9560* Endemic Mediterranean forests with Juniperus spp. in Cyprus

 
 

In Cyprus, this priority habitat type occurs as coastal and high altitude low forest formations dominated by Juniperus phoenicea, in the coastal zone, and J. foetidissima, J. excelsa and J. oxycedrus at highest parts (above 1200m) of the central Troodos range. Small woods of Phoenicean juniper (J. phoenicea) are restricted to the Akamas peninsula, an area with extensive matorral formations of J. phoenicea (habitat type 5210). Generally, J. phoenicea attains a height of 4-6m high and the understory vegetation is characterised by shrubs of the thermo-Mediterranean zone, such as Pistasia lentiscus, Olea europaea, Ceratonia siliqua and Rhamnus oleoides subsp. graecus. Stinking juniper (J. foetidissima) woods are confined around Chionistra peak, the highest part of the Troodos NFP. J. foetidissima appears around 1200m, either as scattered individuals or as part of the mixed forest of Pinus brutia and P. nigra subsp. pallasiana understory. Around 1700m it forms small or large pure stands or mixed stands with Pinus nigra subsp. pallasiana, which reach up to the summit of Chionistra at 1952m. At these elevations, the forest stands are usually open with scattered understorey composed of Sorbus aria subsp. cretica, Berberis cretica, Cotoneaster nummularia and many dwarf shrubs and subshrubs such as Genista fasselata subsp. crudelis, Alyssum troodi, Teucrium cyprium, Astragalus echinus var. chionistrae and Salvia willeana, as well as many herbaceous plants, which are mainly local endemics. Grecian juniper woods (J. excelsa) are confined around Madari peak (c. 1400 -1600m), forming small, open stands with sparse shrubby understory and are probably remnants of more extended woods which have been mostly degraded to matorral mainly as a result of past illegal cutting but also fires. Juniperus oxycedrus is commonly found in the understory vegetation of P. nigra subsp. pallasiana and J. foetidissima, especially in the Troodos NFP, and sometimes occurs in Quercus alnifolia stands around Madari area. A single stand dominated by J. oxycedrus has been found in the southeast part of Troodos NFP; in this stand J. oxycedrus dominates, attaining a height of 4-8 m, whereas scattered P. brutia, Arbutus andrachne and Q. alnifolia are also present.