Today the whole island of La Palma is under the status of a UNESCO biosphere reserve, after initially in 1983 the laurel forest of Los Tilos was established as a first biosphere reserve, which was the first on all Canary Islands. It is an outstanding fact that in this reserve a complete terrestrial surface is pro­tected including large surfaces of absolutely pristine ecosystems and a legacy of human influenced habitats. Since 2011 the island represents the first UNESCO starlight reserve worldwide. The central part of the island is preserved as a national park “Caldera de Taburiente” established as early as 1954.

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The Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) is characterized by its temperate climate. It is a semi-enclosed sea with several distinct biogeographical sub-units. It is bordered by a high number of countries. Intensive fishing is the primary force driving the LME, with eutrophication as the secondary driving force.

 

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Montados (or dehesas in Spanish) are traditional wood-pasture systems with a savanna type structure, characteristic of the Mediterranean Basin [1, 2]. In Portugal, Montados are mainly distributed in the southern half of the country where the climate is Mediterranean. Annual average precipitation is 600 mm and mean annual temperature is 15ºC (but there is large variation within the area of distribution of Montado).

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The Site of Community Importance Murgia Alta IT9120007 is located in Puglia, Italy, and it has an area of 1258,89 km2. The most important habitat types in this site, according to 42/93/EEC directive are 6210(*)Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (*important orchid sites) and 6220* Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals of the Thero-Brachypodietea.

 

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The Region of Ohrid and the Prespa Lakes, situated in south-western Europe (40°40’- 41°2'N latitude; 20°23’-21°16’E longitude), extends across the borders of Albania, Greece, and Macedonia. Lake Ohrid and Prespa Lakes belong to a group of Dasseretes basins that originated from a geotectonic depression 2 to 5 million years ago on the western Dinarides. Because of the karstic underground a large amount of water of Prespa Lakes seeps into the soil, drains away trough a network of underground fissures, and supplies the springs located on the shore of Lake Ohrid.

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The National Park covers ca. 70 000 hectares and was founded in 1971. It is located at a climatic transition zone (the climate is Temperate/Atlantic Sub-Mediterranean), with 1-2 dry months in summer. Annual rainfall is usually above 2000 mm, reaching 3500 mm in summits. Granite is by far the dominant bedrock type. The main ecosystem/land cover types are deciduous oak forests, heathland and scrub, meadows and rock outcrops (in highlands), and forest plantations, scrub, urban and agriculture (in lowlands).

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Samaria (White Mountains) National Park is located on the West part of island of Crete and was declared as a National Park via a Royal Decree in 1962. It is a muli-designated area and specifically a National Park, Landscape of Outstanding Beauty, Natura 2000 site coded GR 4340008 and GR4340014 and Biosphere Reserve in the framework of the “Man and Biosphere” Programme of UNESCO.

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Sierra Nevada (Andalusia, SE Spain), is a mountainous region with an altitudinal range between 860 m and 3482 m a.s.l. covering more than 2000 km2. The climate is Mediterranean, characterized by cold winters and hot summers, with pronounced summer drought (July-August). The annual average temperature decreases in altitude from 12-16ºC below 1500 m to 0ºC above 3000 m a.s.l., and the annual average precipitation is about 600 mm.

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The Tatra Mountains are located at the border between Poland and Slovakia in eastern Central Europe. They cover the area of approx. 785 km2, with approximately 78% of their total area belonging to Slovakia and 22,3% belonging to Poland. The elevational gradient reaches from around 700 m a.s.l. to the highest peak Gerlachoský štit at 2655 m a.s.l. The Tatra Mountains (despite being part of a much greater mountain range, namely the Carpathian Mountains) are often referred to as the smallest high mountain range in the world, with 28 individual peaks above 2500 m but only about 80 km length along its main ridge.

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The Wadden Sea is an international, highly productive estuarine area, and one of the largest coastal wetlands in the world. Situated abreast mainland Europe in the south-eastern portion of the North Sea, it borders Germany, the northern portion of the Netherlands, and western Denmark, thereby requiring tri-lateral cooperation in the management and protection of the system. This coastal area is a biodiversity hotspot due to its positioning as a convergence point of multiple domains, including terrestrial, fresh water, brackish and marine habitats. This multi-faceted combination allows for the support of a wide breadth of biota.

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