The Forest – Aquatic Ecosystem of Nestos River is located on the western side of Kavala and it is the natural and geographical border between Macedonia and Thrace. It is an ecosystem of international importance so it is protected by the international Ramsar Convention and it is included in the Natura 2000 network.
In the hilly part of the ecosystem, also known as the "Straits of Nestos", you can see the river flowing through impressive geological formations, the meanders, a unique phenomenon for Greece. They have been proclaimed an aesthetic forest and wildlife refuge and they are the habitat of rare and endangered species of fauna and flora. Bird watching, hiking, canoeing - kayaking and rafting are some activities that are possible in the area.
The plains area of this ecosystem consists of the Delta of Nestos and the lagoons of Keramoti and Agiasma. It is a total area of 55,000 hectares and it has been classified as a National Park (including the lagoons of Vistonida, Ismarida and Thrace) .The protected wildlife sanctuary covers a total area of 490 hectares. The aquatic ecosystem is a stopover for migratory birds, many of which are rare. The area also shelters many mammals, reptiles, insects and fish.
In the past, the area was covered by a large riverine forest, known as the "Great Forest" or "Koca Orman." This forest was created by the periodic flooding of the river. In 1950 and 1960 a big part of the forest was deforested and the land was used for the cultivation of populus. With the adjustment of the riverbed of Nestos, the surrounding areas stopped being flooded with water and thus the Great Forest became even smaller.
The forest of Nestos covers an area of 1975.30 hectares, out of which 935.90 hectares are forested areas, 443.00 hectars are areas with wild vegetation, 15.8 hectares are farmland, 131.60 449,00 hectares are bare land and 449.00 hectares are barren land.
In order to satisfy the needs of scientists and naturalists who are interested in observing and learning more about this ecosystem, various projects take place in this unique aquatic ecosystem: The creation and operation of Information Centers, the construction of tour paths, the re-flooding of some parts of the riverbed, the continuous protection of the ecosystem and others.