EVERGREEN FOREST, one of three types of the remains of old forest cover found in the Mediterranean, the others being maquis and garigue (‘garrigue‘ in French). The evergreen forest is dominated by the holm oak (Quercus ilex), the Cork Oak (Quercus suber) in the western regions and changes to a more scrub-like growth with Kermes Oak (Quercus coccifera) in eastern countries. Fully grown Holm oak forest is 10-15 metres high, but seldom reaches this size. It is dense with undergrowth of Buckthorn and Viburnum, Strawberry Tree and Clematis. Forests of Cork Oak are more open, with a rich undergrowth of shrubs and other plants. The most important of the forest conifers are the Stone or Umbrella Pine, Maritime Pine, Aleppo Pine and varieties of Austrian Pine.

Pines tend to grow more on the northern, less arid side of the Mediterranean; Aleppo Pine, Maritime Pine and Umbrella Pine are all common in coastal districts. Austrian Pine and Grecian Fir, in contrast, are more trees of the mountains where they form extensive forests. However, the Maritime Pine does extend inland, and grows on many of the mountains of the Iberian peninsula. Aleppo Pine has the widest distribution of all the Mediterranean pines, growing both north and south of the Mediterranean Sea, presumably since it can tolerate very dry conditions.

SEE ALSO / Agroforestry. / Deforestation. / Steppe.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Trees and shrubs of the Mediterranean by Helge Vedel, translated from the Danish by Aubrey Rush (Penguin Guides, 1978), p13-14.