The delegate of the Higher Center for Scientific Research (CSIC) in Canary IslandsManuel Nogales, shows his concern about the possible loss of endemic species of flora and invertebrates that may have been affected by the fire that has affected the Corona Forestal de Tenerife. Specific, Nogales puts the focus on six endemic species of flora that are affected, to which a seventh can possibly be added: the Añavingo cabezón, the pigeon’s beak, the Acentejo alamillo -the three typical of the Island-, the Canarian cedar , the Canarian garbancera and the orchid of the Añavingo ravine.
All these species, he regrets, are under some degree of protection, either vulnerable or critically endangered. The one that worries the most is the pigeon’s beak, of which there were only three natural populations recorded on the island, all of them in pine forest areas that have been affected by the forest fire, for which reason it is believed that many of them may have been lost. the remaining specimens.
Nogales explained to the Efe agency that in the area affected by the fire there are three large habitats: the Canary pine forest, which is distributed throughout the entire mountain range and constitutes the main forest reserve on the island; a mixed Canarian pine forest that also has elements of the laurel forest –basically holly holly, laurels and fayas–; and an old strip of laurel forest that once connected Teno with Anaga between 400 and 700 meters above sea level. Especially worrisome is the loss of this laurel forest, of which only a few well-preserved redoubts remain in Anaga and Teno, at both ends, but also on the Tigaiga slope, in Los Realejos, and in other points that “were recovering quite a lot in the last few decades” and are possibly burning.
As for vertebrate animals, the expert does consider that “things are quite complicated”, since there are almost twenty endemic species of the Island and the Canary Islands that inhabit the area of the fire. “We have at least five or six species of bats, some of which are endemic, such as the Canarian long-eared bat that is only found in Tenerife, The Palm and The iron and that lives a lot in pine forests, or the Madeiran bat, the ragudo or the forest bat, “he details. As far as reptiles are concerned, the three species that could see their habitat destroyed are all endemic to the Canary Islands: the typhoon lizard, the Delalande perenquen and the golden mullet, the latter typical of Tenerife.
And from the point of view of birds, eight species threatened by llamas are endemic to the islands, among them the blue chaffinch, which “is the most striking because it is endemic only to Tenerife, since in Gran Canaria there is another subspecies” and whose young specimens are just developing since this is the breeding season for them. In addition to the blue chaffinch, the common canary finch, the Great Spotted Woodpecker, and the Turqué and Rabiche pigeons are also affected. Regarding the last two, the affected area is one of the most important pigeon reserves on the island.
All these animals, which can move to other areas, are going to have to “adapt to all this catharsis that is taking place in their way of life,” highlights Nogales. From the point of view of invertebrates, which Nogales acknowledges are “one of the great forgotten” when it comes to calibrating the effects of flora and fauna, there are some 200 endemic species that could be affected, despite the fact that this is not It is a “very important” place in terms of the presence of these animals. It is a community of invertebrates that does not inhabit the pine forest itself, but in the volcanic caves that exist under the surface, and whose populations “are the richest in the world”, to the point of having more endemism than in Hawaii or the Galapagos, archipelagos similar to the canary due to their volcanic characteristics.
“And those caves, the energy necessary to maintain the communities comes through the roots of the plants above, so we are concerned because it is not good news that they burn,” laments the CSIC delegate in the Canary Islands. It will be necessary to wait, in any case, for the fire to be controlled to be able to analyze in a more detailed way what are the effects on the flora and fauna of the Forest Crown of Tenerife.