Samothraki: Nature conservation ideas 2015

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Samothraki: Nature conservation ideas 2015

Personal thoughts.
What does Samothrace need...
(end of July 2015)

Samothrace is "on the edge" ... the edge of the northwestern Aegean, the edge of Greece, the edge of change. It's good to be between Greece then and now. Many things in Samotaraki still remind us of the Greek "island world" of the early 1980s. few roads in the mountains, wild undeveloped beaches, authentic pastoral communities, strong local dialects and lively ethnography, a relaxed hippie island atmosphere. But still, Ancient Greece had a great influence on Samothrace and continues to influence it.

As conservationists, we wonder what places are "wanted"... especially during times of great change. How can you help him? How to save? What do you have to offer for your safety? An island world like Samothrace lends itself to such research, thought and opinion.

I have some ideas about a week-long visit at the end of July this year. But they are not completely raw and integrated. I am sharing it here.

1) problem of overgrazing. As for overgrazing, there is an overgrazing problem here ( as opposed to "widespread neglect" in other regions of Greece, with some notable local exceptions). The island is said to be home to many sheep and goats (explorers estimate about 70,000). Although this is a very surprising number, although small, the result is visible everywhere: no tree regeneration has been done anywhere on the island for at least three decades. Therefore, the complete abandonment of pastures, which was common since Java, is now a "problem" but not a problem in Samothrace... Lack of regeneration leads to deforestation by fire (the "de-vegetation process") has been common since Java. In Greece. 50 years ago). years ago). To change this, we need to get EU subsidies and agricultural policy right... and we need to replant some trees (especially oaks). Oaks suffer from both goats and excessive fall. This problem is a social problem, sensitive pastoral communities; It's their mountain, a topic that requires research, strategy and adaptive management.

2) deforestation . There is a lot of logging going on that is anonymous, uncontrolled and unrestricted. In terms of biodiversity conservation, life in Samothrace is really poor. The Greek government does not seem to exist. Because using "crisis" is, in my opinion, slower. So you can earn money by cutting trees. every year hundreds of hardwoods, oaks, cypresses, terobinthos, pears and sycamores... Such a collapse disrupts the richest landscape element of Samothrace; every old tree is an ecosystem. Deforestation is a serious threat. Samothrace may look more "Cycladic" in the coming decades. Landscapes can be more uniform, simple, poor.

3) marine ecosystems . The situation in the sea was not better. Overfishing damages the steep slopes below the coast. No control (sea current, increased spearfishing, even dynamite is still used). My friends and I took a breather and didn't see any big fish. This is the North Aegean Sea, not the remote and shallow oligotrophic open waters of the Levant... These are the most productive waters of the Eastern Mediterranean... How can you explain the complete silence in this sea? It's embarrassing. Do something about it? (A common tragedy... Let's shut up... No one listens...).

4) Environmental protection of the country . I would like to comment on "A truly unique and unusual place to live"; It is these habitats and landscape elements that make this island a special and unique conservation area. Compared to other Greek islands, they are uncommon, rare or underrepresented. It also includes places where man and nature intersect: cities, ports, beaches. Some comments.

A) coastal swamps . How are they? Are there legal protections anywhere? Is there any demarcation or special benefit from the state (at all levels of government)? You guessed the answer.

b) River forests . And the unique coastal sycamore forest on the north coast. Is there any real protection? (The two best sites have been turned into camps as forest land with little mention of management.) What kind of forests are they? Forests and savannas are defined as protected and protected areas. in general.

c) landscape of sand dunes and beaches . Aren't they important for the "tourist image"? ...and keep something really fun for a few months out of the year. How are you treated? (This is a very sensitive and endangered landscape feature.)

d) Especially beautiful landscapes . There are some amazingly beautiful places. Are they recognized and protected? See Pachia Amos. This is a protected landscape. ( of the most beautiful places in Greece) How about a small drainage west of Kamerosa (Agios Andreas). Should this area be industrial? (Wind farm? Cost-benefit?)

d) Modern urban architecture, suburbs . What happened somewhere other than Hora? (Answer: due to gradual changes and unplanned growth and the interruption of temporary economic crisis...). There are many buildings like hotels etc. Very close to what Paleopolis looks like (the main archaeological site of the island). The scattered buildings are arranged according to the standards of other Greek islands. Unfortunately, the main port often looks ugly and modern. The Greeks have a good word "kakogoustia" (bad taste). [However, the ugly port city, the gateway, can keep the masses of tourists away...]

5) surface water management . Water is not a "problem" at all, as Samothraki is rich in water. (Same situation in South Eubia...wealthy until mismanagement creates a crisis). Water is often "stolen" from government wells (which is a weakness). The mayor told us that 14 of them have already been "registered" and finally charged. However, every summer the water is pumped directly from the river and the cones help turn it into the fields (also in PVC pipes). What happened as a result? some rivers stopped emptying into the sea during the summer (discharge conditions are artificially aggravated, eels are now rare in the rivers, maybe this is one of the reasons for the decline...). Second, this water pressure affects the valuable and fragile habitat of small wetlands. Finally, when sewage and other wastes enter rivers due to abnormally low water flows, the self-purification situation may worsen due to increased environmental pollution due to low or no flow. This should not have happened in Samothrace. Finally, there is a feeling of "water pressure" due to excess friction and irregular water management conditions. A new irrigation reservoir is being built, which will take water from the Xiropatomos River; The local residents are in chaos and cannot understand the result. The impact may be small and localized, but what is the potential? (Not clear to me, although I have read the EIS…).

6) Tourism as an incentive for nature conservation? Do we really need a tourism strategy? (You can say Ad Hoc is great, thank you very much.) Is there really a desire to extend the tourist season? Or offering special tours that focus on nature, culture, archaeology, events, science and education. Of course there are tourism events (some medical conferences etc.) but I think more can be done if selected stakeholders, experts, planners and protected area experts sit down and seriously think about tourism strategy. Here I feel a floating attitude towards the development of tourism. For example, there are excellent roads and hiking opportunities on the island, but they are not developed. The road to this amazing place rivals those in Greece (eg NW Samos and SW Crete… for this event). Why aren't governments and environmental movements "taking advantage" of this? Could this be a sustainable incentive for the development of protected areas? What about environmental education? Samothrace seems like a good place. here the "extreme" location is a plus... Samothrace can invite schools, groups, academic groups, etc. From Eastern and Central Europe and Turkey. Samothrace is very close to Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Edirne, Bucharest, Sofia.

7) waiting room? This island is a Natura 2000 site on paper. What can be done? Let me start by saying that the local authorities (and the municipalities should hurry up and make their position known before it's too late...). Both should work towards presenting better plans for protected areas and the specific environmental studies (and management plans) required by Greek state law for the exploitation of protected areas. This is a priority for the island for the following reasons: a) it will bring a new kind of money and "power" and incentives to the island, as it will soon be linked to the European Union's structural funds, smart development, agricultural reforms. . Overgrazing problem etc. ...The bureaucratic approach of the European Union considers all this as a priority. (b) If it is carefully constructed and coordinated, it helps to control the protection of some important landscapes, special habitat types, scenic spots, etc. (But some issues like grazing, fisheries, water management also need some special studies). We propose to have a Samothraki National Park with protected areas and a peripheral zone to protect special places and special ecosystems, but also sustainable development, agriculture, etc. The protected area is vast, with unparalleled natural values, outstanding landscape quality, culturally diverse landscapes, world-class archeology and an abundance of biodiversity both on land and at sea. There is enough flora, fauna, forests and many unique habitats for this place to earn this rating. Lower park designations (nature parks, etc.) also apply, but the area has beautiful and magnificent national park status, and such recognition and distinction promotes the island as an international protected area. A good amount of special motivation). Administration with support from central and local authorities). The concept of a national park is similar to that of a MAB reserve. They support each other, differ and are based on special zoning and the promotion of nature conservation at the international level.

8) scientific and educational laboratories . The research done on the island is of "local interest". Local residents should stay away from him. Samothrace is of interest as a long-term research site (like the other Greek islands in the 1960s and 1970s, for a group of foreign universities, particularly for archaeology, literature and similar pursuits). And because so many researchers are enamored with Samotrace, we have a responsibility to contribute with relevant science to "useful" policies directly aimed at conservation and sustainable development. Of course it is not easy, research is easy. But research should and can inform policy, resource management and planning. That's why I think it's important to focus on local research here. And it can be a good example for more "useful" researches on other islands.

In conclusion, I do not believe that overgrazing is the main problem in Samothrace, and I would like to point out that I have had similar experiences in Crete, Evia and Skyros (etc.). The problem is multifaceted and deep. Rapid agricultural and pastoral change is accompanied or driven by impending cultural change, transformational change, and uncertainty. Can we control it? We need a truly chaotic system, especially in times of economic and other crises. For me, the main problem is the lack of strategic planning for conservation and development of protected areas. So I encourage us to keep an open mind and think about as deep an interdisciplinary approach to local engagement as possible.

My fresh thinking may need improvement. Maybe everything is going wrong. I am still working on these ideas with friends and family. I thank Nikos (Director of Research at the ICRC), Marina, J├╝rgen and Panos (Austria), Anastasia, Natalia and Vasiliki, my fellow Samothrace scientists, for their contributions. We hope to return to Samothrace soon.

I'm sharing some pictures from this year's fieldwork at the Samothrace Nature Observatory.

Eleanor's Hawk sells bugs above Hora. This year we counted 47 species of birds on the island.

Terebints whole in seed at Xirapatam.

Near Siropotamos.
Near Varadeh. Fern and Sycamore and Prick Pear Savannah.

Maple Hedgehog Bush Part of the Isle of Mons. Yes, maple (Acer sp.) stock


With tourists on the south coast.
Dolphins can almost always be seen on the island.

North Beach
The effect of rapid summer burning. Northwest of Hora.

An abandoned olive oil press in Xiropatomos.
Nearby we find this friendly man slowly cooking lambs; the lamb is in progress. a small festival.
Sheep shearing in Xiropatomos.
I spent time cutting hair with the locals.

Sheep shearing in Xiropatomos.
Sheep shearing in Xiropatomos.

Small salt lake, near St. Andreas. Vasiliki's scan is circular.
Small salt lake, near St. Andreas. Gray drought, sharp spots.
Small salt lake, near St. Andreas. Anastasia measures the water.
Behind the beach near Agios Andreas.

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