Mount Smolikas (2.637m)
This area of the Natura 2000 network includes almost the entire mountainous mass of Smolikas (19,975 hectares) from the Kerasovitikos River and the Vounion to the north to the Aoos River in the south and the Samarinian stream to the east to the Kleftis peak (1846m) to the west. 90% of the area of this Natura 2000 site belongs to the Prefecture of Ioannina and specifically to the Municipality of Konitsa and the Communities of Distratou and Fourkas, while 10% belongs to N. Grevena.
It is characterized by subalpine meadows, extensive black pine forests and less spruce, exquisite forests and clusters of rosemary, beech forests, and the lower altitudes of forests of various types of oak, gradually expanding to the deserted fields. This area of the Natura 2000 network maintains exquisite habitats of rare species of wildlife, such as bears, geese, wild boar, some raptors and birds. Since 2005 Smolikas joins the North Pindos National Park.
Mount Tymphi (2497m)
To the south of the wider region of Konitsa and to the boundaries with the region of Zagori lies the Tymfi mountainous massif, the highest peak of which is “Gamila” (2497m). The western ends of this mountain, including the steep slopes of the “Ploskos” (2377m), “Drakolimni” (2080m), “Lapatos” (or Lazaros) (2254m) and “Tsouka Koula” (1529m), belong to Konitsa .
It includes Mount Vasilitsa (2.249m) from the villages of Avdella and Smixi to the east, to Distrato to the west and to the Aoos River to the south. It has an area of 8,012 hectares, of which 60% belongs to N. Grevena and 40% to N. Ioannina (mainly in the Community of Distratos). The geological background consists of flysch and ophiolithos. It is located in the middle of the mountainous zone that connects RD Psidou (Valia-Kalda) with Smolikas. As far as vegetation is concerned, it includes alluvial meadows, coniferous forests (mainly black pine and sparse forests and beautiful clusters of rosemary), beech forests and others. This area of the Natura 2000 network maintains exquisite habitats of rare species of wildlife, such as the bear. Since 2005 Vasilitsa is part of the North Pindos National Park.
Mount Grammos (2.521m)
The part of Mount Grammos on the Natura 2000 network has a total area of 34,468 hectares and is distributed to the prefectures of Ioannina and Kastoria. 45% of it belongs to N. Ioannina and includes only land from the wider region of Konitsa (Municipality of Mastorochoria & Community of Aetomilitsa).
In general, this area of the Natura 2000 network includes the major peaks: Grammos (or Tsouka al Petsiou) (2.521m), Pogodno or Skirci (2.446m), Kiafa (2.392m), Upper Arrena (2.192m) , Kato Arrena (2.073) m. etc., as well as the catchment areas of the Aetomilitsa, Kefalochori and some of Gorgopotamos streams, until their contribution to Sarantaporos.
At the higher altitudes prevail the subalpine meadows, in the middle of the extensive coniferous forests (black pine and fir) and beech trees and lower and around the oak settlements. This area of the Natura 2000 network maintains exquisite habitats of rare species of wildlife, such as wild goose, bear, golden eagle.
Mount Duskón & Nemertsica (2209m)
It includes the Dusko and Nemertsica Mountains (2209m) located in the southwest of the wider region of Konitsa as well as several stretches south of the neighboring area of Pogoni.
Of the 17,883 hectares of this region, only a small part of its area is located in the area of Konitsa and specifically in the municipality of Konitsa. The rocks are made of limestone and flysch. The vegetation includes beautiful forests of oak, bark and hornbeam, mixed clusters with maple and limestone as well as subalpine meadows at high altitudes. Impressive are the local rocky formations. Interesting is the existence of various species of birds, especially birds of prey, such as golden eagle, safflower, snake, sain.
In the wider area of Konitsa there are some areas that have been institutionalized as Wildlife or areas of temporary ban on hunting. Although in these areas the human presence could be more discreet and special scientific consideration be given to the protection of wildlife, the only restrictions that apply to hunting are usually the same.
Wildlife shelters may be included in other protected areas, such as National Parks, National Parks and Natura 2000 sites, since their establishment does not necessarily exclude hunting. Wildlife Refugees and areas of temporary ban on hunting in the wider region of Konitsa are located in the gorge of Aoos, Tymphi, Trapezitsa and the south of Smolikas, between the villages of Papes and Armatas. Other Wildlife exist in the Sarantaporos valley between the villages of Pyrgos and Pyrsogianni and in the mountains of Grammos, namely the steep rocks near the village of Zakati and the forests and plateaus of Aetomilitsa.
The wild fauna of the wider region of Konitsa is rich in both a large number of species and the presence of rare and protected species in accordance with Greek and European legislation. Almost all large mammals in mainland Greece are rare, such as Ursus arctos, Canis lupus, Felis sylvestris, Lutra lutra, Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica, (Capreolus capreolus), or more common, such as wild boar (Sus scrofa), show remarkable populations in the region. Of the 161 species of birds in the area, birds of prey, especially Neophron percnopterus, Aguila chrysaetos, Falco pereginus, Hieraetus pennatus, Circaetus gallicus), and Falco biarmicus. Also noteworthy are the presence of woodpeckers, such as the large black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) and the Balkan woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriaca) and several other species of birds such as the Alectoris graeca, the Parus montanus and the Tichodroma muraria).
Five distinct types of characteristic ecosystems, distinct from the prevailing vegetation, are spread across the wider region of Konitsa.
At low altitudes (375m to 700m) we encounter ecosystems of evergreen sclerophyllous scrub, above oak ecosystems (700m-1000m), at medium altitudes (1000m to 1600m) coniferous and beech forests, at high altitudes (1600m to 2000m) ) and at higher altitudes (2000 – 2637 m) subalpine and alpine meadows. These ecosystems are quite often spread over relatively large areas or form mixed sets, giving the form of a composite mosaic whose individual motifs stand out from the particular color of the foliage of the various trees that make up it.