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Environ Monit Assess. 2010 Jul;166(1-4):241-56. doi: 10.1007/s10661-009-0998-2. Epub 2009 May 29.

Selection of ecological indicators for the conservation, management and monitoring of Mediterranean coastal salinas.

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  • 1Department of Ecology, Almería University, 04120, Almería, Spain.


Salinas systems are artificial wetlands which are interesting from the viewpoint of nature conservation. They play an important role both as habitats for migratory waterbird species and as nodes of biotic connectivity networks. In the Mediterranean basin, where the coastal salinas are highly significant as alternative and complementary habitats for waterbirds, a process of abandonment occurs, and many seminatural systems of this kind are disappearing. This abandonment is having serious consequences for migratory bird populations and for the ecological role these play. In the present paper, this group of waterbird species has been used to evaluate these wetlands for conservation purposes. We have developed a methodological approach for the selection of ecological indicators for the conservation and management of these Mediterranean habitats and waterbird assemblages, the main consumers therein. The stepwise procedure developed constitutes a practical tool for this task. Application thereof enabled us to differentiate the habitats available for the waterbirds and to identify the biotic and abiotic indicators for the maintenance and management of the salina ecosystems. These variables can then be incorporated into monitoring programs.

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