First compilation date
Date site proposed as SCI
Date site confirmed as SCI
Date site designated as SAC
National legal reference of SAC designation
Law 3937/29-3-11 (OJ 60 A)



The quality of this site has many aspects, related with is geographical location and excellent conservation status of the habitats.From the botanical view, both the flora and vegetation are interesting, as they are characterized by the persisting North African element which may have been depleted from the mainland of Crete. There are endemic plants and also plants at the margins of their northern distribution, such as Zygophyllum album, Helianthemum stipulatum and Astragalus peregrinus ssp. peregrinous, which have in these islands their only known populations in the area of Crete or of Greece.From ornithological view, two important birds Falco eleonorae and Calonectris diomedea nest there.The marine habitats are very important. Besides, the monk seal also uses the island.Finally, the site combines the biological with the arcaeological importance. There is an ancient theatre and archaeological value of the island is considered great, though not fully apprehended yet.OTHER IMPORTANT SPECIES WITH MOTIVATION DPlants: Colchicum cousturieri is an endemic of eastern Crete, protected by the Bern Convenion and by the Greek Law (Presidential Decree 67/81). It is included in the IUCN Red List of threatened species (1993, Greece; 1988 Europe; and 1993, World) with the characterization "Vulnerable" and also included in Annex IV of the Directive 92/43/EEC.Helianthemum stipulatum, Astragalus peregrinus ssp. peregrinus and Erodium crassifolium are protected by the Greek Law (Presidential Decree 67/81). They are also included in the IUCN Red List of threatened species (1993, Greece; 1988 Europe) with the characterization "Vulnerable", "Indeterminate" and "Rare" respectively (their World status is unknown). H. stipulatum is also included in the Corine checklist of threatened plants.Silene succulenta ssp. succulenta is protected by the Greek Law (Presidential Decree 67/81) and it is included in the IUCN Red List of threatened species (1993, Greece; 1988 Europe) with the characterization "Vulnerable", in Greece.Zygophyllum album is protected by the Greek Law (Presidential Decree 67/81) and it is included in the IUCN Red List of threatened species (1993, Greece; 1988 Europe) with the characterization "Vulnerable", in Greece.The species Zygophyllum album, Cistanche phelypaea and Erodium crassifolium are near the northern limits of their distribution; the first two occur only in the Iberian peninsula in Europe and the latter on only in E. Crete.Lygeum spartum belongs to the desert-like floristic element, occurring only in steppe communities in Kriti 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.Cynara cornigera is an east-mediterranean species, with interesting distribution in the Aegean area, occurring in Southern Greece, in Crete and in the Aegean and out of Greece only in Cyprus; the site is one of only 100 or less sites this species occurs in the EC. Fagonia cretica is an east mediterranean region endemic.Reptiles: Cyrtodactylus kotschyi and Telescopus fallax, are protected by the Bern convention (appendix II) and by the Greek Law (Presidential Decree 67/81).

Other characteristics

The site includes the island Koufonisi and the small islets on its north (Strongyli, Makrouli and Marmaros) and on its south (Trachilos). Koufonisi is a small island, one of the southernmost european islands, together with Chrysi and Gavdos. Being at the south-easternmost part of Crete it has a dry and hot climate. This fact is evident in the persisting North African desert-like floristic element and in the steppe vegetation observed with the typical presence of the perennial esparto grass, Lygeum spartum, as well as of Erodium crassifolium. This vegetation type is on gypsum substrate. There are both sandy and rocky beaches. The marine part of the site is very representative and well conserved and comprises sea caves, reefs, and Posidonia beds.There are no permanent inhabitants on the island. In summer, vacationers visit the island, but tourism activities are not intense.


1) 3.1, 3.2.c., 3.3, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 5.3

1) CORINE Information System. European Environment Agency. CORINE, Biotopes, 1991.


2) Ministry of Environment Physical Planning and Public Works. 1990. (Work Team: A. Legakis et al). Erevnitiko programma. Meleti ton akton tis kritis pou parousiazoun oikologikes diatarahes (Research Programme. Study of the coasts of Kriti that present ecological disturbances). Dept. of Biology. University of Crete, p. 228.

4.1., 4.2.

3) Turland N.L., Chilton & J. Press. 1993. Flora of the Cretan area. Annotated checklist & atlas. Natural History Museum, London, p.439.

4) Damanakis M. & H. Scholz. 1990. Phytogeographical notes on the Poaceae of Greece. Willdenowia 19:413-423.

5) Georghiou K. 1995. Checklist of Endemic, Rare and Threatened Plants of Greece. Draft. University of Athens. (3.3, 3.4, 4.2)

6) Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, Special Environmental Study, NW Crete, (under evaluatinon) 7) Bergmeier A. & P. Dimopoulos. 2003. The vegetation of islets in the Aegean and the relation between the occurrence of islet specialists, island size and grazing. Phytocoenologia 33 (2-3):447-474.

Reference: Natura 2000 data form, database release 7 Feb 2014