Lake Alyki and Chortarolimni: The important wetlands of Lemnos island
The value of the wetland
The wetland of Lakes Chortarolimni and Alyki, with a total surface area of 1.800 ha, is formed by a group of three lakes and their wider area. It occupies the island’s north –eastern section and part of the marine area, which accounts for 70% of its total surface area and ancompasses the reefs of Keros and Petalidia to the east of Lemnos. The area of sea which is proposed as a marine park is largely shallow, with depths not extending beyond 20 meters.
A coastal salt marsh covering about 1.600 acres of land. Between Alyki and the sea there is an area of dunes stretching along 2 kilometers and 100-150 meters in width. The narrowness of the sand dunes, the vigorous action of the waves and the filtering of water through the dunes are the factors which contribute to the feeding of Alyki with sea water. In winter there is abundant water and Alyki resembles a lake, while in summer the water evaporates and the area fills with congealing salt, thereby becoming a salt marsh.
A seasonal, brackish swamp with a surface area of 230 ha. Its waters recede during the summer period.
Asprolimni, which covers a surface area of just 50 ha and is separated from the sea by the thin of sand dunes, is located between Alyki and Chortarolimni.
The wetlands geographic position is extremely important for migratory birds that use the wetland as an intermediate resting place and a wintering site. As a coastal island wetland, the group covers three of the categories included in the “endangered” habitats at the Mediterranean level.
Explore the wetland
Explore the wetland throughout the year, discover and photograph important –at the European and global level –habitats, fauna and flora that are protected under Directive 92/43/EEC.
Visit the wildlife observatories in order to see rare birds protected under Directive 79/409/EEC.
Swim and immerse yourself in the magic of the deep waters.
The types of natural habitats that you may identify in the area, according to the classification of the Natura 2000 network, are the following:
- Lagoon (Priority habitat)
- Shifting sand dunes on the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria
- Mediterranean salt marshes (Juncetalia maritime)
- Phrygana (Sacropoterium spinosum)
- Depressions between sand dunes with reed and rush beds. They have only been recorded in 8 areas of the Natura 2000 network in Greece
- Sand dunes with the sclerophyllous scrub Cisto –Lavenduletalia. They only exist in 4 areas of Greek Natura 2000 network
- Forest with Quercus macrolepis. Residual forest of cultivated oak.
124 birdlife species have been recorded in the area, of which:
35 are included in Annex I of Directive 79/409 and are strictly protected in order to secure their survival and breeding,
72 are of particular interest at the European level,
56 are included in the Bonn Convention “on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals”,
119 are included in the Bern Convention “on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats”,
29 are included in the Red List of Threatened and Rare Animals and
33 are included in Convention for the protection of Eurasian and African migratory water birds (AEWA).
Did you know that?
- Alyki is the only natural salt lake of that size in the whole of Greece that is almost in an ideally natural condition?
- The largest seasonal concentration of flamingoes in Greece (more than 4.000 individuals) has been recorded in Alyki, making the area one of the most important in the Mediterranean for the species?
- As a coastal island wetland, the group of three lakes belongs to the category of wetlands of which 90% have already disappeared from the Mediterranean basin?
- The wetland is one of 100, maybe even less, sites in Europe where the species Falco naumanni (lesser kestrel) breeds?
From the book «Management and Rehabilitation of biotopes Hortarolimni -Alyki Lake», 2006, Municipality of Moudros -Limnos