The 1000 species of Solana Ulcinj

Solana Ulcinj, Montenegro

Project type Masterplan, exhibition
Site type Nature reserve
Size 1450ha
Design 2016
Location Solana Ulcinj, Montenegro
Client Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism Montenegro
Exhibited The Venice Biennale 2016, Reporting from the front – The Montenegro pavilion

Discontinued salt production makes the future existence of the Solana Ulcinj as a wildlife sanctuary uncertain, even though the area is of great value for countless species of birds that cross the Adriatic Sea on route of the Adriatic Flyway.

Salt, nutrient rich, shallow water resulted in the massive presence of birds in the salina. In turn, birds resulted in the presence of birdwatchers. Birdwatchers resulted in jobs: the saline pyramid of species. To get the pyramid stable and working again, it is essential to restart the pumps to secure the future and guarantee a basic biodiversity of the Solana Ulcinj.

That’s not enough though. The salina could generate more colours, more wildlife, more visitors and more jobs. The way to sustain this is to create hyperdiversity: a maximized biodiversity by slight variations in salinity, shelter, nutrients, shading, etc. More variety means more biodiversity. More biodiversity means more visitors. The people of Ulcinj are welcome to benefit if they contribute to the hyperdiversity: an investment in the ecological variations in the framework of the Solana Ulcinj.

There are many possibilities to trigger ecological variations. For instance, a hotel owner could make a panorama point for birdwatchers inside one of the basins. Its base would influence the water flow: water will become stagnant behind it, sedimentation will occur and plants will start to grow. Farmers (for shrimps) and beauticians (for mud) are welcome too. On one condition: their activities should benefit the presence of birds.

The Solana Ulcinj is the place where an example can be set; where we can really show that we learn from mistakes and show that nature can actually bounce back; where we can learn that nature can benefit from our presence as human beings instead of only the either way around. All of this can happen when we take responsibility, and make it a joint effort from all of us. Only then the Solana Ulcinj can reach its full ecological potential of 1000 species.

To make the pyramid working, the key issue is to get that salty water running into the salina again

The salina of Ulcinj could even generate more colours and more wildlife if more gradients would be made

Farms in the Salina

Fish nursery

Mud cosmetics

Carpenters workshop

Floating sauna

The brine shrimp farm benefits local economy as well as wildlife.

Get close up and personal with the flamingos and watch them breed.

A selection of the Salina Species

The final result is the full potential of the Salina: a wall of all 1000 species that the Salina could attract.

Exhibited at Montenegro pavilion (Palazzo Malipiero) in Venice