Database release:

For Special Protection Areas (SPA),
Proposed Sites for Community Importance (pSCI),
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and
for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)



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1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name


1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:Υπουργείο Περιβάλλοντος και Ενέργειας

1.7 Site indication and designation / classification dates

Date site proposed as SCI:1996-08
Date site confirmed as SCI:2006-09
Date site designated as SAC:2011-03
National legal reference of SAC designation:Law 3937/29-3-11 (OJ 60 A)


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km] (optional):

No information provided

2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Mediterranean (0.00 %) Marine Mediterranean (0.00 %)


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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

Annex I Habitat types Site assessment
Code PF NP Cover [ha] Cave [number] Data quality A|B|C|D A|B|C
      RepresentativityRelative SurfaceConservationGlobal
1110  info      15.055  0.00 
1170  info      47.2574  0.00 
1240  info      6.73826  0.00 
2110  info      2.70261  0.00 
2120  info      15.9049  0.00 
2230  info      3.88342  0.00 
2250  info  X     3.40244  0.00 
2260  info      3.05622  0.00 
3170  info  X   X   0.00         
5330  info      6.12464  0.00 
5420  info      0.545026  0.00 
  • PF: for the habitat types that can have a non-priority as well as a priority form (6210, 7130, 9430) enter "X" in the column PF to indicate the priority form.
  • NP: in case that a habitat type no longer exists in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Cover: decimal values can be entered
  • Caves: for habitat types 8310, 8330 (caves) enter the number of caves if estimated surface is not available.
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation)

3.2 Species referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site evaluation for them

Species Population in the site Site assessment
G Code Scientific Name S NP T Size Unit Cat. D.qual. A|B|C|D A|B|C
      MinMax  Pop.Con.Iso.Glo.
P1842Androcymbium rechingeri    350000  350000 
I4011Bolbelasmus unicornis         
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Type: p = permanent, r = reproducing, c = concentration, w = wintering (for plant and non-migratory species use permanent)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the Standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting (see reference portal)
  • Abundance categories (Cat.): C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present - to fill if data are deficient (DD) or in addition to population size information
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation); VP = 'Very poor' (use this category only, if not even a rough estimation of the population size can be made, in this case the fields for population size can remain empty, but the field "Abundance categories" has to be filled in)

3.3 Other important species of flora and fauna (optional)


Population in the site


Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
Allium rubrovittatum                   
Campanula saxatilis ssp. saxatilis                   
Campanula saxatilis ssp. saxatilis                   
Centaurea pumilio                   
Ipomoea stolonifera                   
Lygeum spartum                   
Nigella stricta                   
Petromarula pinnata                   
Verbascum arcturus                   
Viola scorpiuroides                   
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, Fu = Fungi, I = Invertebrates, L = Lichens, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • CODE: for Birds, Annex IV and V species the code as provided in the reference portal should be used in addition to the scientific name
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting, (see reference portal)
  • Cat.: Abundance categories: C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present
  • Motivation categories: IV, V: Annex Species (Habitats Directive), A: National Red List data; B: Endemics; C: International Conventions; D: other reasons


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

The island of Elafonisos is located at the south-western corner of Crete. It is separated from the opposite coast by a shallow strait about 150 m in width. The island is oblong with a maximum length of 1500 m and a maximum width of 500 m although for the most part Elafonisos has a width of 150-300 m. The maximum altitude (39 m) is observed at the rocky western part while the rest of the area is principally a sandy lowland. Rocks and cliffs are found only on the periphery, along the coastline (with the exception of the eastern corner of the island). The extended beach of Elafonisos is characterised by the dominance of sanddunes with the well developed community Ammophiletum arenariae. A significant population of Pancratium maritimum (sea-lily) is found in this zone. Thickets of Juniperus oxycedrus ssp. macrocarpa, also on maritime sands, occupy the area behind the Ammophiletum community. Other species met in this scrub zone are: Anthyllis hermanniae, Silene sedoides, Lotus creticus ssp. cytisoides, Ipomoea stolonifera, Orobanche versicolor, Plantago squarrosa. On the rocky coasts that exist in certain parts of the island the following plants grow: Atriplex halimus, Crithmum maritimum, Inula crithmoides, Capparis orientalis, Euphorbia dendroides, Ficus carica. Finally, the central part of Elafonisos is occupied by phrygana (dwarf shrubs) with the following species predominating: Coridothymus capitatus, Phagnalon graecum, Ballota pseudodictamnus, Hyparrhenia hirta, Ruta chalepensis.Similar communities to the ones mentioned above are found on the opposite Cretan coast as well. The monastery of Chrysoskalitissa is located few kilometres prior to Elafonisos island with its surrounding area covered by characteristic phryganic vegetation intermixed with maquis, garigue and other scrubs. The following species predominate: Erica manipuliflora, Pistacia lentiscus, Ceratonia siliqua, Anthyllis hermanniae, Calicotome villosa etc. Studies carried out in this area revealed a very rich cliff flora, comprising many rare Greek endemics or species with discontinuous geographical distribution. Certain floristic elements of this area are worth mentioning: Bellevalia brevipedicellata, Cretan endemic, known only from this part of western Crete; Verbascum arcturus, Origanum dictamnus, Petromarula pinnata and Allium rubrovitatum, Cretan endemics; and lastly Campanula saxatilis, Viola scorpiuroides and Achillea cretica, species whose geographical distribution is of residual character. Gypsum steppe vegetation dominated by the perennial grass Lygeum spartum is found near Chrysoskalitissa. Juniperus oxycedrus and J. phoenicea arborescent matorrals are found in the inner zone together with an evergreen sclerophyllous scrub dominated by Pistacia lentiscus, Ceratonia siliqua and Olea europaea. The hygrophilous Tamarix parviflora together with the exotic-looking shrub Nerium oleander form narrow galleries and small groves along the banks of streams present in the area.Finally, the marine component of the site comprises sandbanks, shallow sea inlets and reefs.

4.2 Quality and importance

The island of Elafonisos and the opposite Cretan coast are separated by a relatively narrow zone of shallow waters over permanently submerged sandy sediments of the sea-floor. This combination along with the sand dunes that exist in the island constitute a very important and unique geological formation. Needless to say that apart from the natural beauty, the ecological value of the landscape is considerable since rare bio-communities constitute part of the above mentioned sand dunes; a formation which becomes rearer due to sand removal and the building of hotel complexes. The site is also characterized by a variety of habitat types, most of them fairly well conserved (typical ammophilous and halophytic flora, dune juniper thickets, Juniperus oxycedrus and J. phoenicea arborescent matorrals, Oleoceratonion tall scrub communities, calcareous cliffs; one of the most diverse and endemic-rich groups of communities). The flora of the site is rich in common species and also contains endemics, local endemics and species with geographical distribution of residual character. It is one of only 100 or less sites in the European Community where the plants Androcymbium rechingeri and Ipomoea stolonifera still exist. The area is also very important for migratory birds both as a resting and as a breeding place. The quality of the site lies on social and cultural reasons as well because on its historical associations (in 1824, at Easter Day, Ibrahim pasha killed 850 women and children who had taken refuge in the island; here also there is the grave of the drowned at the shipwreck of Imperatrice in 1907) and the archaeological site in the island (Apollo's sanctuary). Finally, one should not fail to mention that the site, being of great aesthetic value, can be used as a holiday-recreation area. OTHER IMPORTANT SPECIES WITH MOTIVATION D Plants: Ipomoea stolonifera (Ipomoea imperati) and Centaurea pumilio are considered vulnerable in Greece and Europe (IUCN Red Data List) and are included in the checklist of threatened plants in the CORINE biotopes manual. Furthermore they are protected by the Greek Presidential Decree 67/1981. Viola scorpiuroides is considered rare in Greece and Europe (IUCN Red Data List) and is protected by the Greek Presidential Decree 67/1981. Lygeum spartum belongs to the desert-like floristic element, occurring only in steppe communities in Crete in Greece (it occurs at similar habitats in Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, Italy in Europe); it is one of the very rare grasses in Greece (Damanakis & Scholz, 1990). Distribution in Europe: at similar habitats.

4.3 Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site

The most important impacts and activities with high effect on the site

Negative Impacts
RankThreats and pressures [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]

Rank: H = high, M = medium, L = low
Pollution: N = Nitrogen input, P = Phosphor/Phosphate input, A = Acid input/acidification,
T = toxic inorganic chemicals, O = toxic organic chemicals, X = Mixed pollutions
i = inside, o = outside, b = both

4.4 Ownership (optional)

No information provided

4.5 Documentation (optional)

No information provided


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5.1 Designation types at national and regional level (optional):

Code Cover [%]

5.2 Relation of the described site with other sites (optional):

No information provided

5.3 Site designation (optional)

No information provided


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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:


6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation

6.3 Conservation measures (optional)

No information provided



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