Mountain Ida or Psiloritis

The mount Psiloritis (southwest part) is being developed in the wider mountainous area of Municipality of Amari. Ida or Psiloritis with its highest peak on 2.456 m. (Timios Stavros), is characterised by landscape variety, high biodiversity, existence of many endemic species of fauna and flora , and by even rare and endangered species. The dominant rocks are limestone, dolomite and schist. Due to its highly karstified landscape, the relief includes gorges, ployes, a huge number of dolines and some hundreds of caves and chasms, with some of the deepest of Greece to be located in spare places of the mountain range. Cave Sfentoni in Zoniana and Ideon Andron in Nida plateau are one of the most important visited Cretan caves.

More than 100 species of area’s plants are endemic of the island. Some of them are extremely rare such as Horstrissea dolinicola (stenoendemic of the area). Also, some of them such Duvalius mixanigi and Serradium sbordoni, are stenoendemic and can be found just in one or two cavities of the mountain. Deer fossils and skeletons of wild animals (Capra aegagrus cretica-went extinct from Psiloritis some decades ago ) have been found in some chasms of the mountain. Dolines are very interesting; the liquid one is characterised by sperse vegetation of annual plants that are common to other regions but they are rare in Crete , where as the dry one is characterised by dense vegetation and by the appearance of Polygonum Idaeum and of Gagea fibrosa.

 Phrygana and macchia shrubs dominate up to 1.600 m. altitute. There are spare clushes of hollies Quercus coccifera in the mountain. Pine trees forests (Pinus brutia) appear in south and west areas while both cypresses (Cupressus sempervirens) and maple trees (Acer sempervirens) are spare up to 1400 m. altitude, creating clushes just occasionally. Over 1.700 m. the vegetation is partial with low bushes of spiky plants. The plants of those formations are endemic of Crete (Asperula idaea, Centaurea idaea, etc.).

The remaining parts of the area are covered by Cretan phrygana and mainly by the Berberis crettica euphorbia acanthtamnos and Astragalus angustifolium, that reach up to the altitude of 1500-1600 m. Creatan Wildcat has been found n the southwestern part of Psiloritis that is characterised by steep grades with steep slopes and pinewoods. In many cases, steep geological uplifts have created numerous gorges that are considered very important due to the presence of breeding and emigrant birds of pray, like the Platania gorge. The most important species of the region are the lammergeier, the vulture, the golden eagle and the red-billed chough.

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