The protected area of the Angelochori Lagoon is located on the land part of the capes of Megalo Karabournou and Tuzla, which define the Gulf of Thessaloniki from the south. Although small in size, this area hosts rich biodiversity and is particularly important for birdlife. 200 species of birds have been observed in this small area, some of which are rare and endangered.
LAGOON AND COASTLINE
The protected area borders the village of Angelochori, a small seaside village, with well-known landmarks the Lighthouse of the Great Piston, but also the Fortress built during the Ottoman Empire in a place that was considered strategically important since antiquity, because it controlled the passage to the bay of Thessaloniki.
The flora of the lagoon area is rich and consists mainly of annual plants. The ditch that surrounds the salt flat is occupied by reeds, but sparta, vourla and daffodils are also found. One of the main species of sand dune vegetation is the sea lily.
The wetland of the Angelochori lagoon is particularly important as a breeding, feeding and resting area for a large number of birds, including protected and endangered species. Among them are: the phoenix, the water swallow, the stork, the reed warbler, the avocado, the lagona, the spoonbill, the copperpox, etc. A total of 200 species of birds have been observed in the area.
At the same time, at least 12 species of fish, 13 species of reptiles and amphibians and 10 species of mammals have been recorded in the area. Also in the marine part of the protected area is the emblematic species of the Mediterranean, the panel, which has recently been included by the IUCN in the protected species as critically endangered
The Angelochori Lagoon is also important for the different habitat types it hosts – ten in total -, which correspond to 11.2% of the habitat types that occur in Greece. The most important of these are two types of priority habitats (ie habitats whose protection and conservation must be a priority of the Member States of the European Union) and which significantly increase the conservation value of this Protected Area. These are the following types of habitats: the “Coastal lagoons” and the “Mediterranean saline steppes”.
The “Mediterranean saline steppes” is a type of habitat extremely rare in Greece, and occurs only in one more area of the Natura 2000 Network, in the Evros Delta. This habitat hosts a great wealth of species, contributing significantly to the biodiversity of coastal and halophyte ecosystems.
The “Mediterranean saline steppes” are dominated by annual plants, especially the grasses Hordeum marinum and Polypogon maritimus, which give the habitat vegetation the shape of a steppe. Also, the habitat is characterized by the high coverage of the perennial species Limonium narbonense. In summer the soil surface acquires a characteristic white color, due to the accumulation of salts.
Sand dunes are also an important habitat type.