Into the Mountains – Algarve Diary 2012

Day 4 (31st march)
By Shazia Waheed and Sini Burdillat
Today our class went to the Monchique Montains. On the way whilst travelling inland up increasing elevation, we made a number of stops to look at the different kinds of vegetation across the landscape, and consider the way in which changes in agriculture have affected the plant communities. This process mirrors similar changes that have occurred in Ireland with the decline in agriculture in some parts of the country.

There was a clear gradient in vegetation type as we gained altitude. One of the most breathtaking sights we got to see was a cork oak woodland where cork is being harvested for the wine, tile and other industries. We found many interesting animal and plant species in this wood, including a skink, a stick insect and roosting lesser horsehoe bats.

On reaching the peak of the Monchique at 902m, higher than any peak in Ireland and above the tree line, the view was incredible. Oddly vividly green tree frogs were found here in a small pool of water but attempts to capture these tiny animals were unsuccessful.

Tomorrow we’re back to the dunes to study birds and look at the vegetation in the dunes more closely.

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