The Sistema Central (Central Range)

  • Daniel Sánchez-Mata
  • Rosario G. Gavilán
  • Vicenta de la Fuente
Chapter
Part of the Plant and Vegetation book series (PAVE, volume 12)

Abstract

The Sistema Central or Central Range has an overall length of 600 km and is the most extensive mountain range on the Iberian Peninsula. It has an alpine orogeny and is located in the centre of the peninsula running northeast-southwest in its eastern part (Ayllón and Guadarrama ranges), and east-west in its western part (Guadarrama, Gredos and Estrêla ranges). The whole system comprises a continuous series of smaller mountain ranges, including valleys and various natural areas. It occupies a vast territory from the middle of Portugal (Serra da Estrêla) to the Sierra de Ayllón range in the east, and acts as a natural division of the Castilian central plateau, separating the northern plateau (Castile and León) from the southern plateau (Madrid, Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura). It generally represents the watershed between two of the most important Iberian rivers: the Duero and the Tagus. The highest point of the whole Iberian Central Range is the Almanzor Peak (2592 m) in the central massif of the Gredos mountains. Its characterisation and location on the Iberian Peninsula have interesting phytogeographical and geobotanical implications. These mountains are noteworthy for their bioclimatic, geomorphological and lithological features. Their remarkable bioclimatic complexity is a result of the dissymmetry between the northern and southern slopes (with average values of 1200 vs. 500 m), and their lithological homogeneity, dominated by plutonic igneous and –to a lesser extent– metamorphic rocks. All these factors condition the landscape in these territories. The natural vegetation in these mountains has a woodland character, except in the summit areas above the tree line, which are characterised by Mediterranean alpine grasslands. However other types of vegetation grow in these siliceous high-mountain areas, in the rocky places, peatland, meadows and shrubland that conform the landscape here. Natural Iberian Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris var. iberica) and Spanish black pine (Pinus nigra subsp. salzmannii) forests are distributed throughout the high- and mid-mountain territories respectively in spite of extensive deforestation –more pronounced in the westernmost mountain areas–, in addition to oak forests (Quercus pyrenaica and Quercus rotundifolia) in the rest of the mountain landscape, where natural forests have often been eliminated in order to cultivate several strains of pines, and to encourage the spread of meadows and grasslands which support an important livestock population. Some interesting small relict forests such as beech (Fagus sylvatica), birch (Betula celtiberica) and juniper woodlands (Juniperus thurifera and Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. lagunae) are scattered within the mountain areas. Also significant are the riparian and hygrophilous forests and other vegetation, and the seral vegetation complexes –both forest fringe vegetation and shrub communities– which often predominate throughout vast mountain areas in the landscape.

References

  1. Blanco E, Casado MA, Costa M, Escribano R, García M, Génova M, Gómez A, Gómez F, Moreno JC, Morla C, Regato P, Sainz H (1997) Los bosques ibéricos. Una interpretación geobotánica. Ed. Planeta, Barcelona, p 572Google Scholar
  2. Clayton SD, Renvoize SA (1986) Genera Graminun. Grasses of the World. Kew Bulletin Additional Series XIII. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, p 389Google Scholar
  3. de la Fuente V (1986) Vegetación orófila del occidente de la provincia de Guadalajara (España). Lazaroa 8:123–219Google Scholar
  4. Fernández-González F (1991) La vegetación del Valle del Paular (Sierra de Guadarrama, Madrid), I. Lazaroa 12:153–272Google Scholar
  5. Ferrero Lomas LM (1999) Citogenética, evolución y biogeografía de las secciones Festuca L. (intravaginales) y Eskia Willk. del género Festuca L. (Poaceae) en la Península Ibérica. Memoria doctoral. Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, p 327Google Scholar
  6. Ferrero Lomas LM, Fuente, V de la (1996) Aportaciones al estudio cariológico de algunas especies del género Festuca L. endémicas del Mediterráneo Occidental. Boletin Sociedade Broteriana, sér. 2, 67:303–308Google Scholar
  7. Fuente V de la (1986) Vegetación orófila del occidente de la provincia de Guadalajara (España). Lazaroa 8:123–219Google Scholar
  8. Gavilán RG (2005) The use of climatic parameters and indices in vegetation distribution: a case study in the Spanish Sistema Central. Int J Biometeorol 50(2):111–120CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Gavilán RG, Fernández-González F (1997) Climatic discrimination of Mediterranean broad-leaved sclerophyllous and deciduous forests in central Spain. J Veg Sci 8:377–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gavilán RG, Fernández-González F, Blasi C (1998) Climatic classification and ordination of the Spanish Sistema Central: relationships with potential vegetation. Plant Ecol 139(1):1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gavilán RG, Sánchez-Mata D, Escudero A, Rubio A (2002) Interspecific interactions in Mediterranean high mountain vegetation (Sistema Central, Spain). Israel J Plant Sci 50(3):217–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gavilán RG, Sánchez Mata D, Vilches B, Entrocassi GS (2007) Modelling current distribution of Spanish Quercus pyrenaica forest using climatic parameteres. Phytocoenologia 37:561–581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gavilán RG, Vilches B, Fernández-González F (2011) Syntaxonomical review of Cytisetea scopario-striati communities in central Spain. Lazaroa 32:29–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gavilán RG, Sánchez-Mata D, Gaudencio M, Gutiérrez-Girón A, Vilches B (2016) Impact of the non-indigenous shrub species Spartium junceum (Fabaceae) on native vegetation in central Spain. J Plant Ecol 9(2):132–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. López-Sáez JA, Sánchez-Mata D, Alba-Sánchez F, Abel-Schaad D, Gavilán RG, Pérez-Díaz S (2013) Discrimination of Scots pine forests in the Iberian central system (Pinus sylvestris var. iberica) by means of pollen analysis. Phytosociological considerations. Lazaroa 34:191–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. López-Sáez JA, Alba-Sánchez F, Sánchez-Mata D, Abel-Schaad D, Gavilán RG, Pérez-Díaz S (2015) A palynological approach to the study of Quercus pyrenaica forest communities in the Spanish central system. Phytocoenologia. doi: 10.1127/0340-269X/2014/0044-0572 Google Scholar
  17. López-Sáez JA, Sánchez-Mata D, Gavilán RG (2016) Syntaxonomical update on the relict groves of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris var. iberica) and Spanish black pine (Pinus nigra subsp. salzmannii) in the Gredos Range (central Spain). Lazaroa 37:153–172Google Scholar
  18. Loureiro J, Kopecký D, Castro S, Santos C, Silveira P (2007) Flow cytometric and cytogenetic analyses of Iberian Peninsula Festuca spp. Plant Syst Evol 269:89–105Google Scholar
  19. Markgraff-Dannenberg I (1980) Festuca L. In: Tutin et al. Flora Europaea 5:125–153. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 476Google Scholar
  20. Mayo Arlanzón C (2002) La historia geológica de las Sierras de Gredos. In: Corrales Bermejo L (coord.) Recursos Naturales de la Sierras de Gredos: 23–29. Publ. Institución “Gran Duque de Alba”, Monografías n. 62. 2ª ed. Diputación provincial de Ávila. Vicolozano (Ávila), p 375Google Scholar
  21. Peinado Lorca M, Rivas-Martínez S (eds) (1987) La vegetación de España. Publicaciones Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (col. Aula Abierta, 3), Alcalá de Henares, p 544Google Scholar
  22. Rivas-Martínez S (1964) Estudio de la vegetación y flora de las sierras de Guadarrama y Gredos. Anales Instituto Botánico Cavanilles 21(1):1–325Google Scholar
  23. Rivas-Martínez S, Cantó P (1987) Datos sobre la vegetación de las Sierras de Guadarrama y Malagón. Lazaroa 7:235–257Google Scholar
  24. Rivas-Martínez S, coauthors (2007) Mapa de series, geoseries y geopermaseries de vegetación de España. Itinera Geobotanica 17:5–436Google Scholar
  25. Rivas-Martínez S, Belmonte D, Cantó P, Fernández-González F, de la Fuente V, Moreno JM, Sánchez-Mata D, Sancho LG (1987) Piornales, enebrales y pinares oromediterráneos (Pino-Cytision oromediterranei) en el Sistema Central. Lazaroa 7:93–124Google Scholar
  26. Rivas-Martínez S, Fernández-González F, Sánchez-Mata D, Pizarro JM (1990) Vegetación de la Sierra de Guadarrama. Itinera Geobotanica 4:3–132Google Scholar
  27. Rivas-Martínez S, Fernández-González F, Loidi J, Lousã M, Penas A (2001) Syntaxonomical checklist of vascular plant communities of Spain and Portugal to association level. Itinera Geobotanica 14:5–341Google Scholar
  28. Rivas-Martínez S, Díaz TE, Fernández-González F, Izco J, Loidi J, Lousã M, Penas A (2002) Vascular plant communities of Spain and Portugal. Addenda to the Syntaxonomical checklist of 2001. Itinera Geobotanica 15(1–2):1–922Google Scholar
  29. Sánchez Mata D, Rodríguez-Rojo MP (2006) Hay meadow communities (Arrhenatherion) Koch 1926 throughout the Iberian central range (Spain). Phytocoenologia 36(2):231–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sánchez-Mata D (1989) Flora y vegetación del macizo oriental de la Sierra de Gredos (Ávila). Publicaciones Institución Gran Duque de Alba n. 25. Diputación Provincial, Ávila, p 440Google Scholar
  31. Sánchez-Mata D (1999) Bioclimatología: una ciencia avanzada para la caracterización del medio natural. Discursos de Entrada 1998: 95–112. Publicaciones Institución Gran Duque de Alba. Diputación Provincial, Ávila, p 156Google Scholar
  32. Sánchez-Mata D (2015) Hábitats y vegetación natural en la alta montaña del Parque Regional de la Sierra de Gredos (Castilla y León Ávila). Discurso de ingreso en la Academia de Farmacia de Castilla y León. Ed. CERSA, Las Rozas (Madrid), p 54Google Scholar
  33. Sardinero S (2004) Flora y vegetación del macizo occidental de la Sierra de Gredos (Sistema Central, España). Guineana 10:1–474Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Sánchez-Mata
    • 1
  • Rosario G. Gavilán
    • 1
  • Vicenta de la Fuente
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology II, Faculty of PharmacyUniversidad ComplutenseMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of SciencesUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations