Practical Ecology

Nature Switched On

 

 

 

 


in the Pyrenees

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gallery 1: 2006-2012
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>> 2006 Sep  2

                         a   S T A M M E R  project              

2006 August 1, Tuesday


This is what we first saw when we approached our future terrain at 11 o'clock on a hot summerday morning.  Being the dry season (in an extremely dry year) the aspect was somewhat barren and baked, but it was also immediately clear that big parts had not suffered any human disturbance (grazing, mowing, ploughing) fot at least a decade.

 

 

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First impression coming from the south.
12:18

 

Looking to the north with the Pyrenees in the background. Thymus vulgaris and a walnut tree in the foreground
12:23

The trees and the forest at the back were remarkably green. On the terrain were at least 15 almond trees and a quick look at the other tree and shrub species revealed:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the line of the forest towards the south.
12:26

 

Quercus ilex, Q. faginea, Q. coccifera, Juniperus communis, J. oxycedrus, Celtis australis, Juglans regia, Crateagus monogyna, Cornus sanguinea, Sorbus species, Rubus species, Lonicera species and others. These species indicated that the ecosystem was not so dry as this first impression  suggested, which was furthermore affirmed by the relative abundance of moss in some shadow areas. Part of this relative humidity can be explained by the northern exposure of this hill side. The southern side of this same hill offered a completey different image with fewer trees and the complete absence of Quercus faginea (Portuguese Oak) ,  a decidious (or semi-evergreen) oak that needs a bit more humidity than the evergreen Quercus ilex (Holm Oak). The satellite image of Google Earth illustrates this difference between north (or north-east) and south (south-west) slope very well.

 

 

 

 

 

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Satellite image of the sierra
An old Quercus faginea tree to the north of the terrain. At the top a vulture (Gyps fulvus) and in the distance Mount Perdido (3355m). Photograph taken on 23 Dec 2006
 

A striking presence was Chondrilla juncea (Rush Skeletonweed or Hogbite). Not exactly a beauty but vigourously growing and flowering. It seems it's got roots which go as deep as 2.5 m into the soil, forming this way an important link in the recycling of the water in the soil. This plant is slowly disappearing from the north of Europe, being quite common in the south and a aggressive weed in Australia and Canada.

 

 

 

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Chondrilla juncea together with Scabiosa columbaria. At the back, bushes of Cornus sanguinea and Rubus sp.
12:26
 

 

Unfortunately the place was not completely inmaculate. The previous owner had prepared and levelled part of the terrain to build some horse stables. This part was almost devoid of vegetation but it will nevertheless be interesting to see how it will develop. Perhaps I will have to help this development a little by mulching the soil with straw or hay. In ecology this seems to be a golden rule: never let the ground bare.
I am also considering creating a pond here. The soil is already disturbed and some water will be an enormous boost for wild and vegetal life.

 

 

 

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The south part of the terrain where some stables were projected. Notice the nice group of Centaurea scabiosa to the right which seem eager to populate the area again. 12:21
 

The terrain is at a distance of 500 m from a village of 300 inhabitants, offering both advantages and disadvantages. Fact is that it is quite dominantly visible from most points. Dominating over the village is the image of the beautiful  monolith Turbon with a height of 2417m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The village to the south-east.At the background the Mount Turbon,
at the foreground Lonicera etrusca and Eryngium campestre
17:55
17:12
The terrain (marked in red) seen from the village. The swimming pool only a 5 minute walk away..

 

Overview of the terrain,looking south....

 

Our first visit was supposed to be orientative and prospecting  but we were immediately enchanted by the place and decided to buy it. The next day I had to travel to my home country (Holland) and our next visit would be in September.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

....and here looking in the opposite direction to the north with the Pyrenees at the horizon, an almond orchard in the centre and a solitary almond tree on the right.
18:14

 

introduction
floristic catalogue
faunistic catalogue
contact
index

gallery 1: 2006-2012
gallery 2: 2012-

map
>> 2006 Sep  2

Latest revision on:  13/11/2013