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NATURAL ENVIROMENT

Kalloni Bay Wetland

The coastal Wetlands of Kalloni Bay are one of the most important ecologic assets of Lesvos. The coastal areas around the Bay constitute a unified ecosystem, as this area is a mosaic of salt marshes, estuaries of small rivers and streams, reeds, pine forests and olive groves So these wetlands give natural shelter and a breeding place for many rare and endangered bird species.

More specifically, the wetlands include the whole coastal area of the Bay and a great number of land wetlands: the salt marshes of Kalloni and Polichnitos, the torrents Tsiknias, Vouvaris, Mylopotamos, Ennea Kamares, Potmia, Lagoon of Messon, the marsh of Skala Kalloni, of Parakoila, of Nyfida , etc. The Bay has joined the National & European Catalog of“Special Areas of Nature Preservation” by Natura Net 2000.

The area gives shelter to 252 bird species, 87 of which are protectedspecies and are included in Ex. I of Directive 79/409 / EEC and in other European and international conventions, binding the country (Red Book, Bern Convention, Bonn Convention). But what is most important is that 101 species of birds nest there, a number particularly notable, while 66 species are emigrational.

The last few years bird watching(bird wathing) inthis wetland attracts a lot of people, visitors, scientists, nature lovers, etc.. Species like ruddy shelduks, avocets, black-headed buntings, white and black storks, glossy ibis, pink flamigos, shags, little Egrets, Gray Herons, swans ect. are encountered in the region. The best season for this activity is in spring and autumn.

It is an activity of several people, which is expected to increase significantly in the near future with the infrastructure that has been installed and with the implementation of relevant programmes (Bird observatories, establishment of Environmental Information Center,etc). This area is particularly interesting because it is overgrown with pine trees, olive trees, reeds, a wide variety of rare species of flora such as orchids and native plants. All these along with the facilities of Salinas offer abundant food and natural shelters for all living organizations, contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, while beyond the ecological and economic significance there is also an aesthetic significance for Lesvos.

Ntipi Larsos Wetland

Ntipi Larsos Wetland has a great ecological importance for the area of Evergetoula, along with the river Evergetoulas, which is the largest reed bed in the Aegean.

The stagnant water surface of the Ntipi Larsos swamp is nearly covered by lush vegetation of reeds. There are also other waterplants, with Phragmites, the common reed, presented as the only form of substantially grown flora. Rare species grow on free surfaces and in seasonal or permanent ponds. The biggest part of the coastal zone in the Gulf of Gera is covered by vegetation grown along the sea, which is favored by the decay of plant residues (mainly algae).

The estuary of the Ntipi Larsos Wetland hosts a large number of plants, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects and the hard to find European otter (Lutra lutra). Some of these species are characterized by their rarity. The waters of the tributaries of the sources create areas of natural beauty, enabling the region to join the National & European Catalog of “Special Areas of Nature Preservation” by Natura Net 2000

FLORA

Lesvos has one of the richest flora of the world, due to its favourable soil and climate conditions The plants of Lesvos appear in the poems of the lyric poetess Sappho (6th c. BC), while, there is a regular report of its large number of plants in the works of thephilosopher Theophrastus (3rd c. BC) who is considered the father of Botany.

Today, more than 1.400 species and subspecies (taxa) of plants are included in Lesvos’ flora. The richness of the island’s plant population is among other things the result of the variety of its biotopes, the particularity of its rocks, the long-lasting human impact, its adjacency with Asia Minor, but also – geologically speaking – its recent separation from the Eastern Aegean. The island could be characterised as a “botanical paradise” with aromatic-pharmaceutical, ornamental and rare plants, trees and bushes. Despite that western Lesvos is barren, with the exception of some small flat lands, the eastern, southern and central parts are verdant with olive groves (about 11.000.000 olive trees) and pine, oak, chestnut forests, etc.

Through their long presence, olive groveshave been the most typical ecosystem on Lesvos. It is the most expanded system on the island and presents distinctive variations depending on the altitude, the trees’ age, their density and the underlying vegetation.

An expanded forest species of Lesvos is the calabrian pine (Pinus brutia ten.) A second species of pine, the black pine (Pinus nigra)forms two small forests, mixed with Calabrian Pine. The one is found on the top of mountain Psilokoudouno between Agiasos and Plomari and the second on the top of mount Profitis Ilias, near the village Pterounta.

The spread of chestnut forests and areas is very widespread in almost all of Greece. The only large sweetchestnut (Castanea sativa)forest on Lesvos is found in the region of Agiasos, Chestnuts generally grow in the middle of the mountain range among other deciduous trees. The areas with chestnut trees are found in the south of Agiasos in the region of Sanatorio (area of 800 he -20.000 trees).

You will be also impressed by the large number of wild orchids on various regions on the island. Among them some have not been found until today in any other place in Greece, apart from the region of Mount Olympus in Agiasos of Lesvos

Some of the species that you can meet here are Reinhold’s bee orchid (Ophrys reinholdii), violet bird’s-nest orchid (Limodorum abortivum), pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis), as well as Komper’s orchid (Comperia comperiana). In the same region you can also observe the rare peony (Paeonia mascula).

Another plant which grows only in Lesvos and nowhere else in Greece is the yellow azalea (Rhododendron luteum sweet).It is a deciduous shrub that reaches up to 4.5m height with big beautiful yellow flowers and spear shaped leaves. It grows in wet fertile soils rich in sand and argil, and in an altitude starting form 60 m. up the top of the mountain Profitis Ilias (799m.) of the region of Parakila, Anemotia and Pterounta.

Other species that grow in the countryside of Lesvos are the wild olive (Olea oleaster) the myrtle (Myrtus communis),, the oleander(Nerium oleander), the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), the kermes oak(Quercus coccifera), the pink rock rose (Cistus creticus) , the tree heath (Erica arborea), the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), the Spanish broom (Spartium junceum), the downy oak (Quercus pubesteus) etc.

In recent years, many visitors come to Lesvos every year to walk in its trails and observe and admire from close its rare flora

The protection of Lesbian nature is today more urgent than ever against the dangers that threaten its rich flora, such as the opening of roads, construction, misunderstood tourist development, drainage and landscaping of wetlands, the transformation of peaks into ” forests ”of antennas and RES of all kinds, the fires and the overgrazing of some areas.

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