Asterousia, Crete

Editor's note 9Sep12: Draft introduction. Note this page has to be edited with "no editor" to keep the google map. Eleni - the text of this introduction cannot be edited from the front end. You need to copy and paste into a word document, make the corrections using track changes and email it to Jane.

The Asterousia mountain range  is located in the Heraklion Prefecture of Crete. Until 1920, the slopes of Asterousia mountains were cultivated with cereals. Due to low land productivity the area has been abandoned used mainly as grazing land. The climate of the area is characterized as sub-humid Mediterranean with humid and relatively cold winters and dry and warm summers. The soils are highly degraded due to their advanced degree of erosion with the underlined rock to be exposed on the surface in several places. Vegetation consists mainly of maquis and in areas with relatively deep soils olive groves are present. Although the natural vegetation in the Asterousia Mts  shows a capacity for succession to higher forms, this is not the case since the area is overgrazed during the winter months mainly by animals transferred from surrounding areas. Shepherds damaged the natural vegetation  by deliberately setting fires to eradicate the non-palatable vegetation favoring the growth of grass, followed by overgrazing..

Principal LEDD problems
Pastures are highly affected by degradation and desertification problems. High stocking rates, pastoral techniques and frequent fires have led to a significant decline in pasture quality and productivity.

Responses to LEDD
Pasture management practices respond to the physical environment and by socio-economic pressures. Almost the whole range of Asterousia Mts is grazed during the whole year since climatic conditions are relatively mild during the winter period. The needs of the animals can not be satisfied by grazing and  animal feed is transported from other areas.

2014-11-28 10:49:28