In the beginning of June, the HSPN purchased a new 4WD vehicle, a SUZUKI GRAND VITARA. The HSPN is the project coordinator, and this vehicle will be used to cover transportation needs of the entire project team for visits to the National Park of Mt. Oiti as well as Mt Kallidromo. The main criteria leading to the selection of this vehicle were: a) its competitive price, compared to similar vehicles of other manufacturers; and b) the security it provides in the field. After the end of the project in 2017, the vehicle will remain in the possession of the HSPN, to be used for other fieldwork.
Conservation of priority forests and forest openings in "Ethnikos Drymos Oitis" and "Oros Kallidromo" of Sterea Ellada, LIFE11 NAT/GR/1014
On Sunday, June 23th, the group visited the high altitude plateaus, where the three temporary ponds are located. They were accompanied all-day-long by Georgios Karetsos, the manager of IMFE and deputy Scientific Coordinator of the project, and Christos Georgiadis, the Project Manager. During their visit to one of the temporary ponds they had the opportunity to observe the sampling methods used for monitoring the endemic Veronica species of Mt. Oiti (Veronica oetaea*) and received information about the flora of the temporary ponds by the researcher Pinelopi Delipetrou. Additionally, our ornithologist, Charalampos Alivizatos provided information about the monitoring of the local avifauna.
On June 14, 2013 the first meeting of the project stakeholders was held in Lamia. The meeting was attended by representatives of the local government, of community organizations, of farmers and hunters as well as members of local environmental NGOs. During the first part of the meeting the project activities were presented in detail by members of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature and the University of Athens. During the second part, members of Stakeholders Committee expressed their views on the needs and constraints for the management and conservation of the project area.
On June 7, 2013, the Inception Report of the project was submitted to the European Commission. This report is very important for all LIFE projects, because the Commission decides according to it, whether to continue funding. This report is the first of five that must be submitted throughout the implementation of the project.
On 11 and 12 May 2013, scientists from the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, the University of Athens and the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems visited the project area. Specifically, the field investigation was focused on the temporary ponds in the Oiti National Park and Mount Kallidromo. In the Oiti National Park the scientific team also visited the area of priority habitat with Juniperus foetidissima (9560 *). During this visit, the team observed Veronica oetaea * just flowering in one of the temporary ponds of the Mt. Oiti National Park.
Since November 2012, the ornithologist of the project, with his colleagues, have been visiting Mt Oiti every month. After March, the vistis increased to twice a month. Efforts are made to locate the target species of the project, mostly with the use of taped calls. Up to now, all the target woodpecker species have been detected (Picus canus, Dryocopus martius and Dendrocopos leucotos), as well as two more species (Picus viridis and Dendrocopos minor). Other species of note include raptors such as Aquila chrysaetos and Circaetus gallicus. During the next months, visits will include all parts of the Mt. Oiti SPA, in order to estimate the populations of the 5 target species and to study their habitat requirements and threats.
Despite the adverse weather conditions, members from the project team of the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems and Forest Products Technology managed to visit habitat type 9560* on Mt. Oiti. The purpose of this visit was to collect vegetative parts of Juniperus foetidissima appropriate for grafting on 3-year-old individuals of Cupressus sempervirens. During the current vegetative period only some 150 individuals will be grafted, as a trial. Dependent on the results, large-scale grafting will be carried out in the coming years of the project.
Members of the project team attended the board meeting of the Management Body of the National Park of Oiti, which was held on Tuesday, March 12, at the offices of the Body in Loutra Ypatis. The team members presented in detail the actions included in the project. During the discussion the two parties agreed to cooperate on specific issues and actions for the protection of the area.
Approximately sixteen thousand Cypress Cupressus sempervirens seedlings are being grown at the Institute of Forestry Research of Athens. Seedlings will be used as rootstocks for inoculation with grafts from Juniperus foetidissima. Then, they will be transplanted on Mt. Oiti to enrich and conserve the specific habitat type (9560*) on the mountain.
The project’s Scientific Coordinator, Mr Kyriacos Georghiou, Associate Professor at the National and Kapodestrian University of Athens, presented the project to the members and friends of Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature. More than fifty people attended the presentation which took place at the HPSN’s offices. There followed a lively discussion, during which the project team replied to the questions of the audience. Many of the participants expressed their willingness to provide voluntary support for the project, as needed. They also asked for visits to the project areas to be organized for the member of the HSPN.