The vegetation, typical of the Mediterranean mid-mountain, is rich and varied, the relief and altitude bringing nuances. The banks are lush and leafy, in contrast to the limestone moors, where communities of a more xerophilic nature grow, with a profusion of aromatic plants. At medium altitude, there are good groves of larch pine alternating with groves of holm oak on warmer exposures and groves of pedunculate oak on wetter exposures.
The upper story, on the other hand, is dominated by Scots pine with an undergrowth of boxwood and creeping juniper. The highly prized and sought-after robellón flourishes here in the fall.. Vast pine forests, exploited for forestry since ancient times, alternate with pastures and rangelands that have been used for livestock since time immemorial, although with a strong seasonal imperative due to the climate.
A large part of the Maestrazgo territory is included in the SCI (Site of Community Importance) “Muelas y Estrechos del Guadalope”. It occupies the northernmost part of the Sierra del Maestrazgo. It has a total area of 19,174 hectares between the Comarca del Maestrazgo and the Comarca Cuencas Mineras. There are 9 municipalities affected by the SIC, 7 of which are in the Maestrazgo : Cañada de Benatanduz, Cantavieja, Castellote, Fortanete, Pitarque, Tronchón and Villarluengo, which together make up 84% of the area of the Maestrazgo County.
It is an area of great interest for fauna and flora, mainly due to the presence of fluviokarst canyons and narrow valleys carved by the dominant river system. In the limestone walls we find rock formations of great importance and a good number of birds that use the limestone walls for nesting.
Almost all of the vegetation is black pine and Scots pine, but there are also mixed forests such as holm oak, juniper and pedunculate oak in the shaded areas and in the wet areas. They are important for their particular interest due to the presence of maples, yews, holly, boxwood and hazelnut trees. In the most degraded areas, we find scrub such as kermes oak and black juniper.
The land use is traditional agriculture and livestock, extensive sheep farming and exploitation of the pine forest.
The presence of orchids in the Maestrazgo is remarkable. There are about 120 species in Spain, of which 36 are present in the region. The peculiarity of this territory is that we can see the Epipactis group, a kind of orchids that is not found in the rest of Aragon. The Maestrazgo is the area where we find the most species of this group; there is even one, Epipactis Provincialis, which is very rare and exclusive to Fortanete and Villarroya de los Pinares. In addition, you can see Epipactis Cardina, which was discovered and described in Fortanete, but has since been seen elsewhere. Other groups that can be seen in the area are the Ophryx, the Dactylorhiza or the Orchis.