The discovery of world’s largest colony of Protected Rare Plant may still save Salgados Wildlife Sanctuary. The Portuguese Government is being asked this week whether it will fulfill its responsibility to protect the recent discovery of the largest colony of one of the rarest plants in the world.
This discovery has been made on land that is controversially scheduled for “development”.
The recent discovery by the Portuguese Botanical Society at Salgados, an internationally renowned wildlife sanctuary, was provoked by the government’s approval for a mega-tourist project on land adjoining the world-renowned lagoon and valued by local residents, and was undertaken at the request of “The Friends of Salgados”, a collection of concerned individuals, media, businesses and NGOs.
An on-line petition was started in 2012 that has gathered over 32,000 signatures and is recognized as Portugal’s largest ever environmental protest.
Due to the success of the petition the Government requested the would-be developer to undertake an Environmental Impact assessment, (EIA), a course of action that it had been sidestepping with all the considerable force it could muster - and now the reason is becoming clearer ...
The EIA it subsequently furnished was widely dismissed as a whitewash and over 700 emails of protest against it were sent to the relevant authorities, a fair proportion of which were studied and balanced requests for the Government to think again and leave an inheritance for the future that would bring the country pride rather than shame.
Unfortunately this made no difference and permission was granted for the unwanted development of the land into a golf course, 5 star hotels and several tourist villages.
However, the Friends of Salgados had also commissioned its own study into the area - and the largest known colony in the world of Linaria algarviana was discovered.
This is a rare species that ONLY grows in the Algarve, and it is on the IUCN, (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), Red List.
"Linaria Algarviana is listed on Annex II of the Habitats Directive and under Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). It is legally protected in Portugal. Appropriate site management for this species including traditional grazing activities or control of urban and tourism expansion should be established."
Surprisingly, no mention was made of this plant in the EIA commissioned by the developer, which brings into question the validity of the EIA as a whole, quite apart from Portugal’s responsibility to protect Linaria algarviana itself.
At the time of going to Press no response had yet been received from the Portuguese Government.
For further details please contact Frank McClintock on:
T: (+351) 283 933065
To sign the 'Save Salgados' petition, CLICK HERE
The 'Friends of Lagoa dos Salgados' platform includes the following organisations:
A Rocha, Aldeia, Algarve123, www.algarvedailynews.com, Almargem, Birding in Portugal, Birdwatching Algarve, LPN, Portugal Resident, ProActiveTur, Quercus, SPEA