When you think of Ibiza you instantly think of World Heritage sites, protected areas, endemic species and important habitats for migratory birds right?!
It was by complete happy accident on holiday this summer that I stumbled across ‘Isla Formentera’, an utterly stunning Baleriac island, just across from the infamous white isle.
Me and the girls hopped on the hour long ferry to Formentera and in true eco-warrior fashion hired bicycles to check out the local beaches and beauty. We cruised past signage for ‘Parc Natural de Ses Salines’ one of the two protected areas, the other being ‘Reserva Natural de Cala d’Hort.’
The stretch of sea between the islands is covered with a meadow of Posidonia oceanica, also known as Neptune grass. This plant is endemic to the Mediterranean, supports an extraordinary array of marine life and is a vitally important fish hatchery. Its extensive roots systems also prevent coastal erosion and act as a carbon sink. Due to its conservation significance pitted against increasing threats from both pollution and boat trafficking, it was identified as a priority ecosystem for protection under the Habitat 2000 Directive. It has been designated as a World Heritage Site.
This map helps to visualise it:
Please see the attached IUCN documentation for more details of the designation (1999) if you are interested: WORLD HERITAGE NOMINATION – IUCN TECHNICAL EVALUATION IBIZA, BIODIVERSITY AND CULTURE (SPAIN)
To quickly summarise, other than that nifty Neptune grass:
• 11 species of strictly endemic plants,
• 56 species of endemic invertebrates
• 11 species of endemic terrestrial reptiles
• AND 5 species of mammals- i.e. only found in Ibiza and Formentera!
Also 205 different bird species have been recorded, particularly around the coastal lagoons and salt flats (Las Salinas). Areas of well-preserved juniper forest persist, which was once typical coastal vegetation but now only remains in a few sites.
Isn’t it funny how the most amazing biodiversity can be present without you even knowing about it- I will never look at the Mediterranean in the same way again!