SPA Filiouri valley

Koilada Filiouri Special Protection Area GR1130011
The site of Filiouri valley is located in north-east Greece next the border with Bulgaria. The Pomak villages spread in the site belong to the Arriana municipality. The site encompasses the catchment of Filiouri river with deep and steep valleys.

Koilada Filioru map
Filiouri valley (WWF/B. Carcamo)

Landscape and biodiversity
The main vegetation consists of maquis with sparse stands of grazed oak forests. Beech forests with overripe trees are situated near the border with Bulgaria. Plenty of rocky outcrops inside the deep valleys form suitable nesting sites for raptors such as Golden Eagle, Peregrine and Egyptian Vulture. Besides the larger villages such as Kexros, Xloi, Ragada etc, many small villages surrounded by wheat fields interrupt the extensive forest, creating small "oases" contributed to the significant biodiversity of the area.

This is an important site for breeding and passage raptors and species associated with forest and scrub. Species of concern include Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Imperial Eagle, Peregrine and Black Vulture. The whole area is included in the foraging area of Black Vultures who travel from Dadia National Park to forage in the pasturelands of this site. The rocky outcrops of Filouri River are confirmed as roosting sites of Black Vultures.  One active pair of Egyptian Vulture occurs in this site. 

Livestock breeding is the main activity of the local communities who live in the traditional pomak villages. Despite the intensive exploitation of forests for the production of industrial wood and fire wood, there are still groups of mature oak and beech trees, especially in pastures on the ridges of the hills or the inaccessible slopes and streams.

Traditional livestock practices (WWF/B. Carcamo)

The illegal use of poisoned baits for the control of foxes or wolves creates serious damage on scavenger raptors populations and territorial pairs of large eagles of the area. Locally, overgrazing has resulted to the degradation of forest and soil erosion. The majority of the wind farms which has been established in Thrace during the last decade are located in this site. Negative impact of these wind farms on vultures, raptors and bats has already been proved based on the monitored mortality. It is expected more risk for the survival of these species, especially of Black Vulture and Griffon Vulture, if the planned infrastructure of a larger number of wind farms will be established.

Conservation status
The Filiouri valley, is included in the networks of the Special Protected Areas, the Sites of Community Importance and the Important Bird Areas.

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