A study reveals the great biodiversity present in the Andalusian olive grove

A study reveals the great biodiversity present in the Andalusian olive grove

2018/10/10 - Although the olive grove has lost much of its biodiversity in recent decades, it still houses a remarkable diversity of flora and fauna as a whole and has great potential to recover it. This is the conclusion reached by a team of researchers from the University of Jaén (UJA) and the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) in a study carried out within the "LIFE Olivares Vivos Project," coordinated by SEO / BirdLife.

After evaluating the biodiversity in 40 olive groves in Andalusia, the figures are revealing: 165 bird species from 119 different genders have been located, which is one quarter of the total documented in the Iberian Peninsula. As for invertebrates, 58 ant species have been detected (one fifth of those that inhabit the Peninsula and the Balearic Islands), as well as 119 pollinating insects. Regarding the flora, 549 species of herbaceous and 137 woody plants have been counted (approximately 17% of the Andalusian vascular flora and 7% of the Iberian), according to SEO / BirdLife.

"All this, bearing in mind that, although the prospected olive grove constitutes a good representation of the Andalusian olive grove, these figures would increase significantly in the more than 1.5 million hectares of olive groves in Andalusia. For example, the number of pollinators indicated only refers to those found by visiting the flowers of the herbaceous species that inhabit the boundaries and unproductive zones, and that play a fundamental role in their pollination (as an indicator of this function, it is worth only the group of the solitary bees transported the pollen of more than 70 species of olive plants from the solitary bees to the artificial nests placed in the olive groves of the project)", explained Pedro Rey, Professor of Ecology at the University of Jaén, who coordinated this study.

A new species of the olive grove: Linaria qartobensis

According to SEO / BirdLife, one of the surprises that this study has presented is the description of a botanical species totally unknown until now, designated as Linaria qartobensis, and located in one of the demonstrative olive groves located in the Cordovan countryside. A discovery that not only has importance in the olive world or in the Mediterranean context, but also on a larger scale, not in vain, the photography of this new species opens the cover of volume 36 of the Nordic Journal of Botany.

This organization has specified that this plant differs from other Linaria species by presenting a long lobed calyx and a violet corolla with certain yellow and orange parts, to which we must add the micromorphology of its seeds. To these differences an isolated distribution joins regarding other species with which it can be related and that are from the south of Portugal.

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