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The 8th Micro-Reserve in the Micro-Reserve Network of Endnagered Plants of Crete is now a fact!

 

The Micro-Reserve Network of rare and endangered plants (MAF) of Crete started with 7 MAFs in the Prefecture of Chania and was created in the framework of the program "CRETAPLANT: A Pilot Network of Plant Micro-Reserves in Western Crete" (LIFE 'CRETAPLAN7' 2004) and was the first attempt to implement in Greece the new idea of ​​the MAF for the protection of endangered and rare species of Greek flora.

The National Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Forestry Directorate of Chania and CIHEAM-MAICh participated in the project. The MAFs created as part of the 'CRETAPLANT' project are located in: Elafonissi, Chania for Androcymbium rechingeri, on the island of Agria Gramvousa for the Anthemis glaberrima daisy, in the area of ​​Linoseli (Kakia Skala) for the orchid Cephalanthera cucullata, in the Fournoti gorge, Chania for Hypericum aciferum, on Mount Svourichti at Lefka Ori (White Mountains) for Nepeta sphaciotica and in Chrysoskalitissa, Chania for the habitat of the palm tree Phoenix theophrasti (more information at: "https://cretaplant.biol.uoa.gr/">https://cretaplant.biol.uoa.gr). The MAFs of CRETAPLANT were protected according to the current legislation with their characterization as Permanent Wildlife Reserves by the decisions of the General Secretary of the Region of Crete (Government Gazette ΦΕΚ 201/τ.Δ’/2009, ΦΕΚ 226/τ.Δ’/2009, ΦΕΚ 234/τ.Δ’/2009, ΦΕΚ 235/τ.Δ’/2009). Horstrissea dolinicola is endemic to Greece as it grows only in Psiloritis (Mount Idi) in central Crete at an altitude of about 1,500 m, and nowhere else on the planet.

In addition, the Horstrissea genus is one of the few (5-6) endemic genera in Greece. Due to its limited spread and the threats imposed on the species, it has been classified as CR (Critically Endangered) according to the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is included in the Red Data Book of Rare and Endangered Plants of Greece. It is included in the TOP 50 Plants of the Mediterranean Islands according to a team of experts (IUCN/SSC).

The idea for the 8th MAF in Petradolakia in the Municipality of Anogia, Rethymno for the Horstrissea dolinicola plant started in the framework of the CARE-MEDIFLORA program 2016-2019 "http://www.care-mediflora.eu/">www.care-mediflora.eu), which was implemented in Crete by the Mediterranean Plant Conservation Unit of CIHEAM-MAICh, which concerned actions for the conservation of endangered plants of Crete inside and outside their natural environment, including actions for the Horstrissea dolinicola plant.

The 8th MAF was created to protect the largest part of the plant's habitat, covering an area of ​​38,076.31 sq.m., and it consists of 4 separate locations at the site of "Petradolakia" Mount Idi - Psiloritis, Municipality of Anogia. The MAF was designated by a decision of the Coordinator of the Decentralized Administration of Crete as ‘Protected Natural Formations’ (Government Gazette ΦΕΚ 250/τ.Δ’/2020).

The contribution of the Forestry Directorate of Rethymno, the Technical University of Crete (in the investigation of the institutional framework) and the Municipality of Anogia, as well as the farmers of the area who agreed to help protect the plant and removed their livestock facilities, was very decisive.

The whole effort is a unique example of sustainable development in the Region of Crete. Following the CARE-MEDIFLORA program, the continuation of the plant conservation activities until 2022 is funded by the Mohamed bin Zayed (MbZ) Fund for the Preservation of Species, accepting a proposal from the CIHEAM-MAICh Mediterranean Plant Conservation Unit (more information at: https://www.speciesconservation.org/case-studies-projects/horstrissea-dolinicola/23456). As part of the new actions, a fence has been placed on an experimental surface for the study of the plant as well as an information panel about the Micro-Reserve.