Up to 60 protected species could be affected by the Tenerife fire

He Tenerife fire, which began on August 15 in Arafo, has affected 14,624 hectares, distributed in 12 municipalities. From an environmental point of view, the impact of fire on unique species in the Canary Islands it has been very important”. This is explained by the general director of Natural Spaces and Biodiversity of the Canary Islands government.

Miguel Ángel Morcuende points out that “according to the reports we have available, the fire has affected more than 60 protected species.” Among them, the one that worries the most is the so-called Cheirolophus metlecsicsii (Añavingo big head).

“It is – continues the director general – an endangered species, which only had two population centers in the world. The first of them was in Arico and burned in 2021. So far – according to council technicians – no specimens have been located in that area again. The remaining nucleus was located in Añavingo, in Arafo, and has undoubtedly been affected by the fire”.

There are also other populations, in danger of extinction, such as the Himantoglossum metlecsisianum or Orquídea de Tenerife, an endemic plant, with seasonal growth between the months of December and February, which have suffered the consequences of the fire.

Equally in danger of extinction, in this case due to predation by rabbits, competition with other plant species and human action; Agache’s jug is found, Helianthemum teneriffae. It is a cystaceae endemic to the island of Tenerife. It is known from a single locality in the southeast of the island, in Güímar, in the area of ​​the Corona Forestal Natural Park.

The long-eared owl, the hawk or the woodpecker. Three special protection species threatened by fire.

The fire has calcined a perimeter of 88 kilometers belonging to the Corona Forestal natural park. This area of ​​pine forest mass, both natural and reforested, and high mountain vegetation, practically surrounds the Teide National Park. A total of 46,613 hectares make it the largest protected area in the Canary Islands.

The Forest Crown is the natural habitat of a large number of endemisms that are threatened. It is estimated that the fire has affected 3,033.63 hectares of endemic Canarian pine forests out of 9,360. 1,860.03 hectares of 4,090 hectares of endemic Oro-Mediterranean heaths with gorse and 703.42 hectares of endemic Macaronesian heaths have also been affected. In addition, 172.06 hectares of 9,360 hectares of endemic Macaronesian laurel forests must be accounted for.

These species are all habitats of community interest. With its destruction occurs that of the ecosystems where different species of fungi, bacteria, invertebrates and birds live. Some of special protection such as the accipiter nisus granti (hawk), the asio otus (long-eared owl) or the barbastella barbastellus (Canary bat).

Among the Canarian pine forests, both natural and repopulated, a vulnerable species also usually lives: the blue chaffinch. It generally lives at an altitude above 1,000 meters, among the most mature pines and brooms.

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