Nature protection and biodiversity - State and impacts (Greece)

SOER 2010 Common environmental theme (Deprecated)
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SOER Common environmental theme from Greece
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 11 May 2020

Knowledge of the state of Greece’s biodiversity is still very poor (Tables 1 and 2). There are approximately 30 000 animal species (Legakis, 2004) with endemism reaching 17.1 % (Fauna Europaea, 2004), increasing to 64 % in specific animal groups (Legakis et al., 2006).

According to a 2009 assessment (Table 3), threatened species in Greece face α short-term or mid-term risk of extinction. The increased expected rate of avian species extinctions in Greece (Red List Index) over the last 17 years (Table 4, Figure 1) is related mainly to the loss of natural habitats and their structural or functional degradation, pollution and disturbance. Most threatened avian groups are wetland birds and raptors.

The reduction of cattle genetic diversity is alarming. Only 0.64 % of the total cattle population consists of native breeds. This reflects an almost complete homogenisation of the cattle genetic pool, restricting the alternatives for future genetic improvements and mitigation of  disease outbreaks or changing climatic conditions. Sheep genetic diversity is high, with 92.2 % of the population consisting of native breeds, but 61 % of breeds are endangered (Table 5).

In 2008, Greece hosted 538 terrestrial invasive alien species (Figure 2). In 2009, Greek marine and brackish waters and inland freshwater systems hosted 193 and 87 aquatic invasive alien species, respectively (Figures 3 and 4; Table 6).

The Marine Trophic Index of Hellenic Seas has not significantly changed since 1950 (Figure 5). The downward trend in the period 1980-2004 may be due to the end of the positive effects of technology and eutrophication on fisheries catches.

Greek legislation provides for protection of a large number of native flora and wildlife species (916 plants, 139 vertebrates and 82 invertebrates). However, the share of habitats and species of Community interest, whose conservation status is reported as ’inadequate’ or ’unknown’, is still high (Table 7).

In 2007, the total area of nationally designated sites was around 20 432 km2 - around 15.5 % of the total area of Greece and around 2 % of the total European nationally designated site area (e.g Northern Pindos, Mount Nympheon, National Marine Park of Zakynthos, National Park of Dadia. By 2009, the total area of nationally designated sites covered 23 999 044 km2 (Figure 6; Tables 8 and 9).


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Filed under: SOER2010, biodiversity
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