Forests of Pinus, Abies, Quercus and Betula cover 35% of the IBA, and rich alpine meadows are also widespread (37% cover). Tobacco cultivation and the grazing of free-range cattle are the main agricultural activities, with hay pastures and potato fields increasingly being replaced by tobacco fields. The main human activities are tourism, commerce and skiing.
The IBA is important for forest and high-mountain birds, and holds internationally important numbers of three breeding species. The following SPECs also breed: Gypaetus barbatus (1 pair, attempted to breed in 1996), Circaetus gallicus (3-5 pairs), Aquila chrysaetos (3 pairs), Falco tinnunculus (35-90 pairs), Falco peregrinus (3-6 pairs),Alectoris rufa (7-12 pairs), Perdix perdix hispaniensis (50-80 pairs), Coturnix coturnix (7-12 pairs), Otus scops (2-3 pairs), Bubo bubo (2-3 pairs), Caprimulgus europaeus (25-30 pairs), Picus viridis (50-100 pairs), Lullula arborea (50-75 pairs), Alauda arvensis (200-750 pairs), Hirundo rustica (15-20 pairs), Saxicola torquata (40-80 pairs), Monticola saxatilis (50-100 pairs), Monticola solitarius (2-6 pairs), Sylvia cantillans (60-100 pairs), Sylvia undata (20-30 pairs), Lanius collurio (75-150 pairs) and Emberiza hortulana (4-6 pairs). Several non-SPECs breed in important numbers, including: Lagopus mutus, Tetrao urogallus, Charadrius morinellus, Scolopax rusticola, Aegolius funereus and Dryocopus martius.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Poaching and shooting of species protected under the EC Birds Directive (Gyps fulvus, Gypaetus barbatus, Aquila chrysaetos) is a problem. What was once a traditional pastime has intensified, with the use of semi-automatic weapons and night-vision scopes. Controls are inadequate and legal `seasons' are flouted. Ski resorts currently cover about 5% of the country and new developments are planned, including one in an area where Charadrius morinellus sometimes breeds. The use of snowmobiles, 4-wheel drive vehicles, scrambling bikes and mountain bikes is unregulated. Nearly all hay meadows in the south of the IBA have been converted into tobacco fields with uncontrolled use of chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides).