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INFO on Priority Habitat 2250*

The priority habitat 2250* covers in Greece an area of 12 km2. This habitat type consists primarily of Juniperus oxycedrus ssp. macrocarpa stands and secondarily of Juniperus phoenicea stands. The formations of this habitat are very representative in Greece especially on the Islands of the southern coast of Crete (Gavdos and Chrysi Islets), in the Cyclades and on the western coast of Peloponnisos. Gavdos islet (Crete) has the largest cover of this type of habitat in Greece (102 ha). The habitat in Chrysi islet is one of the very few sites where the rare maquis with Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa is found on sand dunes. Also, the mixed forest of Juniperus. oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa and Juniperus phoenicea which is found on Chrysi Island is not very common in Greece.

At present, the junipers appear in isolated stands of different extension. Populations still survive in natural or semi-natural conditions, but others have no legal protection. In the past, this habitat type was covering more extensive areas on shady substrata. However, at present, the habitat is in danger of more severe reduction of its area mainly due to the clearance of the herb and shrub layer of the Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa forests. In spite of their ecological value, maritime juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa) woodlands of Greece are poorly known and there is a lack of information about their ecology as a basis for future restoration plans.

The maritime juniper is a shrub or small tree of the coniferous family, native of the Mediterranean coasts, growing in a pyramidal shape, with branches developing from its base. It does not usually exceed 4 meters in height, although in warm conditions it can reach almost 10 meters. Its leaves are linear in shape and needle-like, in groups of three with two white lines on the face. It is a dioecious species, that is to say, there are masculine and feminine trees. The flowers, which bloom between November and January, produce fleshy cones known as galbulus. These galbulus, which usually contain three seeds, mature between September and October of the second year, and then take on a brown-reddish color, with a diameter reaching up to 25 mm, and a strong, very characteristic fragrance.
The characteristic taxa of 2250* habitat type except from Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa and Juniperus phoenicea are:
Pistacia lentiscus, Rhamnus lycioides subsp. oleoides, Rubia tenuiflora, Lycium sweinfurthii, Ceratonia siliqua, Olea europaea subsp. oleaster, Ephedra foeminea, Myrtus communis, Prasium majus. Other taxa that are usually found in this habitat type are: Coridothymus capitatus, Helichrysum conglobatum, Helichrysum italicum, Phagnalon graecum, while Cistus creticus, Cistus salviifolius, Erica manipuliflora, Teucrium capitatum, Asparagus aphyllus, Anthyllis hermanniae, as well as ammophilous taxa like Pancratium maritimum, Medicago marina, Elytrigia juncea, Pseudorlaya pumila, Reichardia picroides, Valantia hispida and halophytic Limonium species such as L. graecum, L. hyssopifolium, L. ocymifolium, L. echioides are met less often.