A forest is a very complex ecosystem formed by a group of living beings: herbaceous plants, lichens, mosses, microorganisms, as well as invertebrate and vertebrate animals shelter under the shelter of trees and shrubs. A mature forest reaches maximum biomass, structural complexity and high biodiversity.

The impenetrable structure of the holm oak forest is a refuge for fauna. The multitude of climbing and prickly plants is due to the high competition for light within this closed and complex forest.

Curruca cabecinegra

The Cantabrian holm oak forests have been preserved in soils of little forestry or agricultural interest. They are forests adapted to poor and stunted soils. Their ecological function is very important because they conserve and improve soils, helping the absorption and conduction of rainwater that passes to subway aquifers. The Tellitu holm oak forest (40 ha) is the main representation of this habitat in Barakaldo.


The trees and shrubs of the Cantabrian holm oak forest are: holm oak, strawberry tree, laurel, laburnum, aladernum and mastic. This evergreen forest stands out for the high competition between species forming a tangled structure dominated by climbing plants such as: sarsaparilla, black walnut, ivy and wild blond.

The wild boar is one of the representative animals of the holm oak forest, where it feeds on acorns, chestnuts and bulbs. Other nocturnal mammals are the genet and the badger. The closed structure of the holm oak grove is dominated by small birds such as the black-winged warbler, the blackcap, the great tit, the jay and the sparrowhawk. In the sunny and rocky edges we can observe the green lizard, the rock lizard and the Aesculapian snake. And the remains of dead wood serve as food for the stag beetle, where fungi, insects and earthworms, among other decomposers, develop.

Ciervo volante
Culebra de esculapio

In mixed oak-oak forests such as those on the southern shore of the Etxebarria reservoir, the flora composition is dominated by holm oak plants. This is of great importance as it significantly increases the botanical richness of Barakaldo.

Idea and design: Equinoccio Natura, S.C.

Photos: Jon Maguregi

Cartoonist: Oscar Domínguez

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