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Santa Barbara / Nature 2000

Santa Barbara / Nature 2000

The main reason for the conservation of this area is the presence of copses, stands of trees and individual examples of cork oak (Quercus suber) which, interspersed with other varieties make up the main nucleus of this extremely rare species in the Basque country. In fact, this area of Guipuzcoa is the only place in the Basque Country where you can find this species growing naturally, although other much smaller areas do exist, the origin of the trees is not known i.e. whether they were planted or have grown naturally.

The presence of wild cork oaks could be evidence of ancient climactic conditions very different to those of today. Today one can only find a few copses left. In the interior of this area there are only three stands of any size. These copses have very different structures, some looking like a woodland meadow, some stands are very young and there are small groups of mature trees. One can also find individual examples standing alone.

The flora in these woodlands is similar to those found growing in acidic soil, such as holm oak, mistletoe, and a few oaks amongst others in the arboreal make-up of the area. Amongst those species that degrade the cork tree are the strawberry bush and the gorse bush.