Conservation of priority forests and forest openings in "Ethnikos Drymos Oitis" and "Oros Kallidromo" of Sterea Ellada, LIFE11 NAT/GR/1014
This action includes identification and high spatial resolution mapping of all the target habitats of the project in the sites of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo. Mediterranean temporary ponds (3170*), Nardus grasslands (6230*), Pinus nigra forests (9530*), and Juniperus foetidissima forests (9560*) were identified and mapped on Mt. Oiti approximately 10 years ago (1999 – 2000); during the project the existing maps will be updated and new maps will be produced.
Mediterranean temporary ponds (3170*), Pinus nigra forests (9530*), and Festuco-Brometalia grasslands (6210*) will be identified (based on the results of action A.5) and mapped for the first time on Mt. Kallidromo. Differential Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments and Geographical Information System (GIS) software will be used for the survey and map production and update. The high spectral resolution consists of acquiring data in 8 different channels of spectra including the visible, near infrared, but also the 400 - 450 nm part of the spectrum which supports vegetation identification and analysis based upon its chlorophyll and water penetration characteristics.
The acquisition of such data in three different periods will provide a multi-temporal monitoring of the broader area of ponds and grasslands throughout the project duration. In combination with the existing earlier panchromatic air-photographs a full geo-referenced image data archive (see action A6) can be created as a complete base for future reference. The final hardcopy maps will be on a scale of 1:1000 for ponds and grasslands, and 1:5000 for forests, and will include layers with topographic information (including relevant infrastructure such as buildings and roads) and habitat information.
The collected data and the produced geographical data will comprise a digital map and will be published on a network mapping visualisation tool (WebGIS) that can display several thematic layers of geographic information, depending on the user needs. The WebGIS system will be used by the partners to access the data on an interactive digital map throughout the duration of the project, by using an internet connection and loading the website of the project. The high importance of this system stems especially from the quick and accurate projection of the acquired real-time data such as animal movements (tracked in action C3), weather conditions etc. on top of the digital map comprised by the data used for the project. This system is already installed and running on a server placed in the Laboratory of Geophysics at the University of Athens.
The deliverables of action A1 are mandatory tools for planning, implementing and monitoring the conservation actions for the following reasons:
High spatial resolution maps of the current distribution of ponds, grasslands and forests and historical maps will be used in order to assess the process of fir forest expansion at the expense of grasslands and ponds (action A6). Based on this, specifications for action C3 and the initial status for monitoring (actions D1, D2) will be drawn. The existing habitat maps for Mt. Oiti are more than 10 years old, and of too small a scale for the assessment of the relative areas of trees/grasslands/ponds. There are no habitat maps for Mt. Kallidromo.
Habitat maps will: contribute in the sampling design for actions A3 and A5; supply the current area of habitat 9560 for action A7 and the initial status necessary for monitoring in action D3; contribute in the sampling design which will produce specifications for action C5; provide data for action A8 in order to select the exact locations and define the area for action C1 subactions.
Multi-temporal monitoring and the WebGIS tool will be used in: actions D1 and D2; monitoring animal movements in action C3; monitoring weather conditions which will help in scheduling actions C2 and C4.
The WebGIS tool which will be used in action E3 will also facilitate communications between partners (action F1).
High spatial resolution habitat maps can be used, along with satellite images, in order to assess even comparatively small changes in habitat area and will be an efficient tool for after-LIFE monitoring. In addition, the use of new tools for monitoring and visualising collected data will lead to a more systematic and technologically updated organisation of the knowledge about study sites. In particular, the use of newly available GIS technology in small pond monitoring is a demonstration action. If the technique proves efficient, it will facilitate future monitoring by reducing recurring field work.
Two high resolution maps of the target habitats, one for Mt. Oiti and another for Mt. Kallidromo, in printed and electronic form.
Remote sensing image time-series of the area of interest, for detection of environmental changes, as well as quantification of the possible changes.
High resolution reference image and 3D representation.
Collection and unification of all data, including real-time data, in a network based GIS system for instant reference between the project partners.
Mediterranean temporary ponds are, by definition, wetlands that present a seasonal hydrologic period. Ecosystem functions and, consequently, the biota of the ponds depend strongly on the hydrological status. The characteristic flora and fauna species are highly specialised and vulnerable to any changes in hydrology. The establishment of a quantitative assessment of the hydrological functions and the identification of potential direct or indirect modifications require frequent monitoring of the components of the water cycle, and of their effects on the seasonal and interannual variations of the pond water level. In addition, the biological phenomena of the ponds strongly depend on the hydric state and geochemistry of the sediments, the water chemistry, and their interactions. These are also controlled by flooding/drying cycles through soil redox potential changes.
Action A2 consists in a comprehensive study of the geological and hydrogeological characteristics of the temporary ponds on Mt. Oiti (at Leivadies, Greveno, Louka, and north of Trapeza) and on Mt. Kallidromo (at Nevropoli, east of Nevropoli, and at Souvala) in order to describe the surface micro-geomorphology, the underground geological setting, the hydrological conditions and the geochemistry of the ponds. The components of the water cycle of the ponds (geology and geomorphology of the catchment area, rainfall and evapo-transpiration, relationship with underground water) will be investigated. The water cycle interaction with the landscape and the geological basement will be described, the areas of erosion and deposition within the catchment area will be defined, and the interannual changes will be quantified.
A complete base study (points 1 to 6 below) will be made during the first year of the project. This will be followed up in the second year by monitoring of the hydrological cycle (points b to d below) and, should the local situation prove that they are of priority, of water and sediment quality (points 5 and 6 below). The study will include:
- The geological and geomorphological characteristics of the catchment area of the ponds, including mineralogy and geochemistry of the bedrock, the bottom sediments and the efflorescence deposits [evaporites], mainly formed at the lake margins during dry periods. Existing data, e.g. geological and pedological maps will be collected and supplemented by field observations and measurements supported by remote sensing data interpretation.
- Geophysical surveys with electrical resistivity tomography. Through this procedure the geological and hydrogeological conditions will be identified and defined (geophysical stratigraphy, subsurface relief, identification of the hydrogeological regime, etc.).
- Bathymetry of the pools and topography of the surrounding areas using state of the art topographic equipment (DGPS and Real Time Kinematics) and measurement of surface water levels.
- Climatology data, including collection of both historical and current data from the closest existing observation networks and current data throughout the duration of the project collected from in situ meteorological stations. Two automatic meteorological stations will be established on three-meter-high towers, one at each mountain at the most appropriate location regarding the reliability of the measurements. The stations will consist of rain gauge, thermometer, hygrometer, wind anemometer, sunshine recorder and barometer, powered by solar panels and capturing continuous measurements in a data logger.
- Water quality assessment including sampling for: i) nutrients (total phosphorus, total dissolved phosphorus, phosphate, total nitrogen, total dissolved nitrogen, nitrate, nitrite and ammonium) analysed by colorimetric methods; ii) chemical characterisation by measuring major element ions using Atomic Absorbance Spectroscopy [AAS], [i.e. magnesium, calcium, sodium, bicarbonate, sulphate], but also trace elements content using Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy [GFAAS] and Inductive Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy [ICP-MS] [i.e. arsenic, chromium, boron, nickel, strontium, lead, zinc, copper, iron]; iii) in situ measurements of the physical parameters including pH, Eh, electrical conductivity, temperature, Total Dissolved Salts [TDS], Diluted Oxygen with special equipment; iv) measurements of biogeochemical parameters including Chemical Oxygen Demand [COD], Biogeochemical Oxygen Demand [BOD], Total Organic Carbon [TOC] in dry and wet periods. The frequency of the sampling depends on the flooding periods.
- Soil sediment assessment including: i) recording of settling and re-suspension rates, iron, silica, aluminum, phosphorus, sodium, potassium content in surface sediment and suspended soil, using X-Ray Florescence Spectroscopy [XRF]; ii) soluble and insoluble mineral content of the soil [evaporitic salts such as gypsum, thenardite, trona, epsomite, hydromagnesite] using X-Ray Defraction Spectroscopy [XRD], Scanning Electron Microscopy [SEM] and microprobe analysis; iii) organic matter content and different sedimentary fractions with certified equipment.
In order to draw specifications for management actions (actions A3, A4, A6, and A8) and monitor their results (action D1) on the ponds it is necessary to establish the base reference hydrogeological status (initial situation), and the factors that influence it. The results of the study will contribute to the selection of the minimum required parameters to be used as indices for both operational (action D1 and after-LIFE) and surveillance (after-LIFE) monitoring. Also, this data will be used for the interpretation of the interannual variation of the biotic communities of the ponds (Action A3). Finally, the knowledge of the dynamic changes of the geo-environment of the ponds is an invaluable tool for conservation management planning, and will help in understudying and coping with the effects of climate change. Follow up monitoring for a second year is necessary in order to obtain an indication of the interannual variations, which may be significant due to the dependence of hydrogeology on meteorological conditions.
In short, Action A2 is necessary in order to understand how the temporary ponds “work” in terms of temporal and spatial water availability and quality, and what the magnitude of annual changes in these is. Lack of this solid basis may reduce the chances for long term success of the concrete conservation actions. The data will be used by preparatory actions A3 (and thus A6), A4, and A8 in order to draw specifications for C actions.
In detail, action A2 will provide data in order to:
- Select the appropriate time and exact locations for pilot restoration of biotic communities (action C4) and for the enhancement of the population of Veronica oetaea (action C2),
- Design the erosion control measures (action C4),
- Plan the grazing regime of ponds (action C3),
- Plan fencing of ponds (actions C1 and C3),
- Identify the key elements of the hydrological regime of the ponds and detect currently unknown threats, which is vital in designing long term management (action F4).
A report including:
Geo-environmental regime and definition of the dynamic landscape procedures of the surrounding areas.
Detailed analysis of the subsurface basement and definition of the impermeable strata structure which contribute to water accumulation.
Detailed topographical analysis including the dry and wet period changes, but also the micro-changes at the bottom of the ponds during the project.
Definition of the collected water response to the micro-climate conditions.
Time-series for all the water element contents and relationship extraction with the meteorological time-series.
Identification and interpretation of the relationship between the geochemistry - hydrochemistry - vegetation for each of the ponds and the areas between the two mountains.
Specification of a monitoring protocol for hydrogeological indices for action D.1 and for after-LIFE monitoring.
This action concerns the biotic component of the Mediterranean temporary pond ecosystems of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo. It includes a base study which will define the reference state of the biotic communities (plants, amphibians, and invertebrates) and a follow up study during the second year of the project which, in combination with the hydrogeological study data (action A.2), will assess the amplitude and frequency of natural variations in the biota.
Plants: Vegetation structure and flora composition will be studied by 1–3 transects placed so as to cover the spatial succession of the communities of each pond, depending on their area, bathymetry and duration of flooding. Cover-abundance of all flora species will be recorded in quadrats set along the transects. In temporary ponds there is also a seasonal succession of plant communities which follows the water level changes from the wet to the dry phase, so sampling will take place 2–4 times annually, depending on the hydrological characteristics of each pond. In addition, the phenology (germination, growth, flowering, fruiting, dispersal) of the characteristic plants (e.g., Myosurus minimus, Ranunculus lateriflorus, Corrigiola littoralis) will be recorded by monthly or bimonthly observations, and phenological diagrams will be drawn. The phenology of the priority plant Veronica oetaea* will be studied in detail in Action A.4. The results, coupled with the hydrogeological study data (action A.2), will be used in order to describe the vegetation zonation and succession at each pond, identify the characteristic and keystone species of the different plant communities, and determine their relation to the abiotic factors and to their seasonal and interannual variation.
Amphibians: The amphibians that have been found at the temporary ponds of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo are the Annex II 92/43/EEC species Bombina variegata and two species protected by the Bern Convention: Ichtyosaura (Triturus) alpestris and Bufo viridis. The inventory will include larvae sampling by pond net during a specified period in all possible microhabitats, survey of eggs, trapping of adults, and detection of reproductive sites through the identification of mating calls. Surveys will be monthly from spring till the autumn.
Invertebrates: The invertebrate fauna of the temporary ponds of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo is unknown. The freshwater invertebrates that are expected to be present in temporary ponds belong mainly to flatworms (Phylum Platyhelminthes), roundworms (Phylum Nematoda), rotifers (Phylum Rotifera), leeches and freshwater oligochaetes (Phylum Annelida), snails and mussels (Phylum Mollusca), crustaceans (Subphylum Crustacea) and insects (Subphylum Hexapoda). Population surveys will be carried out in sampling quadrats using pond nets and hand collecting. Flying adults of freshwater insects will be surveyed using transects. All surveys will be carried out from spring till autumn.
The results for all the three organism groups, plants, amphibians and invertebrates, will be analysed and possible interactions identified.
There is hardly any data on the composition, structure and function of the biotic communities of the ponds in the study sites. This knowledge is essential for sound management and will identify possible problems (e.g., caused by predation and competition). It is not possible to specify where, with which species, or how, restoration of the communities (action C.4) will be implemented, if their current situation and relations to abiotic factors are unknown. Also, it is not possible to monitor the results of the conservation actions (action D.1) if the initial status of the biotic communities is unknown. This is true for any type of biotic community, but even more so for temporary ponds which present high spatial and temporal variation. In addition, action A.3 will help in the selection of the minimum required parameters for after-LIFE monitoring.
The survey of the biotic communities of the ponds should extend to at least 2 years due to the large interannual variations in hydrology (see action A.2). The vegetation is organised in belts along hydrological gradients. Thus the interannual variation of hydrology causes variation in the spatial succession of plant communities. Moreover, strong interannual variations can also occur in breeding of the amphibians. Data on the interannual, seasonal and spatial succession and phenology of the biota are necessary in order to implement action A.3 and draw specifications for the grazing regime (action C.3).
The survey of the protected amphibians is necessary because:
The temporary ponds are essential for the survival of Ichtyosaura (Triturus) alpestris and Bombina variegata and determinant for the survival of Bufo viridis;
The amphibians are excellent bioindicators as they are very sensitive to physical disturbance.
The survey of the invertebrates is necessary because they consist an important part of aquatic biocenoses (e.g., insects constitute from 60–70% of the total number of species present over a complete hydrological cycle).
A report for the habitat of temporary ponds in Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo describing the plant and animal communities as well as their interactions and seasonal and spatial variation, including the results of the base study which will be delivered at the end of the first year of the project.
A report for the habitat of temporary ponds in Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo with the interannual changes in the animal and plant communities, which will be delivered at the end of the second year of the project.
Specification of a monitoring protocol for the habitat of temporary ponds for action D.1 and for after-LIFE monitoring.
Feasibility study and specifications for the conservation of temporary ponds (3170*): restoration of biotic communities (Action C.4).
This action consists of a 2-year study of the population of Veronica oetaea* at the temporary ponds of Leivadies and Greveno on Mt. Oiti in order to assess the base reference state (initial situation) of the plant.
The phenology of the plant will be recorded by bimonthly observations. Population size will be estimated with the use of a 25x25 cm or 50x50 cm permanent grid by direct count of all individuals in all quadrats during the peak flowering period (middle May to middle June, depending on meteorological conditions). The spatial distribution of the species in the ponds will be coupled to the hydrogeological data in order to determine its special habitat requirements.
Seedling survival will be estimated by monitoring seedlings in 10x10 cm grids within the larger permanent grid. The relative reproductive success and seed rain will be estimated by marking and monitoring individuals from the onset of flowering to the end of fruiting. Soil seedbank will be studied by sample boring, using a 2 cm diameter core at the depth of 5 cm. The samples will be sieved by sieves with suitable mesh and Veronica oetaea* seeds will be counted directly. The percentage of viable seeds will be determined by laboratory germination tests.
The study of population dynamics is essential in order to understand the ecology of the plant and to assess the conservation status of the population and the factors that affect it. This knowledge is necessary in order to propose specifications for sound management measures (actions A.6, A.8) and will provide both the reference state as well as the indices to be monitored in order to assess the impact of management on the plant (action D.1). In addition, the data will be used in order to investigate the feasibility of, and draw specifications for, the enhancement of the population of Veronica oetaea* (action C.2).
Germination data is a necessary complement for the function of the seedbank and a pre-requisite for the production of plants for population enhancement. Phenology, germination and seedling survival data guide the timing and method of the establishment of new plants. Population size and fluctuation and reproductive success data are necessary for conservation status assessment and monitoring. The estimation of the soil seedbank is necessary for the evaluation of population size in case of dormant species, and of the capacity for regeneration after disturbance.
The second year of monitoring is necessary in order to assess the amplitude of the potentially significant interannual variation (see Action A.2) in the plant population parameters. The whole set of data can be used for Population Viability Analysis using a stage-structured and a spatial-structured model, which provide reliable information with few years of monitoring.
- A report on population dynamics and the factors that affect them.
- Specification of a monitoring protocol for Veronica oetaea* for action D.1 and for after-LIFE monitoring.
- Feasibility study and specifications for Veronica oetaea* population enhancement (action C.2).
This action is a study of the vegetation composition and structure of the mountain grasslands of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo in order to establish the base reference (initial situation) state of the habitats and its relation to environmental factors.
Vegetation composition and structure will be studied by transects placed at selected polygons of the habitat, so as to cover both the variation of the various facies and ecological conditions of the habitat, as well as the transition zones to other habitats (i.e., Abies forest, temporary ponds, heaths). It is estimated that approximately 5–10 transects will be placed on Mt. Oiti (20–30 % of the mapped polygons of the habitat) and less or as many on Mt. Kallidromo (where the habitat has not been mapped, so the number cannot be estimated accurately).
Total plant cover and cover per plant layer, as well as cover-abundance of all flora species will be recorded in 10x10 quadrats, set along the transects in late June or July of the first year of the project. Altitude, exposure, inclination, and geological substrate will be recorded at each quadrate. Soil profiles will be made and a range of parameters (such as soil water content, electrical conductivity, %CaCO3, organic matter (Cox), silica (FeS2), electric conductivity (EC), cation exchange capacity (CEC), and exchangable Ca, Mg, K, Na, Fe, H, Fe, Al, P, total P and N, C/N, C/P) will be measured at selected sites.
Note: The results of this action will certify the presence of habitat 6210* on Mt. Kallidromo. This habitat type, although described in the section “other site characteristics” of the Standard Data Form of the site, is not listed in the “Ecological Information Section”. In addition, there has been a recent scientific argument regarding the presence of this habitat in Greece. NAGREF will undertake the responsibility to provide the information for the necessary update of the official Standard Data Form of the Natura 2000 site GR2440006 “OROS KALLIDROMO”.
There is few data on the composition, structure and function of the grasslands in the study sites. The knowledge of the vegetation composition and structure, and its relation to the environmental parameters is essential in order to understand the ecological processes of the vegetation, which is, in turn, essential in order to draw specifications for sound management measures. Soil analysis, especially water content, is necessary since certain of these communities develop on water saturated soil and also because species composition depends on the soil properties. There is some data on the floristic composition of the mountain grassland communities of Mt. Oiti, based on 9 phytosociological releves (covering 4 of the 30 habitat polygons) and these are coupled by soil analysis at one site. Effective management requires more detailed data, including vegetation succession at more locations. There is scarce data for the communities of Mt. Kallidromo.
The data collected from action A5, regarding the floristic composition of the grasslands and its relation to abiotic factors, are necessary for the implementation of action A.6, and will also be used in order to create specifications for the grazing regime (action C.3). The results of the study will also provide the base reference state (initial situation) of the habitat and will contribute to the selection of the minimum required parameters to be used for monitoring of the results of concrete conservation actions (action D.2) and for after-LIFE monitoring. Finally, the data produced are necessary in order to certify the presence of habitat 6210* in the site GR2440006.
A report for the habitats of mountain grasslands (6230*, 6210*) on Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo with the description and analysis of vegetation composition and structure.
Specifications for a monitoring protocol for action D.2 and for after-LIFE monitoring.
The purpose of this action is to determine the current situation of the forest openings in which the temporary ponds (3170*) and mountain grasslands (6210*, 6230*) develop on Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo. It includes study of the process of forest expansion, of current use by livestock and of the grazing capacity of the temporary ponds and mountain grasslands.
Vegetation cover will be measured along the transects established by actions A.3 and A.5 with the point method, by moving a metallic pin along the line and taking measurements (hits) every 20-50 cm. At least 100 points will be taken in each habitat. In addition, forage production will be measured with the harvest method. Specifically, metallic quadrats 50x50 cm will be randomly placed along the transects and the aboveground biomass inside them will be cut with hand scissors at 5 cm above the ground. The material will be placed in paper bags and transferred to the Laboratory for dry weight determination. Based on the existing variability, 10-20 quadrats will be collected from each habitat. Cover and biomass data, together with the species composition will be used to evaluate the range condition of grasslands and temporary wetlands, namely their current productivity for livestock in relation to their potential. Herbage production data, in particular, will be used to determine the grazing capacity of grasslands.
The current use of the area by livestock will be determined by recording the animals that graze in the two habitats. This will be done by interviewing the farmers who bring their animals in the area and recording the number and kind of animals, the grazing, season and grazing system. Additionally, retrospective information will be collected using statistical data from the villages so that the livestock pressure may be determined for the past 20-30 years. Finally, the degree of utilisation of the habitats by livestock will be estimated based on the data collected and on experts’ opinions.
The effect of the current grazing status on the habitats of the temporary ponds and mountain grasslands will be determined by the above results in combination with the results of actions A.3, A.4, and A.5. In addition, the process of fir forest expansion on Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromo will be determined by comparison of a series of older panchromatic aerial photographs (ortho-mosaic generation from air-photographs taken in several periods from the 1950s to recent) and satellite images of high spatial and spectral resolution (used in action A.1) . The results of the study will be analysed and used in order to draw specifications for the grazing regimes and for the woody vegetation clearance to be implemented in action C.3. The results of the action A.11 will be taken into account in the specifications.
Forest expansion at the expense of temporary ponds and mountain grasslands is one of the threats identified for these two habitats which develop at forest openings. Thus, this process should be described and quantified and a base reference state (initial situation) should be determined to be used as initial stage in monitoring (actions D.1 and D.2). Forest expansion may be halted or controlled by grazing and by woody vegetation clearing.
The determination of the current use of the habitats by livestock and the correlation of this use to both the conservation status of the habitats and the process of forest expansion is necessary in order to understand the effects of grazing and to propose the appropriate pilot management regime (action C.3) for each habitat in each area. The use of state-of-the-art GIS technology will result in a very efficient methodology for monitoring even small changes in the relative area of shrub and grasslands.
- A report with the methodology and results of the study of forest expansion and of range condition and grazing capacity of mountain grasslands (6210*, 6230*) and temporary ponds (3170*).
- Specifications for the implementation of action C.3.
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:
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).
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.
Guidelines for the establishment of new individuals of Juniperus foetidissima.
The layout and technical details for planting.
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.
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).
This action concerns the elaboration of specifications for management actions which will protect the targeted priority habitats from the threats that have been identified, except from the threat caused by the process of forest expansion.
The specifications will be developed according to the results of actions A.1, A.2, A.3, A.4, A.5, A.6, A.11 and A.12, at the end of the first year of the project and they will be easily applicable and amendable. They will include:
The purpose, rationale, and desired result of each management action;
Technical descriptions of the management actions and comprehensive guidelines for their implementation and evaluation;
The human and natural factors that may affect the results of the management actions;
Indices for monitoring the success of the habitat protection actions; and
The requirements for after-LIFE maintenance and sustenance of management.
The action includes specifications for the following management actions:
Fencing of temporary ponds (3170*) (action C.1).
Control of access roads (motorways) to the habitats of temporary ponds (3170*) and mountain grasslands (6210*, 6230*) (action C.1).
Management of paths leading to the habitats 3170* and 6230* (action C.1). Visitor management, including establishment of camping sites, parking lots, information boards (actions C.1, E.1).
Fire protection infrastructure for the protection of Pinus nigra forest (9530*) and Juniperus foetidissima forest (9560*) (action C.6).
Specifications for the conservation of temporary ponds (3170*): erosion control (action C.4).
Specifications for the conservation of temporary ponds (3170*): restoration of the hydrological regime (action C.4).
This action is necessary in order to integrate the knowledge acquired from various preparatory actions and use it for the preparation of sound specifications for the concrete conservation actions. It is therefore necessary for the implementation of actions C.1, C.4 and C.6 and for monitoring their success (action D.6) and also for the implementation of action E.1.
A manual with the specifications for the implementation of action E2 and for the implementation and monitoring of actions C.1, C.4, and C.6.
The action will take place within the SPA site GR2440007 "ETHNIKOS DRYMOS OITIS - KOILADA ASOPOU". This study aims to evaluate the population status of one game species Alectoris graeca, three woodpecker species, Dryocopus martius, Dendrocopos leucotos and Picus canus, and to verify the presence of the nocturnal raptor Aegolius funerus as well as to assess its population dynamics.
Furthermore, the study will produce the scientific and technical specifications necessary for the appropriate management actions and monitoring protocols. Additionally, information concerning forest practices and their effects on bird fauna will be collected, processed and used as a decision support tool for forest management.
The study will be carried out by an ornithologist, working for the project as a subcontractor, visiting appropriate habitats once a month for the 1.5 year study period, covering 2 reproductive seasons. During the period mid-March to end-May (when activity is at its peak because of mating and nesting), visits of the study area will take place every 15 days. Data will be collected by the line transect method, with emphasis on aural detection, as visual detection is not always easy in dense forest. Overnight stays in the Mt. Oiti study area are obligatory since Aegolius funerus is strictly nocturnal.
The study will be completed in the second year of the project. However, should the first year results provide adequate information to design management actions, the implementation of such actions may start earlier.
Note: This action will certify the presence of the species Aegolius funerus and Alectoris graeca on Mt. Oiti. These species are not listed in the “Birds listed in Annex I of the Council Directive 92/43/EEC” section of the Standard Data Forms of the site. The HSPN will undertake the responsibility to provide the information necessary for the update of the official Standard Data Form of the Natura 2000 site GR2440007 “ETHNIKOS DRYMOS OITIS - KOILADA ASOPOU” .
It is crucial to evaluate population dynamics and habitat utilisation of Alectoris graeca and the three woodpecker species before determining the details of conservation actions. Furthermore, it is crucial to confirm the presence and population status of Aegolius funerus. The Mt. Oiti record is quite old, and there have been no other reports until a very recent one (2010) of this species’ presence in the study area (A. Christopoulos, published in the journal ‘I FYSI’, April-June 2011).
The study should cover 2 reproductive seasons because the target species are rare in a large area of the sites of Mt. Oiti and the reproductive season is short. Thus, the probability of underestimation of the population and reproductive characteristics is too high if the survey lasts for only one season.
All the information concerning the aforementioned bird species will be used to modify forest management practices towards their protection and restoration. Population trends and reproductive success data are necessary for conservation status assessment and monitoring. In addition, such data will help locate the proper areas for artificial nest placement, as well as specify nesting box construction requirements, in order to ensure nest occupancy, avoid inter-species competition, and minimise predation risk and nest overheating. Data from the study will also provide essential information for the population dynamics/trends and habitat management of Alectoris graeca, such as the mountain grasslands and rocky upland areas. Moreover, the additional information gathered about other Annex I bird species present in the study area will help in the design of the legal framework for comprehensive protection of the study area (action C.10).
A report on population dynamics for all target species and on the factors that affect them.
Specifications for the management of Alectoris graeca, Dryocopus martius, Dendrocopos leucotos, Picus canus and Aegolius funerus (action C.8).
Specifications for the legal framework (action C.10).
Specifications of monitoring protocols for Alectoris graeca, Dryocopus martius, Dendrocopos leucotos, Picus canus and Aegolius funerus for action D.4 and for after-LIFE monitoring.
This study aims to verify the presence and to evaluate the population status of the Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), which has been reported several times from the Mt. Oiti area and one time form the Mt. Kallidromo area in recent years. Additionally, information concerning livestock and beekeeping in the area will be collected, and native fruit trees will be identified and mapped.
Processing this information, the study will produce the scientific and technical specifications necessary for the appropriate management actions and monitoring protocols. The study will be carried out by a biologist, who will visit appropriate habitats once a month for the 1-year study period. In addition to evidence in the field (tracks, scat, presence of hairs on rubbing posts, scratches on trees, etc), interviews will be carried out with local stockbreeders, beekeepers, forestry officials, loggers, hunters, and other users of the area.
It is crucial to evaluate population dynamics and habitat utilisation of the Brown Bear in the Mt. Oiti area. The occurrence of this species is extra-limital, since the main core areas of its distribution are further north, and the biologic factors responsible for these occurrences are not fully understood. There have been reports of its presence in 1997, 1998 and every year from 2003 to 2006, as well as in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Most sightings were in the spring and summer, and there have been several reports of damage to beehives. One of the sightings involved a mother with two cubs.
The study should cover the spring and summer of two consecutive years because the target species appears sporadically, and the study area is quite large. Thus, the probability of underestimating the population and its dynamics is too high if the survey lasts for only one season.
Areas that serve as corridors for the bears need to be identified and protected effectively, so they can serve as safe zones for them. This requires detailed mapping of the landscape, as well as a record of management practices and various land uses.
Native fruit trees are a major food source for bears, especially in the summer and early fall. Such trees need to be identified and mapped, so that appropriate conservation actions may be designed, including planting of wild fruiting species in new locations to increase food availability.
Beekeepers and stockbreeders often suffer damage from bears and are frequently negatively disposed towards them. Such issues must be identified and addressed by education of the breeders and beekeepers. Furthermore, information about apiary locations and local stock movements through the year will help design the placement of electrified fencing for apiaries and the donation of Hellenic Livestock Guarding Dogs to stockbreeders. Moreover, the information gathered about the Brown Bear in the study areas will help in the design of the legal framework for comprehensive protection of said areas (action C.10).
- A report on the presence and population dynamics of the Brown Bear in the Mt. Oiti area, as well as on the situation of livestock, apiaries and native fruit trees.
- Specifications for Brown Bear management (action C.9).
- Specifications for the legal framework (action C.10).
- Specification of monitoring protocols for the Brown Bear for action D.4 and for after-LIFE monitoring.