Ajuntament de Barcelona

The biodiversity at Montjuïc

Porta de Montjuïc

    Downy oak

    The many green areas that one can find in Montjuïc provide entertainment spaces and become one of the lungs of the city.

    The high wildlife variety is the result of both the historic Estate and the different contributions along history. Several uses have configured Montjuic since ancient times: as arable land, for mining purposes, and lately as part of the urban development for structures, parks and gardens. All this actions have as a result a landscape naturally modified, made of green areas with a variable degree of human intervention: meadows, small forests, reefs and slopes colonized by the spontaneous vegetation, old mines and special gardens created in different epochs, some with vegetation as the main purpose.

    With 366.11 ha, there are more than 2.000 taxa of vascular plants, more than any other natural space in the country. In Catalonia there are around 3,300 with some 12,500 in Europe.

    This variety of species and environments is the ideal scenario to shelter a remarkable diversity with more than 70 different species of vertebrate animals.


    Among the green areas in the city, except for Collserola, Montjuïc highlights because of its wildlife variety.

    It is a space that has its singularity as a urban ecosystem, since it is integrated by a myriad of environments that reunite in its surface almost all the biotopes around Barcelona. Some of them have a tremendous ecological value such as the maritime reef.

    In regards to the flora, the hill welcomes a high diversity of species, both indigenous as well as from other biogeographic areas, with a special stress on ornamental vegetation, as a result of the interventions along history. There are dry meadows and bushes, small pine forests and other formation with the rest of original communities up to gardens and parks created in several stages of history since the beginnings of 20th century. Among others, Montjuïc has several historical gardens (Laribal, Miramar and Teatre Grec), theme gardens from the 1960s (Mossèn Costa i Llobera, devoted to the succulent species, and Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer, to the bulbous and water plants) and botanical gardens such as New Botanical Garden, inaugurated in 1999, and the Historical Botanical Garden, from 1930.

    All these green spaces and its vegetal diversity, with a variety of flowerings and fructifications across seasons, are the base to take in an important spontaneous wildlife biodiversity that finds in them a source of food and shelter. There are ponds, which are an excellent place for the reproduction of amphibians and the food of bats; dry meadows and bushes where one can find Mediterranean shrews and mice; forests that house an amount of birds; old buildings and walls of historical gardens used as nests of lizards and wall lizards; and old mines that serve as shelter to bats.

    All together, there are 70 species of vertebrates in Montjuïc out of 91 from all green areas in the city. The maritime reef and surroundings account for 60 of those, with a variety of birds similar to that of reserves.

    The maritime reef is a very special zone because of its values for Catalonia and the local community. The best geological outcrops can be found here and is the best known sample of known prehistoric natural mining in Catalonia, where jade has been extracted since 9,000 BC until 100 AD.

    As an ecosystem, the maritime reef is unique since it becomes a cliff and rock seaside habitat with a high diversity flora that allows the development of natural and cultural species. In regards to the fauna there are several vertebrates, mainly birds (peregrine falcons, yellow-legged gulls, a colony of common kestrels, little owls, blue rock thrushes and black redstarts among others), common shrews, little shrews, Mediterranean mice, rabbits, rats and reptiles such as lizard and Turkish gecko, Iberian wall lizard, Montpellier snake and blue snake.

    In regards to the non-vertebrates, some molluscs of great interest have been identified: Sphincterochila candidissima, Trochoidea elegans, Caracollina lenticula, Oxychilus courquini and Trochoidea penchinati. There are 29 different kinds of butterflies, 6 of them endangered in the context of Montuïc, such as great banded grayling (Kanetisa circe). Similar to molluscs, the most rare and interesting Lepidoptera in Montjuïc are those in El Morrot reef.

    History and curiosities: 

    According to its compromise with biodiversity, Barcelona is working on protection plans for some special interest habitats such as the maritime reef. It also develops official activities in the management to foster the population of some endangered animals, such as amphibians, and contain others such as the cats by promoting controlled colonies.

    The contribution from the inhabitants of the city by avoiding abandoning pets is basic to contain its population that harm the habitats and natural species as well as the urban environment.

    The Pla de la Biodiversitat (Biodiversity Act) compiles all the challenges, goals and commitments from the municipality in regards with the conservation of the biological diversity and the habitats of the city and the planet as well as how this is passed onto the inhabitants who know them, enjoy them and takes care of them. This act is a commitment and settles a vision of future for the city: a city where biodiversity is preserved, enriched and appreciated, as part of the legacy of the Earth and as a benefit for present and future generations. The biodiversity degree is an indicator of quality of life. Its impoverishment by allowing species to disappear is a disaster for the whole planet.

    Strawberry tree
    Cow's foot
    Angel's trumpet
    White-toothed shrew
    Gold barrel cactus
    Mediterranean Tree frog
    Indian fig
    Iberian water frog
    Iberian wall lizard
    Strawberry tree Cow's foot Angel's trumpet White-toothed shrew Gold barrel cactus Mediterranean Tree frog Indian fig Iberian water frog Iberian wall lizard