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Corpus Systématique Animale

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Environmental problems from practicing agriculture in Prespa National Park, Greece

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  • M. D. Pyrovetsi 1
  • P. A. Gerakis 1
  • 1) University of Thessaloniki, 54006, Thessaloniki, Greece

Prespa National Park is situated at the northwestern corner of Greece bordering Yugoslavia and Albania and covers 25,690 ha of which 8,114 ha are lake. The remaining area is forest, rangeland and arable land in the vicinity of twelve villages. The objectives of the park authority are to preserve the wetland with its special fauna of rare bird species, its flora, the geomorphological formations of the lake and the natural environment. The nucleus of the park is comprised by Lake Mikri Prespa and the surrounding wetland. It is in this wetland that an exceptional assemblage of rare and endangered species breed. However, the park is recently undergoing rapid development of its agroecosystems in terms both of higher subsidiary energy inputs, notably irrigation, and of acreage, i.e. of substituting some of the wetland for cropland. The objective of this study was to assess the potential environmental hazards from practicing agriculture in the park and to propose measures of abatement. Assessment was based on field surveys, administration documents and interviews. Cropland is not intensively used at present. Two thirds is covered by winter cereals and the remaining by other row crops (beans and potatoes). There are no deciduous orchards. Practices are carried out without regard for environmental conservation. Farmers' attitudes towards the wildlife range from indifference to hostility because they attribute the lag in their economic development to the past restrictions imposed by the National Park Administration. The main environmental consequences from the ongoing agricultural development in Prespa are assessed to be a dramatic increase of nonpoint agricultural pollution of the lake, with phosphorus and pesticides as the primary pollutants. Moreover, accidents in the use of pesticides may lead to immediate deterioration of the nucleus wildlife habitats. Since irrigated agroecosystems are there to stay and grow in subsidiary energy, measures are needed to prevent harmful consequences. Such measures are the alleviation of the land ownership problem, adoption of cultural practices to limit soil erosion, rational use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and education of farmers. It is concluded that the internationally invaluable natural ecosystems of the park are definitely threatened by the development of the irrigated agroecosystems. The measures proposed will limit this threat and at the same time will help to perpetuate the productivity of the agroecosystems themselves.

Catégories Science-Metrix
  • 1 - natural sciences
  • 2 - earth & environmental sciences
  • 3 - environmental sciences
Catégories INIST
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
  • 4 - ecologie animale, vegetale et microbienne
Catégories Scopus
  • 1 - Physical Sciences ; 2 - Environmental Science ; 3 - General Environmental Science
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