Lesvos Biodiversity Observatory
Lesvos Biodiversity Observatory (LES) encompasses the entire island of Lesvos which constitutes a superb place to carry out biodiversity and ecology studies. Being a geological mosaic assembling from sedimentary to metamorphic and volcanic rocks and soils, the island is big enough to be characterized by three climatic profiles (semi-arid in the west, arid–sub-humid in the east, and a transitional one in-between). Considering its moderate size, 1634 Km2, Lesvos is rich in habitat types extending from thermo-Mediterranean, meso-Mediterranean, through to supra-Mediterranean, even up to montane-Mediterranean zone. It encompasses interesting man-made systems, such as agro-ecosystems (olive groves, cultivated & abandoned fields, and a worth-mentioning chestnut forest), terraced landscapes, graze lands, saltworks, not to forget its numerous wetlands.
Lesvos is not only important for its present biodiversity, but also for its ancient one consisting of several species of trees that have been covered with volcanic material following a massive eruption 20 mya; on the basis of the excavated ancient diversity –in petrified form today, the island was designated as “Lesvos island Global Geopark” in 2012 and as “Lesvos Island UNESCO Global Geopark” in 2015. What has been also shown to be important is the human intervention that has sculptured the island through millennia, whereas the agricultural practices employed for centuries constitute what we consider today as “nature-friendly” practices. A series of EU-funded research projects have been carried out demonstrating the outstanding importance of the island regarding its physical and natural potential.