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Athens News Agency: News in English, 12-02-14

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek recession at 6.8 percent in 2011
  • [02] Greek wetlands important habitats for Cormorants

  • [01] Greek recession at 6.8 percent in 2011

    AMNA---The Greek economy was in deep recession in 2011, running at an annual rate of 6.8 percent, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Tuesday.

    ELSTAT, in flash estimates, said that the recession averaged out at 6.8 percent for the year after GDP plunged by 7 percent in the fourth quarter of the year, 5.0 percent in the third quarter, 7.3 percent second quarter, and 8 percent in the first quarter of 2011.amna

    More specifically, ELSTAT said that available non-seasonally-adjusted data indicate that, in the 4th quarter of 2011, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant prices of year 2005 decreased by 7.0% in comparison with the 4th quarter of 2010.

    The dramatic deterioration in the Greek economy is mainly attributed to a veritable 'freeze' in private and public investments, and to a drastic decline in consumption demand, while an increase in exports and reduction in imports provided a small counter-balance.amna

    The Greek finance ministry had initially predicted recession at 2.8 percent for 2012, but the forecasts now anticipate a more than 3.5 percent decline in growth, resulting in a cumulative recession of 4-5 percent for 2012-2013.amna

    Greece is currently in its 5th year of recession, given GDP declines of 0.15 percent in 2008, 3.3 percent in 2009, 3.4 percent in 2010, and 6.8 percent in 2011.

    [02] Greek wetlands important habitats for Cormorants

    AMNA--Cormorants (Phalacrocorax) are regular visitors to the regions of East Macedonia-Thrace and Central Macedonia, which are important wintering sites for them but also host resident populations.

    The East Macedonia-Thrace National Park contains the Ramsar-protected wetlands of the Lake Nestos delta, Lake Vistonida, Lake Ismarida (Ismaris, or Mitrikou) and adjoining lagoons, and the wider region, and covers an expanse of approximately 181,500 acres, which host wintering and resident populations of the endangered Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax Pygmeus), the Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) and the European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis).amna

    In fact, Greece is the only EU member where Pygmy Cormorants breed, while the most important wintering areas in Greece are the large wetlands of Thrace and Macedonia provinces.

    Greece has 10 sites designated under Ramsar as "Wetlands of International Importance", among them the "Nestos delta and adjoining lagoons" and "Lake Vistonis, Porto Lagos, Lake Ismaris and adjoining lagoons" in east Macedonia-Thrace, and artificial Lake Kerkini in central Macedonia, all of which are important wintering habitats for passing and biotopes for resident cormorants.amna

    The "Lake Vistonis, Porto Lagos, Lake Ismaris and adjoining lagoons" site (Ramsar site no. 55) encompasses two previously separate Ramsar sites (Lake Vistonis and Lake Mitrou) which were later merged to form the current site, which includes a wetland complex, encompassing a coastal lake (Vistonis), the Porto Lagos saline lagoon, six shallow saltwater adjoining lagoons separated from the sea by a sandy beach, and a freshwater shallow lake (Ismaris). The coastal lagoons are fringed by saltmarsh, extensive mudflats, reedbeds and scrub, and freshwater marsh. The area is important for breeding birds, and large numbers of various species of waterbirds occur in winter. This is a wintering habitat for the Pygmy Cormorant and the Great Cormorant, while Lake Ismaris, the only freshwater lake in Thrace, hosts a resident colony of Pygmy Cormorant.amna

    The "Nestos delta and adjoining lagoons" site (Ramsar site no. 56), is an extensive delta complex, including saltmarshes, freshwater lakes supporting nationally rare plant species, coastal lagoons, a dune system, and the largest remaining area of riparian forest in Greece. The delta is the most important breeding site in Europe for about 40 pairs of plover and supports various species of nesting and up to 50,000 wintering birds, including four pairs of the globally threatened sea eagle Haliaetus albicilla. It is a wintering site for the Pygmy Cormorant and the Great Cormorant, and hosts resident colonies of the Pygmy Cormorant and the European Shag.amna

    The "Artificial lake Kerkini" (Ramsar site no. 58) near the border between Greece, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia, is a nutrient-rich, freshwater reservoir in an alluvial plain between mountain massifs, supporting extensive beds of floating vegetation and subject to wide variations in water level. The site includes mudflats, seasonally flooded forest, and sand banks, and supports the largest mixed nesting colony of waterbirds in Greece. Numerous species of waterbirds occur in winter and during spring and autumn migration periods, including several globally threatened or endangered species. It is a wintering site for the Pygmy Cormorant and the Great Cormorant and also hosts resident populations of both.

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