Campo de Tabernas is a region in the province of Almeria covering from the Guadix-Baza plains to the west and from the Levante Almeriense to the east. It consists of several municipalities, Tabernas, Tahal, Turrillas, Uleila del Campo and Lucainena de las Torres being the ones included in Ambiosolar’s study area. It is also part of the south-eastern peninsular, the most arid region in continental Europe.
Campo de Tabernas is a clear example of a semi-arid ecosystem, with a remarkable biodiversity and a substantial number of endemic plant species, as well as threatened and endangered species of fauna. Its inhabitants include species of insects and birds of extraordinary beauty and high ecological value. The European Roller and the Black-bellied Sandgrouse are two of them.
Within the AMBIOSOLAR study area there are several protected areas, and others of recognised value for their biodiversity.
- Tabernas Desert (Natural Site, Special Protection Area for Birds, Special Conservation Area).
- Sierra Alhamilla (Natural Site, Special Protection Area for Birds, Special Area of Conservation).
- Karst en Yesos de Sorbas (Natural Site, Special Protection Area for Birds, Special Area of Conservation).
- Ramblas de Gérgal, Tabernas and south of Alhamilla (Special Area of Conservation).
- Sierra Cabrera-Bédar (Special Area of Conservation).
Non-protected areas that are of interest for the conservation of biodiversity:
- Sierra Alhamilla-Campo de Níjar-Sierra de Cabrera (Important Bird Area).
- Desierto de Tabernas (Important Bird Area).
- Campo de Tabernas-Sierra de Alhamilla (Area within the scope of the Junta de Andalucía’s steppe bird recovery plan).
The main economic forces of the region have traditionally been rain-fed agriculture (mainly cereals and olives) and extensive livestock farming. However, in recent decades, human activity has changed radically towards super-intensive irrigated agriculture. This agricultural model has fragmented the environment, depleted its natural resources (e.g. aquifers) and impoverished biodiversity. The massive installation of large photovoltaic plants has recently been added.
Campo de Tabernas, with its biodiversity, its landscape, its climate, its natural resources and its inhabitants, embodies the values and problems of the Iberian southeast to a large extent. It is, therefore, a remarkable study area to seek formulas for a socio-economic regional development compatible with the conservation of its natural values.