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Integrated conservation management of priority habitat type 9590* in the Natura 2000 site Koilada Kedron-Kampos (LIFE-KEDROS)
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2020 PROJECT  ONGOING 

Background The Cyprus cedar (Cedrus brevifolia) is an evergreen long-lived coniferous tree that is endemic to Cyprus. Its natural distribution is very limited: it occurs only in a small area at the peak of Tripylos mountain, in the Paphos forest, in fragmented, scattered stands, over six separate geographical areas, mostly within the Koilada Kedron-Kampos Natura 2000 network site. These scattered areas cover a total of 290 ha, of which 106 ha are pure stands. Cyprus cedar forests are a priority for conservation habitat (listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive), and the species is classed as “vulnerable” in the Red Data Book of Cyprus flora. Cyprus cedar forests face a number of threats linked to climate change, including dieback caused by periodic droughts, insect blights and the fact that because the species grows at the top of the tree line, there is no possibility to migrate to higher altitudes as a means of adaptation. Other threats include competition from the lone pine (Pinus brutia) and the potential impact of a catastrophic forest fire in relation to the species’ inability to regenerate after fire. Objectives The main objective of the LIFE-KEDROS project is to maintain the priority habitat in the Koilada Kedron-Kampos Natura 2000 network site in good conservation status in the long term. The project will: Reduce the possibility of habitat loss, or disappearance, as a result of a single large forest fire; Enhance the habitat’s resilience and its capacity to adapt to climate change; Implement ex-situ conservation measures, including storing seeds in a local seed bank and trialing the creation of a high-altitude population of cedar trees within Troodos National Forest Park; Enhance the natural regeneration capacity of the cedar stands; Restore and expand the habitat within the project site and to incorporate a patch of Cyprus cedar forest at Exo Milos into the Koilada Kedron-Kampos Natura 2000 site; Mitigate the effects of intense competition by other forest trees/shrubs; To improve other biotic and abiotic factors important for the health and vigour of Cyprus cedar stands and the stability of local ecosystems; Raise public awareness and disseminate the project results to conservation managers and scientists; and Demonstrate that carefully-designed management interventions in natural/valuable ecosystems can contribute to better attainment of conservation objectives and may be preferable to letting nature take its course. The project will demonstrate best practices. It will implement several management measures and actions new to forest management in Cyprus, especially in a protected, highly natural area. These are: controlled grazing for reducing fire risk; establishment of a new population of a tree species in another area; silvicultural treatments in cedar stands; and the management of fauna to promote the reproduction success of the core species of Cyprus cedar forests. These techniques being tested may be suitable for replication in other Mediterranean mountain coniferous forests. The project will also contribute to the implementation of policies and legislation: at the international level, contributing towards achieving the goals set by the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity to 2020; at a EU level contributing to the implementation of the Habitats Directive and the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy. It will also implement several actions that have been included in the national Prioritised Action Framework for Natura 2000 in Cyprus. Expected results: The implementation of silvicultural treatments within the natural and artificial stands of the targeted habitat, leading to the sound management of an area of 200 ha; An increase of the habitat connectivity and stability by restoration of 12 ha of degraded areas of habitat and permanent closure of 10 km of selected forest roads; A 4 ha expansion of Cyprus cedar forests; Strengthening of the habitat’s health through the management of the populations of seed feeders and bark beetles and the installation of 10 artificial barn owl nests, 20 bat boxes, and 10 insect traps; Ex-situ conservation of the habitat’s genetic diversity through the storage of Cyprus cedar seed lots from three successive years in a seed bank (c. 200 kg) and through the establishment of a new, 8 ha plot in Amiantos mine; Drafting of a fire protection plan for Cyprus cedar forests, together with the implementation of fire prevention measures; Implementation of anti-erosion measures (dry stone walling) and improvement of water infiltration capacity; Drafting of technical guidelines for the management of Cyprus cedar forests, incl. an analysis of the cost effectiveness of specific techniques; and Communication/dissemination of replicable actions via a range of measures (four workshops, a video, online/printed media and a stakeholders’ committee).
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