What can you do to help protect this wonderful beautiful flora?
If you want to help to protect Cretan nature, you can start by becoming a member of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature:
The larger this society is, the greater their influence will be. Four times per year you will receive their interesting magazine H Fisi.
And you can visit regularly a very nice site about Cretan flowers:www.flowersofcrete.info .This site is maintained by Julia Jones, a skilled botanical artist with a passion for the protection and conservation of the Cretan nature.
Planning to visit Chania? Prepare yourself well by visiting:
DO NOT COLLECT FLOWERS!!!
The Cretan nature is under great pressure from grazing by the sheep and goats, and tourism causes the best places to be paved with parking places and hotels. An increasing part of the land is occupied for agriculture and land-usage, roads and buildings. In the recent past, some plants have become totally or nearly extinct by overexcessive collecting. One example is Biebersteinia orphanidis, recently rediscovered in very few numbers but who was expected to have disappeared completely because botanists from all over the world collected the plant for their scientific herbarium.
A few years ago, one of the two places where Androcymbium rechingeri is found, was in grave danger. Someone thought this place to be a good spot to start a restaurant because in summer it is a touristic beach and until now there are no provisions for the hungry and thirsty tourists. The businessman inquired at the local authorities who didn’t know about the rare and threatened plant, so they gave provisional consent as they expected that the definite license would come soon without any problem, and he started rashly with a shovel to level the Androcymbium field. Fortunately, a botanist noticed the activities and the work was stopped by law. Fortunately, there was only little damage. It just shows how vulnerable the Cretan nature is.
Many plants are rare and threatened, many plants are “Red-list-species” and you should take great care not to disturb these plants. Happily, the awareness of the importance of nature of the Cretans is growing rapidly, thanks to the influence of Chanian institutes like MAICh, the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (http://www.maich.gr/p/garden/). So, enjoy the flowers of Crete, but make sure that you (and your children) are responsible nature-lovers. Do admire the flowers, “shoot” photographs but do not gather flowers.