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WWF Hellas campaign for Aegean wetlands February 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Nature.

The Greek branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF Hellas) on Thursday launched a campaign to save remaining Aegean island wetlands, announcing the initiative a day before World Wetlands Day on February 2.

After a two-year study, WWF Hellas concluded that ecosystems most at risk on Greece’s Aegean islands are the wetlands, which it said cover some 40 square kilometres on 50 islands, not including Crete. Of some 342 wetlands recorded on these islands, at least 25 have been completely destroyed and many others have been irreparably damaged, the group said.

The results of the survey will be presented during a series of events held on the island of Kos for World Wetland Day, organised in collaboration with local authorities and Dodecanese highschool education authorities.

Those in charge of the survey said the problems were caused by intense pollution, reclamation, filling in wetlands for construction and their overexploitation and misuse. The main types of wetlands found on islands are the estuaries of seasonal torrents, estuary marshes, coastal swamps, salt marshes, lakes, salterns, streams and springs.

WWF Hellas underlined the importance of Aegean wetlands, stressing that they were rare and valuable ecosystems in the semi-arid island environment, a home for many rare types of plants and animals and a resting place and refuge for millions of migratory birds.

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