Regenerating the Cycladic Ecosystem

(2018) 7.600€ awarded

We are so excited with our new partnership with the Friends of Paros Park Association and the Environmental Park of Paros! Have you ever visited it? It sits on a 80-hectare area of municipal land, typical of the Cycladic landscape, exploited for millennia. The vicious circle of tree-cutting, overgrazing, fire and, more recently, the tourist industry, have put an enormous pressure on the local ecosystem and almost stripped it bare. Since 2008 the people of Paros have stepped in in an effort to stop the degradation and have created what the Paros Park is today: a sanctuary for nature lovers, a hub for high quality cultural activities, an emerging model of sustainable development in the Cyclades. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done to prevent the severe erosion occurring, to reverse the biodiversity loss and to regenerate the fragile terrestrial and marine ecosystems, that are both affected by erosion.

The CPF is proud to support these efforts and help the local community come together in a positive way, enhancing multiple functions of the Paros Park as a place of education, recreation, tourist attraction, environmental awareness and protection! The projects aims: a. to provide a replicable and scalable model for erosion mitigation and regeneration of the fragile island ecosystems of the Cyclades, b. to revegetate and enhance biodiversity in a typically degraded area, where agriculture or animal rearing is no longer desirable, interesting or economically viable, c. to create a garden/sanctuary/showcase of the Cycladic flora, where tourists and locals alike can discover the rich but threatened biodiversity of the Cyclades, d. to raise awareness about the problems of the Cycladic ecosystems and about the cheap but effective solutions and practices used traditionally in the Cyclades and elsewhere in the world to prevent erosion and revegetate degraded land.

Read here the relative Press Release in Greek!


We are excited to sharing with you the report we received from our partner  in early May of 2019:

‘ The spring phase of the botanical garden construction and the anti-erosion earthworks at Paros Park has almost been completed. A few additional actions need to be taken in order to prepare for summer.
As far as the anti-erosion and water-retention works are concerned, we built a new set of one-rock dams on the now abandoned road leading to the Korakas Lighthouse, on the inactive road leading down to the organized beach, as well as in the wider water basin draining to the Monastiri beach. In combination, we planted along the road adjacent to the beach to take advantage of the rainwater run-off from the hill, to increase the vegetation along the coast and reduce the amount of rainwater running off to the sea.

During construction and throughout the winter, we were pleased to observe that, despite the heavy rainfall we had this year on the island, formation of gullies due to erosion has stopped, and the dams themselves, as well as the space around them, has been filled with vegetation . The beneficial effect is multiple: the rainwater running off from the dams flows clean, without carrying debris (soil, stones, sand), and is absorbed by the soil. This enhances the vegetation and the dams start to integrate harmoniously into the landscape, restoring it naturally.

The botanical garden was built in the place of a small parking lot positioned behind the open-air theater “Archilochos”, in the form of terraces supported by stone walls, built by a Parian craftsman. Over 45 species of perennial plants, native to the Cyclades and the South Aegean, were planted. Indicatively, we mention a few species: thyme, sage, savory,phlomis, spruce, capers, rockrose, sea fennel, euphorbia, juniper tree, myrtle, laurel, carob.

While waiting for the plants to grow in this new section, we also built a walking path connecting it to a wider adjacent section where plantings have been made by the
Association with the help of numerous volunteers for more than ten years. This area gives the visitors an insight of how this place was in times before overgrazing and other human uses exhaust it and also how the garden will look like in the future.
The cooperation with local stakeholders has been remarkable. Paros Park Municipal SA has added significantly to our budget, the Municipality offered plants, services and materials for the irrigation system, “Naias” nautical club of Naoussa has offered countless hours of volunteer work, we had a volunteer photographer from the Photo Club of Paros documenting the works, locals offered plants and services for free.’

WATCH THE VIDEO about the creation of the Cycladic botanic garden!