The Montes de Valsaín mountain range is located on the northern slope of the Sierra de Guadarrama, in the municipality of the Real Sitio de San Ildefonso. They constitute a forest area of 10,668 ha and are State-owned Public Utility Forests, managed by the National Parks Autonomous Organization (OAPN) through the Centro Montes y Aserradero de Valsaín.
It is a well-preserved area that gathers several protective attributes, including among others: Natural Site of National Interest - declared as early as 1930 -, Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA), Special Conservation Zone (ZEC) and Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve. In addition, since 2013, 3,326 ha of the Montes de Valsaín mountain range have been incorporated into the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park and another 7,011 ha have been included within the Peripheral Protection Zone as a Special Protection Area of the National Park, obtaining a similar legal regime to that of the National Park.
In the area, Albar pine trees (Pinus sylvestris) and Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica) groves predominate. Broom, creeping juniper and high mountain grasslands can be found at higher elevations.
One of the lines of work of the Conservation and Monitoring Area of the Montes de Valsaín Center is to contribute to the conservation and recovery of the amphibian communities that inhabit the area, one of the groups most affected by climate change and the resulting modifications in both habitat and ecosystems. Amphibians are closely linked to aquatic ecosystems and, in particular, to the existence of permanent or temporary ponds where they can lay their eggs and complete full metamorphosis toward adulthood.
Thus, the survival of amphibian populations depends directly -among other variables - on the existence of water surfaces, whose viability is being highly compromised locally, regionally and globally, due to the lower precipitation and higher temperatures linked to climate change. In addition, the loss and fragmentation of habitats and the onset of new diseases (caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi) are seriously contributing to the decline of amphibian communities throughout the world.
The results obtained from the Amphibian Monitoring works carried out at the Montes de Valsaín Center indicated the need to establish zones that favor the reproduction and mobility of these species, avoiding as much as possible the mortality of both adults and larvae.