A €1.3m information point in Platania was inaugurated on Tuesday as part of the iLIFE-Troodos project set to promote national assets and ecosystems.
Speaking from Platania, Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said the project began in October 2017 and is set to be completed by September 2020. It falls under the EU LIFE programme which has a €1.3m budget of which 60 per cent is co-funded through community funds.
The aim of the project is to make the public more aware and sensitive of the Troodos National Park as well as to highlight the ecosystems within the park, Kadis said.
Research undertaken by Frederick University and the forestry department brought to light that many of Troodos’ key assets and ecosystems are unknown to the general public and also highlighted that people were unclear as to the importance and role of the Natura 2000 network, of which the Troodos park is part.
The Platania information point offers information on the fauna and flora of the Troodos National park, as well as information on churches, museums, archaeological sites, hiking trails, accommodation, restaurants and geotopes as well as other key points of interest in the area, Kadis said.
Information is in the form of photographs, text, games with puzzles, multiple choice questions on biodiversity and ecosystems, all designed to pique the interests of visitors and broaden their knowledge, the minister said at the inauguration, adding that a second information point is set to open to the public in Troodos square in the future, at a cost of around €80,000.
The Troodos National park has a 93km² range and hosts 92 out of the 143 endemic plant species in Cyprus. Of these, 37 are only found in the Troodos area and nowhere else in Cyprus or the world, Kadis said.
The area also hosts 87 species under threat from the total of 238 species outlined the ‘red data book of the flora of Cyprus’. Kadis added that the flora in Troodos hosts 10 species of plants from the 19 listed in the European Habitats Directive as well as the largest number of native and endemic plants from any other area of Cyprus.
“Therefore it is correctly characterised as one of the 13 areas with a high percentage of plant biodiversity in the Mediterranean,” Kadis said.