Stefanos Dodouras, Irene Lyratzaki and Thymio Papayannis
Culture and Wetlands in the Mediterranean. Using cultural values for wetland restoration: Lake Karla Walking Guide
This innovative walking guide has been created in collaboration with local and regional authorities, civil society, academia and other key stakeholders. It aims to record, celebrate and publicise knowledge of the area’s natural and cultural heritage, assist in the development of alternative types of tourism and, ultimately, promote sustainability. Along with studying the history of Lake Karla, a number of example ecosystems from around the world have been considered in the selection of characteristic walking routes. These trails, embracing the local flora and fauna, archaeology, history, religious sites, traditional activities, and cultural and aesthetic landscapes, have been carefully chosen and described to best reflect the area. In the long term, such a guide can –indirectly– contribute to developments that act in harmony with the culture and nature of the area, including opportunities for leisure and recreation, enhancement of the area's biodiversity, and the promotion of environmental education programmes designed to encourage visits from schools, social groups and other concerned individuals.
Lake Karla used to be one of the most diverse Mediterranean wetlands; a productive ecosystem of significant ecological, economic and socio-cultural value. The lake, as it originally was, was purposefully drained in the 1960s, with terrible consequences. Nowadays, Lake Karla is once more becoming an important part of the region’s everyday life, while the construction of a shallow artificial wetland area on its northern shores will further assist in protecting and promoting the local natural and cultural heritage. The walking guide tells the story of Lake Karla, both as it was and as it is today.
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