Andros is the northernmost island of the Cyclades (Greece). Its mountains cause high local precipitation, while the lowlands have very dry summers typical of the Cyclades. These diverse climatic conditions, combined with non-limestone substrates and small rivers crossing the mountain valley, result in a great diversity of habitats, including alluvial forests - a priority habitat for conservation in the Habitats Directive. The marine area around Andros is one of Greece’s most important areas for seabirds and marine mammals. The coastline has numerous partially or totally submerged marine caves - another priority habitat - which are important for Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), a priority species in Annex II of the Habitats Directive. The rocky coasts and 16 adjacent uninhabited islets are important nesting and roosting areas for Mediterranean shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii), Audouin’s gull (Larus audouinii) and Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae): all in Annex I of the Birds Directive. The main terrestrial threats to these species include road construction, garbage disposal, wetland degradation, overgrazing, heavy flooding, soil erosion, the abandonment of traditional farming practices and electricity generation infrastructure. The main marine threats include overfishing, illegal and unsustainable fishing, marine debris and abandoned fishing gear (‘ghost fishing’).
The overall objective of LIFE Andros Park is to implement conservation and restoration actions to significantly restore and improve the conservation status of the Habitats Directive Annex I priority terrestrial habitat, alluvial forests (91E0*), as well as the priority marine species, Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus ), and the priority coastal seabirds, Mediterranean shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii ) and Audouin’s gull (Larus audouinii ). The ultimate aim is to establish a holistic management scheme for the Andros Natura 2000 network sites and their protection zones, as adopted by the relevant ministerial decree for Andros Island Park. The main specific project objectives include: protection of alluvial forests habitat from the threats of overgrazing, soil erosion, river flooding and wild fires; and introduction of an effective management system to protect priority marine species from harmful marine debris. The project intends to involve local stakeholders and volunteers actively in the planning and the implementation of project interventions.