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Mt.Ainos National Park

The National Park consists of an area of 2.862 ha, which expand at the mountain Ainos and at the adjacent mountain Roudi. Mt. Ainos with an alt. of 1,628 m is the tallest mountain in the Ionian Islands, whereas Mt. Roudi reaches an alt. of 1,125 m.

Its main feature is its Cephalonian fir forest (Abies cephalonica), which is unique in the Ionian Islands. Abies cephalonica is a Greek endemic species, i.e. it occurs only in the Greek region. In particular, it occurs in Cephalonia, Evvia island and in mainland Greece from Peloponnesus to Mt. Olimbos and Mt. Athos, at an altitude of 600-1,600 m. The need to protect the Fir forest on Mt. Ainos, where it was described as a new species (locus classicus), as well as the phytogeographical importance of its presence in Cephalonia, constituted the main reasons that resulted in the declaration of Mt. Ainos as a National Park in 1962. In previous centuries, Cephalonian fir was an important tree species particularly after the 16th century. This fact lead to extensive woodcutting in the forest of Mt. Ainos-Mt. Roudi, as well as the inability to effectively control and put out fires that occurred in the area, threatened the survival of the Fir forest. As a result, its distribution area has been restricted to 1/4 of the initial one.

In recognition of its significance at the European level, the National Park has been designated as a European Biogenetic Reserve, belongs to the "Natura 2000" European Ecological Network of Protected Areas and is a Special Protected Area for the protection of the avifauna. It has also been declared as a Wildlife Reserve.

 

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