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The Park


Over the centuries, three aspects have shaped the current landscape of the Martín River Cultural Park: the lithological variety, the climate and the action of man.

The higher altitude zone, located to the south of the Park (Montalbán-Torre de las Arcas, Obón and Alcaine), coincides with a more humid and colder environment, where there is a proliferation of very old reforestation pine forests, as in the area of Montalbán and Torre de las Arcas, together with other natural forests such as the one that dominates the Guardias mountain in Alcaine. These pine forests are usually dotted with rockroses and kermes oaks. An extensive holm oak forest dominates the Muelas between Obón and Torre de las Arcas, surrounded by patches of pine trees in the process of growth.

The southern landscape contrasts with that of the north of the park (Alacón, Oliete, Ariño and Albalate del Arzobispo), where altitudes are lower and the environment drier. To this we can add the anthropic action, more prominent and intensive in a less abrupt space, appropriate for agriculture and livestock uses. In these places we find the sardines (rosemary, thyme, dry grasslands) and the kermes oak appears as an indicative element of the degraded holm oak groves. In Albalate del Arzobispo we must highlight the steppe zone of the Planetas, where the albardín and the asnallo stand out.

In order to recover degraded areas as a result of the abandonment of land previously ploughed due to the difficulty of access by mechanical means, and affected by erosion, the area has been reforested with Aleppo pines. We can mention the pine forest of La Pinarosa in Ariño, taking advantage of the ravines and shady areas of the Arcos mountain range and its foothills, or the pine forest of Los Molares, which occupies the valleys and slopes of the Seco river and tributary ravines between Oliete and Alcaine.

The continentalized Mediterranean climate, the result of the immersion through the Martín river valley in a mountainous environment, poor in water resources and with strong temperature contrasts between day and night, allows the existence of junipers, with some important communities of black junipers located in different parts of the Park and adapting to steep rocky areas, accompanied by juniper in many cases. However, less frequent but more spectacular is the sessile juniper, with a few scattered and monumental specimens located throughout the Park, among which we highlight the specimens of San Pedro in Oliete and La Dehesa in Alcaine, among others.

On the other hand, the riverbank vegetation is abundant, forming a narrow and discontinuous border on the banks of the Marín River, dominated by poplars, willows, ash trees, elms, rushes and brambles, especially the tamarisk trees at the tail of the Cueva Foradada reservoir, which form a small forest of enormous ecological importance, and in many tributary ravines and ponds where hygrophilous vegetation dominates.

Another aspect to highlight are the “ordered” patches of vegetation whose origin can be found in man’s need for food production through agriculture, with riverside plantations (horticultural crops and fruit trees) and rainfed plantations (cereal crops, vines, olive and almond trees).

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