Flora, Fauna & Geology

Flora, Fauna & Geology

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Geology

 

Arco de GibraltarOn your final descent towards Malaga Airport, you would’ve noticed that you cross a narrow range of mountains that run roughly east to west. These mountains form the western end of the Penibaetic system, which is part of the Baetic System which itself is a part of the ‘Gibraltar Arc’.
Formed by the north–south convergence of the Eurasian and African plates, the range is around 23 million years old and stretches from Cadiz in the west to Valencia in the east, and also includes the Balearic Islands.

Our walking extends from the limestone gorges of El Chorro in the west across to the coastal cliffs of La Herradura in the east. Within this area we have El Torcal, the Central Limestone Arch and the Tejeda, Almijara & Alhama natural park. Geologically these are still very young mountains, and this can be seen by the sharp ridges, steep faces and rocky slopes.


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Another important geological feature that is found here is the Limestone Karst, perfectly visible in the El Torcal nature reserve, and featured throughout many of the walks, particularly whilst in the Central Limestone Arch and high up in the Sierra de Loja. It can make the walking tough, with the smaller Karst being randomly spaced and with razor sharp edges, but its' presence adds to the uniqueness of the walk.

  

Flora

 

flora3There is so much here to enjoy that a few paragraphs can do it no justice, although what follows is a brief introduction!

The Iberian Peninsula, particularly the south-west, is bar far the richest in plant species in continental Europe. The diversity of the flora in Iberia can be attributed to many reasons, but the lack of a permanent ice cap in the last ice age, the proximity to North Africa, the geographical isolation, and the climate have been major contributors.

 

flora4As we explore you’ll discover oaks, pines, matorral plants, mountain plants, and the endemic plants, but by far the most abundant tree you’ll see is the olive tree. Not a truly native tree of Iberia, there are an estimated 300 million olive trees in Spain, with 70 million in Andalucía alone! Where the landscape is broken by limestone karst, which makes it difficult to harvest the olives, we can see a mixture of holm oak and wild olive growing together.

  

Fauna

flora5aThere is a lot to see in our little part of Andalucía, and although it may take a few return visits to view more, along the way we’ll have chance to discover many mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians.

Of significant interest is the birdlife. The proximity of Africa, the migration routes, the combination of the mountain, steppe and maritime habits and, of course, the year-round superb climate make an ornithological visit memorable and rewarding.
There’s a lot of interesting information on wildlife at this great website.

 

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