By: UPM

Artificial floating islands as components of urban landscape

The ‘Casa de Campo’ is an important urban green space of the city of Madrid, that dates back to the 16th century as a hunting and recreational estate of the Spanish monarchy. With an area over 1700 ha, it has been declared as a historic park of Madrid. The vegetation is mainly Mediterranean; it includes holm oak groves, pine woods, scrubs, meadows, and river-bank trees.  

Among the different areas and recreational spots in the Casa de Campo, it is found the so-called ‘Lago of the Casa de Campo’, a kind of constructed lake used for ornamental, recreational and sport purposes. The size of the lake is 80152 m2, with a perimeter of 1370 m. Its water volume is 158637 m3, and the depth ranges from 1.20 and 4.50 m

The lake of the Casa de Campo is currently an illustrative example of the interest generated by the artificial aquatic floating islands; in this particular case, as components of the urban landscape, that promote the integration of Flora and Fauna. Thus, after the important restoration of the lake conducted in the last years by the Council of Madrid, the lake is home of six floating islands, two islands of 8 m2 and four of 12 m2, modular installed from 2 x 1 m polyethylene panels of low density, according to the information published by the Council

The aquatic floating islands in the lake of the Casa de Campo can be taken as biodiversity spots to the naked eye. They include various plant species that show different morphological features and color. At these dates, purple loosestrife (Lytrum salicaria L.) stands out for its terminal inflorescences with rose-purple flowers, bulrush (Schoenoplectus lacustris (L.) Palla) for its terete stems, and in some islands, cattail (Typha spp.) for its long and flat leaves exceeding the height of the abovementioned species. In addition, visitors can notice that the islands provide habitat for waterfowls (see the attached photos).

Artificial floating islands in the lake of the Casa de Campo, Madrid (Spain), September 2021

 

Detail of an artificial floating island in the lake of the Casa de Campo, Madrid (Spain). September 2021.

 

Presence of cattails in some artificial floating islands in the lake of the Casa de Campo, Madrid (Spain), September 2021.