Mediterranean Ecosystems

Ongoing projects

​Physis: Managing the Natura 2000 Network and shaping a sustainable future (funded by LIFE+)

Project Summary

The primary objective of LIFE IP PHYSIS is to achieve and/or maintain a favourable conservation status for species and habitat types of community importance in Cyprus, through actions in the whole Natura 2000 network. This will mainly be possible through the implementation of the Prioritised Action Framework (PAF) for Natura 2000 in Cyprus for the Multiannual Financing Period 2014-2020, as well as the fulfilment of several targets of the EUs 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. The project's approach is to catalyse financial support from complementary funds and to ensure synergies between policy sectors for the purpose of Natura 2000 protection.

The IP addresses all the weaknesses identified in the management of the Natura 2000 network in Cyprus, will fill knowledge gaps for species and habitats, improve the governance of the network, exploit ecosystem services and implement action and management plans for species and habitats.

The specific objectives of the project are to:

The complementary actions aim at amplifying the concrete actions of the IP project in the sites of the Natura 2000 network, and involve habitat restoration, surveillance for Invasive Alien Species, and studies on the ecology and conservation status of targeted species. The complementary actions will be finalised by December 2022.

In addition to the IP budget itself the project will facilitate the coordinated use of 24 500 000 complementary funding from ERDF, EAFRD and EMFF funds.

​GYPWORLD: A global initiative to understand global gypsum ecology (funded by H2020

Project Summary

Gypsum soils occur worldwide and represent natural laboratories of evolution and ecology. The unusual mineral content of gypsum soils is a significant barrier to the growth of most plants, and yet these soils host highly diverse endemic floras that have evolved independently on five continents. Nevertheless, these ecosystems are poorly understood compared to those of other unusual substrates. Little is known about the conservation status of gypsum floras, the potential impact of climate change on them, and their responses to mitigation and restoration.

​The GYPWORLD project aims at an integrated global study of the ecology and evolution of plant and lichen life on gypsum, including eight gypsum-rich regions from four continents that differ in geological origin, climate, and flora. In particular, the project aims to:

​Assess the plant and lichen diversity of gypsum

Investigate the evolutionary origins and assembly of these floras

Evaluate potential adaptive mechanisms on gypsum, the functional structure of gypsum plant and lichen communities, and the processes regulating gypsum ecosystem function

Analyse the responses of gypsum communities to global change drivers and explore how gypsum ecosystem restoration/conservation may help mitigate the effects of global change

Promote the study of gypsum ecosystems; and

Communicate the ecological and conservation value of these ecosystems to the public.

Completed Projects

WaSeC: Innovations in Water Education Programs: Enhancing Water Security and Socio-economic Development in the Eastern Mediterranean under Climate Change (funded by ERASMUS+)

Project Summary

Water is the most valuable and rare resource in the Middle East. The potential climate change impacts in the region require the new generation of water managers to learn and utilize new and innovative methods and techniques to achieve sustainability. In addition there is a significant gap between the learning skills of graduates from the HEIs and what the companies and enterprises want. To alleviate this gap, firstly a Network with water professionals (HEIS and enterprises) will be established for the Middle East. This network will provide feedback on the new state of the art courses that will be developed and taught in Partner Country HEIs to enhance the knowledge, tools and skills of the graduates and increase their attractiveness to enterprises. These courses will incorporate the latest and newest technologies on water management. Enterprises will be integrated in the courses by having students solve real-life water case studies provided by enterprises, with seminars by water professionals and practical placement to promote entrepreneurship. The courses will utilize new pedagogical approaches with interactive exercises, use of videos, social networks, flexible learning path, blended courses etc. to enhance learning capacities. The courses will be available on a virtual learning portal thus providing them also by distance learning and enhancing their accessibility. 

Establishing a distance-learning program is essential for this region because of the frequent instability that makes it impossible to always attend classes. The languages of the courses will be Arabic and English so they could be adopted by other Mediterranean countries. The project is very collaborative and international since it has 13 partners from 6 countries. The new teaching approaches and state of the art courses will train science-based water management graduates with the necessary tools to significantly increase their employability leading to more sustainable water management in the region.

AgroLIFE: Promoting and Enabling the long term conservation of High Nature Value Farmlands in Cyprus (funded by EU – LIFE+ Nature Programme)

Project Summary

AgroLIFE was a three year project that put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate actions/ methodologies for the conservation of High Nature Value Farmlands (HNVF) in Cyprus. HNVFs sustain traditional methods of low-input farming supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services while maintaining natural and structural elements important at National and European level.

The project implemented conservation and demonstration actions that highlighted the importance of two historical HNVFs in Cyprus: the traditional vineyard agroecosystem in the rural area of Kapilio and the carob agrosilvopastoral system at the Anogyra village.

LIFE-RIZOELIA: Improving the conservation status of the priority habitat types 1520* (gypsum steppes) and 5220* (arborescent mattoral with Ziziphus) at the Rizoelia National Forest Park - Cyprus (funded by EU – LIFE+ Nature Programme)

Project Summary

Πρωταρχικός στόχος του έργου είναι η βελτίωση της κατάστασης διατήρησης των δυο τύπων οικοτόπων προτεραιότητας, "*5220 - Θαμνώνες με Ziziphus" και "*1520 - Γυψούχες στέπες (Gypsophiletalia)", στην Κύπρο, μέσα από την ποσοτικοποίηση και ανάσχεση των φυσικών και ανθρωπογενών πιέσεων ή και απειλών που συμβάλλουν στη μακροπρόθεσμη υποβάθμισή τους. Το έργο υλοποιείται εντός του Εθνικού Δασικού Πάρκου Ριζοελιάς (CY6000006), του οποίου μεγάλος μέρος έχει ενταχθεί στο Ευρωπαϊκό δίκτυο προστατευόμενων περιοχών Natura 2000. Στο Εθνικό Δασικό Πάρκο Ριζοελιάς απαντούν οι πιο αντιπροσωπευτικοί πληθυσμοί των δύο υπό μελέτη οικοτόπων.

JUNIPERCY: Improving the conservation status of the priority habitat type 9560* (endemic forests with Juniperus ssp) in Cyprus (funded by EU – LIFE+ Nature Programme)

Project Summary

The project titled ‘Improving the conservation status of the priority habitat type 9560* (Endemic forests with Juniperus spp.) in Cyprus’ (acronym: JUNIPERCY; LIFE10 NAT/CY/000717), devoted to improve the conservation status of Juniperus forests in Cyprus, ended after 42 months of activity. JUNIPERCY was the first project implementing active conservation measures for the long-term protection and restoration of this priority natural habitat (9560*) (included in Annex I of Dir. 92/43/EEC), within all the Natura 2000 sites in which it occurs in the Republic of Cyprus.

The project, whose total cost was 1,183,922 euros, was co-financed by the European Community to the extent of 886,338 euros. It initiated in January 2012 and concluded in June 2015.