During one of our last excursions to observe the bird colonies of the salt ponds, our colleague Jorge Sánchez from the Association of Southeast Naturalists (ANSE) recognized a highly threatened species in our latitudes: the “salao” or “almarjo” (Halocnemum strobilaceum).
This shrub lives in salt marshes and extends throughout the Mediterranean and Asia. It is a halophyte species capable of living in areas where the soil has high concentrations of salt. These salt marsh environments have suffered a strong regression in recent decades due to the expansion of agricultural, industrial and urban development, which is why the species has been under threat. In fact, it is considered “Critically Endangered” and included in the Red List of Spanish Vascular Flora since its 2008 version (Moreno, coord. 2008). Under regional legislation, the species is considered “Vulnerable”.
The development of salt extraction in the Regional Park “Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar” supposes not only the protection of the fauna but also prevents the extinction of the flora that inhabits the salt ponds, another example of sustainable development and conservation in the protected area.