Ongoing actions

1)  For the coming generation of young Amorgians :

Nature outings with students are being organized on weekends. To date outings took place in Langada (Drys, Pagkos, Epanohoriani), Chora, and Vroutsi (Kastri). On this occasion Oak acorns were collected and replanted. Children respond enthusiastically to outdoor activities, and we all want to continue this on a regular basis. More excursions are due soon around Potamos and on Korakas.

Several projects with the High School of Hora are have been initiated this schoolyear 2013-2014, which the Velanidia Foundation is highly supporting. Projects include exchanges with 3 other schools around the Mediterranean (Tunis, Marseille and Symi). a school outing to Lavrio and Athens Botanical Garden (in March) , and regular school outings on Amorgos with a nature guide.

Other projects are on study, including a twinning with a French Lycée in Strasbourg, around nature objectives. This project is cross-disciplinary as it will involve Mathematics (for the necessary statistic and probabilities studies), History and Geography (social, economic and civilisation factors being inseperable from the environmental evolution> the themes of global warming, desertification, deforestation, impact of world exchanges can be approached from this concrete angles), graphic arts (project of outdoor drawings with an artist from Vroutsi) – not to mention Biology and Physics.

2) Species preservation

The Velanidia Foundation is actively commited to preserve rare endemic species.

It does so by collecting and spreading the seeds of rare plants and trees. For example, over 400 acorns of the two highly endangered varities of Amorgian Oaks (Quercus Macrolepis and Ilex) have been collected, distributed and replanted.

The Foundation is currently conducting experiments to secure them from mice, goats, and human activities.

We also apply ourself to spread awareness by ways of direct conversation, site information, outings and articles.

3) Renaturation of degraded lands

We suppors the replantation project on designed areas proposed by the municipality. This work is under way, with the patronage of Trees for Greece Gmbh. The Velanidia Foundation assisted the primary assessment of YLI company (www.forest.gr), on the 8th-9th of November 2013.

4)      For the sensitive areas of the island :

A plantation plan for the parking lot in Aegiali,  designed by Mr. Klaus Holzhausen, a Swiss landscape architect, has been offered to the municipality of Amorgos (Dimos). Together with Velanidia Foundation’s proposals it includes solutions to preserve this rare Amorgian wetland.

The project has not evolved further so far, apparently due to a conflict with private land.

On the other hand the Institute for Forest Research in Greece has offered Amorgos support and can supply us with any tree we need.

The aim of the parking lot proposal is to offer solutions. We try to combine the constraints of touristic development with the necessity to preserve a precious biotope, especially for migratory birds, and avoid the planting of exotic species which would further degrade the environment.

Green oasis Project for the parking lot in Aegiali

Context : the parking lot  of Aegiali offers sea-side ground, exposed to winds, with year-round underground water and occasional winter floods.

It is a prime important biotope for wildlife, especially migratory birds.

Demand : The demand from the municipality is to offer shade for the cars.

The demand from the population is also to provide food for the bees.

Proposition : we researched an association of trees and shrubs belonging to the Mediterranean biosphere, adapted to local conditions and favorable to the local wildlife (birds, insects, microfauna). These species working in synergy (one helping the other to grow and be healthy) ensure a balanced, healthy environment.

Finally they are NOT prone to fire.

The plants in this selection have also been chosen for their interest for the bees (nectar and pollen, flowers blooming in different seasons year round).

Several levels of vegetation foster the healthy growth of this tiny ecosystem (green oasis):

– for the tallest trees :

a) Λεύκη η λευκή. (Populus Alba) Peuplier Blanc. White Poplar  – tolerates poor soils, windy conditions and sea-side. Example of a Levki i levki in Katapola :

IMG_4847

b) Mελικουκιά (Celtis Australis) Micocoulier. Hackberry tree : a sturdy mediterranean tree with ample shade and edible fruits, attracting birds :

32_Micocoulier

c)  πλάτανος. (Platanus orientalis) Platane d’Orient. Platanus, Plane tree  : here is an example of a centenary Plane tree in neighbouring Naxos (so much beloved that a celebration has been organised in its honour, with violin and lauto 🙂

100_XRONIA_PLATANOS

These trees are suitable for planting at a slight distance from the beach.

In between these tall trees, slightly smaller species could be associated. These smaller trees also give a pleasant shade and a precious feeding ground for wildlife. Besides they give perfumed flowers and fruits :

–  Χαρουπιά. Caroubier. Carub tree (Ceratonia Siliqua)

–  Μουριά. Mûrier. Mulberry tree (Morus sp.)

–  Σύκο. Figuier. Fig tree (Ficus Carica)

–  Φιστικιά. Pistachier. Pistachio tree (Pistacia Vera) – already present on Amorgos in various locations and well tolerant to saline environment.

Alternatively could also be planted Κοκκορεβιθιά. Pistachier Térébinthe. Turpentine tree (Pistacia terebinthus)

 

Among the most useful wind-breakers (and saltwater-pumping trees) are :

–  Αλμυρίκι. (Tamarix gallica, smynensis ou cretica) Tamaris. Tamarisk, salt Cedar.

These Almyriki are ideal in sea-front position, just at the back of the beach, in the line with the other Tamarisks already in place, to make a fence of protection for the other species.

Other very useful and resistant shrubs are :

–  Eleagnus augustifloria. Silverberry. This shrub gives edible fruits with a high content of C vitamin, very appreciated in certain regions of the world.

–  Δενδρολίβανο. Romarin. Rosemary. Rosemarinus officinalis – attract bees + deter pest.

–  Nerprun Ράμνος. Buckthorn (Rhamnus sp. et alaternus)

–  Filaire faux-troène ? (Phillyrea Latifolia) Φιλλύκι

–  Spartier ou genêt d’Espagne. These type of bushes act as a natural fertilizer, thus helping the other trees to grow.

Other possible frontward (and decorative) species could include yuccas, palm trees (especially the Greek variety Phoenix theophrastii) and dwarf palms (chamaerops humilis)

Eventually, smaller flower species could be planted to enrich the ecosystem and attract bees. Example :

–  Λαδανιά. (Cistus sp. and creticus) Ciste. Cistus.

–  Sweet Wormwood. Artemisisa

–  Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis fruticosa), sauge de Jerusalem; and Sage (Salvia officinalis) Sauge officinale

–  Lavender,  etc…

Optimal planting time is in October : the plants benefiting from the winter rains to develop their root system and interactions, thus becoming readier to withstand the summer drought.

Here is a small list of other potential species for this time of environment :

– Δρυς η αρία  (Quercus Ilex) . Chêne vert. Holly Oak.

– Ροδιά. Grenadier. Pomegranate (Punica Granatum)

– Μυρτος. (Myrtus Communis). Myrte. Myrtle.

–  Άγρια ελιά. Olivier sauvage. Wild Olive tree (Olea Europea Sylvestris)

– Δάφνη Απολονας. Laurel. (Laurus Nobilis)

– Πικροδάφνη. Oleander. (Nerium Oleander) Laurier Rose.

– Κουτσουπιά. Arbre de Judée ( Cercis siliquastrum )

etc…

_______________

Short presentation of the Mελικουκιά -Celtis australis :

Φυλλοβόλο ανθεκτικό στη μεσογειακή ζώνη φυτό, με σταχτί λείο κορμό. Δένδρο που φθάνει τα 15 μέτρα ύψος και 15 μ. διάμετρο κόμης (κόμη πλατιά). Πιστεύεται ότι είναι ο λωτός των αρχαίων Ελλήνων. Ζει πολλά χρόνια.

Τα φύλλα είναι γκριζοπράσινα, επιμήκη ή λογχοειδή, οδοντωτά, με διάσπαρτες άσπρες κηλίδες, χωρίς χλωροφύλλη. Η επάνω επιφάνεια διαθέτει σμηριγγώδη τριχίδια και η κάτω πυκνό χνούδι.

Είναι φυτό ανθεκτικό στις υψηλές θερινές θερμοκρασίες και στην παρατεταμένη ξηρασία. Είναι ευαίσθητο στους όψιμους παγετούς. Χρειάζεται γενικά ήπιους χειμώνες για να ευδοκιμήσει. Προτιμά περιοχές με θερμά καλοκαίρια και πολύ ήλιο.

Το ξύλο της είναι κιτρινοκαστανό, ως γκριζωπό. Παρά τη σκληρότητά του είναι εύκαμπτο. Χρησιμοποιείται για την κατασκευή, οργάνων μουσικής, μπαστουνιών και για καλάμια ψαρέματος. Είναι πολύ ανθεκτικό σε προσβολές μυκήτων. Μόνο μερικές φορές ορισμένες αφίδες μπορεί να δημιουργήσουν μικροπροβλήματα.

Προτάσεις αναδασώσεων: Είναι είδος που προσαρμόζεται πολύ εύκολα σε διάφορα περιβάλλοντα. Αντέχει σε ψυχρά, θερμά, ξηρά, ανεμώδη και πολύ αλκαλικά εδάφη. Μπορεί να χρησιμοποιηθεί σε εμπλουτισμό αναδασώσεων μεσογειακών οικοσυστημάτων. Επίσης είναι πολύ καλό για δρόμους ή για τη δημιουργία σκιάς σε πλατείες.

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