During the summer months in Xerokambos, the wetland of the seasonal salty lake or “Alatsolimni as it is called by the Greeks, dries and reveals a large area full of salt. Forming a lagoon during the winter period, being an ideal and significant biotope of the area. The lagoon is an ideal refuge for many migratory birds such us flamingos and herons.
Close and around the salt lake you can find many sand dunes or in Greek Ammothines. They are generated by the combined action of the sea water and the wind and are very sensitive ecosystems, hosting a large variety of animal and vegetative species. These areas are affected by special physical conditions (variations of water saltiness and dryness) and as a result, some unique flora and fauna species appear exclusively in this and other areas of East Crete.
The flowers and plants have been adapted to the harsh environment by developing special characteristics, like small size, light colors, prickled, hard and hairy leaves and strong root holds.
The great ecological significance of ‘Ammothines’ is due to its unique ‘ammothine vegetation’ which plays a dominant role in the creation and protection of ammothines, since this special kind of vegetation holds the sand in place and stabilises the coastline of Xerokambos and protects it from destructive action of sea and wind.