The Akamas peninsula, as described in the Conservation Management Plan of World Bank/EU, covers about 230 square km and is located on the western tip of Cyprus. It is an area of great natural beauty unaffected by development. The uniqueness of the area for Cyprus, and for the whole of the Mediterranean, is centered on its precious ecology. The diversity of flora and fauna living in this relatively small area is truly impressive. Rare endemic plants grow there and foxes, snakes and other reptiles as well as many types of migratory birds live in Akamas or use it in their movements. Out of a total of 128 endemic plant species of Cyprus, the following 39 are found in the Akamas peninsula :
Alyssum akamasicum, Anthemis tricolor, Arenaria rhodia ssp. cypria, Asperula cypria, Astragalus cyprius, Ballota integrefolia, Bosea cypria, Carlina involucrata spp. cyprica, Carlina pygmea, Centaurea akamantis, Centaurea calcitrapa ssp. angusticeps, Centaurea veneris, Crocus veneris, Cyclamen cyprium, Euphorbia cypria, Gagea juliae, Gladiolus triphyllus, Helianthemum obtusefolium, Odontides cypria, Onobrychis venosa, Onopordum cyprium, Onosma fruticosum, Ophrys kotschyi, Ophrys lepethica, Origanum majorana, Ornithogalum pedicellare, Phlomis cypria var. occidentalis, Pterocephalus multiflorus ssp. multiflorus, Ptilostemon chamaepeuce var. cyprius, Rubia laurea, Scutellaria cypria var. elatior, Sedum cyprium, Sedum porphyreum, Senecio glaucous ssp. Cyprius, Taraxacum aphrogenes, Teucrium divaricatum ssp. Canescens, Teucrium micropodioides, Thymus integer, Tulipa cypria.
In addition to its species habitats, the area is also important because of its diverse community habitats. Some of these are:
Pine and juniper forests
On a European level, Cyprus including the Akamas area has been identified as one of the 22 areas of endemism in Europe and one of only three European areas holding two or more restricted-range species of birds.
A vitally important characteristic of this peninsula is its beaches. Akamas is the last large unspoiled coastal area remaining in Cyprus and one of the very few important sea turtle nesting areas in the Mediterranean. Both the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta-caretta) and the rarer Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest here; the latter depends on the Akamas beaches for its very survival in this region. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) lists Loggerheads as “vulnerable” and Green Turtles as an “endangered species”. According to the IUCN, the annual number of Green Turtle nesting females in the entire Mediterranean could be as low as 325-375.
Courtesy of the CTO