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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article17 August 2022European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

Conserving cedar forests in Cyprus

LIFE-KEDROS improved the conservation status and resilience of cedar forests at risk from climate change on a Natura 2000 site in Cyprus. 

LIFE15 NAT/CY/000850
LIFE15 NAT/CY/000850/Eliades N.-G. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

Cyprus cedar can only be found in a small section of the country’s Paphos Forest. They face several threats, including dieback caused by periodic droughts, insect blights and forest fires. 

To preserve the trees, the team behind LIFE-KEDROS undertook silvicultural treatments for the first time and reduced competition between young and mature cedar trees and other forest trees and shrubs. 

They also restored 12 hectares of degraded habitat and planted eight hectares of new cedar habitat.

A seed bank ensured enough seeds were available for reforestation actions.

The team also built artificial nests for owls, bat boxes, and insect pheromone traps for controlling species harmful to the forest.

They closed more than 30 km of forest roads to improve habitat connectivity and stability.

Fire patrols became more frequent, and controlled grazing was encouraged to reduce flammable vegetation on the ground.

Action plans for both the sustainable management of the cedar forest and fire protection were developed and adopted.

The project’s dissemination and networking actions included presentations at meetings and conferences, promotional materials, and media outreach.

Other Mediterranean forests can benefit from following the same approach. 

The project team recently won this year’s LIFE Award for Nature which was held during EU Green Week - Europe’s key environmental event.

Commenting on receiving the prize, project coordinator Dr Andreas Christou said: ‘The LIFE Award for the LIFE-KEDROS project is a great honour. It is also a reminder to the project’s beneficiaries that it is our duty to preserve Cyprus cedar as it is a precious part of the natural heritage of not only Cyprus, but Europe as a whole.’ 

LIFE-KEDROS contributes to the EU’s Habitats Directive and the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. It also supports the EU’s Forest Strategy for 2030.