Status, trends and values of wintering and migrating birds in Gialova lagoon, Messenia, Greece

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för naturgeografi

Abstract: Areas of wetland have for the last century declined globally, mostly as a cause of anthropogenic activitities. Since many bird species are depending on wetlands, this have affected their populations negatively, and today many of the remaining wetlands are protected. This study has investigated the status and trends of Gialova lagoon in Greece, both as a stopover for spring migrating birds and as a wetland for wintering waterbirds. This has been done by doing an own field inventory for two weeks in March, and by compiling and analysing data from winter censuses from the last thirty years. Results showed that Gialova supported many migrating birds during the inventory, and several of these are threatened in Europe. The eastern parts of the lagoon are the most important and sensitive areas, due to the suitable habitat for foraging and protection. The analysis of winter data showed that only one species was increasing, while the rest and the total amount of waterbirds were stable or decreased. The number of birds during winter did not reach thresholds for qualifying as a Ramsar-site of international importance. However, the wetland’s geographical location and context makes it a important area to protect for migrating birds, and it also has values for the local community in terms of different ecosystem services.

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