Introduction to the Iberian Peninsula, General Features: Geography, Geology, Name, Brief History, Land Use and Conservation

  • Javier LoidiEmail author
Part of the Plant and Vegetation book series (PAVE, volume 12)


A brief description of the physical structure of the Iberian Peninsula is given: its position, size and main structural and lithologic entities. Also some general explanations about the main relief units ordered around the central core of the Peninsula, or Meseta, are offered. The etymology of the names of Iberia and Hispania is commented upon and a concise report of the human history in Antiquity is given. Traditional land-use by humans is considered important to correctly interpret the current landscape in adaptation to the conditions of the different parts of the territory. A special comment about irrigation and exploitation of the freshwater resources is made as regards its importance in the Mediterranean part of the Peninsula. Finally, some issues influencing conservation of terrestrial ecosystems are treated: the impact of the protected areas resulting from the policy of the administrations in the last decades, the landscape changes as a result of the rural abandonment (the “ecology of abandonment”), the urban development with the entailed artificialization of the land and the impact of the modern technicized forestry.


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Web Pages

  1. European Environemntal Agency (

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology and EcologyUniversity of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)BilbaoSpain

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