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Gallery forest: what is it, flora and fauna

Gallery forests are an ecosystem in danger due to the hand of man. The need to exploit them arises from their location near rivers, lagoons and valleys, rich and perfect areas for cultivation. Hence, many forests of this type have been relegated to being a narrow strip that borders the banks of rivers, lakes and other aquifers.

In this AgroCorrn article we are going to teach you a little more about what the gallery forest is, its flora and fauna , as well as its formation, among more interesting details.

You may also be interested in: Chaco forest: characteristics, flora and fauna
Index
  1. What is a gallery forest
  2. Gallery forest flora
  3. Gallery forest fauna

What is a gallery forest

The gallery forest, also known as the riparian forest or soto , is a wooded mass of the deciduous type that is arranged following the course of the water. We can find them in rivers, lakes and even near the coast.

Its most characteristic point is that it is composed mainly of hydrophilic vegetation , that is, of plants that have a greater dependence on water for optimal growth. In the same way, the soil of these forests has a very rich substrate and an increasingly less stable compaction the closer we get to the water. Its vegetation is adapted to the periodic floods that can occur in this type of terrain, offering stability to the beds of rivers and lakes.

This type of ecosystem is very characteristic of the Mediterranean climate , whose function is both to preserve the humidity and water of the natural areas, and to offer refuge to the local fauna that is protected from the high temperatures during the summer and from the cooler in winter.

Gallery forest flora

As we move away from the water, the flora changes its arrangement favoring the growth of both trees and shrubs. In this way, we will find species in places where the depth of the groundwater is around 2 meters. Here are species of the gallery forest flora such as:

  • Alnus glutinosa o aliso.
  • Salix alba or white willow.
  • Sambucus nigra or elderberry.
  • The white oh álamo.
  • Fraxinus ansgutifolia spp. o fresno.
  • Robinia pseudoacacia or robina.
  • Acer negundo o negundo.

As a note, in the gallery forests of Europe we can find, at a depth of 3 meters, the Ulmus minor or elm. Elms are one of the most characteristic species of Mediterranean riparian forests , as are some varieties of willows.

Other species planted by man such as poplars are also found in this area. The most widely planted is Populus x canadensis , used for logging. In a more isolated way, although also present in the current Mediterranean gallery forests, we will find the Platanus x hispánica , which, thanks to the rapid rooting of its seeds, grows without difficulty and without the help of man. This species is also widely used in avenues of large cities, due to its height and resistance.

As for the types of shrubs that are usually found in riparian forests, these are the most common:

  • Tamayes: Tamarix canariensis y Tamarix africana.
  • Willows: Salix eleagnos and Salix cinerea ssp. Oleifolia.
  • Crataegus monogyna o majuelo.
  • Cornus sanguinea the conerjo.
  • Zarzas: Rubus ulmifolius y R ubus caesius .
  • Ivy helix or ivy.

In the same way, in the herbaceous stratum there are species such as Euphorbia amygdaloides , Brachypodium sylvaticum and Humulus lupulus , well known by beer lovers, since it is the flavoring plant used during the fermentation process.

However, due to both human exploitation and climate change, many gallery forests have been replaced by simple reed beds. Here we will find plants such as the reed or Phragmites australis and the cane or Arundo donax , which is native to Asia.

Gallery forest fauna

Gallery forests have an ecosystem rich in fruits and small invertebrates, which, added to the shrub species that offer shelter and their proximity to water, makes them the perfect home for many animal species.

Among the gallery forest animals , birds stand out , feeding on fruits as well as small invertebrates and fish. Common species within these ecosystems are:

  • The weaver ( Remiz pendulinus ).
  • La oropéndola ( Oriolus oriolus ).
  • El pito real ( Picus viridis ).
  • El carricero tordal (Acrocephalus arundinaceus).
  • The bastard nightingale ( Cettia cetti ).
  • El martinete (Nycticorax nycticorax).
  • The Little Egret ( Egretta garzetta ).
  • The cormorant ( Phalacrocorax carbo ).
  • El abejaruco (Merops apiaster).

We also find amphibians and reptiles . From frogs and toads, to small snakes and turtles, in addition to the typical freshwater fish , such as the river boga ( Chondostroma polylepis ) and the chond ( Squalius pyrenaicus ), but we can also find other species depending on the area in question. There are also some species of crayfish. Finally, with regard to mammals in gallery forests, some species such as water rats, otters and even foxes are common.

If you want to read more articles similar to Gallery Forest: what is it, flora and fauna , we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category .

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