We are very impressed by the progress reported by our partners ‘Friends of the environmental and cultural Park of Paros Association‘ regarding one of the projects we granted last year, the anti-erosion earthworks and the creation of a Botanical garden in Paros Park aiming to revegetate and enhance biodiversity in a typically degraded area, and proud to share with you some of these great news:
EARTHWORKS FOR EROSION CONTROL
We doubled the number of one-rock dams in the area of concern and we applied the method on another deserted road that was cause to signiﬁcant erosion heading directly to the organised beach of the site. All relevant earthworks have worked extremely well during the winter, preventing any soil, rocks and other debris running oﬀ to the beach. We have to note that precipitation this season (winter 2019-2020, ~290mm until today) was about half compared to last year (September 2018-April 2019, ~600mm), with no extreme rain events. So, while the rain events would not be highly erosive this year, the one-rock dams have successfully held soil and moisture for much longer time than the wider area, so that the dams themselves and the surrounding areas are full of vegetation. Many of the smaller structures are completely full of vegetation, so that they have integrated completely in the landscape, healing it slowly but steadily. What is more, we have observed an increase in plant diversity. We have been seeding the rock structures with native plant species not previously present in the Park, and we are now seeing them growing in various spots. This anti-erosion project has been a painstaking process that demands patience, close observation and careful intervention. It tries to repair degenerative human activities and at the same time to withstand harsh climatic conditions and a very challenging topography, typical to the Cyclades. The results are promising and we are encouraged to continue.
At the end April, we completed the ﬁrst phase of the Botanical Garden. The construction of the traditional dry stone-wall terraces was completed and we planted 75% of the garden, with native plants of the Cyclades and a few from Crete. This was already a remarkable feat because native plants are not commercially available and there are very few, if any, professional nurseries that produce them. We also accepted donations of plants from locals and organised so that we have more native plants in the coming year. In spring 2019 more than 1,000 school children from 7 out of 8 elementary schools of Paros and Antiparos visited the Botanical Garden in a series of visits funded by the Paros Park and facilitated by our Association. We used the garden to raise awareness of the importance of the Cycladic ecosystem, the Paros Park endeavour, and to inform and inspire children about their natural and cultural heritage. In September 2019, on the Paros Park 10-year anniversary, we also had the opportunity to tour with local people around the garden and the wider area, presenting and explaining our project of erosion mitigation, as well as preservation and promotion of the Cycladic ﬂora. This past winter was a test-run for the new plantation: it had to withstand harsh winds, one of the most important factors shaping the landscape of the Park area, apart from human interventions. We can now safely say that this garden can thrive, especially if we provide for some additional works for wind-breaking. A positive side-eﬀect of the botanical garden, that was nevertheless taken into account in the design process, is that it itself functions as an anti-erosion feature in the landscape: the terraces and planted vegetation absorb most of the rainwater coming from the northeastern rocky side adjacent to the theatre main entrance and the restaurant side entrance, beneﬁting the garden itself as well as the maintenance of the site. This is a clear demonstration of how terraces work in the Cyclades and why it is important to preserve and vegetate them.
The CPF is grateful for the excellent cooperation with our partners ‘Friends of Paros Park’ and happy to keep supporting their worthwhile efforts. We are also proud hearing nice words from their side:
We take this opportunity to thank you for the excellent collaboration and the ongoing support to our eﬀorts to preserve and promote the natural capital of Paros. Your contribution has been extremely important and we hope we will have more opportunities to co-create a more sustainable future for our precious corner of the world.
The Association “Friends of the Environmental and Cultural Park of Paros”