The main objectives of the Action “Enhancement and promotion of Cretan NATURA2000 sites”, Action Code (OPS-ERGORAMA) 380448 are:
Information on the ecological importance of NATURA 2000 areas for nature conservation since these are the last refuges for wildlife in the islands and the mainland. Through this process, it becomes the responsibility of local communities to protect the environment and the need for continuation of certain agricultural practices that have led in many cases till now in the complex mosaic of habitat and microclimate, which decreased due to the intensification of agriculture. The mentality of the local population and visitors and the role of the NATURA 2000 network as the main tool for biodiversity conservation are highlighted in all project activities.
The integration of the obligations arising from the relevant National and Community legislation, in all human activities that take place in rural areas. In this case, adjustments arising from Community directives on birds and habitats and the most important articles and appropriate guidance documents are to be presented to the public in simple terms. Also there should be a central point which will act as a repository of current and updated information (eg, legislation). It should be made clear what is allowed and what should be avoided as an activity and which aspects of nature conservation should be taken into account in all development projects and construction works carried out in or near the sites of Community importance of the network NATURA 2000.
Unfortunately, local communities believe that the inclusion of an area in the NATURA 2000 network is inhibiting its growth. The goal for the general public and especially professional groups engaged in economic activities relating to those areas is to understand that, in the long term, the network management is the only sustainable way to economic development and improved quality of life in "disadvantaged" areas countryside. Livestock, Agriculture, hunting and recreational activities in coastal and hilly areas of the network should be based on sound scientific data and information about their viability and should be promoted accordingly. Moreover, all available financial options for rural development should be publicized widely. Finally, the public has to understand that maintaining the natural environment is identical to the safeguarding of financial resources and their quality of life. The two pillars of the island’s economy (agriculture and tourism) should be based on environmental soundness and health of the unique Mediterranean ecosystems.
Stimulating growth that may arise from the promotion of NATURA 2000 areas in the island of Crete. For example, the emergence of the underwater seagrass meadows can contribute to the formation of new tourism models such as diving tourism.
The aforementioned objectives are to be accomplished through the following subprojects:
Subproject 1: Development of an Informative Environmental Internet Node in the Region of Crete website
Subproject 2: Marking areas – Acquisition of informative signs
Subproject 3: Information and awareness actions
Subproject 4: Production of informative material
Subproject 5: Supply of a mobile exhibition kiosk