Natural Heritage

Introduction

NATURE OF THE MIÑO

The presence of Natural Areas created under the Natura Network 2000 represent one of the most important elements in setting which can be the values of interest for the preservation present in these territories. The Natura Network 2000 constitute a coherent ecological network which seeks to contribute to the a state of preservation, or if necessary to restore the favourable conditions, natural habitats and species of community interest set out in Directives 92/43/EEC (Habitats Directive) and 2009/174/CE (Birds Directive).

The catalogues of habitats and species listed in the European directives along with catalogues of national (Royal Decree 139/2011) and regional (Decree 88/2007) endangered species constitute the legal framework of reference when analysing the environmental values of interest for the conservation present in the Biosphere Reserve Terras do Miño.

This reserve includes in its northern mountainous areas (SCI Range of Xistral) an important area of wetland mountain made up wet “queirogas” (bushes of a metre of height of purple, pink or white flowers) high peats and peat bogs of high blanket. The active peat blanket in the Range of Xistral are the only representations of this peculiar type of wetlands, considered a priority habitat, present in the Iberian Peninsula. These mountain wetlands house a rich and rare bryophyte flora, higher plants and invertebrate communities.

Both in the mountains as in the lower and depressed parts of its territory, the Reserve houses a good representation of climatic forests made up of various types of oak, even Pyrenean (Quercus robur, Quercus pyrenaica), with a great diversity of vascular species. The river sections that cover the areas of lower altitude and low slope show one of the best representations of alluvial forests and gallery north of the Iberian Peninsula within their Atlantic bioregion.

Some of riverbank forests have more than 60 species characteristic of woodland environments. Consequently, the river channels house a rich and nourished diversity of species, both of bivalves (Margaritifera, Unio, Anodonta), and of vascular plants (Isoetes fluitans, Luronium natans) or vertebrates (Lutra). In different ecosystems, and mainly in wetlands, a large number of species can be found protected by the Birds and Habitats Directive, and species included in the Spanish Catalogue of Endangered Species and Catalogue of Endangered Species. Another element that becomes particularly significant is that this territory is the western limit of the distribution of numerous species among which the Fagus sylvatica stands out.