Teide National Park
|Teide National Park|
|Visitors||3,5 million annual visits|
|Designated:||2007 (31st session)|
|Region:||Europe and North America|
Teide National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional del Teide) is a national park located in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain). It is centered on 3718 m Mount Teide, the highest mountain of Spain and the islands of the Atlantic (it is the third largest volcano in the world from its base on the ocean floor). It was declared a national park on 22 January 1954, making it one of the oldest national parks in Spain. It is also the largest national park in Spain and an important part of the Canary Islands. Another volcano located in the park (next to the Teide) is the Pico Viejo. It is the second largest volcano in the Canary Islands with its 3,135 m peak.
The park has an area of 18,990 hectares and was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on June 29, 2007. Since the end of 2007, it has also been one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. Midway up the mountain are the telescopes of the Observatorio del Teide. Territorially, it belongs to the municipality of La Orotava.
Teide is the most visited national park in Spain, with a total of 2.8 million visitors, according to the Instituto Canario de Estadística (ISTAC), and it is one of the most visited National Parks in the world. The Teide is the most famous natural icon not only of Tenerife but also of all the Canary Islands.
The Teide National Park has a large historical value. This place had an important spiritual significance to aboriginal Guanches in the park are important archaeological sites have been discovered. For the Guanches the Teide was a place of worship, thought it was the gate of hell (Echeyde).
The park was declared on January 22, 1954 as National Park which was one of the first in Spain (specifically the third). In 1981 the park was reclassified and established a special legal regime. In 1989, the Council of Europe awarded the European Diploma of Protected Areas, in its highest category. This recognition and conservation management has been subsequently renewed in 1994, 1999 and 2004.
In celebration of 50 anniversary of its transformation into a national park, in 2002 began the paperwork to appoint the Unesco World Heritage Site. On June 28, 2007, after five years of work and effort, UNESCO decided to declare the Teide National Park, World Heritage Site in the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO held in Christchurch, New Zealand. Teide National Park is also the end of 2007, one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.
Teide National Park is complementary to the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, this is mainly due to being in each of them represented the volcanic structures and forms less evolved magmas of such islands (Hawaii) and more evolved and differentiated (Teide). Moreover, scenically Teide National Park shares similar characteristics with the Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona, USA).
Flora and fauna
The lava flows on the flanks of Teide weather to a very thin, but nutrient and mineral rich soil that supports a diverse number of plant species. Vascular flora consists of 168 plant species, 33 of which are endemic to Tenerife.
Forests of Canary Island Pine (Pinus canariensis) occur from 1000–2100 m, covering the middle slopes of the volcano, and having an alpine timberline 1000 m lower than that of continental mountains of similar latitude. At higher altitudes, the Las Cañadas caldera provides sufficient shelter for more fragile species such as the Canary Island cedar (Juniperus cedrus), and the Canary Island pine (Pinus canariensis) to grow.
The most dominant plant species in the Teide National Park are the Teide white broom (Spartocytisus supranubius), which has a white and pink flower; the Canary Island wallflower (Erysimum scoparium), which has white and violet flowers; and the Teide bugloss (Echium wildpretii), whose red flowers form a pyramid up to 3m in height. The Teide daisy (Argyranthemum teneriffae) can be found at altitudes close to 3,600m above sea level. The Teide violet (Viola cheiranthifolia) can be found right up to the summit of the volcano, making it the highest flowering plant in Spain.
These plants are adapted to the tough environmental conditions on the volcano such as high altitude, intense sunlight, extreme temperature variations, and lack of moisture. Adaptations include acquiring semi-spherical forms, acquiring a downy or waxy cover, reducing the exposed leaf area, and having a high flower production. Flowering takes place in the late spring or early summer, in the months of May and June.
The Teide National Park contains a huge range of invertebrate fauna, over 40% of which are endemic species, with 70 species only being found in the National Park. The invertebrate fauna include spiders, beetles, dipterans, hemipterans, and hymenopterae.
In contrast, Teide national park has only a limited variety of vertebrate fauna. Ten species of bird nest in the park. These include the Blue Chaffinch (Fringilla teydea teydea); Berthelot's Pipit (Anthus berthelotii berthelotii); the Atlantic Canary (Serinus canaria); and a subspecies of kestrel (Falco tinnunculus canariensis).
Three endemic reptile species are also found in the park – the Canary Island Lizard (Gallotia galloti galloti), the Canary Island wall gecko (Tarentola delalandii), and the Canary Island skink (Chalcides viridanus viridanus). The only mammals native to the park are bats, the most common species of which is Leisler’s bat (Nycatalus leisleri). Other mammals such as the mouflon, the rabbit, the house mouse, the black rat, the feral cat, and the Algerian Hedgehog have all been introduced to the park.
The analogies between the red planet and parts of Tenerife make the island the ideal place for testing instruments that will travel to Mars and reveal past or present life on Mars. In 2010 a research team tested at Las Cañadas del Teide, the Raman instrument to be sent in the next expedition to Mars, ESA-NASA ExoMars from 2016-2018.
Besides the Teide National Park participates in different international programs and exchange advice with other National Parks in the world, especially Central America, South America and Europe. In regard to international cooperation, the Teide National Park has provided technical support to the Souss-Massa National Park located in southwestern of Morocco.
Movies filmed in the park and curiosities
- Brian May wrote the Queen song "Tie Your Mother Down" at the Observatorio del Teide at Izaña (altitude of 7,770 feet), in the autumn of 1971, while working on his grad thesis.
- This dramatic scenery has been featured in films such as One Million Years B.C. (1966), Intacto (2002), Clash of the Titans (2010) and Wrath of the Titans (2012).
- The Raquel Welch poster of One Million Years B.C. that plays a significant role in the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption was taken at the Teide.
- On December 8, 2008 following an initiative from the Jewish community of the Canary Islands, an Israeli flag was placed near the summit of Mount Teide.
- The park is a small chapel dedicated to the Virgen de las Nieves which is the highest Christian church in Spain.
- Tenerife was the place where L. Ron Hubbard (founder of the Church of Scientology) called picked "OT-III materials", according to this doctrine one of the volcanoes which were cast the "thetans" 75 million years ago is the Teide together with other volcanoes in the world, mainly from Hawaii.
- On 24 June 1989 the radio Espacio en Blanco of the Radiocadena Española called a "UFO Alert" in the Teide National Park in order to achieve some kind of contact with extraterrestrials. This event was attended by about forty thousand people.
- On January 8, 1998, were arrested members of a cult led by German psychologist called, Heide Fittkau Garthe, who tried, with members of his sect, performing a ritual suicide in the Teide.
- The sixth installment of the The Fast and the Furious starring Vin Diesel, and directed by Justin Lin, The Teide had the main stage for most of its outer planes.
- The Teide National Park has become a popular training ground for top professional cyclists, as it allows them to train at altitude whilst also having access to sea-level terrain for high-intensity training, in stable weather conditions, with few distractions due to its isolated location. Teams who have used the Park for training include Team Sky, Liquigas and Team Astana.
- In 2013 it was the ninth most visited national park in the world.
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- Gieger, Thomas and Leuschner, Christoph, Altitudinal change in needle water relations of the Canary pine (Pinus Canariensis) and possible evidence of a drought-induced alpine timberline on Mt. Teide, Tenerife, Flora - Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants, 199(2), 2004, Pages 100-109y
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- P.R. Grant, "Ecological compatibility of bird species on islands", Amer. Nat., 100(914), 1966, pp. 451–462.
- Lever, Christopher (2003). Naturalized Reptiles and Amphibians of the World (First ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-850771-0..
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- "Tenerife se convierte en un laboratorio marciano". Elmundo.es. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- "Buscando "marcianos" en el Teide". Loquepasaentenerife.com. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
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- Montgomery, Jack (22 February 2011). "Clash of the Titans 2 & Los Cristianos Carnival in Tenerife News of the Week". Tenerife Magazine. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- "La bandera de Israel ondea en el Teide (Islas Canarias)". Isrealgrafico.tyepad.com. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- "Cienciólogos en Tenerife". Loquepasaentenerife.com. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
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- "La policía frustra el suicidio colectivo de los 33 miembros de una secta en Tenerife". Hereoteca.lavaguardia.es. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- Fotheringham, William (23 May 2012). "Volcano gives Bradley Wiggins the fire for assault on Tour de France". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- "Un parque nacional español se cuela entre los 10 más visitados del mundo". Low Cost Europa. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Teide National Park.|
- UNESCO World Heritage Site datasheet
- Teide National Park - Official Website of Tenerife Tourism Corporation