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CyprusEnvironment

New concern over Akrotiri wetlands

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The Limassol Bishopric’s centre for environmental research and education (Kypkee) on Wednesday expressed its concern over the Akrotiri wetlands as a result of it not being drained and dry as it should normally be at this time of year.

According to the announcement, the Akrotiri wetland is protected by the Ramsar convention and is especially fragile and vulnerable in fluctuations that disturb its hydrological cycle and equilibrium.

Such fluctuations have a knock-on effect on the water’s salinity and on other abiotic factors who in their turn, impact the ecosystem’s biotic factors as well as it’s fauna and flora, it said.

“Unfortunately, it has been found that nearby developments and the management of rainwater that reaches the area have considerably altered the amounts of fresh water reaching Makria Lake and its salt marsh, resulting in the dramatic change of some plant communities and habitats that respond to the entire ecosystem,” Kypkee said.

Additionally, the life cycle of the microscopic Branchinella spinosa shrimp, food for flamingoes, is being affected with unpredictable consequences for the entire ecosystem, it added.

The announcement, signed by Kypkee’s scientific director Dr Andreas Hadjichambis, highlights that the preparation of a strategic environmental impact study was essential in considering new developments, area specific pressures and their chain effects, as well as changes in the amounts of rainwater and other biophysical factors.

Moreover, the redevelopment of the Aplostra beach front (Lady’s Mile) should not be considered independently from the ecological integrity of the Akrotiri wetland, it said.

“Constant vigilance for this internationally important wetland is thus necessary, as well as the appointment of a management body, as per international practices in protecting areas under the Natura 2000 network, who will continually monitor the implementation of an integrated and detailed management and monitoring plan for the important species and habitats of the entire area,” Kypkee said.

It added that Kypkee research personnel have conducted detailed and extensive surveys for both the Akrotiri wetland and Aplostra beach and were willing to contribute their expertise in the rational management of the ecosystem of the Akrotiri area and Aplostra beach.

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