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World Wetlands Day: The Lake at the crossroads of survival

Read the announcement: “The World Wetlands Day is celebrated today around the planet to honor the wetlands, to highlight the ecosystem services that provide us, and to remind us of our obligations towards them. The Vistonida lake in Thrace, is one such example of a wetland with very important natural values that we are called to defend.Like today, 45 years ago, on 2 February 1971, signed in the city Ramsar of Iran on the shores of the Caspian sea the Convention for the protection of wetlands of international importance. The signature for Greece put the Byron antipas had, then General Secretary of the Hellenic society for the Protection of Nature. Today, the Convention has been co-signed now by 169 countries and protect 2.208 wetlands all over the planet, known as “Wetlands of Ramsar”.A wetland can be classified as of international importance when it hosts important numbers of aquatic birds and valuable species of flora and fauna. Let’s not forget, however, that the wetlands provide, and a multitude of other services in the nature of and the people who live near them. The water supply, the filtering and cleaning of the food production (from fishing and fish farming), the protection from flooding of rivers and by marine erosion, are some such services. In addition, many wetlands have a cultural value, while retaining in the bosom of their monuments, ancient or later, pieces of our history, or traditional human practices.In Greece there are 10 Ramsar site, all of them jewels of the Greek nature, regardless of the good or non-state of preservation. One of them is and the Vistonida lake, that lies in the prefectures of Xanthi and Rhodope: a large lake (4.500 ha), relatively shallow (up to 3.5 meters in depth), local brackish, connected with the lagoon of Porto Lagos and the homonymous bay at the Thracian Sea. The importance of the avifauna of the region is huge and home to hundreds of species of birds, especially during the winter months, many of them rare and endangered.Like other wetlands of our country has undergone several pressures, changes in the hydrological regime, pollution, or poaching. Today, as part of the National Park of East Macedonia and Thrace, protected more effectively and are the values of. In our time, however, there are new threats and challenges. Climate change may threaten vulnerable ecosystems faster than we think. The water scarcity, the rise of temperature and the elevation of the level of the sea can bring, will pose a direct risk to the delicate, shallow and brackish Lake.Another threat is the plans for an obsolete perception of major hydraulic works in the wider area. The σχεδιαζόμενηκατασκευή dams and reservoirs for irrigation in the river Kompsatos river that feeds the Lake with the necessary fresh water can cause serious effects on the ecosystem – particularly in combination with climate change. The Greek Company for the Protection of Nature calls upon the citizens to meet and protect the Lake and all the wetlands of our country, taking into consideration the protection of Nature, of Man, today and for generations to come.”

Read the announcement: “The World Wetlands Day is celebrated today around the planet to honor the wetlands, to highlight the ecosystem services that provide us, and to remind us of our obligations towards them. The Vistonida lake in Thrace, is one such example of a wetland with very important natural values that we are called to defend.
Like today, 45 years ago, on 2 February 1971, signed in the city Ramsar of Iran on the shores of the Caspian sea the Convention for the protection of wetlands of international importance. The signature for Greece put the Byron antipas had, then General Secretary of the Hellenic society for the Protection of Nature. Today, the Convention has been co-signed now by 169 countries and protect 2.208 wetlands all over the planet, known as “Wetlands of Ramsar”.
A wetland can be classified as of international importance when it hosts important numbers of aquatic birds and valuable species of flora and fauna. Let’s not forget, however, that the wetlands provide, and a multitude of other services in the nature of and the people who live near them. The water supply, the filtering and cleaning of the food production (from fishing and fish farming), the protection from flooding of rivers and by marine erosion, are some such services. In addition, many wetlands have a cultural value, while retaining in the bosom of their monuments, ancient or later, pieces of our history, or traditional human practices.
In Greece there are 10 Ramsar site, all of them jewels of the Greek nature, regardless of the good or non-state of preservation. One of them is and the Vistonida lake, that lies in the prefectures of Xanthi and Rhodope: a large lake (4.500 ha), relatively shallow (up to 3.5 meters in depth), local brackish, connected with the lagoon of Porto Lagos and the homonymous bay at the Thracian Sea. The importance of the avifauna of the region is huge and home to hundreds of species of birds, especially during the winter months, many of them rare and endangered.
Like other wetlands of our country has undergone several pressures, changes in the hydrological regime, pollution, or poaching. Today, as part of the National Park of East Macedonia and Thrace, protected more effectively and are the values of. In our time, however, there are new threats and challenges. Climate change may threaten vulnerable ecosystems faster than we think. The water scarcity, the rise of temperature and the elevation of the level of the sea can bring, will pose a direct risk to the delicate, shallow and brackish Lake.
Another threat is the plans for an obsolete perception of major hydraulic works in the wider area. The σχεδιαζόμενηκατασκευή dams and reservoirs for irrigation in the river Kompsatos river that feeds the Lake with the necessary fresh water can cause serious effects on the ecosystem – particularly in combination with climate change.
The Greek Company for the Protection of Nature calls upon the citizens to meet and protect the Lake and all the wetlands of our country, taking into consideration the protection of Nature, of Man, today and for generations to come.”

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