Forestry officials have ordered a three-year ban on cattle grazing around two alpine lakes in the northwest of the country for environmental reasons, the Environment and Energy Ministry said on Thursday.
The ban covers an area of 354.4 hectares in the Zagori region, around lakes Drakolimni and Rizina.
The ministry said the ban would stem the environmental degradation of the lakes caused by uncontrolled grazing around them. The presence of cattle had resulted in the partial or full destruction of plants as well as the soil erosion in the alpine lake region as well as the pollution of the wetlands from high levels of ammonia.
Cattle grazing also threatens the habitat of wild goats, which are under national and EU protection.
Drakolimni, which lies at an altitude of 2,050 meters, in particular is designated a special protection area (SPA) for wild birds in the EU’s Natura network. The lake, considered to date from the Ice Age, is a habitat of unique alpine newts (Ichthyosaura alpestris).
The ministry said that it would work with the Region of Epirus to create watering holes for cattle outside the exclusion area. [AMNA]