The Malcata Nature Reserve (established on 16 October 1981) is a relatively small part (around 20%) of the Special Protection Area and Site of Community Interest Malcata, and is also a Council of Europe Biogenetic Reserve.
It is characterised by the presence of the marked relief of the Sierra de Malcata, with an average height of 800 m, steep slopes and water lines that give rise to relatively narrow valleys with a notable shortage of agricultural land. The mountain range is part of the division between the Tagus and Duero basins, where the River Coa originates.
Well preserved examples of tree patches can be seen, as well as the results of the recent recovery of the native vegetation that has taken place since the major agricultural abandonment in the sixties of the 20th century, associated with a profound decrease in grazing pressure.
In the more northern areas there are Pyrenean oak and cork oak forests and in the more southern areas there are many holm oak and cork oak forests. There are also important areas of pasture and ash trees on the edges of water bodies. Along the rivers, the formations of riverside woods stand out, dominated by alders, which form a habitat classified as a priority for conservation.
The presence of temporary Mediterranean ponds of meso-hygrophilic pastures and communities of some Iberian endemisms should also be highlighted.
With regard to the fauna present in this area, the Malcata Reserve constitutes the southern limit of the wolf distribution in Portugal, and the Côa valley should play an important role in the future by connecting the wolf populations south of the Douro. The historical presence of the Iberian lynx is also noteworthy, and this area is one of the first candidates to be re-colonised by this species if its current rate of expansion continues.
The Pyrenean oak forests to the north of the SPA area are an excellent habitat for the European bee-eater, booted eagle, short-toed eagle and red kite. The shrub-dominated scrub is important for the Montagu’s harrier and the Hen harrier and is particularly rich in passerines.
In the central region, heath lands emerge, interspersed with traditional rye areas, which today are practically non-existent. Towards the south, the slopes of the SPA have forests of holm oak and strawberry tree, used for nesting by the black stork, the buzzard, the black vulture, the short-toed eagle and the eagle owl.
OFICINAS CENTRALES FNYH
Dirección: Av. De España Nº 25 Entlo, 39610 El Astillero Cantabria
Tlf: 942 55 91 19 / 679181483
CASA DE LA NATURALEZA-MARISMAS DE ALDAY
Dirección: C/ Alday (junto al parking de Valle Real), Maliaño, Cantabria
Tlf: 679 181 472
ECOMUSEO-FLUVIARIUM DE LIÉRGANES
Dirección: C/ Camino Real, 9, 39722 Liérganes, Cantabria
Tlf: 942 52 81 96
VIVERO Y CENTRO ETNOBOTÁNICO EL PENDO
Dirección: 39609 Camargo, Cantabria
Tlf: 942 25 88 08
ESTACIÓN BIOLÓGICA CAMPANARIOS DE AZABA
Dirección: Camino de La Alamedila, SN 37497 Espeja, Salamanca