Climate Change

Wetlands are some of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. The imminent temperature rise, the decrease of precipitation and the higher frequency of extreme weather conditions are expected to cause significant changes to the ecosystem’s functions. The fluctuation of the water level of the Lesser Prespa Lake, besides the obvious consequence of the reduced availability of water for irrigation purposes, affects all the functions of the ecosystem and more specifically the wet meadows extent, therefore the availability of spawning areas for the fish and feeding grounds for the birds. At the same time, the possible unpredictable prolonged droughts are expected to increase the risk of reed bed fires, significantly affecting the birds’ breeding success, as well as degrading the landscape, which consists of one of the most important assets, this area should conserve. For this reason, climate change, is an important parameter which has to be taken in consideration by the LIFE-Prespa Waterbirds project during the planning of the conservation actions.  More specifically, the reed management actions will take into account all the possible scenarios on the extent of the low lake water levels and the frequency and magnitude of the droughts. Through the project, the risk of the climate change effects will be estimated, as well as measures for the adaptation of the ecosystem will be proposed. Practically, a wetland «vulnerability» to climate change protocol will be created, which will be accompanied by respective management measures. This is expected to be a useful tool for other Mediterranean wetlands too, and for this reason it will be presented to relevant authorities and site managers.