Status and Trends of Biodiversity
As a result of complex geographical relief and, until recently, mild human activities, Greece possesses great biological diversity, both at the species and ecosystem levels. There are twenty-five habitat types, the most important of which are maquis, phrygana, wetlands, and forest habitats. With the longest coastline in the Mediterranean, marine and coastal habitats are also very important to Greece. In spite of the fact that the largest part of the biodiversity of Greece at the species and genetic levels remains unidentified, existing data show clearly that it is especially high with regard to wild fauna and flora and the genetic resources related to agriculture and food products. While 15,000 animal species have already been recorded, it is estimated that there are approximately 50,000 animal species, of which up to 25% are endemic. Similarly, there are over 5,500 species of plants, of which over 1,000 are endemic. There are approximately 700 animal and 900 plant species protected by law, but only few have specific management measures in place. Because of its high level of endemism and because it comprises one of the last refuges of many threatened, endangered and rare species on a European scale, Greece is an important area for the European and the Mediterranean fauna and flora.