One of the largest surviving “artineras” ecosystems left in the province has been destroyed by farmers.
The 2,64 square kilometre artinera outside El Ejido is a protected space under Spanish legislation, but Ecologistas en Acción say that invasion by builders and farmers has illegally destroyed it.
Artineras are grouping of several types of indigenous grasses that form small inter-dependent ecosystems around a shrub known in Spanish as the Arto. Animal and insect life within the grouping ensure the continuation of the artinera. They are considered to be almost unique to the provinces of Murcia, Almeria and Granada, and are protected under EU law.
The association has complained several times over the last year that the Artos area, protected under the “LIC” designation, was under severe pressure from illegal expansion by local greenhouses. It has now filed a complaint to the public prosecutor for environmental crimes, which has been accepted.
Experts from Ecologistas say that the “very fragile” example of this unique eco-system is now probably damaged beyond repair and will die off over the next few years.