Friday, February 6, 2015

Sperchios River Riparian Habitats: Winter survey

Early February in the Sperchios Valley (Mount Iti framing the landscape). I fear without real enforcement, most remaining riparian woods will be lost.

Sperchios River in Winter

Just 200 Kms north of Athens is the Sperchios Valley. The Sperchios river runs for about 80 kms long through the valley. There are many tributaries, now most are swelling with snow-melt and rainwater run-off. The river is called Sperchios from the ancient Greek verb "spercho" meaning "to rush". It is a flashy flooding rush, forcing tons of sediment towards the sea.  I am fascinated by its riparian zones. The river has some of the most extensive and most interesting riparian woodlands along its main stem. Here, on a two day winter survey, I provide some snap shots. 

Study site at Hani Panetsou in full winter flow (Kapsiotiko Stream at 450 m a.s.l).

Study site at Hani Panetsou in full winter flow. Note Greek Firs in very narrow riparian edge. 
Study site at Hani Panetsou: Landscape - Oak woods dominate in these headwater stream tributary valleys.
Study site at Hani Panetsou: Oriental Planes Platanus orientalis. Sacred trees.

On of the over 60 tributary streams of the Sperchios: This one near the village of Platistomo (Fysinas Stream). 
Oriental Plane forest near Paliouri Village - the width of the forest here is about 280 meters on the Left bank a this mid section region of the river.

Full flow near Rodonia. One of the largest Platanus woods in the valley; many alders Alnus glutinosa here also.

The old river tributary meandering into the Delta (at the Highway Bridge) upstream of ELKE factory.
Flooded fields in Delta (City of Lamia in background).

White poplars Populus alba downstream of ELKE factory. We heard a Syrian Woodpecker here. 

White poplars Populus alba downstream of ELKE factory.
White poplars Populus alba and willows downstream of ELKE factory.
White poplars Populus alba.
White poplars Populus alba  with Phragmites reeds, downstream of ELKE factory.

Waters after flood; downstream of ELKE factory. Waters smelly from factory discharges. 
White poplars Populus alba .

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