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Nature in Andalucía

2012-09-20-IMG_6309 09-20-2012

Mediterranean scrub and limestone.
Photo Karl Smallman. Click to enlarge.

Olive groves

Olive grove. Photo Karl Smallman. Click to enlarge.

Whether you are on your holidays in Andalucía or you live in the area, you will probably be continuously impressed with the variety of landscapes and habitats existing close to one another. Apart from the beaches with their sand dunes and pines there is a wealth of other environments: Mediterranean scrub, limestone sierras, sub-alpine meadows, cork oak and holm oak groves, river valleys, sub-tropical vegetation and desert. Even olive groves which can be an example of monoculture, if allowed to harbour plants and insects can be exciting places for wildlife. A very special habitat called dehesa consists of cork and holm oaks and arable or grazing land and is a good example of sustainable agriculture. These varied habitats allow a naturalist or a walker to explore a wealth of plants and animals without having to travel far. Southern Andalucía is home to various African species and sub-species because of its closeness to North Africa where conditions are not that different from those existing on the very tip of Spanish Peninsula. Conservation of these varied habitats is important and according to recent studies in ecology, much more effective that attempts to preserve single chosen species of fauna and flora.

Holm and Portuguese oaks in their habitat

Dehesa. Click to enlarge.

There are certain actions that a holiday maker or a resident of Andalucía can take: the first and most important is understanding and following  the Natural Park rules, respecting walking permits and promoting Andalucían nature as an important resource. You can also join Spanish conservation groups. For residents and non-residents there is SEO Birdlife and for residents of the area you can try the Spanish equivalent of Green Peace, Ecologistas en Acción.The Serranía de Ronda   Environmental Volunteers  organize events once a month in the Ronda area. It is difficult sometimes to find local  information on environmental groups however with a bit of good will and research you will discover the ones which operate in your area or the ones which can be useful to a visitor. People you meet in such local organisations enhance your experience of the area and often open your eyes to a different side of nature conservation in Spain: personal and passionate. Local town halls and Natural Park offices can be good sources of information on environmental groups. Even if, as a walker, you have little interest in the creatures inhabiting the countryside you walk through, your support for nature conservation as a walker is very important and will help preserve the landscapes you enjoy for the future generations.


The Andalucían Section is divided into Birds, Butterflies/Insects, Mammals, Orchids/Wildflowers, Reptiles/Amphibians and Trees. It is hard to describe even 20% of the fascinating species existing in Andalucía. Instead, our intention is to give you a preview of the rich wildlife the region contains.

Please Contact Us for more information about any animals and plants or the best times of the year to see them.

 Visit our Photograph Gallery for more Nature images.

Fuente de Piedra. Greater Flamingos. Photo Eva Bratek.

Fuente de Piedra. Greater Flamingos. Photo Eva Bratek.