The SWS Europe Chapter produced a Declaration on the Protection of the Lake Ohrid Ecosystem at its 13th annual chapter meeting, April 30 - May 4, 2018. The Declaration recognizes the important ecosystem services provided by the wetlands of the Lake Ohrid system and how the health of these are tied to the economic well-being of the Ohrid area. The Declaration thus calls upon the local and national Macedonian authorities to develop tourism attractions and activities in a way that will also help maintain and even enhance the well-being of the environment which is a basis for the local economy.
The SWS Europe Chapter had previously endorsed Lake Ohrid Day. Lake Ohrid is the most ancient lake of Europe, located in Macedonia along the border of Albania. Since major disturbances to the lake have been minimal, it still exhibits excellent water quality and high biodiversity, including the presence of numerous endemic plants and animals. However, the Studenchishte Marsh, on the shores of Lake Ohrid is only a small remnant of the vast wetlands that once bordered the lake. This precious wetland is now threatened by plans to convert it into a tourist destination by building large tourism infrastructure. The characteristic status and important ecosystem services of this wetland were presented as a highlight during the annual meeting of SWS Europe in Potsdam, Germany in May 2016 by Dr. Nadezda Apostolova from Macedonia. She was the lead author on an article in SWS's Wetland Science and Practice about this subject. SWS has also officially expressed its concern in letters to the responsible authorities at a regional and national level. In fact, these actions have received attention in the major national Newspaper Dnevnik and on Macedonian public radio. We endorse Lake Ohrid Day and pay tribute to Studenchishte Marsh today! Find out more about Lake Ohrid at: https://ohridsos.wordpress.com/