Why environmental monitoring
The habitats and the flora and fauna species of the protected areas face lots of pressure due to human activities, as well as due to extreme natural phenomena. The conservation of biodiversity and landscape diversity is achieved through the implementation of evidence-based methods of sustainable management, the purpose of which, among others, is to ensure the favorable conservation status, the maintenance and/or restoration of habitat types and of species habitats according to Directive 92/43/EEC and 2009/147/EU.
The main objective of environmental monitoring is the evaluation of the state of the natural environment in the area which falls under the responsibility of the Management Body, the optimal planning of management measures in the region, the enforcement and the prospective evaluation and redefinition of the various management practices to be implemented.
Apart from the direct monitoring of indicators and the spatial and temporal trends of various parameters, the environmental monitoring, in conjunction with the implementation of the guarding plan, contributes in identifying the main threats, as well as estimating the magnitude of their impact on the protected elements.
In particular, the systematic monitoring of the values of the National Park contributes in determining the objectives of forest management, public awareness, environmental education and research activities.
In addition to the above, which form the basis for the protection of the National Park, the immediate goal is to collect data through monitoring and to prepare a report to be integration in the required 3rd National Report on the Implementation of Directives 92/43/EEC and 2009/147/EU.
The history of monitoring actions in the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park
The systematic monitoring in the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park began in 1988 and mainly focused on monitoring the populations of vultures and large birds of prey and was performed by two guards of the former Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works (YPEHODE). Since 1994, monitoring of the Black Vulture and Griffon Vulture has been taking place annually by WWF Greece and the local office of the former prefecture of Evros, which currently belongs to the Department of Environment and Hydro-economy of the Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, while from 2000 onwards the territorial diurnal raptors have been under systematic monitoring, an action implemented up to 2012 by WWF Greece.
The Management Body has been actively involved in monitoring activities since 2013, having undertaken the responsibility of monitoring the Black and Griffon Vulture breeding populations, as well as of assigning monitoring of other important species and habitat types, other than birds of prey, to external associates.
The Black vulture monitoring is of special importance to the National Park, since the latter is home to the only breeding population of the species in the Balkans.
The Management Body has been implementing the action of monitoring the Black Vulture breeding population since 2013, in collaboration with the department of Environment and Hydro-economy of the Prefecture of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace and WWF Greece.
Monitoring of the Griffon Vulture breeding population is being implemented since 2007, when the National Park was repopulated with breeding pairs, after 11 years of absence. Moreover, monitoring of birds at the supplementary feeding station is performed on a continuous base, by WWF volunteers.
Territorial Birds of Prey monitoring
Birds of prey monitoring, except that of vultures, which are priority species according to Directive 2009/147/EU, as well as of trigger species for designating Special Protected Areas (SPAs), was implemented in 2012 for the benefit of the Management Body by WWF Greece, with own resources, following the monitoring program carried out since 2000.
Monitoring of other important birds and habitats of directives 92/43 and 2009/147
Concerning the remaining bird (raptors excluded), and other fauna and flora species, as well as the habitat types, monitoring will be performed by external associates under the supervision of the scientific personnel of the Management Body.
For some of these species and habitat types, several studies have been carried out in the past by independent researches in the context of various projects, which consist valuable data resources.