Lake Pamvotida is an ecosystem that receives various anthropogenic pressures and at the same time is an important natural and economic resource for both the urban and the rural area of the Ioannina Basin. The lake is 7.5 km long, between 1 and 4.2 km wide and has an area of about 23 km2. The maximum depth is about 5 m and the maximum is 9.5 m. Lake Pamvotida is an ecosystem that functions simultaneously as:
- important source of water for irrigation.
- recipient of liquid waste, mainly from livestock units (poultry and pig farms),
- recreation area for the urban complex of Ioannina and
- tourist sight.
These functions (especially the first two) contribute to the intensity of the pressures received by the ecosystem, while the last two presuppose its protection and upgrading.
The importance of the lake, in terms of its remarkable natural environment, is reinforced by the fact that it has joined the European Ecological Network of Special Conservation Areas “Natura 2000” with code GR2130005. The lake is home to 9 species of amphibians out of 1 7 species in Greece, of which 2 species are strictly protected – the crested newt (Triturus cristatus) and the yellow moth (Bombina variegata). The contribution of the whole ecosystem is also important for the protection of reptiles, as 24 species have been recorded, of which 5 are strictly protected – two freshwater turtles, the curb turtle and three species of snakes. The greatest importance of the basin for the protection of biodiversity is focused on the conservation of 133 species of birds, such as herons, egrets, ducks, circuses, eagles, etc., of which 34 are strictly protected by Community and Greek Legislation. 20 species of mammals have been recorded in the lake basin, of which 3 are strictly protected and finally 25 species of Orthoptera, Lepidoptera and Coleoptera have been recorded. Of these, the butterfly Euphydras aurinia is strictly protected, while two species of Orthoptera Dolichopoda graeca and Chorthippus lacustris with a strong downward population trend, are endemic to Western Greece.