Thursday, 12 January 2012

Death on Mt Teide

Dead and dying vegetation on Mt Teide 11 January 2012

A dramatic title to grab your attention but I mean death to plants and probably animals too in the ongoing drought Tenerife is suffering! The higher reaches of Mt Teide, the highest mountain in Spain are normally covered in snow at this time of year and the island has usually had heavy rain from November onwards but not this time. Mt Teide did not receive is normal coating of white glistening snow that can be usually counted on for the winter and spring months. Something has gone very wrong!

The unique scrub-land vegetation that grows on Mt Teide is adapted to heat and cold and drought in summer but expects to get plenty of moisture in the autumn and winter. This year it has had very little and is dying or dead. It is brown and tinder dry and crumbles to dust. In turn insects that depend on the vegetation and lizards and birds that feed on them are deprived of a vital link in the food chain. There are usually many Canary Blue butterflies and honeybees that feed on the nectar from the wild flowers and flowering shrubs up on Mt Teide but if there are no such flowers they will have no food and will probably die.

Lower down the mountain there is usually a sea of clouds that bring much needed moisture to the pines, laurels and other trees and plants but even the sea of clouds has gone.

This could spell disaster for farmers. Most of the water for the island falls as snow and rain on the mountains. We need heavy rains and fast to save the ecosystem of Tenerife.

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

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