Title: Project Alien InvAsion: we have to stop it!
Group: ASOCIACIóN RUTAS Y CAMINOS DE LA SAL Y PARQUE NATURAL DE LAS LAGUNAS DE LA MATA Y TORREVIEJA
The Asociación Rutas y Caminos de la Sal is a group of people of different European nationalities, which since its inception has “had as its objective the promotion, diffusion, protection, and conservation of the natural environment of the Natural Park of the Lakes of La Mata and Torrevieja”. (Art.3 Statutes of the Asociación Rutas y Caminos de la Sal)
Since 2004 the volunteers of this association have actively collaborated with the staff of the Natural Park of the Lakes of La Mata and Torrevieja in various tasks such as giving information to visitors, collating catalogues of fauna and flora in various languages, detection of incidences in the areas allocated to public use, or collecting rubbish, amongst many other things.
However it was in 2009 that this environmental volunteer group committed itself to confronting the problems arising from the introduction and expansion of exotic invasive vegetation (VEI) in this Protected Natural Area.(ENP). The project of “Alien Invasion” was launched.
The above project is based mainly in noting not only the causes but also the consequences of the introduction of this type of species into the Park. With this in mind the project is based on two major and indivisible concepts: alerting the local population to and control of the exotic invasive species of vegetation.
To achieve this the staff of the Protected Natural Area (ENP) train the volunteers and plan the work schedule, organising this in four work groups: Communication, Elimination, Posters and Detection and Control.
Since December 2009 until now the volunteers have taken part in 12 activities, which have eliminated some 77 cubic metres of invasive species such as Carpobrotus sp, Yucca alaifolia, Opuntia subulata and Aptenia sp, among others. These actions have resulted in the recuperation of an area of 1650 square metres.