|Biosphere Reserve Information|
GORGE OF SAMARIA
Located on the southwestern coast of Crete, this biosphere reserve and national park is a mountainous limestone area renowned for the deep narrow Samaria Gorge. The area comprises examples of high altitude Mediterranean forest (including virgin stands of Cupressus sempervirens), maquis and phrygana. Among the typical Mediterranean fauna, the endemic wild goat (Capra aegagrus cretensis) is well known. As in most parts in the Mediterranean, the whole area was subject to grazing and timber extraction in the past.
The area designated as biosphere reserve is currently not inhabited (1999). The region around the gorge is interesting from a cultural point of view since it hosts ancient ruins, churches and castles. Tourism is a main economic activity in the area, however activities are restricted within the national park. There is a visitors center at the entrance of the gorge.
|Major ecosystem type||Evergreen sclerophyllous forests, woodlands or scrub|
|Major habitats & land cover types||Xerophytic aromatic phrygana including Pistacia sp., Phlomis fruticosa, Thymus capitatus, Cistus salviaefolius, C. creticus etc; pine (Pinus brutia) and cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) forest with Quercus spp.; pseudo-alpine and desert vegetation; riparian communities; naturally reforested fields; almost soil-less steep rocks; mountain plateau (“omalos”)|
|Location||35°14' to 35°18'N; 23°56' to 23°59'E|
|Transition area(s) when given|
|Altitude (metres above sea level)||0 to +2,116|
|Administrative authorities||Region of Crete, Forest Directorate of Chania|
|Last updated: 09/03/2005|