Zelkova abelicea : Conservation of Zelkova abelicea in Crete (2014-2020)

Conservation of Zelkova abelicea in Crete

Zelkova abelicea (Lam.) Boiss. (Ulmaceae) is of outmost scientific and conservation interest as it is a Tertiary relict species and an endemic tree of the Mediterranean island of Crete, Greece. It is found in open, mountain forest communities between ~800 and ~1,800 m above sea level in all mountain massifs of Crete in the Lefka Ori, Psiloritis, Kedros, Dikti and Thripti. All these populations are significantly threatened by overgrazing and browsing by goats and sheep, soil erosion, drought, fire and the cutting of young branches for making “Katsounes”, the traditional Cretan walking sticks. Given the level of threat to various populations, Z. abelicea has been included as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is protected by the Greek legislation (Presidential Decree 67/1981), the Bern Convention (Appendix I) and is also included in Appendices II and IV of the European Habitats Directive (92/43).

In 2010, the Botanic Garden of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), in collaboration with the Natural History Museum Fribourg and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (United Kingdom), initiated an interdisciplinary project (project ZELKOVA) to undertake the scientific review and coordinated conservation actions on the relict tree genus Zelkova.

In 2014, the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania in partnership with the University of Fribourg and in collaboration with the four Forest Directorates of Crete (Chania, Rethymno, Heraklio and Lasithi) implemented the first phase (2014-2016) of a project entitled: “Conservation of Zelkova abelicea in Crete” and are currently implementing its second phase (2017-2020). This partership is funded by the Fondation Franklinia (www.fondationfranklinia.org).

See all the article and the video here

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The Natural Environment & Climate Change Agency would like to inform you that the Gorge of Samaria, tomorrow Wednesday September 28th, will be accessible to visitors for the entire length of the route from both entrances. However, given the weather instability of the last few days, we would like to inform you that, as is the case during the entire operation period of the National Park, if information is received about weather phenomena that may put in danger the visitors and the personnel of the National Park, the Gorge will be closed immediately and visitors will be asked to exit according to the instructions of the rangers.

In the event that it is considered necessary, there will be an updated press release.

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