THE Valencian Community has received its first two UNESCO biosphere reserves following an announcement last Wednesday.

The two new reserves are Alto Turia, near Valencia city, and Valle de Cabriel, on the border of Castilla la Mancha province.

The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) comprise core, protected ecosystems, a buffer zone for ecologically-sound practices and a transition area where sustainable development is encouraged.

BIOSPHERE: The Valle de Cabriel was the largest of three reserves declared last Wednesday, two of which in Valencia
RESERVE: Alto Turia is situated inland from Valencia city

The Alto Turia biosphere reserve comprises 67,080 hectares, home to Iberian hares and midwife toads, as well as endemic freshwater fish, such as the Catalan barbel.

It was also selected for the ‘quality’ of its dry ecosystem, UNESCO said in a statement.

The Valle del Cabriel reserve contains prehistoric paintings, as well as river channels that function as ‘ecological corridors’ for fauna and flora.

Spain has 52 UNESCO biosphere reserves making it the country with the most declared of the 123

The United Kingdom has just 12.

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