CBD 2003 - Conservation of the Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulture, Black Stork

LIFE03 NAT/E/000050

Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version  

Contact details:

Project Manager: Javier ORIA MARTÍN
Tel: +34915100133
Fax: +34914135492
Email: cbd-habitat@cbd-habitat.com

Project description:


The imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti), the black vulture (Aegypius monachus) and the black stork (Ciconia nigra) are three EU-priority listed species that breed mainly in Spain's Mediterranean-type forests. Their main conservation threats are the degradation of their natural habitats, to which they are highly sensitive, the disturbance caused by the presence of humans, and the shortage of food due to several factors such as scarcity of prey and changes to traditional land use. Power lines and poison are also significant causes of death that threaten their already low numbers.

Many of the best-preserved Mediterranean landscapes are located on private land, which has maintained its natural value due to diverse management systems. This contrasts with the oft-stated conflict between landowners and conservationists. In reality, any conflict was largely due to the absence of a conservation policy for private land, which hindered implementation of adequate management practices for a large share of the wild populations of key species. With the support of LIFE funding, a group of conservation professionals and private landowners are trying to change the old conflict image into a co-operative framework that benefits both parties.


The aim of the project was to involve private landowners in the conservation of threatened species present on their land. An outline strategy, which was already established in a former LIFE project, would be strengthened and enlarged to cover three different regions of Spain (Extremadura, Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha) and an increased number of landowners. The management measures would focus on the protection of the three target species in order to help stabilise and increase their populations.

To this end, management plans will be drawn up and put into action on 22 private estates, including the improvement of the feeding and breeding habitats of the species. Population monitoring and individually tailored feeding and nest management programs will take place with direct participation of landowners. Public awareness and training campaigns would target all relevant stakeholders and a good practice manual would be published and widely distributed to spread the demonstration value of the project.


The project continued the actions of an earlier LIFE project (LIFE 99/NAT/E/006336), a pioneer in conservation of threatened species in private estates of the Natura 2000 network in the Mediterranean. This project supported a new type of habitat management in Natura 2000 sites, proving that it is possible to reconcile threatened species conservation with traditional and profitable estate management.

Land stewardship of more than 53 000ha has benefited the three targeted species, increasing the number of breeding pairs and the reproductive success. Breeding pairs have increased in number by around 29% for the imperial eagle, 32% for the black vulture and 57% for the black stork. The project produced precise data on all three species and the management needed for their preservation. The beneficiary has also collaborated in the drafting of the recovery plan for the imperial eagle in Spain, the habitat conservation plan for the black vulture in Extremadura, the recovery plan for the imperial eagle in Madrid and the management plan for the habitat of rabbits in Castilla-La Mancha.

Actions performed to promote rabbit populations were also relatively effective. The project proved that direct management is effective for reverting negative trends of threatened species and, moreover, that traditional management in private estates is compatible with nature conservation. This project has helped to define precise conservation costs on private estates, studying possible funding mechanisms in Natura 2000. This could allow the transfer of funding from the red/yellow box to the green box in policy planning at the relevant administration of the regions affected. In this way the project has provided the basis for sustainable management in the estates, defined as the minimum management based surface.

The project also devised a collaboration system with private landowners that represents an innovative approach to nature conservation and the many documents produced may help to transfer the experience acquired to similar Natura 2000 areas. Documents produced can be considered as an effective ‘toolbox’ for nature conservation in private estates of the Mediterranean forest in Natura 2000.

In addition, the project has made a significant contribution to the situation of feeding of scavenger preys in Spain. The beneficiary has actively participated in the working group for necrophagous (meat-eating) birds and cadavers of the ministry of agriculture, collaborating in the approval of the Decision 805/2005 that partially derogates Decision 322/2003 that affects the feeding of scavenger preys and the correspondent National Decree 664/2007. Also, they have collaborated with the government of Castilla-La Mancha and the government of Extremadura to adapt of the regional law to this Decision.

Finally, a detailed revision of dangerous electric power lines was carried out, resulting in the modification of three of them with additional funding coming from the regional administration. These revisions were received the region of Castilla-La Mancha, which will modify its regional budget accordingly.


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


protected area‚  social participation‚  management plan‚  environmental impact of energy‚  conflicting use‚  endangered species‚  forest ecosystem

Target species

 Aegypius monachus   Aquila adalberti   Ciconia nigra 

Target Habitat types

  • 3150 - Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation
  • 3170 - Mediterranean temporary ponds
  • 3250 - Constantly flowing Mediterranean rivers with Glaucium flavum
  • 3260 - Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation
  • 4020 - Temperate Atlantic wet heaths with Erica ciliaris and Erica tetralix
  • 4030 - European dry heaths
  • 4090 - Endemic oro-Mediterranean heaths with gorse
  • 5120 - Mountain Cytisus purgans formations
  • 5210 - Arborescent matorral with Juniperus spp.
  • 5330 - Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub
  • 6220 - Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals of the Thero-Brachypodietea
  • 6310 - Dehesas with evergreen Quercus spp.
  • 6420 - Mediterranean tall humid grasslands of the Molinio-Holoschoenion
  • 6430 - Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
  • 8210 - Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
  • 8220 - Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
  • 8230 - Siliceous rock with pioneer vegetation of the Sedo-Scleranthion or of the Sedo albi-Veronicion dillenii
  • 91B0 - Thermophilous Fraxinus angustifolia woods
  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"
  • 9230 - Galicio-Portuguese oak woods with Quercus robur and Quercus pyrenaica
  • 9240 - Quercus faginea and Quercus canariensis Iberian woods
  • 9260 - Castanea sativa woods
  • 92A0 - Salix alba and Populus alba galleries
  • 92D0 - Southern riparian galleries and thickets (Nerio-Tamaricetea and Securinegion tinctoriae)
  • 9320 - Olea and Ceratonia forests
  • 9330 - Quercus suber forests
  • 9340 - Quercus ilex and Quercus rotundifolia forests
  • 9540 - Mediterranean pine forests with endemic Mesogean pines

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Fundación CBDHábitat para la Conservación de la Biodiversidad y su Hábitat
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Fundación CBD Hábitat para la Conservación de la Biodiversidad y su Hábitat is a conservation organisation focusing on threatened species.
Partners Spanish Ministry of the Environment Rusticas El Castañar SL, Spain Los Molinillos SA, Spain CIRESCO SA, Spain Rusticas Labrados SL, Spain APROCNEX, Spain Hordanza SL, Spain Las Ensanchas SA, Spain Hildegard and Elisabeth Kramer, Spain San Ignacio SL Casillas, Spain SAT Hoyas Mercadores, Spain Villamagna SA, Spain El Cerrajero SA, Spain Sociedad Valle de San Juan de la Alcudia SA, Spain Dehesa de Azagala SL, Spain


Project reference LIFE03 NAT/E/000050
Duration 01-SEP-2003 to 01-SEP -2007
Total budget 3,286,882.00 €
EU contribution 1,972,129.00 €
Project location Madrid(España) Castilla-La Mancha(España) Extremadura(España)


Read more:

Project web site Beneficiary's website
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan (ES)
Publication: Book "Guía de alimentación de aves necrófagas con subpr ...
Publication: Case study "Catálogo de buenas prácticas para la gestión del ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guía metodológica para la elaboración de planes d ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (ES/EN)
Publication: Technical report "La situación legal del depósito de subproductos a ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version