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Ambients forestals | Ambients de ribera | Ambients Aquàtics | Matollars i brolles | Meadows | Ambients rupícoles | Espais humanitzats


We find thatching grass meadow (Hyparrhenietum hirto-pubescentis), basically, on the Barcelona slopes of the Serra, which is also the sunny side. The scientific community considers this plant formation as an irradiation of the African savannah within the Mediterranean mosaic.


This meadow is structured into two well-differentiated herb layers: a higher layer, which can grow to over 1 m in height, dominated by thatching grass (Hyparrhenia hirta), and a lower stratum, up to 30 cm high, in which the predominant species isMediterranean false-brome(Brachypodium retusum) and which can be highly dense and occupy all free space. Other species that are also commonly found in such meadows include fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), fringed rue(Ruta chalepensis) and Spanish broom(Spartium junceum).


Although, at first glance these open environments may appear impoverished by the lack of trees, the fauna that lives in them demonstrates that they are of the highest ecological interest.


Years ago, thatching grass meadows grew to cover the sunny sides of the Serra after the wooded areas had been cleared. These meadows were used for a long period as pastureland for sheep and goats, and shepherds regularly burnt the shrubs and bushes that grew here. When the pastures were abandoned, woody vegetation began to regenerate, generally with considerable success. Today, we can observe a clear relation between the distribution of these meadows and the frequency of fires in the area.



The fauna of the meadows


First and foremost, we should mention the presence of an invertebrate of the highest interest. This is an orthopteran insect, the grasshopper Brachycrotaphus tryxalicerus, which is characteristic of the African savannah and, outside the Iberian Peninsula, found in Europe only on the Island of Sicily.


Also of interest is a heteropter, Vibertiola cinerea, a bug of scarce distribution that is similarly linked to these thatching grass meadow environments.


Amongst vertebrates, these open environments are, logically, of particular interest to reptiles, which are ectotherms, that is to say, those that need an external source of heat to maintain their activity. Meadows and scrub are the environments most colonised by lizards: the Iberian wall lizard (Podarcis hispanica) and, particularly, the Spanish psammodromus (Psamodromus hispanicus). The most common snakes are the ladder snake (Elaphe scalaris) and the Montpellier snake(Malpolon monspessulanus).


The most frequently found birds include the common stonechat (Saxicola torquata), which can be seen from its vantage point in the high branches of trees, the zitting cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) and the magpie (Pica pica). As in the scrub environments, flocks of songbirds are also frequently seen in these meadows in winter.



Consorci del Parc Natural de la Serra de Collserola
Ctra. de l'Església, 92. 08017 Barcelona. T: 932 803 552


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