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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Geographical Areas

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Serra de Nogueira Natura 2000
Chemistry, Biology, Geology
Serra de Nogueira is a small mountain range reaching 1375 m, part of Natura 2000 site Montesinho/Nogueira, and is located in the municipalities of Bragança, Macedo de Cavaleiros and Vinhais, in northeast Portugal. This area is included in “Terra Fria” (Cold Land). The landscape is characterized by a mosaic of different land uses and habitats, with particular relevance for oak woods. Two main characteristics place high value on this area: the main cover of Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica), the biggest of Portugal for this species, and the mosaic produced between all vegetation types – mountain, Mediterranean and ultramafic areas, giving shape to a especially interesting diversity of plant and animal species, as well as landscape variation.
Besides the Pyrenean oak, other trees are common, like the holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia), chestnut trees (Castanea sativa) and riparian species (Alnus glutinosa, Prunus avium, Sorbus torminalis, Salix spp.). Several other species of plants can also be found, such as shrubs (Erica spp., Cistus ladanifer, Cytisus spp., Lavandula stoechas, Echinospartum ibericum) and endemic and rare species, exclusive of ultramafic rocks (Armeria eriophylla, Anthyllis sampaiana, Santolina semidentata). The PNM is among the most important mountain areas for wildlife at national and European level, since there are several threatened species, most endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. Several mammals like the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus), the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), the water-mole (Galemys pyrenaicus), the otter (Lutra Lutra), and bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), and an important number of bird species (Aquila chysaetos, Circus pygargus, Loxia curvirostra), can be discovered and observed, but also species of reptiles (Vipera latastei, Lacerta schreiberi), amphibians (Triturus marmoratus), fish in lower areas (Achondrostoma arcasii, Cobitis calderoni, Squalius alburnoides) and invertebrates, namely rare and unique butterflies (Pseudophilotes panoptes, Lycaena virgaureae, Brenthis daphne), which can be observed in a biodiversity trail already classified, where more than 50% of all diurnal butterflies of Portugal can be found.


Forests at Serra da Nogueira The term forest means colloquially any plant community dominated by trees, i.e., plants having more than 2-3 m with a well-defined trunk. But trees are not all the same, not all have the same origin. Some, though indigenous, come from plants located in other biogeographic regions. That is the case of the maritime pine. Pine forests in the interior of Portugal were planted or sown with plants from coastal dunes.
Lichens Lichens result from the association of a fungus and an algae and/or a cyanobacteria. They can grow either on the surfaces of rocks or in the bark or leaves of woody plants, soil, forest litter, or even on mosses. Lichens have a great interest as environmental indicators, especially of air quality. The lichen flora of Serra da Nogueira, for example, lichens on trunks of oaks and holms, attests the quality of the air of this natural space.
The endemic species in Portugal For those who wish to know more about the endemic apecies in Portugal, we recommend a visit to the website Flora-On: Flora de Portugal Interactiva. (2014). Sociedade Portuguesa de Botânica. Consulta efectuada em 21-04-2016.
Alders Alders (Alnus glutinosa) are the dominant tree in the permanent water lines of Serra de Nogueira. Small nodules containing nitrogen fixing bacteria can be observed in the roots of these trees. The tree feeds on the nitrogen provided by the bacteria and gives in return carbohydrates. Later, the alder leaves fall into the river and feed the trophic chains where an important fish species, the trout, prevails.
Alyssum serpyllifolium subsp. lusitanicum The Alyssum serpyllifolium subsp. Lusitanicum is an endemic species of the ultrabasic rocks of peninsular NW. It has the characteristic of accumulating nickel, a heavy metal, used to contain competing species and the damage by herbivorous insects.
A wild orchid Dactylorhiza elata is a wild orchid frequently found in the sloughs of Serra de Nogueira. In the photo, an albino individual is identified.
Aegilops In Serra de Nogueira, Aegilops appear on the margins of paths on basic rocks, sometimes forming extensive meadows. The genus Aegilops is evolutionarily close to the cultivated wheat. Common wheat, Triticum aestivum, is a hybrid of three species, two Triticum, and another species of the genus Aegilops.
Plant communities “Lameiros” are semi-natural plant communities, that is, they are composed of indigenous species but depend on human management. They are an essential piece in traditional farming systems and an example of sustainable land use. Besides being extraordinarily diverse in plant species, they are the sustenance of a diverse fauna, among which the two species of ungulates existing in the region, the deer and the corso stand out.
The black oak (Quercus pyrenaica) The black oak (Quercus pyrenaica) is the dominant tree in the forests of Serra da Nogueira. This species extends from the north of Morocco by the west of the Peninsula to the SW of France. It has the peculiarity of root bursting, an unusual characteristic in Quercus.
An endemic species Armeria eriophylla is an endemic species of the utrabasic rocks of Serra de Nogueira and neighboring regions. They belong to the genus with more species endemic to Portugal, the genus Armeria.
Aerial view of Serra da Nogueira Serra de Nogueira is home to the largest area of native forest in Portugal (about 6,000 ha). The Quercus pyrenaica forest is particularly resilient in Serra de Nogueira - and therefore survived to this day - because of its fertile soils derived from basic rocks. In the borders of this forest, one observes a diverse flora of specialized plants, some of them of remarkable rarity.
Tanacetum corymbosum Tanacetum corymbosum is one of the many species of flowering plants that depend on the edges of the huge oak grove of Serra de Nogueira.