Tablas de Daimiel natural park in Cuidad Real will be expanded by 1,102 hectares, meaning about 3,000 square hectares of Europe’s most important wetlands will now be protected.
The order approved today will allow the natural park to claim state owned plots of lands, as well as forcibly expropriate unproductive land for the park.
Tablas de Daimiel is considered to be a unique wetlands within Europe, but UNESCO has for years been threatening to declassify the park due to over exploitation of water reserves and destruction of surrounding lands.
Parts of the park were declared dead a couple of years ago after drought caused the water levels to drop so far the water vanished. But heavy rain in the last couple of years have started to allow the wetlands to recuperate.
Ecologists have been demanding the expansion for several years now, but say they are disappointed that the protected land does not extend up the Guadiana river, which would have allowed for greater water control.