Greece test sites

The Greek Natura 2000 sites (test sites) are:

EKVOLES KALAMA (Kalamas Delta) (GR2120001)
ELOS KALODIKI (Kalodiki Fen) (GR2120002)
STENA KALAMA (Kalamas Gorge) (GR2120004)

All three sites are located in the prefecture of Thesprotia in the administrative region of Epirus (NW Greece) (Figs. 1a, b).

Fig. 1a. Location of Greek test sites.                                                 Fig. 1b. Location of Greek test sites (close-up).
Fig. 1a. Location of Greek test sites. Fig. 1b. Location of Greek test sites (close-up).

Kalamas River delta

Site GR2120001 is the Kalamas River delta covering an area of 8481 ha. The riparian forest stands play an important ecological role and are characterized by high historic and aesthetic value. The surrounding hills affect the structure and function of the Kalamas wetland, while the reed and tamarisk thickets and halophytic plant communities are typical of river estuaries with high phytodiversity.

The aquatic vegetation of the site is composed of plant communities assigned to the classes: Lemnetea minoris, Ceratophylletea demersi and Potamogetonetea pectinati. The reed thickets present high diversity and belong to the class Phragmitetea with dominant species Phragmites australis. The zonal development of halophytic communities and wet meadows with Juncus sp. is very characteristic (Fig. 2).

Fig. 3. Total surface area of the habitat types present in Kalamas Delta.
Fig. 3. Total surface area of the habitat types present in Kalamas Delta.

Kalodiki Fen

The location of Kalodiki Fen (Site GR2120002) is shown in Figs. 1a and 1b. The site has coordinates of 20o26'46''E to 20o28'14''E and 39o19'20''N to 39o17'53''N. Kalodiki wetland consists of two lakes (one large and one small) embedded in a topogenous mire or fen, located in a small basin created by a tectonic depression. The fen consists of two proximate peatlands which occupy an area of 195 ha, surrounded by hills of 550 m altitude. The whole Kalodiki wetland, as an SCI (Site of Community Importance), covers an area of 845 ha. Kalodiki Fen is an inland, freshwater wetland belonging to the western chain of Greek wetlands.

Eighteen vegetation types, of which nine are ranked as associations and nine as frame communities, have been recorded here. They belong to the Phragmition communis, Magnocaricion elatae, Nymphaeion albae, arvopotamion, Ranunculion aquatilis, Lolio-Potentillion anserinae, Nerion oleandri, and Bidention tripartitae. Kalodiki is a relatively heterogeneous wetland with small-scale variation. Its vegetation is characterised by a mosaic of well-developed swamp, mesotrophic and eutrophic freshwater, aquatic plant communities, in various combinations of spatial arrangement. The diversity of the wetland vegetation habitats, based on the number of syntaxonomic units recognized within the major vegetation types, decreases in the following order: swamp and fen vegetation dominated by graminoids, sedges and forbs (8) communities of rooted, floating or submerged macrophytes in mesotrophic and eutrophic fresh waters (6) low herb communities of various habitats with wet-dry, or brackish-fresh conditions (2) communities of enriched margins of still or sluggish waters and damp disturbed places (1) tamarisk woodlands on soils inundated with fresh water (1).

 Fig. 6. Total surface area of the habitat types present in Kalodiki Fen
Fig. 6. Total surface area of the habitat types present in Kalodiki Fen

The ecological state of the whole ecosystem is strongly dependant on a small dam. Farmers frequently damage the dam in order to irrigate their crops. The dam is badly maintained and often leaks. Eutrophication observed in the site is caused by erosion, agricultural activities and pollution. The wetland ecosystem is often disturbed by illegal activities such as hunting, rubbish dumping, and illegal cultivations within the wetland.

 Fig. 7. Total surface area of the habitat types present in Kalamas Gorge.
Fig. 7. Total surface area of the habitat types present in Kalamas Gorge.

Kalamas Gorge

Site GR2120004 Stena Kalama (Kalamas Gorge) has a surface area of 1867 ha (Figs. 1a, b). The vegetation of the slopes of Kalamas Gorge has good conservation status. The deciduous woodland found in this site consists of various tree species and the composition of the maquis vegetation is representative of this habitat type at these altitudes (c. 450m a.s.l.). The gorge’s slopes are densely covered with mixed broadleaved deciduous and sclerophyllous vegetation with Carpinus orientalis, Fraxinus ornus, Ulmus campestris Pistatus lentiscus, Quercus pubescens, Q. coccifera, Q. ilex, Phillyrea latifolia. The riparian forest with Platanus orientalis, Salix alba, S. cinerea & Alnus glutinosa occupies a zone of 10-30 m width. Finally, stands of Scirpus holoschoenus and Carex sp. grow along the river near the water.

Habitat types and distribution in the test sites

Table 1 summarizes the habitat types present in each test site.
Habitat type Habitat code GR2120001 GR2120004 GR2120002
Estuaries 1130 *
Coastal lagoons 1150 *
Annual vegetation of drift lines 1210 *
Salicornia and other annuals colonizing mud and sand 1310 *
Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi) 1410 *
Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Arthrocnemetalia fruticosae) 1420 *
Embryonic shifting dunes 2110 *
Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation 3150 *
Constantly flowing Mediterranean rivers with Paspalo - Agrostidion species and hanging curtains of Salix and Populus alba 3280 * *
Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub Euphorbia dendroides 5330 *
Sarcopoterium spinosum phryganas 5420 * *
Mediterranean tall humid grasslands of the Molinio-Holoschoenion 6420
Calcareous fens with Cladium mariscus and Carex davalliana 7210* *
Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation Campanulion versicoloris 8210 *
Quercus trojana woods 9250 *
Salix alba and Populus alba galleries 92AO * *
Platanus orientalis and Liquidambar orientalis woods (Platanion orientalis) 92CO *
Southern riparian galleries and thickets (Nerio-Tamaricetea and Securinegion tinctoriae) 92DO * *
Quercus macrolepis forests 9350 *
Hellenic habitat types – non Annex I (Dir. 92/43/EC)
Habitat type Habitat code GR2120001 GR2120004 GR2120002
Pteridium aquilinum stands 5150
Garrigues of Eastern Mediterranean 5340 *
Reed thickets (Phragmites australis) 72A0 * *
Greek Quercus coccifera woods 934A * *
Cultivated land 1020 * * *
Anthropogenic vegetation 1021 *
Settlements 1050 * * *