Posidonia is the marine treasure of the Balearic Islands and is considered one of the most important elements of the islands’ heritage, as well as being one of the most beautiful landscapes to behold in Mallorca, albeit underwater. This essential ecosystem deserves all the protection we can give it, as it is an essential element for the health of the seas and has a direct impact on the economy and culture of the Balearic Islands.
At ROIG we are very committed to caring for the environment where we live. That’s why in this article we want to explain how the protection of Posidonia has become a priority for our island and how each one of us can contribute.
What is Posidonia?
Posidonia oceanica is a marine plant endemic to the Mediterranean Sea and is considered one of the most important species in the marine ecosystem of the Balearic Islands. Posidonia forms extensive marine meadows, which are known as Posidonia meadows and can be found in the crystalline waters of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera.
This plant has great ecological importance because it is capable of oxygenating the water, stabilising marine sediments and providing shelter and food for numerous marine species. In addition, these Posidonia meadows on Mallorca and the other islands act as natural barriers that protect the beaches from erosion and contribute to maintaining the clarity and quality of the water.
Posidonia is not only valuable from an ecological point of view, but also from a cultural and economic perspective. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a fundamental part of the fauna and flora of Mallorca and the other islands. It is also an attraction for sustainable tourism and recreational diving. However, this marine plant faces numerous threats, such as pollution, indiscriminate trawling and anchoring of boats, which endanger its survival.
What are the benefits of Posidonia for the ecosystem?
Now that you know what Posidonia is, you should know what benefits it brings to the Balearic ecosystem. These are some of the main benefits of Posidonia that will allow you to understand the importance of the care and maintenance of this plant under the waters of the sea:
- Oxygenates the water: Posidonia generates oxygen as a result of photosynthesis, contributing to the oxygenation of the water and creating a favourable environment for marine life.
- Stabilises sediments: Its roots anchor marine sediments, preventing coastal erosion and maintaining the stability of Posidonia beaches and seabeds.
- Functions as habitat and refuge: Posidonia meadows act as true underwater nurseries, providing refuge and habitat for a wide variety of marine species, from fish and crustaceans to molluscs and echinoderms.
- Generates biodiversity: This plant is a keystone species that promotes marine biodiversity. The presence of these underwater meadows encourages the abundance and diversity of other species, creating an ecological balance.
- Filters water: Posidonia leaves retain suspended particles and help to clean the water, improving its quality and transparency. This benefits not only marine flora and fauna, but also tourist and recreational activities such as diving and snorkelling.
- Carbon sequestration: Posidonia has a high capacity to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂) and store it in its tissues. This contributes to reducing pollution and thus slowing down climate change by acting as a carbon sink.
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Restrictions in Mallorca to protect Posidonia
In Mallorca some specific restrictions and regulations are in place to protect Posidonia and its seagrass meadows. These restrictions may vary depending on the location and the areas designated as protected, but in general, these measures include:
- A ban on anchoring in certain areas
- Prohibiting access to or anchoring of vessels
- Specific rules for scuba diving and snorkelling activities
- Education and awareness campaigns are carried out.
Now that you know that the protection of Posidonia is essential for the conservation of the Balearic heritage, what are you going to do to do your bit? If you are thinking of visiting any of the Balearic Islands, such as Mallorca, at ROIG we recommend that you practise responsible tourism and collaborate with the conservation of the ecosystem of these beautiful islands.