Slovenian Cases

Posidonia Oceanica Meadow

a positive influence of a traffic corridor on conservation of the Posidonia Oceanica meadow, which will now become an example of sustainable tourism supporting biodiversity;

Key words:
biodiversity
sustainable tourism
land-use planning

Location
Posidonia oceanica is one of the most common seagrass in the Mediterranean, however in the Gulf of Trieste (the northernmost part of the Adriatic) it is present only in a small area at the Slovenian coast. The meadow of Posidonia oceanica is located in an urbanised area with a rather intense recreational use between the towns of Koper and Izola. A meadow is approximately 1 km long, starts close to the coastline and extends 50 m off the shore (water depth is app. 4 m). It is formed of islands of Posidonia oceanica of different sizes and shapes.


Photo: Arhiv ZVNKD Piran

Problem
The meadows of Posidonia oceanica are of great importance for the marine ecosystem, not only in view of producing oxygen and organic substances (approx. 20 tons/ha/year), but also as a biotone for an infinite number of marine organisms dependent on such meadows in terms of their diet, habitat, shelter, etc. Posidonia meadows are, at the same time, a very important factor in the diminishing of erosion. With their undulation they slow down the wave motion a great deal and thus the impact of the sea exerted on the shore.

In spite of all these positive characteristic, less and less natural habitats of this plant have been observed in the Mediterranean particularly due to various construction works, pollution, drag netting, anchoring, etc.


Photo: Arhiv ZVNKD Piran

Conflict
The main coastal road, which is now situated along and very close to the coastline, does not allow further development of tourism and its activities in the area, which eventually helps to protect the meadow. The new main coastal road that is bound to be built in the forthcoming years will be moved into the tunnel, and will as a consequence, »free« the coastline and make it available for other activities, mainly recreation and tourism. Due to that, increased pressure for beach enlargement, piers, maritime traffic and other recreational and tourist facilities is expected, which could jeopardise the conservation of the meadow.

Opportunity
Relocating main coastal road and using existing road for recreation can offer new possibilities for protection the meadow, but only when strict regulations are followed and all the necessary restrictions to protect the natural environment are implemented. Construction of observation spots with information tables together with an intensive public awareness campaign, can be a good base for developing a specific type of touristic and recreational activities.


Photo: Arhiv ZVNKD Piran

Results
Posidonia oceanica is listed in the governmental decree on rare and endangered species that was adopted by the Slovene parliament in 2002. In the year 2003, the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation, through its Regional Office Piran, carried out several activities aimed at ensuring an efficient, long-term conservation of the Posidonia oceanica meadow. Among them are elaboration of the map of the meadow, study of the main ecological parameters in the meadow, and raising public awareness. A detailed plan for use of the beach and re-use of the abandoned road in recreational way is also prepared and is waiting to be implemented.

Further information
www.zrsvn.si/slo/pi/pi_varstvo.asp
dragonja.mbss.org/Zusterna/indexS.html
COMMENTS AND THEORY
Public information and public participation are the key to the success of solving most biodiversity related problems. Only a high level of public awareness and implementation of strict regulations can preserve special habitats on the long term.

QUESTION

Can a road or any other infrastructure object help to preserve some, almost extinct spices and habitats?

 

Prepared by:
IIDE – Institute for Integral Development and Environment (Marta Vahtar, Maja Zdesar and Miran Rusjan)

 


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