Protected area


Pamvotis Lake is one of the oldest lakes in the world and the second oldest in European level, following Lake Ohrid (aged approximately about 7 million Years). As the lake has never suffered from the adverse effects of the glaciers, it became refuge for Europe’s flora and fauna. It was a distribution area for rescued species and a place for their north rebound after the retreat of the glaciers.

It is located at the foot of the mountain Mitsikeli and covers 22 km2 of the basin. It is a shallow lake with an average depth of 4.5 m. It was formed by water concentration and is fed by the mountain Mitsikeli springs, while it has no physical surface outlet. The outflow of the water is carried through the Lapsista’s ditch and is diverted to the river Kalamas. It is a sensitive ecosystem, which belongs to the European Network of Protected Areas, NATURA 2000, because of the important habitats and the rare species of flora and fauna.

The existing Pamvotis Lake is the remnant of a larger ecosystem, which also included Lapsista Lake, drained in the 50s. It is worth noting that the existence of the one was directly linked to the proper functioning and the existence of the other. Lapsista’s surface varied between the seasons and had less depth and surface in comparison to Pamvotis Lake.

The system of both lakes in the wider basin of Ioannina was a vast wetland with multiple values. Many fish species were reproducing in Lapsista and were emigrating afterwards to Pamvotis. The wetland also provided shelter and food to many aquatic birds as well as sustained a rich flora. The local community was directly depended and benefited in multiple ways from the ecosystem. Fishing provided a good income for professional fishermen and a pleasant leisure activity for the recreational fishermen. Furthermore, the hunting value of the ecosystem attracted a large number of hunters. Additionally, the lake’s water with their grasslands offered food and water for livestock. The inhabitants used the Lake’s water to cultivate the adjacent fields, but also for the city’s water supply. Finally, the ecosystem was distinguished for its recreational, cultural, research and educational value.

There is a need today to start the discussion about the recreation of the wetland even in a new form and at a smaller scale.

Values of Pamvotis Lake

Under the term ‘values’ we classify services and goods offered by the wetlands in humans. The wetlands’ values are not independent of each other. For example, the upgrade or the degradation of one respectively causes the upgrade or the degradation of one or more others.

  1. Biological value
  2. Water supply value
  3. Irrigation value
  4. Fisheries value
  5. Scientific merit
  6. Cultural value
  7. Educational value
  8. Recreational value
  9. Anti-Flood value
  10. Anti-Corrosion value
  11. Quality Improvement in water
  12. Climate improvement
  13. Transport value
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