Republic of Cyprus
Department of Forests

Protected Forest Areas

Natura 2000 Network

The Natura 2000 Network is an ecological network of protected areas, covering all Member States of the European Union, with the main objective being the preservation of biodiversity throughout the European Union. This is achieved through the long-term conservation of rare species and habitat types.

The Network consists of "Special Areas of Conservation" in accordance with the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), for the protection of habitats and species and "Special Protection Areas" under the Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) for the protection of avifauna. The Network covers about 18% of EU land and 6% of sea territories.

In Cyprus, to date, the Natura 2000 Network covers 62 sites. Forty of these areas (2 exclusively marine ones) have been included under the provisions of the Habitats Directive, initially as "Sites of Community Importance" which are progressively being declared as "Special Areas of Conservation". Thirty areas have been designated as "Special Protection Areas" under the Birds Directive,. It is noted that eight of these areas also coincide with "Special Areas of Conservation".

The number of sites is expected to change due to the plan to add part of Liopetri to the Network, and because of the merging and extension of four areas of the Pafos forest. Both of these areas are Sites of Community Importance.

The total of ​​the 62 land areas found in the Natura 2000 Network adds up to several km2, representing the area under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus. 60% of the area is located within state forest land. Eleven sites have more than 90% of their land within state forests. These are Cedar Valley - Campos (CY2000008), Stavros tis Psokas - Karkavas (CY4000012), Agiatis (CY4000011), Platis (CY2000007), Troodos (CY5000004) as well as Limassol forests (CY5000001), Macheras (CY2000004), Stavrovouni (CY6000004) and Pafos (Special Protection Area). Additionally, 72% of the Akamas Peninsula (CY4000010) and 66% of the Madari - Papoutsa area (CY2000005) are located within state forests.

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Micro-reserves are small protected areas of ​​great ecological value. Micro-reserves have been adopted very recently as a conservation tool for the protection and management of threatened species, especially of flora, and their habitats, occurring over small expanses of land. The idea of ​​micro-reserves was developed in the 1990s in Spain, and has been successfully implemented in other European countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Slovenia. Micro-reserves are areas of up to 20 hectares, selected because they host endangered species or other important biodiversity features.

It is a modern approach and a very effective way of protecting species, especially in Cyprus, because of the small size of the country and the great economic value that land has acquired.

The creation of a micro-reserve network allows for the continuous monitoring and the implementation of conservation measures in an effort to protect important parts of the populations of rare, threatened and endemic species, as well as to enhance biodiversity.

Relevant actions in Cyprus

In Cyprus, through the LIFE project "Establishment of a Network of Plant Micro-Reserves for the Protection of Species and Habitats of Priority in Cyprus" (PLANT NET CY, LIFE08 NAT / CY / 453), five micro-reserves of plants found in Natura 2000 sites have been recorded as follows:
• Akamas, in the Avakas gorge, for the protection of the rare endemic Centaurea akamantis.
• Asgata, south of the village, for the rare endemic Astragalus macrocarpus subsp. lefkarensis.
• Mitsero for the conservation of the threatened orchid Ophrys kotschyi.
• Two sites in the Tripylos area, in the Cedar Valley, one for the endemic oak habitat (9390 *, Shrubs and low clusters of Quercus alnifolia) and the second for the habitat of endemic cedar (9590 *, Forests with Cedrus brevifolia) and for the endangered endemic Arabis kennedyae.

The Department of Forests participated as a partner in this project, with the key role of implementing specific conservation actions for areas located within State Forests.

Legal Framework

The revised Forest Law, i.e. the Forest Law of 2012, provides (through Article 16) for the designation of suitable State Forest land to natural micro-reserves when the area contains one or more rare species of flora or fauna or other element of nature with national, regional or global interest, with the ultimate goal of protecting rare species and biodiversity.

Three of the five recommendations made by the PLANT NET CY project, located within State Forest land and managed by the Department of Forests, have already been declared as natural micro-reserves under the Forest Law. Also, the selection of other areas that qualify as natural micro-reserves for hosting rare and endangered species is being considered.


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