Archive for February, 2010

Waste could produce up to 7% Spain’s electricity

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Researchers have calculated the energy and economic potential of urban solid waste, sludge from water treatment plants and livestock slurry for generating electricity in Spain. They believe waste in Spain could generate between 8.13 and 20.95 TWh (terawatt hours), representing some 7% of the country’s needs. More here

Rainy Spain

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Precipitación enero 2010

This winter is proving remarkable wet. Precipitation this year in southern Spain has been so far the highest since 1963, with Sevilla receiving more rain than in the last 60 years. According to the INM, in Spain as a whole, January was 43% wetter than average for the period 1971-2000. The above map shows how this played across the country in terms of percentage of precipitation above average.  Albacete received for instance, more precipitation since 1941 when this series of records began. In the same province of  Castilla-La Mancha, the rains have helped save the much maligned Tablas de Damiel. Unsurprisingly, reservoirs are overflowing and many have had to open their gates. Temperatures have so far been normal.

Biggest wave in the Cantabrian Sea

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

The biggest wave ever recorded in the Cantabrian Sea was a monster of 26.1m, spotted 40km off the coast of Santender on 22 January 2009. There you go.

Interesting places in Spain

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The new Places in Spain site is coming on. Here are the places I’ve done so far:


Wolf hunting methods in Spanish history

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Interesting interview here by Natur films with naturalist and biologist Alberto Hernando on the different methods used to kill wolves over the centuries in Spain. An example is this remarkable structure in Lubián, Zamora.

These methods were justified by the needs of the times, but unfortunately wolves, today without justification, are still being illegally killed in their hundreds in Spain. This week for instance La Crónica Verde reports here on two wolves found snared in Anta de Rioconejos, Zamora. Their yelping alerted local people to their rescue.

Aznalcóllar and the Cretaceous extinction

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Researchers from the University of Granada have compared the disaster caused by the  infamous Aznalcóllar spillage in the Doñana National Park in Andalusia 11 years ago with the biggest species extinction known to date during the Cretaceous period (65 million years ago). The aim of comparing this seemingly disparate pair of disaster events is to look at how ecosystems recover following mass extinctions. Read more

Risk of drought exaggerated by the press

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Researchers from the University of Barcelona have  analysed all the articles published in the La Vanguardia newspaper between 1982 and 2007 linked to natural hazards, climate change and sustainable development. Over 25 years the press devoted more headlines to forest fires and droughts, even though floods are much more frequent and cause more damage. The article’s main author Carme Llasat comments:

If the press focus more on forest fires and droughts, then people also become more aware of these events, to such an extent that they are deemed a more significant hazard in the area and more frequent occurrences than they really are”

This is a fascinating study on how the media fuels the public perception of environmental hazards. More here

Snails as a bioindicator after forest fire

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

A team of Catalan researchers has studied the changes in the make-up of animal populations following forest fires, and have concluded that snails are a good indicator of forest recovery. The conclusions of this study, carried out in Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac Natural Park, will help to ensure that post-fire forestry operations that do not harm these species of molluscs, which are sensitive to microclimatic conditions of the soil and vegetation structure. More here in English

Black poplars of Aragon

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010


I came across this attractive powerpoint in English celebrating the importance of black poplar in forming the landscape in the southern Aragon. The valleys are scattered with traditional pollards which look glorious especially in spring. From Ancient Tree Forum. From the book El chopo cabecero en el sur de Aragon, la identitad de un paisaje. Patrimonio olvidado‘ by Chabier de Jaime Loren and Fernando Herrero Loma.

Catalan donkeys to fight fire

Monday, February 15th, 2010

They have found a use for Catalan donkeys aside from the Catalanist appropiation of their image for political ends. In the Gavarres Hills they have started using this be-lovable breed to graze and so clear forests as a way of reducing the risk of fire. Some 550 Catalan donkeys remain. La Vanguardia