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Ikaria Protected Habitats - European Union Natura 2000 Program

 Site Name: Ikaria-Fournoi

Site Code:
    26o 21 20
    37o 35 26
Administrative Region:
    Voreio Aigaio
Altitude (m):
Area (ha):

Natura 2000 European protected areas — interactive map


The island of Ikaria is situated at the east central part of the Aegean sea, SW of Samos island and close to Asia Minor coasts. The marine area covers approximately 5% of the site. The climate is typical Mediterranean with mean annual rainfall exceeding 870mm. The annual mean temperature reaches up to 19.3 0 C, while its maximum and minimum values are 22.5 0 and 15.7 0 C. Mount Atheras is located at central Ikaria and consists mostly of schist. Frequent mist and cloud formation make the highest part relatively humid even in summer. Here the open type of vegetation is the result of grazing. The small thickets at a few protected spots indicate, that the island was once totally covered by forest. On the southern side (Agios Nikolaos) there are large, well developed limestone cliffs. A significant proportion of the endemic flora of the island is present in that part. There is also a constantly flowing river, Chalaris, that crosses the island from the south to the north, with oriental plane woods flanking its banks. An archaeological site, the temple of Tavropolos Artemis, is situated at the mouth of the river. The area of Fanari, includes mainly the coastal and marine habitat types of the site. Fournoi consist a complex of small islands SE of Ikaria island. It’s noteworthy to mention, that even though their total surface is relatively small, their coasts (about 126 km in length) are characteristic of most typical Aegean cliffs, reefs and cavities.

Habitat Types:

Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time, Posidonia beds, Large shallow inlets and bays, Reefs, Vegetated sea cliffs of the Mediterranean coasts (with endemic Limonium spp.), Salicornia and other annuals colonizing mud and sand, Embryonic shifting dunes, Dunes with Euphorbia terracina, Mediterranean temporary ponds, Intermittently flowing Mediterranean rivers, Juniperus phoenicea arborescent matorral, Low formations of euphorbia close to cliffs, Aegean phrygana (Sarcopoterium spinosum), Sclerophyllous grazed forests (dehesas) with Quercus ilex and/or Quercus suber, Aegean calcareous cliffs, Caves not open to the public, Oriental plane woods (Platanion orientalis), Thermo-Mediterranean riparian galleries (Nerio-Tamariceteae) and south-west Iberian Peninsula riparian galleries (Securinegion tinctoriae), Quercus ilex forests, Mediterranean pine forests with endemic Mesogean pines.

Plant Species:

Iberis runemarkii.

Animal Species:

Rhinolophus blasii, Myotis blythi, Myotis emarginatus, Tursiops truncatus, Monachus monachus, Mauremys caspica, Callimorpha quadripunctata.

Other important species:

-Flora: 25B, 12D
-Fauna: 1A, 17B, 10C, 3D


-Positive: -
-Neutral: -
-Negative: 140, 162, 180, 210, 608, 948 (IN)

Protection Status:

-National and Regional level: -
-International level: IBA


The site (Ikaria) exhibits high biodiverstity, explicit in the variety of habitat types (19) and in the plenitude of endemic and local endemic plants (21) and invertebrates (15) existing in the area. Most notably Iberis runemarkii is a local endemic to Ikaria, with only one small population at Plagia. This high degree of endemism derives mainly from the geographical location of Ikaria island (very close to Asia Minor) as well as from the high altitudes and the fair variety of biotopes existing within the proposed site. It must also be mentioned, that due to the isolation from the main tourist areas of Greece and the limited human activities within the site, the Pinus brutia forests and the mixed Cupressus sempervirens formations on Ikaria island are at a very good conservation status. The undisturbed marine biotopes which maintain an excellent conservation status, mainly on Fournoi islands, offer a representative ecosystem for the survival and conservation of rare or endangered species in the Mediterranean region, such as the monk seal (Monachus monachus) and dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Fournoi islands, an area of significant aesthetic and ecological value, function as an important shelter for birds of prey, due to their position at eastern part of the Aegean Sea and the neighbouring to the mainland of Asia Minor. It is also a very important staging post for bird migration on their seasonal coast flyway.


The Region is marked by its particularly rich natural environment with very important ecosystems. A considerable number of areas in our islands have been integrated in the NATURA-2000 Network. The NATURA-2000 Network is a European Ecological Network of areas, which give shelter to natural habitat types and native plant and animal species which are important at the European level. It is composed of two categories of areas: the “Special Protection Areas – SPA” for avifauna, as defined in the Directive 79/409/ EC and the “Sites of Community Importance – SCI”, as defined in the Directive 92/43/EC. The SPA, after their characterization by the Member States, they are automatically integrated in the Natura-2000 Network and their management is carried out in compliance with the provisions of art. 6, Directive 92/43/EC. On the other hand, the integration of the SCI is subject to scientific evaluation and negotiation between the Member States and the European Union, according to the outcome of the Biogeographic Seminars concerning every ecological unit. The final definition of the list of the Sites of Community Importance at the European level is in concluding phase as far as the Mediterranean zone is concerned, which includes the entire Greek territory.

The recording of the sites that meet the criteria in terms of presence of habitat types and habitats of native plant and animal species outlined in 92/43/EC Directive in our country (296 areas – “Scientific Catalogue”), has been carried out by a team of 100 scientists, established especially for this purpose in the framework of the LIFE European programme (1994 – 1996), and has been entitled “Recording, Identification, Evaluation and Charting of the habitat types and of native Plant and Animal Species of Greece (Directive 92/43/EEC)”. The catalogue has included nearly all the areas which were until then declared protected at the national and international level.

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