THE BIODIVERSITY OF GREECE
Greece is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, hosting an incredible variety of ecosystems and species.
The biological wealth of Greece is among the greatest in Europe and the Mediterranean.
Greece is a country with:
- valuable natural heritage and important biological diversity,
- high species density and
- an impressive mosaic of terrestrial, wetland and marine ecosystems.
Our country is endowed with a variety of different ecosystems and landscapes:
- from the semi-deserts of eastern Crete
- to the nordic habitats of Rhodopes and
- the alpines of Olympus, Smolika, Tymfi, Vora and other mountain ranges of Northern Greece.
Unique flora and fauna enriched with a multitude of endemic species, which are only found in Greece or only in specific places of the country. The high percentage of endemic species found in Greece is mainly due to the long-term isolation of the islands as well as the fact that, during the glacial periods, many mountainous regions of the country did not freeze but instead functioned as refuges for various species. This richness is attributed to the country’s position on the borders of three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa) and to factors such as:
- the geological history of the area,
- the remarkable climatic variety and especially the mild Mediterranean climate,
- the intense relief,
- the many islands and other natural barriers that prevent the dispersion of species,
- the sudden change of landscape from coastal to alpine within just a few kilometers,
- the large number of rivers, streams, ravines, valleys, peninsulas etc., and
- the large number of caves and other underground formations.
Let's do everything we can to maintain this lead.
We love and protect our country.
Greece has a particularly rich and interesting flora. Without exaggeration, our country is a real botanical paradise.
The Greek flora has about 5,700 recorded species, of which approximately 13.2% (750 species) are endemic (Source: Red Data Book of Rare and Threatened Plants of Greece, 2009).
The particularly high percentage of endemic species, compared to other countries, is due to a combination of factors such as:
- the complex landscape and morphology of the country with its high mountain ranges, numerous ravines, innumerable islands, islets, rocky islets and peninsulas,
- the geological structures revealing a variety of rocks and rock formations,
- the enriched flora with Central European species that found refuge further on the South mainly during the glacial period, but also with species coming from the East and the Black Sea and
- the presence of humans, since prehistoric times.
we enjoy it and
The Greek fauna includes about 23,130 recorded species of terrestrial and freshwater animals as well as 3,500 marine species (Source: Red Book of the Threatened Animals of Greece, 2009).
Like the flora, the Greek fauna is also notable for its high rate of endemism, as approximately 4,000 land and freshwater endemic species have been recorded up to date.
The richness of the Greek fauna is represented by mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and invertebrates.
It is, however, known that the fauna of the country is not well studied, while the biggest knowledge gaps concern invertebrates.
(Source: WWF FACTSHEET, BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, GREECE – A RICH COUNTRY)
In Greece we encounter:
- 8% of Europe’s animal species.
- 40% of Europe’s plant species.
- 476 species of marine fish, out of about 600 species recorded in the Mediterranean.
- 154 species of freshwater fish, as Greece is the richest country in Europe in terms of fish fauna found in rivers and lakes.
- 22 of Europe’s 64 amphibian species. Out of these, three are endemic.
- rich reptile fauna with 64 species, out of which 9 are endemic.
- 115 mammals, a little less than half of the number of species found in whole Europe, live or visit our country and our seas.
- in Dadia, the land of predators, 36 out of Europe’s 38 species of diurnal predators have been observed and recorded.
- More than 800 small but extremely important wetlands have been recorded within 75 Greek islands.
- 32 out of the 200 most important forests of the Mediterranean are found in Greece.
It fed them,
taught them manners,
propelled their philosophical pursuits,
it became the scenery setting of their culture.