Bird airport – Gate: Ulcinj Salina

Jovana Janjušević
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Ulcinj Salina in Montenegro is home to bird diversity that can hardly be beaten anywhere else in Europe. Half of the continent’s birds, about 250 species, can be found dwelling in Salina’s basins including amazing flamingos in their sensual dance. It is an artificial habitat, man-made and man dependent, built in the early 20th century, employing more than 400 workers during 80-years of salt production. It was an ideal example of local and national economy contributing to Europe’s biodiversity. 

Ulcinj Salina in Montenegro is an artificial habitat, manmade and man dependant! It was built in the early 20th century and has been an important source of income during its 80-years of operation for more than 400 workers. At the same time, Salina’s basins were a quiet and peaceful shelter and source of food for several thousand bird families.
Ulcinj Salina is an excellent example of a combination of nature, culture, and economy, a place where birds and people can be connected in harmony. What we encounter here can hardly be beaten anywhere else in Europe. Half of the continent’s birds, about 250 species, can be found dwelling in Salina’s basins including amazing flamingos in their sensual dance.
With its 1.500 hectares, Salina is not only one of the largest salt flats in the Mediterranean. It is the most important resting, breeding and wintering area for migratory birds on the eastern Adriatic coast. Many individuals of curlew sandpipers probably wouldn’t survive the efforts and challenges of their 5,000-kilometer migration from Africa to Europe and back...  
For the sake of comparison with the human population, in an area of the size of Heathrow airport, a number of birds in Salina would mean a turnover of more than one billion people! In reality, London’s airport has a turnover of around 70 million, making Salina at least 15 times more important for birds than Europe’s largest and the World’s third largest airport is for people!   

European Dimension

Ulcinj Salina is under designation process for future protection under the national and international legislation. Due to the fact that ecological conditions in Salina changed when salt production was abandoned in 2014, European Commission concluded in its annual Progress reports for 2015, 2016 and 2017 that Salina, as a future Natura 2000 site must be urgently protected as such. European Parliament Resolutions confirmed these appeals to Montenegrin Government with following years. This only shows the importance of Salina in terms of negotiations under Chapter 27: environment and climate change and accession process of Montenegro towards European Union. 

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