A breakthrough in the conservation of the “hidden” biodiversity of GreeceJune 11, 2019
Obligate cave species and habitats were practically unknown to the stakeholders and policy makers in Greece, let alone protected. To remedy this, the Hellenic Institute of Speleological Research (HISR) with the support of MAVA Foundation and WWF Greece, initiated the project “Conservation of the Cave Fauna of Greece” on September 2016.
Today, all the reliable information on the taxonomy, distribution, conservation status, and referenced literature for all cavernicolous animal species in Greece, is freely available through HISR’s online data infrastructure: the Cave Fauna of Greece Database.
A recent major outcome of the project is the inclusion of all the caves defined as habitat 8310 (Caves not open to the public) in Greece’s new six-year report on Article 17 of the Habitats Directive, available in the EIONET repository. HISR assessed and provided all the data needed during the consultation and as a result, the official distribution of the habitat 8310 has increased dramatically! Previously recorded in only two areas (2 caves in northern Greece), the habitat is now recorded in 144 cells of 10 * 10km (203 caves all over Greece).
This development is considered a breakthrough in the conservation of the habitat 8310 and cavernicolous species as it creates an obligation for Greece to monitor these sites according to the Article 11 of the Habitats Directive, to establish action plans and implement measures for their conservation.
Legend : The habitat “8310-Caves not open to the public” distribution in Greece according to the 2013-2018 report on Article 17