Scientists have said that British tourists should stop having sex with strangers on the famous sand dunes of Gran Canaria.
The research found that so many people travel to the Canary Islands to have illicit sex outdoors in the dunes that rare plants and shrubs are being destroyed.
The study discovered almost 300 favorite spots in the vast sandy area located on the south side of the island.
Scientists have said British tourists should stop having sex with strangers on Gran Canaria’s famous sand dunes (pictured, file photo)
Covering around 1,000 island acres that lie off the coast of Africa, the dunes have been protected as a nature reserve since 1987 and are considered one of Spain’s greatest natural treasures.
Researchers have been conducting a detailed study on the impact on the dunes of ‘cruising’ involving anonymous sexual encounters in public places.
And they have concluded that the activities carried out have a direct impact on the dunes and on eight native plant species, three of which are endemic.
The study was conducted by the Environmental and Physical Geography Group, the Institute of Oceanography and Global Change (IOCAG-ULPGC) and the Laboratory of Beach and Dune Systems (BEADS) at Flinders University.
Their findings have now been published in a report entitled “Sand, sun, sea and sex with strangers, the five S’s.”
The researchers point out that the dunes and coastal beaches are examples of open public spaces where these sexual practices are carried out widely, to the point of having been identified and defined by the bibliography as the ‘Four S’ (sand, sun, sea and sex; in English).
In this sense, there are abundant studies that have addressed the issue of the relationship between tourism and sex (sexual tourism) but few have analyzed the consequences of these practices on the natural environment, especially when the spaces where these take place are protected. activities. areas, ‘said a spokesman.
The experts located and recorded all the points where the sexual encounters occurred (sexual points).
Then they collected information related to the dimensions or internal distribution of these spaces, as well as the type of sexual use, their geographical position, the coverage and type of vegetation and the environmental impacts or the lack of management actions.
Subsequently, they were examined, collated and analyzed spatially and statistically using geographic information systems (GIS).
In the image: A map showing the location of Maspalomas, where the sand dunes are located in the south of the island of Gran Canaria.
The results show that the total area occupied by the 298 sexual meeting points located is 5,763.85 m2.
These sex spots are related to the distance to the authorized trails in the protected area, the presence of very dense vegetation and the dunes stabilized by vegetation (nebkhas).
The larger the size of the sexual spot, the greater the number of people who use it, as well as the probability that it is a low area covered with vegetation and with more residues.
The activities carried out at these sexual points have a direct impact on the dunes and on eight native plant species, three of which are endemic.
The researchers point out that Maspalomas is not the only coastal dune field that registers this type of activity in the world, since other similar places are known in Australia, France or Portugal, among many others.
However, given the nature of the study and the complexity of performing socio-ecological analyzes of these processes, this type of event has been little studied.
For this reason, the subject on which this report is inscribed is of international interest, since, for the first time, it has been possible to characterize and analyze the environmental impact of this activity in a protected area, ”said the spokesperson.
An aerial photograph of the dunes of Maspalomas on the Spanish Canary Island of Gran Canaria
“On a practical level, between September 2018 and July 2019, 159 of these points were eliminated and 1,244.49 m3 of dry vegetation were removed, uprooted and killed by the people who practice this activity in the aforementioned Reserve.”
The authors said they had no intention of offending the LGBTI community and pointed out that Gran Canaria has been gay-friendly for years, welcoming gay tourists from all over the world, especially from the UK, the US and Germany.
What they hope will emerge from the report is a better understanding of how dune navigation can be managed and the environment protected when ecological issues are now so important.
In some of the sex venues, branches were cut or bushes uprooted for privacy and garbage was also left behind, including cigarette butts, torn / cut vegetation, toilet paper and wipes, condoms, fruit peels, and cans.
The report said: ‘The direct impacts generated around sexual stains can be observed in various ways, such as impacts on vegetation, the abandonment of waste or the presence of urinals and defecation,’ the report says. ‘In general, the data from the field work allow us to calculate that a
A total area of 58 hectares has been modified to build the 298 identified sexual points. The almost constant presence of people means that the dominant processes are human-induced processes, such as stepping on plants, removing plants and sand, creating nests ”.
Since 2018, the authorities have been working on a large project to protect the dunes.
The study discovered nearly 300 favorite spots in the vast sandy area located on the south side of the island (in an aerial photograph)
“It is a landmark environmental project with the main objective of protecting and conserving the natural area of Dune, one of our most important environmental resources and a protected natural space with incalculable ecological value,” said a spokesman for the island government.
“For several decades, the dune system has suffered an increasingly evident degradation with a constant loss of sand, mainly due to urban development processes and human impact, which has altered the dynamics of the wind and the dunes.
It is estimated that about 45,000 cubic meters of sand are lost each year, ending up at the bottom of the sea ”.
“This has caused an uncontrolled increase in vegetation in the interior areas, reducing the area occupied by the dunes and increasing erosion, affecting biodiversity and generating a very negative impact on the animals and plants that inhabit the area. If this situation continues, the dune reserve could disappear in less than a generation ”.