The Mondragó Natural Park is located in the south of Mallorca, in the municipal area of Santanyí, and has a surface area of 766 hectares. While 95 hectares of the Park are public property, the rest of the park sits on privately owned land and estates, which, often divided into plots, are generally occupied by extensive dry crop cultivation.
Mondragó was declared a Natural Park in 1992. It is also a Natural Area of Special Interest (ANEI) and forms part of the Balearic contribution to the Natura 2000 Network as an Area of Special Protection for Birds and a Site of Community Interest (SCI).
The human contribution
Centuries of agricultural and livestock activity have undeniably shaped and defined the landscape of this area.
The many architectural features found here include dry stone walls and the rustic sheds that served as temporary shelters for those who cultivated the poor fields, the rotes. These structures are often made of beams or bear a conical roof, locally known as curucull.
Less common are the stone hillside terraces, which sit alongside streambeds and in gullies.
Other traditional structures, such as waterwheels, irrigation ditches, water collection ponds and cisterns, are associated with the use of water. Here there are also constructions that bear witness to the use of the forest.
These include charcoal mounds, the charcoal makers’ sheds and lime kilns, as well as other features, such as slipways for boats, sandstone quarries, small defence towers and smugglers’ hiding places. The name of S’Amarador evokes a past use of the ponds as retting sites, where bundles of flax and hemp were submerged for different lengths of time to attain plant fibres. Tree trunks were also submerged here, making them more resistant, for later use as construction materials in boats and as beams for houses.
A mosaic of very different environments. The Park’s Landscape
For the most part, the surface of the Park is made up of parched, poor, stony fields known as rotes. Here, dry farming crops mingle with trees and herbaceous plants on small plots that are generally delineated by dry stone walls. Particularly abundant are the almond tree (Prunus dulcis), the carob bean tree (Ceratonia siliqua) and the fig tree (Ficus carica), as well as cereal grains such as barley, oats and wheat.
The dry climate and the poor soils make for the pre- dominance of scrubland, primarily consisting of the wild olive grove (Oleo-Ceratonion), with species such as the wild olive tree (Olea europaea var. sylvestris), the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), the mastic (Pistacia lentiscus), the mock privet (Phillyrea sp.), the rock rose (Cistus sp.), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), heather (Erica multiflora) and lavender (Lavandula dentata). Pine groves line the silhouettes of the streams, coming together with savins (Juniperus phoenicea) in the areas nearest the coast. Worthy of note among the scrubland plants and within the Park’s pine groves are the different types of orchids: the giant orchid (Barlia robertiana), the pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis), the Serapias sp. and different species of the Ophrys and Orchis genera.
The animals that inhabit the Park include mammals such as the Algerian hedgehog (Atelerix algirus), the common weasel (Mustela nivalis), the genet (Genetta genetta) and the pine marten (Martes martes), as well as rodents like the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the Iberian hare (Lepus granatensis), the wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) and the garden dormouse (Elyomis quercinus).
Yet it is birds that abound the most, as the Park is a refuge for the stone curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus), the wood pigeon (Columba palumbus), the turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur), the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), the hoopoe (Upupa epops) and many other smaller birds including the great tit (Parus major) and the warbler (Sylvia sp.).
Some holm oaks (Quercus ilex) appear at the bottoms of gullies. Yet more striking is the presence of an important dune system at S’Amarador, which is inhabited by the sea holly (Eryngium maritimum), the sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias) and the sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum). Two brackish ponds are formed at the end of the S’Amarador streams and the fountain, Font de n’Alis. Inhabiting these pools are the common reed (Phragmites australis), the spiny rush (Juncus acutus) and the statice (Limonium sp.). Occasionally found here are mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), common moorhens (Gallinula chloropus), common coots (Fulica atra), and herons (Egretta garzetta and Ardea cinerea). The ponds are also the home of the viperine snake (Natrix maura) and the Iberian marsh frog (Rana perezi). The fish commonly seen here include the mullet (Mugil cephalus), the mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) and the eel (Anguilla anguilla).
With the exception of its beaches, the rocky cliff-lined coast is an ideal nesting ground for the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus). Also found here is the European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and the Audouin’s gull (Larus audouinii). The plants most commonly found in this rocky terrain are the Crithmo-limonietum, where sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum) and statice (Limonium sp.) also abound.
Both the rocky landscapes and the many dry stone walls are favourite resting spots for certain reptile species, including the Moorish gecko (Tarentola mauritanica). The entire seascape is inhabited by the false smooth snake (Macroprotodon mauritanicus), the Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni), and the Balearic toad (Bufo balearicus).
Park Information Centre
Carretera de cala Mondragó s/n.
07691 Santanyí – Tel. / fax: 971 18 10 22
Park Office (Can Crestall)
C/ de Can Llaneres, 8
07650 Santanyí – Tel.: 971 64 20 67 – Fax: 971 64 21 30