Activities in the natural environment->Range Escalona->Flora and fauna
Flora and fauna

In the current landscape the profound human intervention is appreciated, however the characteristics of the terrain have conditioned the actions of the human being. Thus, we find two fundamental types of vegetation, on the one hand, the natural vegetation more or less well represented and with various degradative states, and on the other the one that appears after intense human intervention.

The forest mass of Sierra Escalona and Dehesa de Campoamor is the largest and most important in the south of the province of Alicante, highlighting the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) pine forests, as the predominant tree species, accompanied by shrub species such as the kermes oak ( Quercus coccifera), the mastic (Pistacea lentiscus) or the palm heart (Chamaerops humilis). We can also find some isolated specimens of holm oak (Quercus ilex) and clusters of black juniper (Juniperus phoenicea) clusters on the mountain walls, boulevards and rivers.

Other formations of interest that, in some cases, we can find in a very good state of conservation, are the annual meadows and the thyme trees. These areas have a high diversity of species of the genus Ophrys (O. apifera, O. fusca, O. scolopax, O. speculum, O. tenthredinifera), and other interesting species recently found such as Orchis collina, Barlia robertiana or Limodorum abortivum.

In a semi-arid environment, the riverside communities typical of ravines, rivers and boulevards tend to have more abundant vegetation, as they receive runoff from the surrounding land. In these environments we can find as the most typical and abundant species the oleander (Nerium oleander), the taray (Tamarix sp.), The common rush (Scirpus holoschoenus).

They are important species of relevant and endemic flora such as Thymus moroderi and Thymus hyemalis (Included in the Catalog of Protected Plants of the Valencian Country), Bupleurum gibraltaricum, Helianthemum almeriense and Teucrium carolipaui. In addition, there are two species included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive 92/43, as Plant Species of Community Interest: Helianthemum caput-felis, protected by the Berne Convention and the Habitats Directive and in the IUCN Catalog of Threatened Species listed as Vulnerable and
Sideritis incana ssp. Glauca, endemic to the southwest of Alicante and classified as Vulnerable according to the IUCN.

We can highlight the presence of some species that have their only populations here in the entire Valencian Community, such as Euphorbia boetica, Sideritis murgetana subsp. littoralis, Reseda lanceolata, Helianthemum marminorense, Ononis viscosa subsp. subcordata, Pimpinella villosa.

Crops in the area can be dry-land aarboreos (carob, almond and olive), irrigated trees (citrus and fruit trees) and herbaceous (artichokes, lettuce, melons, watermelons, corn, etc.).

Rainfed crops allow the development of various species of wild flora, located between terraces or in uncultivated areas, such as mastic, kermes oak, black hawthorn (Rhamnus lycioides), juniper (Juniperus oxicedrus), wild olive (Olea europaea var sylvestris) or palm hearts (Chamaerops humilis).

Spontaneous vegetation of a more herbaceous bearing also develops on the cultivated soils themselves, such as: rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), esparto (Stipa tenacissima), albaidas (Anthyllis cytisoides and A. terniflora) or boalaga (Thymelaea hirsuta), among other.

The geographical location of Serra Escalona determines the great diversity of vertebrate fauna that inhabits it, allowing the presence of both central and northern European species, as well as North African characteristic species. The species present vary depending on the different environments and the availability of food.

PINE FOREST FAUNA

The large masses of Aleppo pine located in the shady area of ??the Sierra, form the suitable habitat for forest raptors such as the goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), the hawk (Accipiter nisus) or the European short-toed (Circaetus gallicus) to nest. In this environment we can also hear the song of the Chickadee (Periparus ater) and the Blue Tit (Lophophanes cristatus) and observe the curious crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) while feeding on the pine nuts that are inside the pineapples with their characteristic beak.

Carnivores such as the wildcat (Felis silvestris), which is especially abundant in this area, the genet (Genetta genetta) or the badger (Meles meles) find refuge in the dense pine forest where it is possible to find their tracks.

Fauna of the Thermomediterranean Scrub

In the scrubland area, where scrub density increases, species such as the Black-headed Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala), the Long-tailed Warbler (Sylvia undata) and less frequently the Thyla Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata) appear. The partridge (Alectoris rufa) and the mountain limpet (Galerida theklae) warn us of their presence in this area through their song. The presence of the eagle owl (Bubo bubo) stands out, whose density is high throughout the mountain range. The ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus), also frequent in this area, hides among the vegetation as well as the ladder, bastard or horseshoe snakes that can be observed while they are sunbathing. Here you can find traces of the common hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), fox (Vulpes vulpes), and dormouse (Elyomis quercinus). But without a doubt, the most abundant and important species in this area is the common rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that gives us clues of its presence through its latrines and burrows.

Ramblas and Wetlands Fauna

In Sierra Escalona, ??only the boulevards of the Nacimiento and Seco rivers, together with La Fayona, provide animals with permanent and natural access to water, which makes it an attraction for wildlife. The colorful kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) and the bee-eater (Merops apiaster) use the slopes near the boulevards to nest. Species such as the gray wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) or the common wagtail (Motacilla alba) can also be detected on the banks of river courses. Amphibians such as the common frog (Pelophylax perezi), use these enclaves for their reproduction. Reptiles are also present in this area, such as the water snake (Natrix maura) and the rare leprous terrapin (Mauremys leprosa). Fish species such as mullet (Mujol cephaleus) or eel (Angulla anguilla) are found at the mouth of some of the ramblas present in the mountains.

In the artificial wetlands, such as the Pantano de la Pedrera, the birds find in the formations of Tamarix sp, a refuge and the ideal place for nesting. Such is the case of the ardeidae colony that can be seen in this area or of the terns (Sternula hirundo) and terns (Sterna albifrons) that nest on the banks and islands of the reservoir. Other birds, such as the marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus) or the osprey (Pandion haliaetus), use this humid area as a resting area on their migratory routes or as a wintering barracks.

Crop Fauna

In the almond groves, the rabbit population is abundant. On the edges we can see the ocellated lizards (Timon lepidus), the long-tailed lizards (Psammodromus jeaneae) as well as the owlets (Athene noctua) and the woodpeckers (Picus viridis) that take advantage of these areas to trap the insects that make up their diet. In citrus fields, verdigris (Serinus serinus), goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) and greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) are common, as well as blackbirds (Turdus merula). Species richness is lower in vegetable fields, with only generalist species appearing such as the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and the white wagtail (Motacilla alba).

Source used: Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition of the Generalitat Valenciana



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