Action A.7: Study of Juniperus foetidissima population and forests (9560*)

Juniperus foetidissima is the characteristic species of habitat 9560* (Photo: G. Karetsos)

This action includes a study of the composition and structure of Juniperus foetidissima forests (9560*) and of the population of Juniperus foetidissima which is the characteristic (diagnostic and dominant) species of the habitat 9560*. The results will be used in order to draw specifications for the restoration of Juniperus foetidissima forests on Mt. Oiti (action C.5).

The composition and structure of the population of Juniperus foetidissima will be studied within the Natura 2000 site of the National Forest Park of Mt. Oiti (GR2440004). The distribution of Juniperus foetidissima will be mapped, including the trees in habitat 9560* as well as the isolated stands which do not constitute discrete vegetation units of the habitat 9560*. Geological substrate, exposure and inclination, as well as vegetation type will be recorded at each location. Population size and age structure will be estimated either by direct count or by population density estimation, depending on the applicability of the method (based on the distribution pattern and the roughly estimated population size). The sampled individuals will be classified according to size class (height and diameter at breast height). Gender composition (dioecious male, dioecious female, and monoecious) and reproductive effort (seeds per reproductive tree) will be estimated by random stratified sampling of 50–100 individuals within the habitat 9560* and of 50–100 individuals at isolated stands. Seedling and sapling density will be estimated on line transects placed within the habitat 9560* (the methodology of transect placement will depend on preparatory field observations).

The results will provide an assessment of the conservation status, habitat preferences and regeneration potential of Juniperus foetidissima on Mt. Oiti.The composition and structure of Juniperus foetidissima forests will be studied by 5 plots established on Mt. Oiti and also by a review of relevant data in Greece. The results will also provide a set of keystone species of the habitat.

The compilation of specifications for restoration (action C.5) will include:

  1. A feasibility study and guidelines for the restoration of habitat 9560* based on the results regarding the regeneration potential and habitat composition and structure (e.g., protection of seedlings and saplings, enhancement of the female and dioecious plant population, and establishment of keystone species including potential nurse shrubs).

  2. The selection and delimitation of restoration sites for re-introduction of Juniperus foetidissima forests taking into account the results of distribution mapping and habitat preferences of Juniperus foetidissima and the proprietary rights of the candidate sites.

  3. Guidelines for the establishment of new individuals of Juniperus foetidissima.

  4. The layout and technical details for planting.

reasons why this is necessary: 

There is few data on the composition and structure of Juniperus foetidissima forests in Greece, and scarcely any data at all regarding its regeneration. Knowledge of the composition and structure of this habitat is necessary in order to determine its conservation status and in order to draw specifications for the re-introduction of the habitat.

Moreover, the regeneration ability of Juniperus foetidissima is a vital component of the regeneration ability of the habitat, and thus of its long-term conservation. In particular, the unbalanced gender composition is a serious threat, also identified in sand dune juniper habitats. Thus, this knowledge is a prerequisite in order to draw specifications for the conservation and restoration of Juniperus foetidissima forests.

In conclusion, this action is necessary for the implementation of action C.5 and will also provide the monitoring parameters for action D.3, as well as the minimum monitoring parameters for long-term (after-LIFE) monitoring of both the existing and the re-introduced habitat. In addition, the results of this action are expected to be useful for the management of the habitat at a European level since there is a lack of relevant data.

expected results: 
  • Report on the conservation and structure of Juniperus foetidissima forests and of the population of the species, including its regeneration potential. 

  • Specifications of a monitoring protocol for Juniperus foetidissima forests for action D.3 and for after-LIFE monitoring.

  • Feasibility study and specifications for the restoration of Juniperus foetidissima forests (action C.3).

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