lake in the natural park
|Governing body||Principality of Asturias|
Lakes in the park have been designated a natural monument, the Conjunto Lacustre de Somiedo.
The farming methods traditional to the area are regarded as an example of sustainable living, and were a factor in UNESCO's designation of the park as a Biosphere Reserve in 2000. Of particular interest is the braña, a traditional system of livestock herding based on transhumance, which makes use of high pastures for summer grazing. There is interest in preserving the traditional buildings of the brañas not only for farming purposes but also as a tourist attraction.
Somiedo is one of a number of Biosphere Reserves in the Cantabrian mountains. The possibility of managing these reserves together as a "super-reserve" (to be called Gran Cantábrica) is under discussion as at 2009. Integration would benefit the management of some species of wildlife.
Cantabrian brown bear
The park is a stronghold of the Cantabrian brown bear. In 2009 the Spanish newspaper El País referred to Somiedo with its 30 bears as the Spanish Yellowstone. The Fundación Oso Pardo (FOP) opened an interpretation centre in October 2011 called “Somiedo y el Oso” in Pola de Somiedo.
The total number of bears in Spain is small and the government classes them as endangered. The bears' future is put at risk by fragmentation of their habitat in the Cantabrian Mountains. A need has been identified to develop wildlife corridors specifically for bears using appropriate vegetation and initiatives to promote co-existence with human inhabitants of the mountains. The European Union's LIFE Programme has provided funding for a corridor linking the natural park via Leitariegos to another area of bear habitat .
The European Union designated the park a Special Protection Area for birds in 1989. Birds include the Cantabrian Capercaillie. The number of capercaillies in the park has declined significantly, but there are efforts to reverse the decline via a recovery plan for the subspecies. The plan, which operates across a number of SPAs, has been supported by the LIFE Programme. 
- Somiedo Biosphere Reserve, UNESCO
- The Network of Ethnographic Museums of Asturias
- (Spanish) Javier Rico (21/11/2009), '"Territorio plantígrado", El País.
- LIFE+ Project Brown Bear Corridors, Fundación Oso Pardo
- (Spanish) José Luís R. Mera (20/02/2006) "León aprueba un ´corredor´ para el oso pardo entre Somiedo y Degaña", La Voz de Asturias
- (Spanish)"El Principado captura a un urogallo «agresivo» en el parque de Somiedo", La Nueva España
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