Vegetation and Natural Systems

Posted in Flora and vegetation

Pisos de vegetaciónThe National Park vegetation is made up of distinct plant communities from the Central System. An important part of them are Guadarrama endemism. The most representative are the Scots pine or Valsaín pine (Pinus sylvestris var. Iberian), the high mountain thickets of broom and creeping juniper, and the xerophyte pastures living on the summits of the Sierra.

In the summits and slopes environment form complex mosaics where alternate wet grass, peat bogs, ponds and lakes, xerophyte pastures, cracks and rocks ledges vegetation communities, etc. This is the growing habitat for the greatest diversity of plant communities and the most unique flora of the territory grow.

In the National Park are represented eight natural systems referred to in the National Parks Law 30/2014.

Flora

Posted in Flora and vegetation

Armeria caespitosaThe Sierra de Guadarrama presents a high floristic diversity favored by multiple factors, related mainly with their geographical location. This position has allowed the existence of transitional characteristics between the Mediterranean and the Euro-Siberian regions. In that sense, the Sierra de Guadarrama has acted as a refuge for colder environments which had a wider distribution in the past and have disappeared from the neighboring territories.

In addition, the defendant altitudinal gradient of the Sierra de Guadarrama generates a high variability of climatic factors and soil in a relatively small area of land, which results in the existence of a large number of habitats. Their isolation, as a major mountain range in the heart of the Castilian plateau, has led to significant processes of endemicity.

Although there are no definitive studies that allow us to calculate exactly the number of vascular plants that inhabit in the area of the National Park, approximately there are about 1,680 taxa between species and subspecies.

Fungi

Posted in Flora and vegetation

Amanita muscariaFungi play an essential role in the ecological functioning of forests. Most of them are saprophytic species that act by breaking down the plant and animal organic matter and enriching the soil and incorporating nutrients into the food chain. Others are symbionts and are associated with the roots of certain plants form mycorrhizae, allowing these vegetables to live in certain media, such as poor or waterlogged. Therefore, the conservation of fungi is essential for the preservation of forests and their own habitats.

In spring and, especially, in autumn, fruit bodies (mushrooms) of all shapes and as colorful as possible, grow into the slopes of the Sierra de Guadarrama. However, it should be kept in mind that the collection of fungi is subject to specific regulations.

Lichens

Posted in Flora and vegetation

Liquen en PeñalaraThe inside of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park forests host abundant lichens, upholstering the bark of the trees and certain shady enclaves. But it is in the rocks that form the mountains summits where we can enjoy the exceptional lichens diversity, being the lichens the dominant living organisms in these rupicolous communities. Their yellowish, greenish, gray, orange, brown or blackish petals, give color to the rocks, depending of the snow annual duration or the humidity level to which they are exposed.

Exceptional trees

Posted in Flora and vegetation

Tejo del BarondilloIn the National Park and its Influence Zone, there are 43 trees catalogued as exceptional, according to the Castilla León and Madrid Autonomous Communities environmental regulations. Among them 10 are located inner the National Park.

In presence of one of those giants, we certainly cannot remain indifferent. Impressive stemflows, thick trunks and enormous twisted branches will invite us to contemplate and respect those nature jewels.

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