The R.N.O. - salt pains of Trapani and Paceco was established on 11 May 1995 with D.A. nr. 257/44 and give custody of Italian WWF. The protected area situated in the municipalities of Trapani and Paceco with a total extension about 1.000 hectares, it is divided in two areas, area A with 700 hectares coincides with the salt-water pools , and area B about 300 hectares. All over the protected Area include a Regulation of use and prohibitions.
The salt pans, for their high environment value, are subject to several limits of protection: with DM on 4 April 2011, Ministry of the Environment declared the marsh area of the ‘Salt pain of Trapani and Paceco” Reserve - important international site – under the “Ramsar Convention”. They are, according to the Habitats Directive, among the Community Sites and the Special Protection Areas provided for the Birds Directive. Among the major habitats there are: - Coastal lagoons (cod. Nature 2000: 1150, priority habitat). The water pools used of salt extraction, considering the techniques used (traditional for centuries) and particular coastal geomorphology (with presence of coastal lagoons and marshes), they constitute an environment that gives hospitality to great biological diversity. From microscopic bacteria to the macroscopic birds. They are living organisms extremely specialized for this environment, and for the various salt content of salinity different pools, or (as the birds) in this environment they find parking and food during their migration. - Mediterranean salt steppes (Limonietalia) ( cod. Nature 2000: 1510, priority habitat).
vegetable matters rich in species of Limonium (many of which are endemic) with presence of Lygeum spartum, on ground permeated by salt water.
The Flora.
The environment of the salt marshes, strongly brackish environment, is kingdom of Chenopodiaceae: They are herbaceous species or small shrubs, able to grow in this environment. In the Reserve there are also many environments, each of which correspond to different plant communities and different plant species: the freshwater streams, marshes and wetlands of fresh water, beaches, ephemeral backyards, grasslands brackish. Even in the salt pools and canals of the pans there are interesting plant communities, with the presence of seagrass as Ruppia drepanensis and Posidonia meadows. Significant presence within the reserve boundaries of several rare plant species, including among those most vulnerable to the risk of extinction in the “Red Book of Italy Plants”: A real Reserve “attraction” is the “Mushroom of Malta”, it is a parasitic plant (Cynomorium coccineum L.). It is a rare species: in Italy, other than area between Trapani and Marsala, you can observe it only in a few coastal areas of Sardinia and Basilicata.
Fauna. The salt pans are an excellent resting place of birds during their migration in autumn that in spring, so the area is of particular ornithological interest; in fact they are 208 species censured so far, many wintering (flamingos, spoonbills, egrets, herons, hawks, shorebirds and more than 5.000 ducks) and other nesting (avocets, Cavalieri d’Italia, little terns, kentish plovers, lark). Among the species listed censured in the Reserve we recall the bittern, the egret, the Great White Egret, Spoonbill, the Flamingo, the Cavaliere d’Italia, the Avocet (taken as a Reserve symbol), the rosy gull, the little tern, the kingfisher. Among the fishes there is Aphanius fasciatus. The insect fauna includes numerous endemic insect species and rare such as Cephalota circumdata imperialis, Cephalota litorea goudoti, Pterolepis elymica, Teia dubia arcerii. Finally, the small crustacean Artemia salina has been and is still the subject of great interest.