© Eco Sapiens

THE ADIÇA AND FICALHO MOUNTAIN RANGE

IS ONE OF THE RARE ELEVATIONS IN THE ROLLING ALENTEJO PLAIN

Located, on the Portuguese side of the border, in the parishes of Vila Verde de Ficalho (municipality of Serpa) and Sobral da Adiça (municipality of Moura), this mountain, of trapezoidal shape, is one of the rare elevations in the rolling Alentejo plain.

WITH AN ALTITUDE OF 522M AT ITS HIGHEST POINT

 

identified by a geodetic marker, it spreads across an area of 9000ha. It is located on the eastern edge of the great patch of metamorphic terrain stretching from the border (Vila Verde de Ficalho) to Montemor-o-Novo.

The relief is distributed along three main alignments: to the west, the Malpique (381 m), Savos (356 m) and Calvos (319 m) sequence; to the centre, the main alignment, Álamo (425 m), Adiça (476 m) and Ficalho (518 m); to the east, the Preguiça crest (326 m). The most important elevations are formed by very hard crystalline limestone, which determined their shape.

 

This mountain presents a humanized landscape of great beauty, in which centuries of human intervention and the remnants of natural vegetation combine harmoniously. The olive grove - mixed with fig trees in some areas - is clearly predominant in this landscape, followed by the montado with pastures and some cereal fields. At the top of the elevations, restricted to the higher grounds that suffered less human intervention, are found bushes and woods.

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One of the great treasures of this mountain is its flora and vegetation. A total of two hundred and fifty vegetal species were identified in the area, distributed by seventy-three families. Of the species identified, fifteen are not referenced in the southeast of the Alentejo and twelve are of high botanical interest, including nine orchids (Orchis italica, Orchis champagneuxii, Orchis collina, Ophrys speculum ssp. lusitanica, Ophrys scolopax ssp. scolopax, Ophrys tenthredinifera, Epipactis helleborine, Serapias vomeracea, Aceras anthropophora, Allium massaessylum, Euphorbia medicaginea and Gagea sp.). Nine are endemic (two European - Cistus populifolius and Salvia sclareoides -, four Iberian

Lavandula luisieri, Lavandula pedunculata, Paeonia broteroi and Leuzea rhaponticoides - and three Portuguese - Centaurea vicentina, Prunus spinosa ssp institoides and Ophrys speculum ssp lusitanica).

Globally, it consists of an intricate complex of floristic communities in distinct dynamic states. The woods are veritable islands in the middle of the cereal fields, the holm oak montado and the olive grove, and all these elements contribute to an interesting faunal diversity.

With an important strategic location, the Adiça and Ficalho mountains are an extension of the Morena mountain’s fauna and a stronghold of the Alentejo plain’s fauna.

Among the mammals are especially relevant the rabbits, hares, foxes, weasels, beech martens, otters, badgers, Egyptian mongooses, common genets, wild cats, wild boars and, possibly, the Iberian lynx.

There are several caves of significant speleological interest, both from the karst morphology and the biology point of view, especially due to the bats’ communities that use them for shelter.

In terms of avifauna, and due to their rareness and the fact that their populations are in regression, the following species deserve particular attention: short-toed snake eagle, booted eagle, black-winged kite, red kite, Montagu’s harrier, little bustard, stone-curlew, black stork, golden eagle, griffon, bustard and crane.

 

Also noteworthy are the species of amphibians and reptiles, as well as the fish fauna, since the mountain is crossed by the river Chança, which marks the border between Spain and Portugal and discharges into the Guadiana, next to the village of Pomarão.

The geographical situation, the peculiar rocky substrate, the climatic conditions, the abundant vegetation cover and the diverse and rich mosaic-like landscape offer the animal communities therein a large number of ecological niches that are worth discovering, either through the predefined pedestrian circuit or on a journey of your choosing.

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© Eco Sapiens

DISCOVER THE MAGNIFICENT MOUNTAIN RANGE OF FICALHO

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