In recognition of the importance of Prespa’s habitats, the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) completed a two-year study on the Natura 2000 habitat types to be found in the Prespa National Park in 2010 to2011. Natura 2000 is an EU network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitat types which are protected in their own right. It stretches across all 27 EU countries, both on land and at sea. The aim of the network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed under both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.
Under the study, 49 different habitat types, with 29 important and 7 priority habitat types (according to ANNEX I of the Habitats Directive) were identified in Greek Prespa, as well as their importance and the threats that each habitat faced in detail, focusing on specific proposals for conservation for several forest and pastoral habitats. The habitat types were not only within the Prespa National Park in Greece but also outside its boundaries, as important and priority habitat types were observed to extend beyond the existing boundaries and were being affected by activities originating outside the national park.
The study has since formed a crucial and robust basis for the SPP’s lobbying and advocacy work with regard to habitats, and was partially updated for shoreline habitats in 2021. In addition, a synthesis study of shoreline habitats at transboundary level in all three countries was also produced under a PrespaNet project (Strengthening NGO-led Conservation in the Transboundary Prespa Basin) in 2021. The updated habitat type map produced by the 2011 study also formed a firm scientific basis for a grazing management plan for Prespa produced by the MBPNP and the Regional Authority of Western Macedonia in 2015, aiming at the regulation of spatial grazing activities within the Greek Prespa National Park and, more importantly, based on the capacity of each habitat type.