Biodiversity Monitoring

Among the Axios Delta Management Authority overarching goals are safeguarding the biodiversity conservation and managing the protected area and its resources. A major tool for the achievement of these goals is scientific monitoring which provide all necessary information for the comprehension of population density fluctuations and species diversity over time.

Παρακολούθηση Παναγιωτίδης

In other words, biodiversity monitoring involves the recording of the conservation status of habitats and species, in close relation to selected measurable conservation targets. In this way, systematic monitoring -being an indispensable tool for adaptive management- functions as:

  • an early warning system identifying problems at early stages so conservation experts and site managers can address them more effectively
  • a reliable means for evaluating the effectiveness of implemented management actions
  • a means for assessing the long term impact of anthropogenic activities on the biodiversity of the protected area

The Biodiversity Monitoring Program of the Axios Delta National Park was included to a nationwide “umbrella” Program run by the Ministry of Environment and Energy which had been designed to update the Data Base concerning protected areas, fill in the Article 12 & 17 Reporting Formats required for the preparation of the national reports under the Directives 79/409 for Birds and 92/43 for Habitat Types and Species and finally, check the fitness-adequacy of the existing legal status.

αναγνώριση είδους χλωρίδας

The Biodiversity Monitoring Program of the Axios Delta National Park was included to a nationwide “umbrella” Program run by the Ministry of Environment and Energy which had been designed to update the Data Base concerning protected areas, fill in the Article 12 & 17 Reporting Formats required for the preparation of the national reports under the Directives 79/409 for Birds and 92/43 for Habitat Types and Species and finally, check the fitness-adequacy of the existing legal status.

The specific Monitoring Program of the Axios Delta National Park that has been assigned to independent contractors dealt with five conservation targets; Mammals, Amphibians-Reptiles, Fish, Invertebrates and Flora & Habitat types. Within these monitoring programs the Management Authority personnel attended presentations on sampling techniques and identification procedures, in addition to participating at field visits and samplings, so as to become acquainted with field work conditions and, of course, to acquire hands-on knowledge and skill, prerequisites for the continuation of the monitoring in the long run.

The Bird Monitoring Program is being conducted for the last 5 years (2010-2015) by the Management Authority personnel. It should be stressed that during the implementation of the monitoring

The methodology and techniques used in monitoring include:

– Literature research

– Field work

– Lab work

– Data processing

– Drawing maps

When on the field, on uses special equipment and methodology, depending on the kind of targeted organism.

Common sampling methods are:

  • “Live” trapping (small mammals, beetles etc.)
  • water sampling (lagoons)
  • insect nets (dragonflies, butterflies)
  • nets for collecting aquatic vegetation and invertebrates
  • audio monitoring (bats)
  • capture, measure morphometric features, mark (applied to certain species), release (tortoises, bats, small mammals)
  • use of endoscopic camera (beetles with wood-feeding larvae, ground rodents)
  • recording of tracks, trails, droppings, spraints (souslik, otter)
  • collecting pellets of birds of prey and analyzing their content in order to verify the presence of small mammals
  • small mammals’ species identification by feeding remains and food signs such as chewed/gnawed nuts or tree barks (for larger mammals like wild horses)
  • collecting field signs for further examination and identification such as elytra, cocoons (beetles, butterflies)

μετρήσεις νυχτερίδας

The data collected so far revealed:

  • more than 350 species & subspecies of plants
  • 25 habitat types (17 included in Annex Ι of the Habitat types & Species Directive 92/43 and 8 of national importance)
  • 40 mammal species of European or national interest including 4 carnivores (Wolf Canis lupus, Jackal Canis aureus, Wild cat Felis silvestris, Otter Lutra lutra), 1 omnivore (Brown bear Ursus arctus – occasional presence, 21 small mammals, insectivores & rodents, 13 bats and the Souslik Spermophilus citellus
  • 9 amphibian species (newts, frogs, toads)
  • 18 reptile species (terrapins & tortoises, lizards, snakes)
  • 17 fish species
  • 7 invertebrate species protected under the Habitat types & Species Directive 92/43 (butterflies, beetles, dragonflies, marine bivalve mollusk Pinna nobilis) and more than 65 -terrestrial & aquatic- species recorded during field visits, including butterflies, beetles, dragonflies, snails and clams.

The Management Authority will carry on placing emphasis on the monitoring process, as it is the utmost tool to support management decisions as well as to evaluate the success of implemented actions.

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