The Archipelagos Terrestrial Conservation Team has been conducting surveys on both Samos and Lipsi to identify and monitor what plant life is in specific habitats across the islands.
The main aim of this research is to understand the biodiversity of the areas and to identify any endangered species, filling in this way important knowledge gaps about the flora biodiversity of the region. Archipelagos uses these data to move forward with conservation efforts for the region.
Samos has highly diverse flora with over 1500 species and sub-species, out of which 9 are endemic and 13 are local endemic of the Aegean islands.
These ongoing flora surveys help to understand the health of the regions over time. This is becoming even more important due to the ongoing dangers of human activity and climate change. Habitat loss and excessive use of herbicides and pesticides pose a major threat to the rare diversity of flora of the island.
Current monitoring focuses on various regions across the island are underway with focus on the Natura 2000 wetland area of Psili Ammos.
The area is also home to many fauna species including the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), whose presence along with all species, rely on the high abundance of plant life in the area. The monitoring of the vegetation helps to identify any declining or invasive species of the wetland.
On the island of Lipsi, the aim is to create the first Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary for the rehabilitation of marine life back into Aegean Sea.
To create this sanctuary, first it is required to monitor the biodiversity around the area so the impact of the increasing activity in the area can be assessed. For this, vegetation surveys have been done in the Vroulia Bay so we can be aware of the presence of possible endangered species and help to increase the knowledge of the partially unknown flora around Lipsi.
Further surveys into the endangered flora of Samos are planned to localise and protect the rare plants across the island. For example, the critically endangered flower; ‘Console of Samos’ (Consolida samia), is known to be only found on the slopes of Mt. Kerkis and has not had its populations accurately monitored in over 10 years.
We aim to increase knowledge and awareness of such rare species to preserve the natural wealth of the island.
Guy Davis, Environmental Science BSc, UK
Raúl Dominguez, Biology BSc, Spain