Forests of Tenerife, Canary Islands
Surprisingly for most foreign tourists, approximately 11% of the total area of Tenerife is covered by forests. You will mainly find them in high-lying areas on the northern windward side of the island and to a much lesser extent, on the southern side. To the west along the northern slopes of Tenerife there are lush coniferous forests presented mainly by the Canary Island pine. This species of tree is impressive for its height, which can reach 50 to 60 meters. This kind of evergreen conifer is able to withstand very low temperatures of around (-10°C). In most places the lower limit of the coniferous forests is between 900 and 1,000 meters.
However, in some areas it reaches as low as 500 – 600 meters. At a lower altitude forests gradually turn into open grasslands and shrub areas. The upper limit of the Canarian pine forests exceeds 2000 meters.
In the opposite northeastern end of the island, north of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, are located the Anaga Mountains. They are the backbone of this more narrow part of Tenerife.
Similar to a giant barrier, the high mountains stop the humid air masses coming from the north, from the Atlantic, developing thick gray clouds and dense fog. For this reason, here, along the northern slopes, have been formed unique and relict evergreen laurel forests.
Between the trees grow humidity-loving ferns. Although in the past these forests have been quite common in the Mediterranean region, nowadays they are extremely rare and are found only in the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores.
Because of their amazing freshness, emerald greenness, coolness and thick climbing vegetation, these cloud forests are a major tourist attraction in Tenerife.
The pleasant scent of laurel trees makes walking in this part of Tenerife extremely refreshing and relaxing experience. For this reason a number of exciting tourist trails criss-cross the Anaga Mountains. The lower limit of the laurel forests of Tenerife is over 400 meters.
They grow very well in the conditions of rich volcanic soils and moderately cool temperatures. Due to the abundant moisture, most plants and rocks in the forest are covered with a layer of green moss.