LIFE-Stymfalia - Sustainable management and financing of wetland biodiversity – The case of Lake Stymfalia

LIFE12 NAT/GR/000275

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Contact details:

Contact person: Dimitrios Dimopoulos
Tel: 302103288293
Fax: 302103335429
Email: dimopoulosd@piraeusbank.gr

Project description:


Lake Stymfalia, in Southern Greece, is a mountainous Mediterranean-type inland wetland with freshwater fens. It provides an important refuge for migratory birds and for breeding, passage and wintering waterbirds. The area of the small shallow lake fluctuates seasonally. During the droughts of the 1990s, the lake dried out entirely and was subsequently cultivated by the people of the nearby villages. The water of the lake is drained by the natural karst and by intensive water drawing for the surrounding cultivated areas. Artificial drainage is a commonly used method to temporarily reclaim fertile land for cultivation. Groundwater and surface abstraction from the springs within the wetland has reduced the area and the depth of the lake considerably; the reedbeds have expanded to a great degree.

The lake is an important habitat for a significant number of species of concern, including eagles and other raptors, egrets, herons, bitterns, ibises, patridges and terns, as well as providing a stopping point for migratory birds. Within Lake Stymfalia and its surroundings are also found the endemic fish taxon Pseudophoxinus stymphalicus, endemic Greek plant taxa and a diverse vertebrate fauna.


The main objective is the establishment of a sustainable management and financing system for an important but degraded wetland ecosystem (the Natura 2000 network site, “Limni Stymfalia”, which is also a site with cultural importance, well-known from the myth of Hercules) in order to improve the conservation status of target species and wetland habitats and to ensure a viable scheme that will, in the long term, finance all necessary management activities.

The project’s specific objectives include:

  • Restoration of important wetland habitats based on the ecological requirements of target species;
  • The creation of conditions for the financial sustainability of the wetland’s management and conservation (exploit for profit the surplus biomass from reedbed management and divert a profit portion to the site management);
  • Raising stakeholder awareness; and
  • Engaging the local community in the sustainable management of Lake Stymphalia.
  • Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following results:

  • Α management plan (general protection guidelines for the site);
  • A series of special action plans and operational plans (directions and objectives for the conservation of target species and their habitats);
  • A feasibility study (for the continuation of wetland/reedbed management after the end of the project);
  • Establishment and operation of a local management unit for the surveillance of on-site actions;
  • Implementation of reedbed management;
  • The management and/or restoration of important habitats and target species;
  • Standardisation of know-how obtained from the conversion of reeds into a product to partially or totally cover the financial needs for the long-term management of Stymfalia and other wetland sites (procedure and guideline development);
  • Development of a model for businesses that wish to invest in producing energy from wetland biomass and return a percentage of the profits to sustainably finance the management needs of the site;
  • Establishment of a farmers’ network to introduce concepts such as payments for ecosystem services, organic farming etc; and
  • Public awareness and dissemination actions.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Freshwater


protected area‚  wetlands ecosystem‚  restoration measure

Target species

 Ardea purpurea   Aythya nyroca   Botaurus stellaris   Ixobrychus minutus   Phoxinellus stymphalicus   Plegadis falcinellus   Rhinolophus ferrumequinum   Rhinolophus hipposideros   

Target Habitat types

  • 8210 - Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
  • 92D0 - Southern riparian galleries and thickets (Nerio-Tamaricetea and Securinegion tinctoriae)
  • 3150 - Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation

Natura 2000 sites




Coordinator Piraeus Bank SA
Type of organisation Large enterprise
Description Piraeus Bank leads a group of companies covering all financial and banking activities in the Greek market. Its Environment Unit coordinates environmental programmes. In 2009, the green banking sector, which includes the Green Banking Products Division, was established for the promotion of green investments. In 2011, the bank’s Environmental Management System was certified under EMAS and ISO 14001:2004.
Partners MSIK( Municipality of Sikyonion, Greece Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving, Greece Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP), Greece Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation, Greece OIKOM - Environmental Studies LTD, Greece


Project reference LIFE12 NAT/GR/000275
Duration 01-OCT-2013 to 28-SEP -2018
Total budget 2,013,290.00 €
EU contribution 1,006,646.00 €
Project location Peloponnisos(Ellas)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version