MedINA has successfully completed the inventory and documentation of four small scale –but also highly important– wetlands on the island of Kythera. MedINA has been working in Kythera since 2016 for its INCREAte project and the scientific team began to work on a rapid assessment of the island’s natural environment. In this context, and while dealing with the island’s water resources , the team soon realized that the island’s wetlands have not been adequately documented in the past, neither were they included in Ygrotopio, the electronic database for island wetlands that’s been created by WWF Greece.
Therefore MedINA’s team, led by Dr. Nicos Georgiadis, aimed to fill in this gap and, after adequate fieldwork, proceeded to include the record and delineation of the four wetland sites in Ygrotopio. The four wetlands were found in the following locations; Kakia Lagkada Beach, Paliopoli Lake, Agios Nikolaos and Skafidi.
The Kytherian wetlands range from 1.7 to 45 acres in size, while they occupy an area of 58 acres, covering just 0.02% of the total area of the island. With the exception of the Skafidi wetland (KTH004), which has undergone some alterations, all others are in good condition with the natural environment / landscape largely undisturbed. It should be noted that the wetlands of Kythera meet the requirements of Article 13 (3) of Law 3937/2011 (conservation of biodiversity) and are hence, protected by it. In addition, the wetlands of Kakia Lagada (KTH001) and Agios Nikolaos (KTH003) are located within the boundaries of the Special Protection Area GR3000013 “Kythera and surrounding islets”, while the former is within the limits of the only Wildlife Refuge on the island (code: K924) but also within an area designated as a Landscape of Special Natural Beauty (code: AT1011005).
Every terrestrial body of water, in Mediterranean islands, regardless of its size, is important for biodiversity as well as for the human activities practiced around it. Although Kythera has only small wetlands in terms of size, they nonetheless do play an important role in flood protection, in supporting with their deposits agricultural land and the beautiful beaches around and in front of them, in acting as buffers that stop the inflow of sea water in the aquifers, while at the same time they offer aesthetic values that enhance both the well being of the inhabitants and the island’s touristic capital. Regarding fauna and especially avifauna, the census and protection of each body of water is of particular importance, considering that Kythera is an important stepping stone for the resting and feeding of many migratory birds.