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The ecological importance of the Margherita di Savoia Saltworks

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Zeno C.
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The Margherita di Savoia Saltworks, located in Apulia (South Italy), are the largest productive
saltworks in Italy. They are connected with the Apulian wetlands, an important network thanks
of its central geographic position, between the east and west of the Mediterranean basin.
Several species and habitats of European and international interest (Natura 2000 network,
Ramsar list) are present in them.
It plays a significant role as an area of stopover, wintering and breeding along the migratory
routes of birds that cross the Mediterranean. The most interesting migratory and wintering
species is the Numenius tenuirostris (slender-billed curlew), which is the bird most at risk of
extinction in Europe.
Moreover in the early 1990s The Phoenicopterus ruber (greater flamingo) has colonised the
reserve in great number, around 6,000 today, making it the largest concentration of the
species in mainland Italy.
The Margherita di Savoia saltworks are entirely a man-made area, the characteristics of
which (water levels, salinity) are preserved entirely due to sea salt production, which
guarantees all the chemical and physical factors necessary for the survival of these habitats.
It is also worth noting the type of production adopted in the saltworks, which makes it possible
to recover the processing brine, thus eliminating one of the critical factors in the symbiotic
relationship between salt production and environmental protection.

Lake Salpi, long-term salt production, “big beam” harvest, Apulian wetlands, Natura 2000 network, greater flamingo