In 1993, Minorca was officially designated Biosphere Reserve (Management and the Biosphere project, MAB, Unesco. Since then, the preservation of the ecological equilibrium has been an official priority in addition to the natural desire of the native population to preserve their traditional lifestyle and environment.
The natural environment must be preserved while at the same time allowing the development of a tourism which does not betray the great unique privilege of Minorca, its ancient human landscape: the megalithic monuments, the "tanques" enclosed by dry stone walls, the ravines which comprise the singular landscape of Minorca together with the coasts and wetlands.
Throughout its history, the Men of Minorca have shaped the island with their lives and labour creating a natural habitat which is also a work of art and which must be protected.
Around the island of Minorca are the ANEI -Área Natural de Especial Interés- Areas of Special Natural Interest, protected by law. Among these are the areas of Cala Macarella and En Turqueta, Punta Nati, Algaiarens, Monte Toro- I'm specifically mentioning first those that readers of the previous pages will recognise: the Mola de Fornells, Cap de Cavallería... but special emphasis is given to a singular area selected as the nucleus of the Biosphere Reserve:
The Albufera de Es Grau is a Nature Reserve to the North of Mahon, half way between the capital and Addaia. It is the largest wetland on the island and comprises an extensive shallow lagoon, surrounded by farmland and low pine covered and shrubby hills. Here a great many species of migrant and resident birds can be found: several species herons, warblers, geese, birds of prey such as the harriers...an ornithologist's dream.
At the mouth of the lagoon is found Es Grau, harbour and beach with the Colom Islet sheltering the bay. Nearby are the ruins of another Paleo-Christian church.