ENVIRONMENT AND VEGETATION

The flora of Cyprus is very rich and similar to flora found in other areas of the Mediterranean countries. This is due to a number of factors, including geological structure, climatic conditions, geographic location, its insular character, the surrounding sea and the topographical configuration. According to the Forestry Department [3], the Cyprus flora includes a comparatively high proportion of endemic plants counting to about 140 or 7.3% of the total number of native plants. The number of the indigenous plant taxa (species, subspecies, varieties, hybrids and forms) recorded until now in Cyprus exceeds 1900, including trees, shrubs, subshrubs and herbs.

The study of the project “Ensuring the survival of endangered plants in the Mediterranean” [4], estimates that 48% of the island is agricultural land, 44% is forest and semi natural areas, 8% is artificial surfaces, and less than 1% is covered by wetlands or open water.  High forests cover about 17% of the island, extending mainly on the Troodos and Pentadaktylos ranges. The hills are covered by shrubs alternating with built areas and cultivations. The plains of the lowlands are covered by cultivations and habitations, but there are also small areas of natural habitats locally. The natural and semi-natural vegetation types as well as the cultivations, especially traditional ones such as tree orchards, constitute important habitats for rare plants. Various types of shrub are dominant here such as: Olea europea and Ceratonia siliqua as well as Quercus coccifera subsp. Calliprinos tall shrubs are rather rare, while the low and spiny phrygana are the most common vegetation type. Juniperus phoenicea matorral is typical of the coastal zone. Dry grasslands develop in pastures and in shrub and forest openings.

Many of these species are present also within the Nea Pafos boundaries (Fig. 5)

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Figure 5 Examples of vegetation present in the area of Nea Pafos, period of pictures taken late May early June (source: Dr K. Themistokleous, CUT team)