The Asterousia Mountains located in the central part of Crete are one of the island's least visited tourist destinations. This mountain range separates the Messara plain from the few towns on the southern coast. It is this area with an area of 367 sq. Km that has been included in the global network of Biosphere Reserves of the UNESCO program "Man and biosphere", which was announced during a special internet conference. This is an even more important achievement because it is only the third region of Greece that has been included in this program. The other two regions are the Cretan Samaria Gorge and Mount Olympus, both included in the program in 1981.
In the Asterousia mountain region there are three Natura 2000 areas, 7 archaeological sites and a large number of individual monuments. But above all it is unusual landscapes, wild gorges, steep walls, demanding hiking trails and isolated beaches. 192 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians live in this area.
The addition of the Asterousia range to the reserve list is a very important success for Greece, which has put a lot of effort at both regional and central levels. Biosphere reserves are today very prestigious areas of environmental protection and cultural heritage.
The "Man and biosphere exists" program since 1971 and currently brings together over 700 biosphere reserves in 124 countries. The purpose of its creation was to create and promote proper relations between people and the biosphere. The created reserves serve not only to public awareness of the links between ecological and cultural diversity, but also to protect biodiversity. It is worth knowing that there are 11 such reserves in Poland.
The very formula of these reserves has changed over time. Originally, strong emphasis was placed on protecting the biosphere, but over the years, the creation of isolated zones with difficult access was abandoned. Currently, these are places where people live in harmony with the surrounding nature, and all development must preserve biological diversity. Only the central zone remains under strict protection, while the surrounding areas are considered as a buffer and transition zone, where there are less restrictions on use, so it is possible to carry out various functions such as education, scientific research, ecotourism and the creation of human settlements, crops, etc.
Be sure to watch the attached video!