The abertis foundation presents the book “Vertebrate fauna of the Foix nature park”

March 7, 2011 | Abertis Foundation

The castle of Castellet, headquarters of the abertis foundation, is to host the presentation of the book “Vertebrate Fauna of the Foix Nature Park”, on Thursday 17th March. This publication, the result of a research project financed by the abertis foundation, catalogues 322 vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. 243 of these species are birds, and it is the reservoir’s richness in bird life which was the main reason for setting up the protected area of the Foix nature park.

The authors are Cisco Guasch (born in Les Masies de Sant Miquel, in Banyeres del Penedès) and Xavier Bayer (born in Vilafranca del Penedès), both naturalists and members of the Catalan ornithology institute. The study was coordinated by Humbert Salvadó, born in Barcelona but resident in Vilafranca del Penedès, a doctor of biology and lecturer in the animal biology department of the biology faculty at the University of Barcelona.
To collect the data, the researchers visited the park more than 1,400 times between 1976 – more frequently from 1997 onwards – and 2009, as well as consulting existing documentary sources.

New species in the park and species which are extinct or approaching extinction

Since the 2,900 hectares covered by the Foix reservoir and its surrounding area were declared a nature park, the number of species living and nesting there has grown: from raptors like the short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus), woodland birds like the greater spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) and lesser spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor) and water birds like the little bittern (Ixobrychus minutus). However, some species have become extinct or are approaching extinction: the European chub (Squalius cephalus) in the case of fish; Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanii) and Lataste’s viper (Vipera latasti) in the case of reptiles; as well as the otter (Lutra lutra) in the case of mammals. There are also birds, such as the jackdaw (Corvus monedula), which have stopped nesting there. In order to preserve the area’s biodiversity, one of the greatest needs is to improve the quality of the water in the reservoir.

The abertis foundation

The abertis foundation has existed since 1999 as an organisation devoted to studying the impact of major infrastructures on the regions, particularly on the economy, population and environment. As one of the responses to the commitment to social responsibility by abertis, the international transport and communications infrastructure management group, the foundation runs an extensive road safety programme.

The abertis foundation is a member of the consortium responsible for the Foix nature park, which covers a protected area of 2,900 hectares and is located in two municipalities in to the Alt Penedès region: Castellet i la Gornal and Santa Margarida i els Monjos. Within the framework of its environmental measures, the foundation financed the research project  “Vertebrate Fauna of the Foix Nature Park” and published the resulting book.

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