EUROPEAN PROJECT OF AMPHIBIAN AND AQUATIC REPTILES' HABITAT RECOVERING IN BAIX TER WETLANDS

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ENVIRONMENT


Great part of the vegetal landscapes or vegetation units of Catalonia are present in the river basin of the Ter thanks to the coexistence of many different environments in a relatively small space. The last section (the gironina and empordanesa river basins) is formed by irrigated land and dry land crops; and right on the river mouth small patches of glasswort and other coastal vegetation can be found.


The riversides have their own vegetation, known as riverside vegetation; mainly plants that must keep their roots wet or moist. These conditions are only found on the riversides, ponds and wetlands and never beyond a few meters, and for this reason, the riverside vegetation forms narrow strips that follow the watercourse. It’s dominated by the riverside forest, formed by different species of trees that distribute their space depending on environmental conditions: alder groves, willows, poplar groves, black poplars and elm trees (the last ones found in the last section of the river, where proximity to the sea requires a certain tolerance to salt).
Riverside vegetation

In addition to the riverside forest the herbaceous vegetal communities are also very important, especially the common reed and cattail beds, formed by different cane species: the common reed (Phragmites australis) and the narrow leaf cattail (Typha angustifolia) that with flooded roots, grow on the riverbanks, under the rivers or suspended on the water.

Typha angustifolia

Phragmites australis

Bank forests have suffered from mans’ actions; they has been exploited intensively and have been substituted by crops and black poplars, whilst reed beds have been burned or cut down thus destroying the nesting sites of many aquatic birds.

Besides, it is important to emphasize the presence of Stachys maritima, a protected species characteristic of sand dunes, which is found on the Lower Ter beaches in one of the most important colonies to be found in the Iberian peninsula; and object of an exhaustive study.