In terms of biodiversity, Greece is one of the richest countries of the European Union. Its diverse features combine with a variable climate generating a great range of habitat niches and a spectacular flora and fauna. In January 2014, Greece will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Greece hosts some 6,600 taxa of vascular plants with the highest number of endemics in Europe (22% of the total indigenous flora). The fauna comprises 115 mammal species, 12 of which are marine, 446 bird, 22 amphibian and 64 reptile species. Moreover, 162 freshwater and 476 marine fish species are hosted in Greece's waters. Some 30,000-50,000 invertebrates are also present, exhibiting a very high degree of endemism, exceeding 50% in some groups.
At present, the Natura 2000 network consists of 425 sites, covering around 4,200,000 hectares, which represent 27.2% of the total land and 6.1% of the total marine area of the country.
There are six IUCN Members in Greece: the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (HSPN), the Elliniki Etairia for the Environment and Cultural Heritage, the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal (MOm), WWF Greece, the Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Climatic Change, and the freshly new member Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP).
The Country Focus on Greece presents projects by IUCN Members which aim to protect nature and its diversity. You can read about:
- The wonders of Greece through two publications: Greece. The land of Diversity and Vascular Plants of Greece: An annotated checklist;
- The conservation of forests and forest openings;
- The discover of a new Mediterranean Monk Seal population;
- The protection of pelicans in the Prespa area;
- The EU LIFE-funded project for the conservation of the priority habitat type Greek Juniper Woods.
Read the Country Focus here.