GUIA DEL VIAJERO / NATURE

Natural treasures of Pitiusas

14 JANUARY 2020

Ibiza and Formentera provide an excellent example of the interaction of marine and coastal ecosystems. Dense prairies of oceanic posidonia, a species found only in the Mediterranean, contain and support the diversity of marine life. An ecosystem of great biodiversity, plant and animal.

Ecosistemas

La flora autóctona está fuertemente influida por la proximidad al mar, la elevada salinidad y movilidad del substrato arenoso, de forma que presenta un gran interés botánico. De entre los diferentes tipos de comunidades vegetales, destacan por su singularidad la vegetación característica de dunas y arenales, así como la de marismas y salobrales.

In the pitiusas dunes one of the most interesting plant formations is located, the juniper forests (Juniperus phoenicea) that, without being exclusive to the archipelago, find their most genuine character here. In the areas adjacent to the saline ponds, the limonium communities, the majority endemic to the Pitiüses, whose existence is linked to saline activity, are especially significant.

All the groups of vertebrates present in the Pitiüses, from reptiles to mammals. The lizards are the only truly native vertebrates of the islands and constitute the most charismatic group. As for the birdlife, ses Salines is the most ornithological enclave of the Pitiüses. Among terrestrial mammals the phenomenon of insularity has created some subspecies typical of the islands (neo endemisms), such as the jineta and the shrew of Eivissa, and the lily of Formentera.

Los fondos marinos

The sea acts as a privileged element of union between natural and cultural assets. The posidonias and formations that originate are and have been a basic pillar in the creation of important resources for the economy of the islands: fishing, salt and, at present, for the tourism industry, for the intimate interpellation in the formation of beaches and the purity of the waters.

The sea is, therefore, a source of wealth and an intrinsic element to the particular identity of the Pitiusas. The sandy substrate that is characterized by a moderate depth and the transparency of its waters, constitute the ideal environment for the oceanic posidonia, whose meadows form the dominant landscape of a scarcely altered marine ecosystem.

Posidonia meadows are considered a priority protection habitat by the Habitat directive of the European Union. The area is also a zone of special protection for birds (SPA), is included in the Natura 2000 Network of the EEC and registered in the Ramsar Convention on the List of Wetlands of International Importance. It is a Natural Reserve of Ses Salines since 1995.

The Posidonia prairies of the Pitiüses are considered the most important community of the Mediterranean coast because of their organic matter productivity. They oxygenate the water and filter it, in addition to reducing the force of the waves protecting the beaches from erosion.

The posidonia plant is an endemic phanerogam of the Mediterranean Sea that has its own external organization of the upper plants: root, stem, leaves and ability to produce flowers and fruits with seeds. It grows covering the seabed and forming lush meadows. These are in alarming regression due to their high sensitivity to environmental disturbances, while in Ibiza it is in an excellent state, being essential both to contain the elements of exceptional beauty of the place, as well as to maintain the essential processes for the conservation of the ecosystem and the biodiversity it hosts.

An underwater and coastal ecosystem of extraordinary interest with endangered species of high scientific value, which make up a unique Mediterranean landscape for its natural and cultural wealth.

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