Forests of The Iberian Peninsula - Origin and Characteristics

Origin and Characteristics

The flora of the peninsula, because of bio-historical, geographical, geological, and orographic conditions, is among of the richest and most varied of all European floras, rivaled only by such countries as Greece and Italy; it is estimated that the Iberian Peninsula has more than 8,000 distinct species of plants, many of them endemic.

It is now known that the Mediterranean Sea went through great changes in sea level and variations in the relative positions of the continental plates of Europe and Africa. These brought changes of climate and vegetation.

The Iberian Peninsula, located on an important route between Africa and Europe, was enriched by the arrival, following the climate change, of wetland plants, thermophilic plants (those that require a great deal of heat), xerophilic plants (those that require a dry climate), orophilic (sub-alpine) plants, Boreo-alpine plants, and so on, many of which managed to remain, thanks to the diversity of environments that exist in the mountain ranges, and which allowed them to rise in altitude if the climate was too warm, or descend if it became too cold. The geological complexity of the majority of Iberian mountains, especially of the Cordillera Bética, Sistema Ibérico, and Pyrenees, also greatly increased the number of new environments to which it was possible to adapt, resulting in today's wide variety of flora.

Read more about this topic:  Forests Of The Iberian Peninsula

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