This study covers the investigation and evaluation of the vegetation coating existing in the coastline from the Saline of Agua Amarga until the Santa Pola Cape (Alicante, Spain) as a part of the plan for the coastline arrangement.
To reach this objective the methodology used has been articulated in two main elements:
- The classification of the vegetation communities following the phytosociological methodology of the Zürich-Montpellier School.
- The use of a SIG in the cartography of the vegetation formations, developing a coating from the photointerpretation of digital orthophoto in which each polygon is assigned with:
- The existing phytosociological associations, up to a maximum of five, are arranged according to their covering and dominance.
- The codes of the Habitats Directive, when any of these associations is considered in it.
- The capacity to represent other communities, their conservation and their potentiality.
- The different legal protection measures, if any (LICs, local protected area, maritime and land public area, Coastal demarcation (DPMT), ZEPAs and other natural protected spaces/nature reserves).
- Global evaluation.
Combining the phytosociological approach and the SIG analysis with the applicable legislation proves to be a good tool or the administration and evaluation of the environment.
We obtain the cartography of 390 units which include a total of 51 associations of coastal communities: halophytic dunes, saltmarshes, saltmeadows, sea cliffs, grasslands, sclerophyllous scrubs and wetland vegetation. The Habitats Directive considers 30 of these associations and 6 within them are designated to be priority. Furthermore 582 plant species are also inventoried, 17 of them are endemic and 3 (belonging to the <i>Limonium</i> genus) have nearly a limited distribution in this area of Alicante.
The final evaluation of the cartographic units obtained may guide the regulation of the activities in this territory, trying to preserve the units with major interest and under higher degree of threat. This approach may lead to the development of a group of measures and actions that allow the regeneration of the units degraded and with good potential in a compatible manner with the rest of uses.
Alicante, Coast vegetation, conservation, GIS, Habitats Directive