To Unesco home page

To sitemap

To MAB home page title2.gif (2287 bytes)
      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   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
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   4,850
  Core area(s)   4,850
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +2,116
  Year designated   1981
  Administrative authorities   Region of Crete, Forest Directorate of Chania

Last updated: 09/03/2005

To topTo MAB home pageTo UNESCO