On Chrysi island (also known as Gaidouronisi- donkey island) the only Coastal dune with Juniperus spp habitat in Eastern Crete can be found. Chrysi island lies 8 miles south of Ierapetra and consists of a popular tourist destination, from May to October, famous for its chrystal clear blue waters and white sand dunes.
Chrysi is almost flat, with an average height of 10m. From a distance it seems like a thin line of land in the middle of the sea. Its greatest length is 5km, with an average width of 1km. The habitat covers almost 35 hectares and its density is approximately 28 trees per hectare. Their average height is 3 to 7m tall and their average age is at least 300 years old. The juniperus trees have a root system that spreads across an area which is more than double the height of the tree. Apart from the big roots, a huge amount of tiny roots forms a complex web that keeps the sand in place. Therefore, they are under threat from erosion, tourism trampling woodcutting and fires.
The number of plant species of Chrysi is relatively high compared to its size, comprising 1/20 of the Cretan flora. Many species are rare and endemic, therefore protected