Natural environment

Natural Environment

Akrotiri Peninsula is of high environmental significance not only for Cyprus but also for the wider area of the eastern Mediterranean. The wetland complex which comprises the salt lake and Akrotiri marsh was declared as a Wetland of International Importance on 20 March 2003 under the Ramsar Convention. Moreover, the Peninsula was declared an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International and is protected under other international Conventions such as the Bern Convention for the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, the Bonn Convention of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. It has recently been designated a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), mirroring the Natura 2000 network in the Sovereign Base Areas.

Fauna

Three hundred different bird species have been observed in the area. Most of them are migratory, moving from north Europe and Russia, to the south (mainly Africa) in the autumn and returning in the spring.  Many of these birds winter in Cyprus, mainly in the wetlands of the area, whilst some species stay in Cyprus to breed. The coastline of the peninsula hosts some of the few breeding beaches of the island for Green and Loggerhead turtles, both endangered species in the Mediterranean.  Important mammal species have also been recorded in the area, such as monk seals, dolphins and bats. Hundreds of invertebrate species, many of which are endemic, can also be found in the area.

Flora

The impressive habitat mosaic of the area includes 27 different habitat types, some of which are very rare for Cyprus and Europe in general, such as the salt lake. The flora of the area includes hundreds of plant species, many of which are Cyprus endemics. Thirty plant species found in the peninsula, are endangered and have been recorded in the Red Book of the Flora of Cyprus.

Flora, fauna an habitat types of Akrotiri Peninsula are amongst the most important in the Mediterranean Sea .