The environmental importance of the Linear Park lies in the fact that it houses one of the most valuable and complete natural landscapes of Madrid’s geography. Geography that is also the habitat of a large number of species, some threatened, forming life forms in delicate balance. Moreover, all forms of life that populate the Linear Park in any of its habitats depend, directly or indirectly, on the Manzanares River.
In fact, the river is the only space where water and humidity abound all year round, a garden with solar contribution all year long. These conditions make the Manzanares environment a fertile ecosystem, of an overflowing nature, which, if modified by humans, would evolve rapidly towards a deserted site, in which the disappearance of some species would make an invasion of others.
The natural landscape thus drawn is that of a field of enormous contrasts, going from the gallery forest that populates the Manzanares River valley, to the dry hills of harsh conditions for survival. Both worlds live in a natural and complementary balance, constantly revolving around the Manzanares River, but very fragile and that need to be protected.
More specifically, the gallery forest is the set of trees closely linked to the riverbanks. In the Manzanares Linear Park and Southeast Regional Park, it is one of the main ecosystems. It extends to both banks of the river and concentrates the greatest plant and animal diversity of the entire Linear Park, acting as the great biological epicenter of the Park. This same forest was the one that kept the ecosystem together when the Manzanares River Park was being grooved and regulated.
The gallery forest is named for the great tangle of trees, shrubs and smaller plants that, as a tunnel or gallery, would cover the river. In the first line, almost in contact with the water, we find different varieties of willows, with the exception of the abundant weeping willow, which is a species introduced by the man. Next to them would appear some alder and in the flooded areas, the common cane, another species introduced by the man centuries ago and that now serves as shelter to several species. After them, with not so demanding water needs, the gallery forest possesses the poplars, white poplars and black poplars, as well as ashes.
Then, we encounter black elms, a gorgeous tree in adulthood, which is the great symbol of the Manzanares Linear Park. Almost extinguished by the Dutch elm disease, surprisingly survive emblematic specimens resistant to these diseases, some of them in the resistant olive grove of Casa Eulogio, under study by specialists. Others, with less luck, semi-abandoned in the middle of the cultivation fields of Section 2, such as ‘El Abuelo’.
Finally, we can also find cattle grazing where the gallery forest has not been erased. Its function is also complementary, since its excrements nitrogen the soil. Next to them, foxes and wild boars inhabit the forests of the Manzanares Linear Park in small groups, which are very difficult to see.
On the whole, the Manzanares Linear Park is a treasure of, not only Madrid as a community, but Spain as a country and it definitely needs more recognition. While I was working on this paper, I discovered that the natural elements of this park are not as protected as it seems, which is a pity, because it puts the natural surroundings of the Manzanares River in danger like the fauna and flora.
Moreover, people need to be aware of this and make something to protect it as it holds so much historical, cultural and natural value and visit it more often in a careful and respectful way. To finish this, I would definitely recommend this to every tourist and every local that wants to know more about the city of Madrid besides the usual and common touristic places.
- Comunidad de Madrid. (s.f.). Parque Regional del Sureste. Obtenido de Comunidad de Madrid Web site: http://www.comunidad.madrid/servicios/urbanismo-medio-ambiente/parque-regional-sureste
- Parque Lineal del Manzanares. (s.f.). Descubre el Parque Lineal del Manzanares. Obtenido de Parque Lineal del Manzanares Web site: http://www.parquelineal.es/descubrelo/
- Parque Lineal del Manzanares. (s.f.). Historia de Madrid desde sus ríos: el Manzanares y el Jarama. Obtenido de Parque Lineal del Manzanares Web site: http://www.parquelineal.es/historia/
- Parque Lineal del Manzanares. (s.f.). Tramo 1 del Parque Lineal del Manzanares. Obtenido de Parque Lineal del Manzanares Web site: http://www.parquelineal.es/descubrelo/tramo-1/
- Parque Lineal del Manzanares. (s.f.). Tramo 2 del Parque Lineal del Manzanares. Obtenido de Parque Lineal del Manzanares Web site: http://www.parquelineal.es/descubrelo/tramo-2/
- Parque Lineal del Manzanares. (s.f.). Tramo 3 ~ Parque Regional. Obtenido de Parque Lineal del Manzanares: http://www.parquelineal.es/descubrelo/tramo-3-parque-regional/