SPA Central Zagori and eastern part of mount Mitsikeli
Central Zagori and eastern part of mount Mitsikeli (GR2130011)
National Name: Kentriko Zagori kai anatoliko tmima orous Mitsikeli
This is a mountainous and hilly area extending from the southeast foot of mount Tymfi to mount Mitsikeli, north of the lake of Ioannina.
Landscape and biodiversity
Mitsikeli is dominated by Kermes Oak habitats, mainly occurring as shrub formations due to long-term grazing, while at certain sites, especially in the most humid areas, pure broadleaved deciduous forests are formed. Central Zagori is dominated by broadleaved oaks, but mostly at a distance from villages since long-term firewood collection has resulted in significant habitat degradation. Protected forests near churches or forests dedicated to saints at certain localities around the villages are an exception to this and are very important for breeding raptors, woodpeckers and songbirds. The north part of Mitsikeli is steep, wet and covered by mixed forests as well as firs. These forests are also important nesting sites for raptors which forage in mountain grasslands and pasturelands. To the west, the southern edge of Vikos (Vikaki) forms gorges hosting rare species that nest on rocks and cliffs. Finally, the central and north part of the area is covered by extensive, tall and productive forests of Black Pine, King Boris Fir and beech that are mixed at places, and by Bosnian Pine.
An important area for species associated with forest and agroforestal and grassland habitats like Ciconia nigra, Falco naumanni, Falco vespertinus, Falco peregrinus, Pernis apivorus, Neophron percnopterus, Circaetus gallicus, Circus macrourus, Aquila chrysaetos, Hieraaetus pennatus.
The main human activities are agriculture, livestock breeding and forestry.
A major problem for the area’s habitats is the abandonment of traditional land uses (livestock breeding and agriculture) that have structured the landscape for centuries. This has led to the gradual forestation of open land, the homogenisation of agroforestal landscapes and the reduction of habitat mosaic, especially of those ecosystems at the foot of the mountain which are mostly important for shrikes and raptor species. Scavenging raptors in the area are directly threatened by the illegal use of poisoned baits as well as by the reduction of food availability due to the closure of landfills and the stricter regulations regarding the abandonment of animal carcasses and slaughterhouse remains in the countryside. Thus the operation of feeding tables is considered necessary. Furthermore, continuous road construction through montane grasslands, forest fires, illegal hunting and the often unsuitable forest management (logging of mature trees, intensive management) also comprise important threats.
• SPA and SCI: GR2130008 Oros Mitsikeli (8,436 ha, 18 %)
• SCI: GR2130004 Kentriko Tmima Zagoriou (33,115 ha, 65 %)
• NP: Northern Pindos (194,646 ha, 88 %)
• EA: Lake Pamvotida (41,655 ha, 8 %)
• WR: Ag. Athanasios - Sipitoura (Asprapangelon - Elatis) (333 ha, 0.7 %)