Samaria National Park - Greece

Basic Information
Site Name
Samaria National Park
Short name
Samaria
Country
Greece
Keywords
Atlantic and Mediterranean high energy infralittoral rock
biodiversity
Coniferous woodland
ecopotential
endangered species
meteorology
Protected sites
Regularly or recently cultivated agricultural, horticultural and domestic habitats
Site Description
Samaria (White Mountains) National Park is located on the West part of island of Crete and was declared as a National Park via a Royal Decree in 1962. It is a muli-designated area and specifically a National Park, Landscape of Outstanding Beauty, Natura 2000 site coded GR 4340008 and GR4340014 and Biosphere Reserve in the framework of the “Man and Biosphere” Programme of UNESCO. It has been awarded with the European Diploma of Protected Areas of the Council of Europe. Also a hotspot for biodiversity and a place with a strong and important anthropogenic environment (history, special songs, traditions, etc.). It contains one of the largest gorges in the Balkans, Samaria Gorge, with a total length of 13 km while nine main gorges are located within the area of the White Mountains. These specific landscape configuration schemes sustain unique abiotic and biotic environmental characteristics, most of them unknown, because of the site’s wilderness and difficultness for direct scientific filed work. The specificity of the area can be easily identified in numbers: 58.454 ha, altitude ranging from 0-2.454m, more than 50 summits higher than 2000 meters a.s.l., 14 different types of habitats, approximately 40% of the entire extent of the county of Chania. Mean Annual Rainfall is between 600mm to 2000mm depending on the elevation. The entire area comprises one of the two main environmental lungs of Crete and a configuration leading to the current meteorological and hydrological conditions set in the western part of the island. President of the National Park is Dr. Petros Lymperakis, researcher from the Natural History Museum of Crete (lyberis@nhmc.uoc.gr). The National Park is characterized by a rich biodiversity, a high degree of endemism in fauna and flora, distinctive geological configurations and specific landscape features. Distinctive species of fauna found in the area are: the Cretan wild goat (Capra aegagrus cretica), the largest mammal of the island, the Cretan wildcat (Felis sylvestris cretensis) and a species of mouse (Acomys minous) which is considered to be rare. The rich avifauna of the area includes 69 species, with Gypaetus barbatus among others. The area houses 172 endemic species and subspecies, while 97 of them are endemic to Crete and 24 are specifically endemic (steno-endemic) to smaller areas. Some of the most distinctive species are: Cephalanthera cucullata, Nepeta sphaciotica, Bupleurum kakiskalae and Zelkova abelicea. The past 2 years a complete survey has begun in order to identify the Park’s central environmental characteristics. Nowadays, the monitoring system is comprised by: 1) Monitoring and surveillance of 15 terrestrial habitats and 34 species of flora. 2) Monitoring and surveillance of 256 species of avifauna. 3) Monitoring and surveillance of all possible species of fauna, including coastal and marine species. 4) Monitoring and surveillance of two marine habitats. 5) Recording of meteorological and hydrological conditions via four (4) meteo-stations located in the vicinity of the National Park and transmittance of data through the internet. The basic threats and pressures characterizing the site can be cumulated in: Α) Landscape fragmentation Β) Desertification induced by overgrazing and uncontrolled fires C) Modifications in water and groundwater regime induced by large scale infrastructures D) Poaching and uncontrolled abstraction of endemic species of flora E) Massive touristic flow and F) Relative medium and large-scale touristic infrastructures.
Last modified
2020-06-29 10:06:57
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
Site Status
Operational
Year Established
1962
Purpose
Samaria National Park (White Mountains) Management Body was established according to article 13 of Law 3044/27-08-2002 (Government Gazette, Issue A 197). Its operation began in April 2008 with the employment of the first personnel and the startup of the Project “Management and Operation of Samaria National Park”, Measure 8.1, Operational Program “Environment”, of the 3rd Community Support Framework, 2000-2006. The legally-prescribed responsibilities of the Management Body (MB), according to article 15 of Law 2742/07-10-1999 (Government Gazette, Issue A 207) are: 1) Drawing up and implementing management regulations and operation of their areas of responsibility. 2) Care for the collection, classification and processing of environmental features and data for their areas of responsibility, as well as compiling the related evidence and data bases. 3) Provision of expert opinion prior to the pre-ratification of finding sites and ratification of environmental terms and actions in their areas of responsibility. 4) Assisting competent administrative and judicial authorities in controlling the implementation of environmental law. 5) Studies and research as well as the implementation of technical and other works included in the management plan and which are essential for the protection, restoration and showcasing of the protected regions of their areas of responsibility. 6) Drawing up and implementing projects for national and European programmes. 7) Information, education and training of the public in environmental issues (creation of an Information Centre, training programmes, convention, conferences, educational seminars, publications, etc.). 8) The promotion, support, organization and implementation of ecotourism programmes. The issuing of a quality and collaboration certifications to businesses within the protected regions. 9) The management of public land given to the MB or rented by it. 10) For the fulfilment of its purposes, the MB cooperates with all the relevant authorities of the European Union and the international organizations, the relevant national authorities, public law legal entities, local administration organizations, as well as any other organization of the broader public sector. The above mentioned organizations and services ought to assist the MB with its work, providing any necessary information. The MB can cooperate with domestic and foreign educational institutes, research centres, and organizations working on the same or relative scientific fields, nongovernmental organizations, and natural or legal entities working in the fields of the MB responsibilities.
History
Samaria National Park (White Mountains) Management Body was established according to article 13 of Law 3044/27-08-2002 (Government Gazette, Issue A 197). Its operation began in April 2008 with the employment of the first personnel and the startup of the Project “Management and Operation of Samaria National Park”, Measure 8.1, Operational Program “Environment”, of the 3rd Community Support Framework, 2000-2006.
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Geographic
Size
58454.00ha
Elevation (average)
1860.00msl
Elevation (min)
-50.00msl
Elevation (max)
2454.00msl
Affiliation and Network Specific Information
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