Action D1. Monitoring of the impact of management on the structural parameters of the reedbed in Lesser Prespa Lake (2018 – 2020)
During the last decades, and as a result of the absence of both traditional and conservation-orientated vegetation management, wet meadows’ total cover in the lakeshore of Lesser Prespa has declined and has been replaced by reedbed, dominated by either Phragmites australis or Typha angustifolia. Thus, one of the main goals in the Prespa Waterbirds LIFE project is the restoration of wet meadow vegetation communities via management which includes both the usage of mechanical machinery (mowing) and grazing on reedbed areas. To assess the effectiveness of the applied techniques, both in the structure and floristic composition, a monitoring scheme has been created and implemented.
The absence of a negative trend in the density of both species can be attributed mainly to the lack of subsequent submergence of the mowed shoots, as a result of the low water levels recorded in Lesser Prespa during management implementation. Moreover, the differences between plots were larger than the difference between years on individual transects as a result of the wide range of environmental conditions found in the management areas. In addition, previous studies have demonstrated that the reedbeds of Prespa are of high productivity thus, in the absence of a significant stressor factor (submergence), the harvest of the reed has a limited impact on the regrowth of the reedbed. The continuation of the management practices during the following years of the LIFE Prespa Waterbirds project is of high priority for the successful restoration of wet meadow vegetation.