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The forest

In contrast to the desert-like image frequently attributed to them, the Causses du Quercy possess an extensive covering of woodland.

Widely scattered, these wooded areas shelter numerous plants found on the edges of woodland, such as Bloody Cranesbill, Violet Limodore or Red Helleborine, or, more localised, plants such as the Squarrose Knapweed, endemic in southern France, or Piptatherum virescens, protected at national level.

 If the pubescent oak (whose leaves are downy on the underside) is the dominant species, the Montpellier Maple, the mahaleb cherry and dogwood also grow on the causse. Dogwood (or Cornelian cherry) is particularly popular for its bright late-winter flowers, which give it its local name "mimosa of the Causse". In the valleys grow cool stands of hornbeams, which favour the development of plants more apt to be found in mountainous areas, like the Turk's cap Lily, Green Hellebore, and even the much rarer Herb Paris or True Lover's Knot.

 These wooded areas are home to a very interesting fauna : apart from Roe deer, Genets and tree-dewelling bats (Western barbastelles, Noctule bats) are also to be found. There are also many bird species, notably the Middle-Spotted Woodpecker, and birds of prey : the Hobby, the Honey Buzzard and the Short-toed Snake Eagle. Locally, very old hollow trees may harbour beetles such as the violet click beetle or the hermit beetle.

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