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  • PLANT MICRO-RESERVES:FROM THEORY TO PRACTICEExperiences gained from EU LIFE and other related projects

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  • Costas Kadis, Costas A. Thanos & Emilio Laguna Lumbreras(eds)

    PLANT MICRO-RESERVES:FROM THEORY TO PRACTICEExperiences gained from EU LIFE and other related projects

    This book has been published within the framework of the project LIFE08 NAT/Y/000453, which was

    co-funded by the European Commission under the LIFE+ programme.

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    This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifi cally the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfi lm or in any other way, and storage in data banks. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the Greek Copyright Law, 2121/1993, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from Utopia. Violations are liable to prosecution under the Greek Copyright Law.

    The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, etc. in this publica-tion does not imply, even in the absence of a specifi c statement, that such names are ex-empt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use.

    Utopia 42 Argolidos Str , 115 23 AthensT.: ++30 210 6997706e-mail: [email protected]

    ISBN: 978-618-80647-2-0

    Experiences gained from EU LIFE and other related projects

    Utopia Publishing, Athens 2013

    9 786188 064720

    ISBN 978-618-80647-2-0

    Cover and Text Designer: Ioanna Dimopoulou

    Project Editor: Athe na Parnassas

    Production Coordinator: Haris Kiriakopoulos

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  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment of Cyprus wel-comes the publication of this book, which presents the experiences and knowledge accumulated through a number of LIFE /LIFE + projects focusing on the conserva-tion of important elements of the European ora, through the Plant Micro-Reserves approach.

    LIFE / LIFE+ is the nancial instrument for the environment, launched by the European Commission, and has been a cornerstone of nature conservation e orts, especially within the boundaries of the Natura 2000 network. A considerable num-ber of EU habitat types and species have been directly targeted in several projects, which received EU co-funding under the LIFE-Nature component of the LIFE / LIFE+ programme.

    One of the best examples that shows the linkage of LIFE / LIFE+ and the conser-vation of nature, is the promotion of the concept of Plant Micro-Reserves (PMRs), which was initially developed in the Spanish region of Valencia and then success-fully implemented in other EU countries within the LIFE / LIFE+ framework.

    This book presents the rationale of the PMR approach and its implementation across Europe. PMRs provide a platform for promoting active co-operation among scientists, national competent authorities, NGOs and local people for the conserva-tion of Europes biodiversity and the restoration of threatened habitats and natu-ral ecosystems. Through this book, the importance of the conservation of nature through cumulative e ort is highlighted.

    The PMR approach and the knowledge accumulated in this book can be a tool for future e orts for the conservation of biodiversity and natural habitats.

    I would like to congratulate the coordinators of all the projects that are present-ed in the book for their e ort towards nature conservation as well as everyone who contributed to the writing of this book. Special congratulations go to the bene -ciaries of the LIFE+ project titled Establishment of a Plant Micro-Reserve Network in Cyprus for the Conservation of Priority Species and Habitats [PLANT-NET CY] for the excellent completion of the project and the promotion of networking among similar European projects.

    Nicos KouyialisMinister of Agriculture, Natural Resources

    and Environment


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  • Biodiversity provides us with wealth today and possibilities for the future. It safe-guards our water resources and our food supply, protects us from natural hazards such as ooding and reduces the risks from diseases, while providing us with beauty and spiritual value, and the very home we live in. Plants in particular are vital to almost every aspect of our daily lives, giving us food, bres, medicine, fuel, shelter, clothing and the air we breathe. Many animal species are also directly dependent on plants for their survival. Plants are the central elements of the Earths life support system.

    The Mediterranean region is especially rich in plant biodiversity, holding more than 24,000 vascular plant species including some 10% of all known plant species. More than half the plant species in the Mediterranean are endemic and 80% of all European plant endemics are found in the Mediterranean. Yet, this plant biodiver-sity is threatened by rapid urbanisation, increasing con icts over use of land such as for agriculture or tourism, water extraction, a growing risk of deserti cation, and forest res. Furthermore, climate change is already a ecting the regions ora, in particular the endemic Mediterranean mountain ora.

    The EUs Biodiversity Strategy sets out to halt this loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restore them insofar as feasible. A key component of the EU Biodiversity Strategy is the full implementation of the EU legislation for the protection of natural habitats and species of wild fauna and ora of Community interest, known as the Habitats Directive.

    LIFE, the EUs nancial instrument for the environment, has been at the heart of Europes conservation e orts. LIFE aims to support the long-term survival of the EUs most valuable and threatened species and habitats, especially within Natura 2000 sites, through targeted investments. The programme also aims at developing and disseminating new measures and practices for implementing the EUs broader Biodiversity Strategy.

    Since 1994, LIFE has been contributing to the development of a network of plant micro-reserves. A plant micro-reserve (PMR) is a small plot of land (up to 20 ha there is no minimum size) that is of peak value in terms of plant richness, en-demism or rarity. A PMR is a permanent, statutory reserve given over to long-term monitoring of endangered wild plant species and vegetation types. As well as pro-viding strong protection to plants and substrate, traditional activities compatible with plant conservation are allowed within the micro-reserve. This approach is now


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  • FOREWORD vii

    widely accepted as one of the most e ective practices towards the conservation of plant diversity.

    Starting from a LIFE-funded project implemented by the Regional Wildlife Ser-vice of the Generalitat Valenciana, the concept of PMRs spread outwards from Spain, rst to Slovenia where (from 2002 to 2005) the LIFE-Nature project Conservation of endangered species/habitats in the future Karst Park set up a network of 30 plant micro-reserves, mainly focused on small ponds, calcareous screes, rocky slopes and grassland habitats. LIFE has subsequently supported further PMR projects in sev-eral other Mediterranean and Black Sea countries, including the Establishment of a Plant Micro-Reserve Network in Cyprus for the Conservation of Priority Species and Habitat Types which has aimed at improving the conservation status of four prior-ity plant species and two priority habitat types found in Cypriot Natura 2000 sites.

    Given the large volume of experience generated through these LIFE projects, it is timely to bring together their knowledge and make it available to a broader audience. I am impressed by the combination of meticulous science and pragmatic species conservation work covered in this book. As such I am convinced that it will make an important contribution towards preserving endangered plant species and enabling a better implementation of the EUs policy on nature and biodiversity. It is an inspiration to others who want to successfully preserve the diversity of Europes natural heritage through the creation of plant micro reserves.

    Anne BurrillDeputy Head of Unit LIFE-Nature

    European Commission


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  • Foreword Nicos Kouyialis v

    Preface Anne Burrill vi

    Part 1. From Theory to Practice: Development of PMR Networks 1

    1. Plant MicroReserves (PMRs): Origin and Technical Concept 32. A pioneer project: The Valencian PMR network 13Part 2. Small networks for scienti c intensive management 25

    3. PMRs in Western Crete 274. Establishment of a Plant Micro-Reserve Network in Cyprus for the

    Conservation of Priority Species and Habitats 37

    Part 3. Large networks 51

    5. A Pilot Network of Small Protected Sites for Plant Species in Bulgaria Using the Plant Micro-Reserve Model 53

    6. Micro-Reserves in Latvia 65Part 4. Other projects 73

    7. The Micro-Reserve Project in the Regional Park of the Slovenian Karst 758. Micro-Reserves: A Useful Tool for the Conservation Strategy of the Natural

    Environment in Castilla La Mancha (Spain) 79

    9. Proposals of Plant Micro-Reserves in Sicily (Italy) 8310. Micro-Reserves Network for Medicinal Plants in Saint Katherine

    Protectorate (Sinai Peninsula, Egypt) 87

    11. Implementation of a PMR