Located in the Vega Baja region, the Sierra Escalona and its immediate territorial surroundings constitute an area that concentrates numerous ecological, environmental and landscape values, to the point of constituting one of the most relevant areas in the context of the Valencian Community. Spread between the municipalities of Pilar de la Horadada, Orihuela and San Miguel de Salinas, the mountain range is located in the framework of the neogene basin of the Mar Menor; a narrow ridge made up of neogenous sandstones constitutes the main relief of the sierra proper, and marks the counterpoint of the Dehesa de Campoamor, a flat surface furrowed by a remarkable drainage network. These geological and geomorphological characteristics support two fundamental types of vegetation. On the one hand, the natural formations, more or less well represented and in which diverse species of flora of special relevance appear (such as Bupleurum gibraltaricum or Helianthemum caput-felis), are basically constituted by Mediterranean scrub with pine forest on sandstones or calcareous crust, but the characteristic rocky vegetation also deserves to be highlighted, as well as that which colonizes the abundant rivers and boulevards that cross the territory. On the other hand, the mosaics of natural vegetation and agricultural lands as a result of the secular occupation of the territory should be highlighted, which constitute, despite the intense changes brought about by the intensification in recent decades, one of the landscape's hallmarks of identity for the area. , giving rise to a type of habitat in which the alternation of the wooded pine forest formations with the plains in which cultivation fields are installed is of vital importance for the development of many species of raptors, which find in this habitat the conditions Necessary both to nest, in the most sheltered forest areas, and to get food, in the wide cultivated areas.
The fauna, in fact, represents one of the most relevant values ??of the area, which constitutes one of the few dispersal areas of Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciata) that exist in the peninsula. Also noteworthy are the communities of birds of prey such as the common harrier (Buteo buteo), the short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus) or the eagle owl (Bubo bubo). Among the predators, the presence of the wild cat (Felis silvestris), which has in Escalona one of the best populations in the Iberian southeast, the genet (Genetta genetta) and the badger (Meles meles) also stands out. In addition, the proximity of the area to coastal wetlands of great interest, such as the Salinas de San Pedro del Pinatar in the neighboring Region of Murcia, the Lagunas de La Mata and Torrevieja or the Embalse de la Pedrera, notably enriches the wandering avifauna that It can be seen in the area regularly. Also worth mentioning are various elements of high heritage value, among which is a settlement located in San Ginés, where remains of a monastery from the s. XVII and an aqueduct from the s. XVII-XVIII, being able to appreciate in the area three different cultural and chronological moments that have left a more or less perceptible mark on the territory: Roman and late-Roman culture, Islamic culture and culture of the s. XVII-XVIII. The many dry stone cisterns, dating from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the old caserius and other elements complete the traditional and human cultural landscape of the area.
The climate is of the Mediterranean type with transition to a desert climate, dry and sunny, basically defined by scarce and irregular rainfall, accentuated summer drought, weak cloud cover, high number of clear days, very mild winters, hot summer, strong sunshine, intense evaporation and marked water deficit.
The climate of this area is the most arid in the Valencian Community with high temperatures (18 ° C on average per year) and low rainfall (300 mm per year) forming part of the arid southeast of the peninsula.
It is worth highlighting the summer drought that occurs during the summer extending into spring and autumn with only rainfall of some importance in the months of April and October.
Another important characteristic is the torrential rains, which can occur mainly during the autumn, due to the summer heat accumulated by the Mediterranean and the entry of cold air in height producing important avenues of boulevards and floods that have favored intense erosive processes in the sandstones and dominant marls, giving rise to embedded gullies of beautiful modeling.