Management Body of Chelmos-Vouraikos
The Protected Area of the National Park and UNESCO Global Geopark of Chelmos-Vouraikos, extends to the prefectures of Achaia and Corinthia and is bounded by the watersourses of the rivers Vouraikos, Krathis, Aroanios and the coastal zone of Diakofto. Its total area comprises about 647.000 acres.
The enormous ecological interest of the National Park is due to its floristic richness, as it hosts a high number of plant species – including Greek endemic, endemic of Peloponnese and local endemic species – many of them are either included on IUCN’s global Red Lists of Threatened Species and/or are integrated into an international protection regime. The aforementioned for the floristic richness are combined with the extensive presence of fir and black pine forests, as well as forests of broad-leaved oak to a lesser extent, giving a distinct ecological and aesthetic value to the mountainous landscape. The fauna of the region is also remarkable both at National and European level, including a large number of insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
The Global Geopark of Chelmos-Vouraikos is one of the six regions of the country that have joined to the UNESCO Global Geopark Network. The Global Geopark Network has so far consisted of 169 sites in 44 countries of the world and includes special areas of geological heritage or geo-diversity of global importance. Geoparks, as an idea, combine conservation with sustainable development and the involvement of local communities.
The Protected Area of Chelmos-Vouraikos has an exceptional geological history and hosts unique landscapes that combine with cultural heritage and excellent scientific, educational and tourist infrastructure such as the Cave of the Lakes with the 13 amazing underground lakes, the spring waters of the Aroanios river in Planitero, the Gorge of Vouraikos river with the outstanding Odontotos rack railway Diakopto – Kalavrita, the beautiful mountain lakes of Tsivlou and Doxa, the mythical waters of Styx, the facilities of the Environmental Educational Centre of Kleitoria – Akrata, the facilities of the Ski Center, the Aristarchos Telescope and others.
Responsible for the conservation, protection and good management of nature and landscape biodiversity of the area, as a natural heritage of national and global importance, is the Management Body of Chelmos-Vouraikos, established in 2002 and supervised by the Ministry of Environment and Energy. The Natura 2000 Areas included in the area of responsibility of the Management Body are four Special Areas of Conservation (1. Oros Chelmos and Ydata Stygos – GR2320002, 2. Vouraikos Gorge – GR2320003, 3. Kalavrita Aesthetic Forest – GR2320004, 4. Spilaio Kastrion – GR2320009), as well as a Special Protection Area for Birds (Vouraikos Gorge and Kalavryta Region – GR2320013). The most important, among other, actions of the Management Body are the programs of recording and monitoring of abiotic and biotic parameters of threatened ecosystems and of important and rare species of flora and fauna in the area, the organized environmental education programs as well as the guided tours within the National Park.
The protection and rational management of the area with the excellent natural, geomorphological and geological heritage, the development and stimulation of local socio-economic activities through the promotion of the region’s distinct character (natural and cultural resources, tradition, local cuisine) and the active participation of the residents and local authorities are among the most important objectives of Chelmos-Vouraikos Geopark.
HISTORICAL FOLKLORE COMPANY PHELLOE
The historical folklore company Phelloe is a historical research forum focused on the history and folklore of the Municipality of Aigialeia, in the Prefecture of Achaia, Peloponnese.