A sustainable management of the terrestrial and marine protected areas for a harmonious coexistence of man, wildlife and the natural environment has been a vision of the local communities of the Northern Cyclades for more than a decade. The present project is yet another step towards the materialization of this vision. It is a continuation of the LIFE Nature project “Management of the SPA site of Andros Island to achieve a Favourable Conservation Status for its priority species (ANDROSSPA)” (http://www.androslife.gr) which was implemented between 2011 and 2017. It established and initiated the operation of the Andros Special Protection Area (SPA) Management Scheme and implemented a series high priority conservation actions for the most important protected bird species of Andros, including the Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae), Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata), Mediterranean Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii) and Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii). Based on these results and utilizing the experience, know-how, equipment, infrastructure and involvement of the local stakeholders acquired through its predecessor, the LIFE Andros Park projects aims to expand and complements the achievements of the ANDROSSPA LIFE project through effective integrated management, conservation and restoration of all the priority species and habitats of Andros all Natura 2000 sites in the form of “Andros Island Park”.
In comparison to its predecessor, the project LIFE Andros Park will along with the Mediterranean Shag and Audouin’s Gull also address the Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus) and a priority habitat “Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)” (with a reference code 91E0*). Additionally, apart from the existing management of the Andros SPA site “ANDROS: KENTRIKO KAI NOTIO TMIMA, GYRO NISIDES KAI PARAKTIA THALASSIA ZONI” (with the reference code GR4220028) and its priority species will be expanded to the Andros Special area of Conservation (SAC) “ANDROS: ORMOS VITALI KAI KENTRIKOS OREINOS OGKOS” (GR4220001) and the newly designated Site of Community Interest (SCI) “THALASSIA ZONI ANDROU” (GR4220035) which covers 300km2 of coastal waters in a 2 nautical mile zone along the eastern, northern and northwestern coast of Andros. Finally, the project will carry out a whole new set of conservation measures which have not been yet applied on Andros and will aim to protect the terrestrial habitats and species against wild fires, flooding, erosion and over-grazing and the marine habitats and species against marine plastic litter, as well as, to reduce the interactions between the Mediterranean Monk Seal and the local fishermen.