A three-year pioneering project aims to initiate concrete conservation actions to counter threats to the important wetland of the Oroklini Lake in Cyprus. The Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment of Cyprus, an IUCN Member, is a partner in this project.
The Oroklini Lake is a shallow, brackish wetland formed on an area of marine deposits located in the Larnaka district. It is included in the Natura 2000 Network as a Site of Community Importance (SCI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA).
It is classified as SPA mainly for two nesting species: the Himantopus himantopus and the Vanellus (Hoplopterus) spinosus, both in the Birds Directive Annex I species. There are a further 58 Annex I species that stage at the site during migration (in spring or autumn) or over winter, and 36 non-Annex I regularly occurring migratory species, especially waterbirds. A total of around 190 species have been recorded at the site.
The protection of the Lake is very important for the conservation of these species and their habitats. There is a management plan for the Lake whose main objective is to bring the Lake to a Favourable Conservation Status (FCS) in relation to the species for which the site was selected. The main actions involve addressing the main threats to the site such as disturbance, lack of water management, control of invasive alien species, as well as lack of awareness about the importance of the site and its protection status.
A number of communication activities have been planned which will help to raise public awareness through notice boards at the site, a visitor information point, a photo competition and a volunteer “Clean Oroklini Day” among others. Towards the completion of the project it is expected that Oroklini Lake will also become a tourist destination attracting many visitors.
This project began in January 2012. It is co-funded by the EU’s LIFE programme with the Game Fund as lead beneficiary, BirdLife Cyprus as coordinator, along with the Oroklini Council and the Environment and Forestry Departments of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment of Cyprus.