That Fauna Tracking System is based on the one applied in the Peñalara Natural Park for 15 years and whose versatility to gather hunting fauna data on a continuous basis in a large extension such as El Paular Valley (20.000 hectares) has been highly recognized. The Tracking System will be used by the Forest Guards and the National Park technical staff, highlighting its easiness and effectiveness to obtain a large amount of information with no much effort. The Forest and Environment Agents have been considered as a staff very adequate to use those methodologies, due to their permanent presence in situ, their knowhow at the ground level and the available infrastructure (vehicles, binoculars, gps, etc.).
The black vulture (Aegypius monachus) is one of the most threaten birds in Europe. That situation is clearly stated in the Ordinance 79/409/CEE related to the wild birds’ preservation, including that specie in its Annex I summoning the SPA (Birds Special Protection Zone) declaration to every area counting with at least a nesting pair. The black vulture populations of the Sierra de Guadarrama are distributed in two SPAs within the National Park, with populations in Rascafría, Valsaín, River Moros, River Pirón and Navafría. If we consider the Sierra de Guadarrama black vulture several populations as a single one, it will be the fourth largest colony in Spain after the following ones: Sierra de San Pedro, Monfragüe (in Extremadura) and Cabañeros (in Castilla La Mancha).
Those populations have a great interest for the black vulture preservation in the center of the Iberian Peninsula, because they suppose nearly 4% of the Spanish population. Additionally, that colony is located at a short distance of a large city as Madrid, in a highly touristic and recreational area, and also within forests still having logging activities.
The Sierra de Guadarrama National Park public usage is one of the management priorities. Its complexity and the visitors’ number growth require necessarily a regulation and tracking policy, with the clear objective of granting the compatibility between the users’ enjoyment and the natural environment preservation. The excessive people concentration in certain locations irremediably leads to negative impacts either in the physical environment (compaction, vegetation leakage, erosion, etc.) or in the fauna and flora, and as well in the visit quality.
That is why it is necessary to know, as much as possible, the public usage real features, establishing systems to count and estimate the visitors’ number, where they go within the Park and when and which their entrance frequency is. With those data available and knowing as well the fragility and quality of the different corners of the National Park, we will tend to regulate the public usage granting the natural environment enjoyment but preserving the natural values of that space.
The Sierra de Guadarrama National Park priority is the maintenance of the excellent ecologic quality of the Sierra de Guadarrama fluvial courses, through the Research, Tracking and Evaluation Center at the Madrid Autonomous Community, the OPAN Valsaín Mounts Center and the Castilla León Autonomous Community Parliament.
It is a very representative natural system, which only within the National Park lodges more than 337 kilometers of water courses and riparian forests, constituting the main Madrid and Segovia water sources. At the National Park heights are located the sources of the Sierra de Guadarrama main and more emblematic rivers, being also the main water supplies river basins of Madrid and Segovia Cities.
The Sierra de Guadarrama fluvial courses Ecologic Tracking Network objectives are, on the one hand to detect those reaches where the ecologic quality could be altered, and then undertake the necessary management and restoring measures, which means to evaluate the usages and preservation compatibility. On the other hand, to become the tracking system for the National Park preservation objectives, through highly useful and applicable indicators for the National Park Tracking Plan. In a long term basis it is becoming a reference ecosystem as a Global Change Observatory in the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Temperature is determinant for all the biological processes. The global warming is originating an alteration in the living beings biological cycles, which for the aquatic ecosystems would mean a displacement upriver of the fluvial species, a biological cycle overtaking to earlier stages, and even the species extinction due to the leak of their development optimal characteristics. The atmospheric temperature predetermines many other processes such as the snow cover duration, the water retention at the basins, the circulating flows and even the living beings growth and development.
The water temperature is linked to the atmospheric temperature, but other factors also influence it, such as the altitude, the snow cover width and length, the thaw etc. It is a fundamental variable in the vegetative period, as well as for the oxygen concentration dissolved in the water, the emergency of insects’ aquatic larval stages etc.
In the Sierra de Guadarrama are located several mountain lakes and wetlands, which even with a small size, constitute one of the most interesting and relevant habitats in relation with preservation. Some of them are among the most recognizable spots of this Sierra, such as the Peñalara Lake. By the contrary, others are quite unknown for the general public.
The Peñalara Lake suffered numerous impacts until the mid 90’s of the past century, when its ecologic restoring took place. Since then, it has become the central objective for the tracking of these Sierra aquatic ecosystems. The limnology monitoring is made on a monthly basis, to evaluate the environment recovery and to dispose of an early alert system for other impacts or alterations in those ecosystems. In essence, it means to determine the temporary and special variations, to detect possible impacts, to propose and evaluate management measures, to generate an ecologic information database and to study this lake evolution towards environment factors.
The National Park has a gauging station at the Peñalara Vale (La Hoya de Peñalara) exit with the objective of measuring the water flows circulating at the Peñalara Lagoon stream. Those data are fundamental to know the hydrologic behavior of a high mountain small basin, representative to a large extent of the behaviors of the Sierra de Guadarrama different streams basins. Therefore it is possible to know with high accuracy about phenomena such as the thaw, the water retention at the basin, the summer low water, the storms effects, etc. The station is working uninterruptedly since December 2001.
Additionally the available data indicate the Peñalara Lake limnology behavior depends to a large extent on the renovation rate, which means, on the hydrologic characteristics of that small high mountain basin. That is why the gauging station generates a data series related to flows and very reduced temporary scales temperatures, very useful for the hydrologic modeling and simulations. That facility is complemented with the GuMNet rainfall data, and as well with the snow thickness data collected manually.
The populations condition of certain flora threaten species is one of the National Park working lines. Even if we pretend to undertake tracking studies of a large part of the threaten species populations within the National Park territory, several species have been selected in a first wave as a priority after a previous assessment, and according to their presence in the Vascular Flora Spanish Red List, or in the Madrid Threaten Species Regional Catalogue with the A or B rate. The species we are working with at the moment are Narcissus pseudonarcissus subsp. confusus, Pinguicula grandiflora, Lycopodiella inundata, Utricularia minor, Senecio boissieri and Erysimum humile subsp. penyalarensis.
With that project we pretend to study the actual flora condition, in order to define its threat degree and to develop preservation measures according to its actual and real level.