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Keywords:

  • photointerpretation;
  • salinity;
  • halophytes;
  • landscape evolution;
  • Natura 2000;
  • Spain;
  • wetlands

ABSTRACT

Wetlands inventory is one of the goals of conservation plans on a national scale and a global scale. Inventories are needed for long-term monitoring or for identifying lost wetlands and those where restoration is feasible. In this article, we present an updated inventory of the saline wetlands of Southern Monegros, Spain. We depicted the evolution of these saline wetlands, locally named saladas with a unique long-term retrospective study based on aerial photographs from 1927. Their inventory has been accomplished through a map analysis based on a geographical information system using aerial photographs and orthophotographs, topographic maps, unpublished local studies and field surveys. Remaining vegetation, changes in soil moisture and colour, and geomorphology have been the key features in identifying the saladas. Their changes in number, size and shape have been driven by human pressure, the main modifier of landscape in the last 80 years. The information gathered will contribute to the awareness of stakeholders and decision makers for their conservation as natural resources. Moreover, our large retrospective approach is a consistent base from which to propose the inclusion of the saladas of Monegros in the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.