Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia

Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia.

With the integration in Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA) of the Management Body of Koroneia, Volvi, Halkidiki  and the Management Bodies of Lake Kerkini and Thermaikos Gulf , the Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia operates under N.E.C.C.A.’s Protected Areas Management Directorate (Sector A), based in Lagkada Thessaloniki with branch offices in Kerkini (Serres) and Chalastra (Thessaloniki).


Its spatial area of jurisdiction includes the following Natura 2000 sites:


General Description


Koronia-Volvi National Park


A hydrological basin (2.120 Km2), located in Central Macedonia, limited by Chortiati – Holomonta mountains from the south and Vertiskos – Kerdyllia mountains from the north is an area that includes Koronia – Volvi and Macedonian Temp National Park, which was founded with 6919/2004 national law.

The Park is divided into 3 protection areas (zones): Koronia and Volvi lakes (A΄ Zone) with Absolute Protection area (A1 – Apollonia Forest and Absolute Protection Core) and Nature Protection area (A2 – Macedonian Temp) and the regional National Park Protection Zones (B΄ and C΄ Zones). The national law (6919/2004 and 39542/2008) determines the permitted activities and practices within the specific zones.


Lake Kerkini National Park

The Lake Kerkini National Park lies in the northwest part of the perfecture of Serres. The total protected area amounts to about 83,100 hectares. The protected area includes the areas from Kastanoussa in the west, to Charopo and Agkistro in the east, Iraklia in the southeast and Lithotopos in the south. It also includes the mountains of Kerkini (Beles) in the north and Mavrovouni and Dyssoro (Kroussia) in the southwest.

There are four protection zones:

-Strictly Nature Protection Zone

-Nature’s Protection Zone

-Eco-development Zone Α’

-Eco-development Zone Β’

In every zone, specific regulations and/or prohibitions apply, according to each zone’s ecological importance and awareness.

The main part of the National Park is the artificial Lake Kerkini, which is one of the 10 Wetlands of International Importance in Greece (also known as Ramsar Wetlands). The lake was created in 1932 with the construction of a dam in the river Strymonas, in the northwest part of the valley of Serres near Lithotopos village, as well as the construction of a large bank on the eastern side of the area and a smaller one on the west to protect the settlement of Kerkini. The aim behind the creation of the lake was to halt the floods of the Strymonas, restrain the sedimentary materials and irrigate the valley of Serres. In the location that was created, there have been small lakes since ancient times, as well as permanent and temporary marshes. In the northern part of the valley of Serres, there was the lake of Achinos, which dried up in the same period.

More than 300 bird species have been observed in the Lake Kerkini National Park. A total of 10 species nest in mixed colonies in the riparian forest, which is a significant number both for Greek and European standards. The area of the lake hosts the largest number of water buffalo in Greece, a species that is under the protection of the Greek state.

At least 1,300 plant species have been recorded so far in the National Park, some of which are rare or endemic.

The biodiversity of the area is very important. In addition to birds, the presence of other species such as amphibians (11 species), reptiles (26 species), mammals (> 58 species), fish (30 species), plants (> 800 species) and invertebrates (at least 4700 species of which 1396 new species for Greece and at least 46 new species for science) is significant.


Lake Doirani is a cross-border lake located on the border between Greece and Northern Macedonia and belongs to the Regional Unit of Kilkis. At the site where Lake Doirani is located today, there was a much larger lake, Peonia, which had been formed after intense seismic processes. Today the lake has an elliptical shape and its area amounts to about 40 square kilometers, of which 3/5 belong to Northern Macedonia and 2/5 to Greece. The wetland system of Lake Doirani is particularly important and is therefore protected both nationally and internationally. The area has been designated as an Important Bird Area (BSS) not only in Greece but also in Northern Macedonia. Greece has also included the area in the “Nature 2000” network as a “Special Protected Zone”.


The Mouries wetland forest, also known by the nickname “Thousand Trees”, is located near the homonymous village of Mouries and it is a rare ecosystem, which hosts many species of flora and fauna of the area. Its area amounts to 590 acres and it is designated as a Natural Monument, while it is also part of the “Nature 2000” network.


Mount Lailias, part of the mountain range Vrondou is an area with beautiful and different landscapes. At the top you can see beech and pine forests, while below there are meadows and mixed oak forests, whose aesthetic and biological value is unique. The highest peak is Profitis Ilias (Ali Baba) at 1849m.


The area includes Menoikio mountain (Kouskouras), with the highest peak Mavromata or Karagioz Gol (1963m.), as well as the gorge of Timios Prodromos located at the western foot of the mountain and the springs of Ai Giannis. It is a mainly mountainous area with intense geomorphology, limestone underground and varied terrain, which includes high peaks, gorges, slopes, several caves such as Pelades. The biodiversity of the area is relatively high and you can observe a great variety of different forms of vegetation, species of flora and fauna and mainly birds.


The protected area of ​​the estuary of the river Strymonas occupies a land and sea area totaling over 12,000 acres, where part of it belongs administratively to the Regional Unit of Serres (west), while the rest (east) to the Regional Unit of Kavala, bordering the old riverbed Strymon and the lagoon of Chayezi. The area includes the estuary of the river, the old and the new riverbed, salt marshes, the lagoon, wet meadows, reeds and the coast. Due to its great ecological value, the area has been included in the European network “Nature 2000”. It is also an Important Bird Area due to the presence of the Dalmatian Pelican and the Pygmy Cormoran and part of it has been designated as a Wildlife Refuge.

Lake Kerkini (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Lake Kerkini (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Lagoon of Kalaxori (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Lagoon of Kalaxori (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Lagoon of Aggeloxori (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Lagoon of Aggeloxori (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)

Legislation Framework


Koronia-Volvi National Park



Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterflow Habitat (1975)

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (Greek Law 2204/1994)

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS or the Bonn Convention) (Greek Law 2719/1999).

Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) (Greek Law 1335/1983)

2009/147/ΕΚ “On the conservation of wild birds” (Greek Laws 37338/1807/Ε.103/2010 & 8353/276/Ε103/2012

92/43/ΕΚ “On the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora” (Greek Laws 33318/3028/1998 & 14849/853/Ε103/2008)

2000/60 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy



L.1650/1986 “For the protection of the environment”

L.2742/1999 “Land planning and sustainable development and other provisions”

3044/2002 “Transport of building coefficient and regulation of other subjects of Ministry of Environment, Land planning and Public works”

L.3937/2011 “Preservation of biodiversity and other provisions”

L.4519/2018 “Protected Areas Management Bodies and other provisions”

L.4685/2020 “Modernization of environmental legislation, incorporation into Greek legislation of Directives 2018/844 and 2019/692 of the European Parliament and of the Council and other provisions”

‘Special Environmental Study on Koronia-Volvi wetland, Macedonian Temp and wider area’

JMD 6919/ Government Gazette 248 D/5-3-2004 “Characterization of the Koronia – Volvi and Macedonian Temp wetland system as Koronia – Volvi and Macedonian Temp National Park. determination of protection zones and determination of uses, terms and restrictions for building

Government Gazette 416 D/24-5-2021 “JMD 6919 corrections”

50547/2004 “Οperating regulation of the Board of Directors of Koronia – Volvi Lakes Management Agency”

49707/ Government Gazette 2408/Β/21-12-2007 “Operating regulation of Koronia – Volvi Lakes Management Agency services and staff”

ΚΥΑ 39542/ Government Gazette 441 D/9-10-2008 “Amendment of JMD 6919/ Government Gazette 248 Δ/5-3-2004

JMD 58481/ΦΕΚ 3159 Β/27-11-20122012 “Koronia – Volvi Lakes and Macedonian Temp National Park Management Plan”

JMD 50743/ Government Gazette 4432 Β/15-12-2017 “Revision of the national list of European Ecological Network Natura 2000 sites

4819/ Government Gazette 129 Α/23-07-2021 “Waste management integrated framework”


Lake Kerkini National Park


Lake Kerkini National Park was established in November 2006 for the protection of the area as a national natural heritage based on:

– Systematic monitoring and planning the management works of the ecological parameters of the area

– Constant guarding and supervision of the protected area

– Effective coordination of the competent services and authorities

– Development of programs for the environmental education, information and awareness of the public and authorities

– Safeguarding of social policy, consensus and participation, etc.


The following international conventions and E.U. directives apply to the National Park:


– “Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat” known as Ramsar Convention

– Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention)

– Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats (Bern convention)

– Directive 79/409/EEC as encoded on 30th November 2009 through Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and the Council on the conservation of wild birds

– Directive 92/43/EEC of the Council on 21st May 1992 on the conservation of the natural habitats and the wild fauna and flora

– Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and the Council on 23rd October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy.

Last but not least it is one of the 196 Important Areas for Birds(IBA) in Greece.

Natural Environment


Koronia-Volvi National Park



In the area dominate important habitat types. The followings are the habitat types of the areas listed in Annex II to Council Directive 92/43 / EEC: 1210 (annual vegetation of drift lines), 2110 (Embryonic shifting dunes), 3150 (Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition), 3290 (Intermittently flowing Mediterranean rivers of the Paspalo-Agrostidion),  6210 (Semi-natural dry grasslands), 6420 (Mediterranean tall humid herb grassland of the Molinio – Holoschoenion), 6510 (Lowland hay meadows – Alopecurus, Sanguisorba), 92A0 (Salis alba populus alba galleries), 91Ε0* ( Alluvialforests of slapes, screes and ravines) 92C0 (Platanus orientalisand Liquidambar orientalis woods), 92D0 (Southern riparian galleries and thickets), 9340 (Quercus ilex and Quercusrotundifolia forest), 9130 (Asperulo – Fagetumbeech forests), 9180* (Tilio – Acerionforests of slopes screesand ravines) 9260 (Castanea sativa woods), 5210 (Arborescentmatorrals with Juniperus spp), 91M0 (Pannonian Balkanic turkey oak – sessile oak forests) , 9280 (Quercus frainetto woods) 1120* (Posidonia beds (Posidonionoceanicae).

The sign * indicates priority habitat types.



The flora of the area includes a large number of species which are under protection, aquatic and species of the Orchidaceae family. The monitoring of these species and their populations is an important tool for the sustainable management of the whole natural environment. Some of the most important species are presented below.

– Centaurea immanuelis-loewii Degen: Protected by Annex II to Council Directive 92/43 / EEC. In 2012, at the monitoring program, the species was recorded in the area and since then its populations have been monitored. In 2015 the population of the species increased.

– Mentha suaveolensEhrh: This is a rare species with a small distribution area, which belongs to the “other species of interest”. It was recorded in 9 places. It seems to be abundant around Lake Volvi and in bright places on the river Richios.

– Salvinia natans (L.) All: It is protected by Presidential Decree 67/1981 and the Berne Convention. It was recorded in only two places in the area. In 2015 due to climatic conditions the population of the species appeared increased in the only place which was had found in the lake.

– Himantoglossumjankae Somlyay, Kreutz &Óvari: Rare species of the family Orchidaceae. In the years 2014 and 2015 the species recorded in a unique place and the population seems healthy and strong.

– Orchis simia Lam. subsp. Simia: A species of the family Orchidaceae, which is protected by the CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It was not included in the list of hitherto known bibliography for the area. It was located in the year 2014 and in the year 2015 its population was counted on a sample area. It is scattered and in places abundant.

– Fritillaria ponticaWahlenb .: Species with limited distribution, specifically in the Balkans and Asia Minor. It is protected by Presidential Decree 67/1981. In the years 2014 and 2015 the species was found in the area of Paleochora, Halkidiki. The population was strong and healthy.

– Dactylorhizaromana (Sebast.) Soό subsp. Romana: Species of the family Orchidaceae, which is protected by the CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. In the area was found a robust and a healthy population.



Fauna at Koronia-Volvi National Park and Protected areas of Halkidiki is especially rich with a large number of species in mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.


Due to the rich variety of habitats in the area: lakes, wetlands, lagoons, marine, rural, mountainous, and semi-mountainous ecosystems, bird fauna of the area is very rich. It numbers more than 342 species of birds. Each SPA is characterized by its geographical relief with the bird species that represent it.

Classification and Boundary Zone Species by criterion F.D. SPAs

– SPA GR1220009: LIMNES KORONEIAS – VOLVIS, STENA RENTINAS KAI EVRYTERI PERIOCHI. Incudes lakes, wetlands, streams, agricultural, semi-mountainous and mountainous ecosystems and has been characterized by 34 species. Raptors such as Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Lesser Spotted Eagle (Clanga pomarina), Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata), Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus) , Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus), Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo), waterfowl and waders species such as Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), Pygmy Cormorant (Microcarbo pygmaeus), Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca), White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala), Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), 3 Grebe species, 5 Heron species, White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), as well as agricultural species such as Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra), Skylark (Alauda arvensis), European Roller (Coracias garrulous), European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) and Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) are some of the important species that designate and set geographical boundaries for it.


– SPA GR1270012- OROS CHOLOMONTAS: Includes mountainous, semi-mountainous ecosystems , forest and land ecosystems, has been designated by 7 species of birds, mainly raptors such as Black Kite (Milvus migrans), European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus), Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), Lesser Spotted Eagle (Clanga pomarina), Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata), as well as the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra).

– SPA GR1270014 – CHERSONISOS SITHONIAS: Includes mainly mountainous forest areas as well as marine areas. It has been designated by 6 species, Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus), Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata), Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata), Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava), Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana) and European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis).

– SPA GR1270016-THALASSIA ZONI ANATOLIKA KAI NOTIA CHERSONISOU ATHONA:Includes mainly marine area, but also coasts and has been designated by 6 species, European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis), the Mediterranean shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and Alpine swift (Tachymarptis melba).


There are 6 species of mammals and 23 bats of interest in the area in remarkable populations and presented below:

Wolf (Canis lupus): The species is listed in Annexes  II, IV, V of 92/43/EK, Annex II of the Bern Convention, Appendix II of the CITES Convention and in the National Red Data Catalog. It has been recorded almost throughout the whole area, especially in the northern, northeastern and southeastern mountainous areas.

Jackal (Canis aureus): The species is listed in Annex V of 92/43/EK and in the National Red Data Catalog. It has been recorded especially in the Holomontas and Halkidiki mountainous areas.

Otter (Lutra lutra): The species is listed in Annexes II, IV of 92/43/EK, in Annex II of the Bern Convention and in Appendix II of the CITES Convention. It has been recorded all over the wetlands, semi-mountainous habitats.

Wildcat (Felis silvestris): The species is listed in Annex IV of 92/43/EK, in Annex II of the Bern Convention, and in the CITES Convention. The species seems to spread in a wide area, bordered by Sochos to the north, Kavallari to the west, Zagliveri to the south and Stavros to the east.

Deer (Capreolus capreolus): The species is listed in Annex III of the Bern Convention and in the National Red Data Catalog. It has been frequently recorded mainly in the mountains north, northeast and southeast.

Spermophilus (Spermophilus citellus): The species is listed in Annexes II and IV of 92/43/EK, in Annex II of the Bern Convention and is classified as vulnerable (VU) under IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and has a significant presence in the area.

Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula and Muscardinus avellanarius): Both species are confirmed mainly in SCI GR1270001: OROS HOLOMONTAS and SCI GR1270005: OROS STRATONIKON – KORYFI SKAMNI. The conservation status of Dryomys nitedula  is better than Muscardinus avellanarius.

Bats: 23 different species of bats are listed in the area. They create colonies in abandoned buildings, warehouses and caves, but also in forest areas. Myotis, Rhinolofus and Pipistrellus are the most common species in the area.


A total of 11 species of amphibians were recorded in the National Park (3 species of mackerel-salamanders and newts and 8 species of anura-toads and frogs) and 27 species of reptiles (4 species of turtles, 10 species of lizards and 13 species of snakes). Pilovatis and the crested newt have a bad conservation status, whether most of the other species have a good conservation status.


Five species of interest have been recorded in the area: Bladetail Dragonfly (Lindenia tetraphylla), the saproxylic beetles Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervus) and Great Capricorn Beetle (Cerambyx cerdo), and 2 Lepidoptera, Jersey Tiger (Callimorpha quadripunctaria) and Southern Festoon (Zerynthia polyxena).  Also interesting is the present of Hirudo verbana, one of the three “medical leeches”.


Both lakes are characterized by a large number of fish fauna, as 24 species of fish have been recorded. In lake Volvi there are two endemic species Liparia (Alosa macedonica) and Gelarza (Chalcalburnus chalcoides macedonicus) and a very rare subspecies, Aspius aspius.



The climatic parameters in the surrounding area are different, compared to the neighboring coastal and mountainous areas due to the presence of the lakes.

Despite the short distance from the Aegean, the area experiences cold winters (average minimum temperatures of the coldest month between 0oC and 3oC). This is due to the isolation of gas streams from the surrounding mountains, and results in light winds and frequent morning fog.



The area is a part of the Serbo-Macedonian Zone, near the western border with the Perirodopic Zone.

Serbo-Macedonian Zone consists of metamorphic rocks and extends from ​​Belgrade to the North Aegean, including the eastern part of Halkidiki Peninsula with a NNW-SSE direction.


Lake Kerkini National Park



The following habitat types have been recorded:

– Oligotrophic waters in medio-European and perialpine area with amphibious vegetation, code no. 3132. It appears in those spots at the lakeshore, which in the summer season are not covered with water.

– Natural eutrophic lakes with plant communities of associations between Magnopotamion and Hydrocharition morsi-ranae, code no. 3150.

– Floating vegetation of river aquatic plants, code no. 3260.

– Mediterranean rivers with constant flow (Paspalo-Agrostidion) and dense vegetation with a form of curtain by Salix and Populus alba along the banks (code: Natura 3280).

– Alpine and sub-alpine heathlands, code no. 4060.

– Semi-natural xerophyte meadows on carbonate substratum, code no. 6211,

– Mediterranean meadows of high grass and rush (Molinio – Holoschoenion), code no. 6420.

– Reeds under code no. 72Α0.

– Silicic rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation, code no. 8220.

– Beech forests of Asperulo-Fagetum plant community, code no. 9130.

– Canyon forests with Tilio – Acerion, code no. 9180.

– Residual alluvial forests (Αlηion glutinosae-incanae), code no. 91Ε0.

– Beech forests with broadleaf oaks (Quercus frainetto), code no. 9280.

– Forest halls with Salix alba (white willow) and Populus alba (white poplar), code no. 92Α0.

– Forests of oriental plane woods (Platanion orientalis), code no. 92C0.

-Beech forests of Luzulo-Fagetum plant community, code no. 9110.

– Forests of oak and hornbeam of Galio-Carpinetum plant community, code no. 9170.

– Mixed forests of oak, elm and ash along great rivers, code no. 91F0.

– Greek beech forests with Abies borisii-regis, code no. 9270.

– Forests of upland conifers with forests of black pine trees (Pinus nigra ssp. pallasiana), code no. 9536, mainly concerning afforestations in the Mount Kerkini

– Chestnut forests under code no. 9260. This habitat consists of chestnut forests and is found at the border on the east end of Kerkini Mountains.



At least 1,300 plant species have been recorded so far in the National Park, some of which are rare or endemic.




More than 300 bird species have been observed in the Lake Kerkini National Park. 137 of these species nest, 134 overwinter and 163 use the wetland and the surrounding area as an intermediate resting and foraging stop in their migration routes.

Many thousands of waterfowl overwinter in the lake. Moreover, the presence of rare birds of prey is also remarkable, for example the imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca), the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), the greater spotted eagle (Aquila clanga) and the white-tailed eagle (Halliaaetus albicilla).


Over the last years, new species have also been observed in the area, either during migration or in winter, such as the white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala), the saker falcon (Falco cherrug), the flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), the Tundra swan (Cygnus columbianus), the goosander (Mergus merganser), the lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus) etc. Lake Kerkini (along with the area of Porto Lagos) is the most important wintering area for Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) throughout Europe.


There are also many species of mammals. The otter (Lutra lutra) is met in the lake, in channels and ditches. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes), the wildcat (Felis sylvestris), the least weasel (Mustela nivalis), the European polecat (Mustela putorius), the beech marten (Martes foina) are met in the wetland and the surrounding mountains. The grey wolf (Canis lupus) is met in the wetland at specific times of the year, while it is mostly found in the surrounding mountains, where there are also wild boars (Sus scrofa) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), whereas golden jackals (Canis aureus) are mainly met in the north, east and southwest part in small numbers.

The area of the lake hosts the largest number of water buffalo in Greece, a species that is under the protection of the Greek state. In the past, water buffalo could be found in most of wetlands of Macedonia, Thrace and Thessaly but in the last 50 years they have been restricted to only a few wetlands in the country.


In the lake, as well as in river Strymonas downstream of the lake, 32 fish species have been recorded. The most important of them are the common carp (Cyprinus carpio), the crussian carp (Carassius gibelio), the bleak (Alburnus alburnus strumicae), the chub (Squalius orpheus), the roach (Rutilus rutilus), the Macedonian vimba (Vimba melanops) and the barbel (Barbus strumicae), while the eel (Anguilla anguilla) has disappeared from the lake since the the new dam came into operation. Among these, there are also certain alien species, which obviously came to the lake from Bulgaria in the Strymonas. With regard to these species, the population of pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibosus) was on the rise in the 90s, but then withdrew and now is balanced, while Gymnocephalus cernuus, whose natural distribution is in central and north Europe, appeared in fishermen nets in 2009-2010 with a growing presence since.


The reptiles are represented in the area by at least 25 species, the most characteristic of which are: the Balkan pond turtle (Mauremys rivulata), the European legless lizard (Pseudopus apodus), the javelin sand boa (Eryx jaculus) and the grass snake (Natrix natrix). The amphibians are represented by at least 11 species including the Eastern spadefoot (Pelobates syriacus) and salamander (Salamandra salamandra).

Concerning invertebrates, there are at least 4,700 species, more than 1,396 of which are new species for Greece and at least 46 are new species for science, which means that until now they have been recorded only in the Lake Kerkini National Park and nowhere else in the world.



The climate prevailing in the area is characterized as semi-arid Mediterranean climate with cold winters. The average annual temperature is 15°C. The average annual rainfall in 1971 – 1992 is 444.6 mm, while the rainy days throughout the year are 87.




The cornerstone of lake life is vegetation as it provides food, habitat and protection to a large number of animal and plant species. Plants such as the common duckweed (Lemna minor), the broad-leaved pondweed (Potamogeton natans) and the milfoil(Myriophyllum sp.) are found in the surface of the lake, while in the shallowest places there are giant reeds (Arundo donax) and cattails (Typha spp). In places that are flooded with water only occasionally there are mosses and around the lake you can find reeds and various species of trees such as white willow (Salixalba) and plane trees.


The wetland of Lake Doirani hosts many species of Greek fauna, some of which are rare and endangered, protected by Greek and European legislation. More specifically, there are 19 species of fish, 10 species of amphibians and 23 species of reptiles. There are also 53 species of mammals. The bird fauna is represented by 87 different species. Beautiful birds such as the grey heron (Ardea cinerea), the little egret (Egretta garzetta), the greta egret (Egretta alba), the glossy ibix (Plegadis falcinellus), the avocrt (Recurvirostra avosetta) are often observed. The dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) feeds on the lake, while the cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) nest in the trees of the area. There are also pygmy cormorants (Phalacrocorax pygmeus), mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), northern pintails (Anas acuta), common pochards (Aythya ferina) and mute swans (Cygnus olor). Finally, the area is frequently visited by various predators, such as the western marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus), the northern goshawk snapper (Accipiter gentilis) and the common buzzard (Buteo buteo) in order to find food.



At the foot of the mountain there are grazing meadows, fields and bushes. There are also reforested areas. Before the peaks on the south side of the mountain there are meadows, pastures with grassy plants and at least seven species of beautiful protected orchids. Among the peaks of Lailias we will find its high forests with forest beech in the wet places and the native forest pine in its poorest places. In the brightest places created by the tall forest pine we will see a plethora of plants with bilberry, wild roses and other shrubs creating a dense carpet.


The fauna of Lailias is rich with a significant presence of wild mammals such as deer, hares, badgers, hedgehogs, squirrels, foxes, wildcats, moles, sporadically the wolf and the emblematic bear. Several species of bats were observed in the area, with colonies in protected caves. The presence of reptiles is important, both numerically and in a variety of species. Diffirent species of snakes were observed in almost the entire area of Lailias and the caves, as well as salamanders and lizards. Among the amphibians, the great Bufo bufo toad is remarkable, which can live up to 12 years. The area hosts predators such as the short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus), the european honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus) and the levant-sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes). The black stork (Ciconia nigra) is still nesting, while the white stork (Ciconia ciconia) is absent. The presence of the rare western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) is remarkable. The area is a controlled hunting area and for this reason a significant number of pheasants are released each year.



There are a lot of meadows, forests with beeches, oaks, chestnuts etc. At lower altitudes, shrubs and partially forested areas dominate. The pine forests which can also be found at the lower altitudes of the area were created by reforestation and occupy a small part of the forests.  In the east, above the village Micropolis, there is a wonderful forest of centuries-old chestnut trees and in the subalpine zone there are meadows with dozens of rare species of orchids.


The area is important for the birds with 132 recorded species, including the short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus), the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the booted eagle (Aquila pennata), the long legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus), the peregrin (Falco peregrinus), the eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo), the hoope (Upupa epops), the common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), the european bee-eater (Merops apiaster), the european roller (Coracias garullus), the black stork (Ciconia nigra), the rock partridge (Alectoris graeca) the grey partridge (Perdix perdix) etc. 31 species of mammals with a significant number of bats, 15 species of reptiles and 6 amphibians have been recorded in the area. Some of the mammals that appear in the mountain are the bear, the wolf, the ferret, the badger, the wild boar, the hare etc. Τhe “wild” horses that move freely in herds in the mountain meadows are also characteristic of Mount Menoikio and the valley of Timios Prodromos.



The presence of fresh and salt water and human activity creates a wide variety of vegetation types in the area of ​​the Strymon River estuary. There are 11 types of terrestrial habitats protected by Directive 92/43 / EEC.


There are at least 206 species different of birds. The presence of birds is distributed throughout the year. A number of them nest, while most are observed in the wider area either during the migratory seasons (spring-autumn) or in winter for wintering. In terms of fish fauna, 26 species of inland fish are recorded. Among the amphibians, the tree frog stands out, which according to Directive 92/43 / EEC requires strict protection, while the reptile fauna consists of 8 species. Finally, 19 species of large mammals have been recorded in the area.

Lagoon of Aggeloxori (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Lagoon of Aggeloxori (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Wetland of Nea Fokaia (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Wetland of Nea Fokaia (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Lagoon of Agios Mamas (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Lagoon of Agios Mamas (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)



Koronia-Volvi National Park



The Management Unit carry out monitoring programs of the natural object either by its own means or in collaboration with external partners. The main activities are the recording of the presence and population of bird species, the rescue and treatment/rehabilitation of wild animals, in collaboration with the non-government organization called Action for Wildlife and the monitoring of physical and chemical parameters of surface waters. For the recording of the bird fauna on an annual basis carried out the following actions:

– Mid-Winter water bird counting

– Recording of herons, pygmy cormorant & cormorants

– Seasonally recording of water birds

– Falco naumanni recording

– Haliaeetus albicilla Monitoring

– Puting bird rings in collaboration with the Hellenic Bird Ring Center

– Recording reproductive success of Ciconia ciconia, put rings in young birds and do management measures

– Recording of Pelicans

For the quality monitoring program of the surface water, the staff of Management Unit performs seasonal measurements of physicochemical water parameters such as:

– Dissolved Oxygen (mg / l)

– Water temperature (° C)

– pH

– Conductivity (μS / cm)

– P-PO4           (mg / l)

– N-NH4              (mg / l)

– N-NO2              (mg / l)

– N-NO3              (mg / l)

– BOD              (mg / l)

Sampling takes place in 47 stations covering the hydrographic network of the interest area and annual sampling of fish, benthic and zooplacto from Lake Koronia, in order to collect the necessary information for the assessment of the ecological condition of the lake.



Every project or activity that is implemented in the responsibility area must have the consent of the Management Unit. Specifically, the Management Unit gives an opinion on the following categories:

– Permitted projects for which environmental permitting is required

– The execution of management projects and the implementation of measures for restoration, protection, conservation, improvement and promotion of species and habitats of the area

– Forestry, forest protection projects and forest management

– The construction of projects for the improvement, rehabilitation and modernization of operational infrastructure and transport

– The installation and operation of new industrial units

– The management study of sand extraction

– The execution of phytotechnical works, works for the restoration of the smooth flow of the adjacent torrents, etc.

– The execution of maintenance and restoration works of the Richios river due to alluvium

– The extensions of settlements within the framework of the current legislation

– The scientific research and the technical tests and analyzes within the limits of A and B zones



The information and awareness program is implemented by specialized staff and is offered for informing the public, raising awareness on environmental management, promoting the work and actions of the Management Unit.

The main goal of the environmental awareness program is to promote awareness of the local population, to activate the society for participation in actions that promote environmental respect and in the alternative activities that enhance the local income.

The environmental education program aims at understanding basic environmental concepts, gaining experiential experiences and enhancing environmental awareness by students. In this context there are 8 routes of interest that visitors can be guide tour. These 8 routes were created to cover every purpose of visit (religious, traditional – cultural, educational, etc.) and every type of ecosystem that visitor wishes to visited (mountain, forest, lake, etc.). The visitors have the opportunity to tour in the renewed thematic exhibition of the Information Center in Apollonia and to watch environmental documentaries.

The Management Unit implements the program of experiential environmental education “River”, forming a complete educational package of activities, carried out exclusively in the field with the collaboration of the participants, strengthening the students’ contact with the liquid element and its quality.



The Supervision-Guarding Department is staffed by 5 guards and implements, the approved by the Board, Storage Plan. According to the specific plan, the area of ​​Absolute Protection and Nature Protection (Zone AD) is monitored on a daily basis and the peripheral areas (Zone NW & DG) at least twice a week, while on a more limited scale the areas are monitored Natura network to which the territorial jurisdiction of M.U. Thus, 8 routes have been created, which cover the entire area of ​​responsibility of M.U. and a monthly itinerary is followed. In addition to daily patrols, surveillance is carried out with binoculars and telescopes from specific locations indicated in the drawing. The daily care schedule is modified according to the seasonal or daily needs that arise. Specifically, during periods of hunting or fishing bans, the patrols are intensified accordingly and, on a case-by-case basis, joint monitoring levels are established with other co-competent services.

The responsibilities of the employees of the Security Department are not limited to the supervision of the area and according to the operating regulations of the Services and staff of the F.D. (Government Gazette 2408/2007) are the following:

– The auxiliary participation in control levels of P.P. recommended by the competent services.

– The support and implementation of monitoring and management programs and projects.

– The recording of field data in the context of the environment parameter monitoring program.

– The supervision of management tasks assigned by the body to third parties.

– Supporting and controlling the movement of visitors to the protected area, as well as informing and informing them about the protection measures in the area.

– The tour of groups of visitors to P.P.

– The inclusion of the group of volunteers in programs of the organization, as well as the support and monitoring of their work.


Lake Kerkini National Park


The monitoring – patrolling of the area aims to eliminate the human activities that have negative effects to the protected area. Such activities are illegal hunting, illegal logging, illegal fishery, disturbance of places for breeding of birds, uncontrolled garbage disposal, pollution, etc.

The personnel of the Management Unit patrols the mountainous area of the National Park and the lake especially in spring when it is the period of breeding. This is an annual action intensified during the period of hunting prohibition (winter) and during the period of fishing prohibition (spring).

Moreover, there is a cooperation with the local authorities and the Forestry Service of Sidirokastro with the police stations of Poroia, Irakleia and Sidirokastro and with the Hellenic Hunters Confederation.



The monitoring program involves the following activities:

1)Bird Fauna Monitoring:

– Counting the birds’ colonies during the breeding period.

– Ringing the pelicans that nestle onto the wooden platforms, the first half of June

– Tracking territories and nests of predators

– Monthly counting of lake’s birds during the whole year

2)Monitoring the water quality

The parameters that measured are ph, temperature, dissolved oxygen, NH4, nitrates, P, conductivity, etc. The samples are taken from the lake and the river Strymonas, monthly during the year. The parameters that are examined are according to the Directive 60/2000 fir water (L. 3199/2003, OJ 280A/2003).

3)Two meteorological stations (in Lithitopos and Achladoxori) and a stathmometer (in river Strymonas) are used for the recording of the climatic data of the area.

4) Mammals Monitoring.

The mammals that the Management Unit monitors are otter, jackal, rodents and bats.

5)Habitats Monitoring.

A recording of the status of National Park’s habitats in order to update the mapping of the existing data concerning the types of habitats in the area. It is worth to mention that during 2011 a new habitat type has been identified and recorded for the National Park in the mountain Kerkini (Beles). This habitat is the forests Taxus baccata, 9850*.

6)Recording human activities in the National Park.

In order to evaluate the effects of certain human activities to the fauna of National Park, the Management Unit is focused in two activities:

– Recording the dead animals in the main road network of the National Park (specie, quantity, position)

– Recording the dead birds in the wind power park in Sidirokastro.



The environmental information and awareness of the public that leads to the sensitization in issues such as management and protection of the environment is one of the main aims of the Management Unit. Aiming to raise the awareness and participation of the public, the Management Unit accomplishes several activities. These activities concern presentations at schools, participation in world days, cleaning campaigns around the lake, participation in expos, etc.

Birdwatching, Nea Agathoupoli
Birdwatching, Nea Agathoupoli
Birdwatching, lagoon of Kalaxori (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Birdwatching, lagoon of Kalaxori (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)

Anthropogenic Activity


Koronia – Volvi




The population of the area is mainly engaged in agriculture while livestock is a traditional source of income. Inland fishing, once a major economic activity for the region, now tends to be abandoned. Finally, a small percentage of the population is engaged in forestry and beekeeping.


The secondary sector in the region is growing to the extent that it accepts the relevant pressures of the metropolitan area of ​​Thessaloniki to find space for use and installation of activities. In particular, the western zone of the region shows a large concentration of manufacturing and craft activities.


The tertiary sector employs a large percentage of the economically active population in the region. The service sector appears particularly developed in the administrative centers of the region, in Langadas, Arnaia and Polygyros, while tourism in the purely tourist areas such as Stavros and Sithonia.



The area of ​​responsibility of F.D. presents rich natural beauties and landscape changes that make it an attractive destination for nature lovers but also for nature-loving activities such as hiking, cycling Horse riding, bird watching, etc. Below are the most important areas of particular interest in terms of natural landscape.

Apollonia Forest: It is the largest lakeside forest in the area and is considered unique in its kind due to its impressive development and vitality. It consists of centuries-old trees, mainly plane trees, alders, silver and white, willows, elms and walnuts, which reach a height of 20-25 meters. It is considered very important for the reproduction of the birds of the wetland.

Centuries-old plane trees of Scholari: The plane trees of Scholari are located in a rural area between the two lakes. They are the remains of a riparian forest that probably covered the area. Apart from their historical value, which lies in their old age (estimated at 800 and 600 years old), they have a high ecological value, as many pairs of Ardea cinerea in them

Platanos of Apollonia – Step of Apostolos Pavlos: In the area of ​​Apollonia there is a huge old plane tree next to an imposing rock from where it is said that Apostolos Pavlos preached. Due to its natural beauty, but also its historical significance, it has been designated as a Preserved Monument of Nature.

Platanodasis of Koronia and Volvi: they are formed around the streams that flow into the two lakes and follow their path across them to the slopes of the surrounding mountains. Impressive gorges run at higher altitudes, such as that of “Skala

Stents of Rentina: The riverside areas of the Richi River form a forest complex of high aesthetic and ecological value where the riverside forest of Rentina grows. Agia Marina and the remains of the medieval settlement.

Mountains of Vertiskou, Kerdylia and Volvi: They are the mountains of the northern part of the basin runoff of Mygdonia. The vegetation has an elevation gradation. At low altitudes (400-700m) evergreen hardwood shrubs predominate. Higher deciduous species and oak forests are found, while the higher parts of the mountain are covered by beech forests. Along most streams and in areas with increased humidity, hydrophilic tree vegetation grows from plane trees.

Holomonta – Chortiatis Mountains: Chortiatis and Holomontas are mountains with strong fluctuations in the terrain. Their vegetation does not differ significantly from that of the conditions on the North side.



The presence of man in Mygdonia has been uninterrupted since prehistoric times. Finds in the area certify the existence of settlements of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages in the lakeside area. In historical times the region is identified with the passage from Greece to the East and is of strategic importance. This has contributed to the existence of archaeological finds from a variety of cultures and eras.

According to the list of declared archeological sites and monuments of Greece, 77 archeological sites have been characterized in the area that cover the whole time range of the human presence in the area, from prehistory to the modern period. To these 77 spaces are added 7 Holy Monasteries and monasteries as well as 22 traditional buildings.

The places and monuments of the area, which have a remarkable tourist interest, are:

– The Byzantine and Ottoman monuments of the area such as the castle of Rentina, the Tower of St. Basil, the Byzantine and Ottoman baths

– The sites and monuments of the classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, such as the building complex of Sebastia in Zagliveri, the traces of the Egnatia Odos, ancient remains of Apollonia and Arethusa.

– The Christian and early Christian monuments, which include: The step of the Apostle Paul, the I.N. of St. Marinas as well as the other Churches designated as monuments.


The geothermal field of Mygdonia is known and has been used continuously since ancient times. Exploitation of hot and thermal waters for tourist use, is done today in two areas where the homonymous baths of Langadas and her operate. Apollonia.



The area presents a strong cultural activity which is related to its rich local tradition, customs and traditions. Most events take place in the context of religious festivals, while others have their roots in ancient Dionysian ceremonies. During the summer also in all municipalities are organized cultural events (theaters, concerts, dances), as well as festivals related to primary production.


Lake Kerkini National Park



The area according to the Kallikratis Program includes part of the areas of two municipalities of the regional unit of Serres: the municipality of Iraklia and the municipality of Sintiki. More specifically, the municipality of Iraklia includes the municipal unit of Iraklia with 5 settlements, while the municipality of Sintiki includes the municipalities of Kerkini with 10 settlements, Petritsi with 6 settlements, Agistro and Promachonas with 1 settlement respectively.




Rupel is a narrow strip of land formed by the river Strymon, between the mountains Beles and Agistro Its length is about 11 km and its width varies from 500 m to 2 km. Fort Rupel is located at an altitude of 322 m near the village Promachonas. It is the largest of the 21 fort complexes built along the entire Metaxa line with a length of 2500m. The battle of the fort began on April 6th 1941 and it was finally surrendered to the Germans on April 10th 1941. Today Fort Rupel functions more as a monument, a tourist attraction where visitors can see part of the forts and visit the Fort Museum.


Fort Istibei is 16 km far from Neo Petritsi. It is about 250 meters from the Greek-Bulgarian border, and it is located at an altitude of 1,339 meters. The fort in combination with the forts Aspri Petra and Stirigma was a base used  against Petrich Bulgaria.


In the prefecture of Serres, there are two natural thermal hydrotherapeutic springs: the thermal spring of Sidirokastro and the thermal spring of Agistro with therapeutic indications for rheumatism, arthritis, skin diseases and general diseases of the joints. Both springs are located within the wider area of ​​Lake Kerkini National Park.




-Tsartsidis Historical and Folklore Museum


-Museum of Paleontology


-Byronia Aquarium




-Holy Hermitage of Timios Prodromos


-Holy Monastery of Agios Georgios



The Kerkini Wetland Information Center is located in the settlement of Kerkini, 53 km northwest of the city of Serres and 95 km from Thessaloniki. Access is easy, especially by road, and from both cities there are two access roads to the area.

Delta Axiou (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Delta Axiou (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Mussel Farms of Halastra (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)
Mussel Farms of Halastra (Credit: Management Unit of Protected Areas of Central Macedonia)


Websites of Programs/Actions of the Management Body:

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