The Project Team

The Project Team

Coordinating Beneficiary:

University of Crete - Natural History Museum of Crete

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Natural History Museum of Crete (NHMC) was established as a department of the Faculty of Science of the University of Crete since 1980, being a pioneer institute at national and European level in several aspects of biological and geological diversity. The first aspect regards research on the environment of the Eastern Mediterranean at all levels, i.e. from basic to applied research, from the cellular to the level of the ecosystems, and from state of the art applications and techniques to management of protected areas and continuous interventions on environmental issues of local and national interest.

The NHMC focuses in studying aspects of the Eastern Mediterranean diversity in the fields of Geology, Palaeontology, Ecology, Evolution, Biogeography, Phylogeography, Phylogenetics, Systematics and Taxonomy. At present, four departments are fully operational: The Zoological, the Botanical, the Mineralogical and the Geological combined with the Paleontological department. It is the only Natural History Museum in Greece, dealing with all aspects of natural environment and occupies a significant number of specialists in biological and geological diversity. In NHMC permanent Exhibition Halls, of 3500 m2, in the city of Heraklion, Crete, the natural environment of the eastern Mediterranean area with special emphasis on Greece and Crete, is displayed. Additionally, having participated and participating in several national, European and international conservation and management projects concerning protected areas and priority species, NHMC has a vast in the field of conservation and management in Crete, with great results.

In 2012, NHMC was awarded by the Emmanuel Benakis prize of the Academy of Sciences in Athens for its complex educational, research, writing and publishing deed, its exemplary organization and structure that designate it as one of the most significant, for its specialty, museum globally, in which scientific research is being advanced and make it equivalent to similar foreign institutions and education sites. Also, NHMC was awarded the Certificate of Excellence of 2013 by TripAdvisor as the NHMC became by the visitors as one of the excellent tourist destinations worldwide.


Associated Beneficiaries:

Hellenic Ornithological Society / BirdLife Greece

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HOS/BirdLife Greece was founded in 1982 and is a Non-Governmental, nation-wide, non-profit Organization, focusing on the study and protection of wild birds and their habitats, as integral elements of Greek Nature.

Since 1982, HOS strives to safeguard a sustainable environment where birds and people may live in harmony. HOS main activities include the study and protection of wild birds, work towards the conservation of Important Bird Areas in Greece, raise public awareness, enhance environmental education, as well as advocate and intervene in environmental policy.

HOS is a partner of BirdLife International, the largest global partnership for the conservation of wild birds and their habitats.

The long-term conservation work of HOS has led to the identification of 208 IBAs, that represent the 24% of the Greek territory. Thanks to pressure by HOS, the 57% of these are already protected as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) as part of the EU Natura 2000 network.

HOS has implemented more than 20 LIFE Projects as a coordinator or partner, five of which have been awarded as Best LIFE Nature Projects by the EE. HOS has a long experience in the conservation of numerous raptors species such as Eleonora’s Falcon, Bearded vulture, Griffon vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Lesser Kestrel, Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle a.o.

HOS has collaborated in many projects with the University of Crete, with NCC and the Greek Ministry of the Environment. Through the Birdlife partnership it has worked together with partners from Cyprus, Israel, Turkey and other East Mediterranean countries. Furthermore, HOS is one of the key partners for the Egyptian Vulture New LIFE Project, dealing with conservation problems of the Easte Med flyway and in this respect will facilitate the synergies among that project and the LIFE Bonelli eastMed.


Ministry of Environment & Energy

General Directorate of Forests and Forest Environment, Directorate of Forest Management, Department of wildlife and game management

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The Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy works to achieve the protection of the natural environment and resources, the improvement of quality of life, the mitigation and adjustment to the implications of climate change and the enhancement of mechanisms and institutions for environmental governance.

MoE is responsible for the implementation of national and EU environmental legislation, including the implementation of Birds and Habitats Directives. The MoE coordinates central, regional and local government agencies devoted to environmental protection, including permitting authorities for development projects, protected areas Management Bodies (Natura 2000 sites) and Forest Services. The MoE is also responsible for the electricity grid network and renewable energy planning in Greece. The Directorate General for the Development and Protection of Forests and Rural Environment of the Ministry for Environment and Energy is the central Governmental Authority competent for the conservation and management of forests and for wildlife conservation and endangered species and as well as the development of forest policy and its implementation at the country level. Furthermore, it provides guidance and financial support to the regional Forest Services. There is long experience in the implementation of several LIFE+ Projects (e.g. AdaptFor, FutMon, INFORM etc), as well as national projects regarding the protection of forests, biodiversity etc.

The MoE has repeatedly collaborated with the University of Crete and HOS/BirdLife Greece in carrying out species and sites conservation projects, by mobilizing central and local services.


Nature Conservation Consultants Ltd

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Nature Conservation Consultants (NCC) is a consulting company established in 2010. Its members have coordinated or have contributed in the implementation of more than 12 LIFE projects within the last 15 years, in collaboration with ministries, regional/local public authorities, NGOs and Research Institutes and Universities in Greece and abroad. At present NCC is participating as assoc. beneficiary in 3 LIFE projects related to biodiversity and habitat conservation.

The expertise gained through these projects provides NCC with top level technical capacity and know-how in LIFE project coordination and management, support of project beneficiaries as well as in a number of fields, such as species and habitat assessments and surveys, protected areas management planning, habitat restoration plans, telemetry and habitat mapping, management and analysis of spatial ecological data, including database and GIS development and preparation of guidance conservation documents.

Within the framework of LIFE projects, NCC among others implements biodiversity conservation and public awareness actions targeting mainly on local communities. Such actions include project and ecotourism actions promotion, organization of information events/workshops, production of documentaries and special editions (leaflets, photo album books, etc), as well as creation of exhibition rooms. Emphasis is given to the different target groups of each area with special communication plans and primary social research.

NCC has collaborated in many cases with HOS, the University of Crete and the Greek Ministry of Environment.


Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development & Environment, Cyprus – Department of Forests

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The Department of Forests (FD) comes under the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment of Cyprus and has a dual role: (i) manager of state forest land and (ii) implementation of national forest legislation and policy. In this framework the FD is engaged with forest fire protection, management, landscape and nature conservation, reforestations and management of state forests that are part of the Natura 2000 network.

The FD has long experience in implementing various European co-funded projects including LIFE projects, EEA Grant Projects etc. Currently is involved in the implementation of at least 6 running projects most of which have a nature conservation content.

FD has successfully collaborated with the University of Crete in many projects and is expected to effectively contribute in the implementation of project actions within the Forest habitats of Cyprus. It is also expected to enhance the Greek Ministry’s of Environment capacity (especially forest service personnel) in carrying out Bonelli’s eagle conservation activities, by integrating them within their regular conservation programme.


Ministry of Interior, Cyprus – Game & Fauna Service

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The Game & Fauna Service (Game Fund) of the Ministry of Interior is responsible for the conservation of all wild birds (game and non-game) and their sites (Special Protection Areas) through the implementation of Law 152 (I)/2003 which transposes the European Birds Directive 2009/147/EC. It also manages and regulates all hunting activity in Cyprus (birds and mammals). Furthermore, it is responsible for the conservation of the Cyprus Mouflon Ovis orientalis ophion which is protected under the EU Directive 92/43/EEC. The following are the main sectors of Game & Fauna Service (Game Fund) conservation activities:

  • Protection and conservation of wild birds in areas where the Republic of Cyprus exerts effective control
  • Protection and conservation of SPAs (Natura 2000 sites established for birds)
  • Habitat improvements (creation of food plots with winter cereals especially for game birds, nesting box establishment for nocturnal birds of prey, establishment of a network of watering sites in areas that lack summer surface water, etc.)
  • Declaration of Wildlife Conservation Areas (WCA) where hunting is prohibited (sensitive habitats such as wetlands, important raptor nesting cliffs, Cyprus mouflon habitat, river valleys, etc) have been declared as WCAs (about 30% of Government-controlled land in Cyprus)
  • Law enforcement concerning wildlife law violations (campaign against Illegal bird trapping, poaching, shooting of protected species, hunting in WCAs, etc)
  • Mandatory Hunter education courses for new hunters (since 2004) and convicted wildlife law violators
  • Research (Mouflon, breeding diurnal Raptors, breeding nocturnal Raptors, Annual population surveys, Monthly water bird surveys, Hunter Harvest Surveys, etc.) and publication of results in conferences and/or journals
  • School presentations on topics such as Cyprus wildlife, Wetlands of Cyprus, Biodiversity, Bird trapping, Mouflon conservation, etc.



EU - LIFE Programme

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Green Fund


A.G. Leventis Foundation


BirdLife Europe & Central Asia

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With the contribution of:
LF-LOGO_CMYK_ENG logo BirdLife International

The LIFE Bonelli eastMed project “Conservation & Management of the Bonelli's eagle population in east Mediterranean” will address the most critical threats to Bonelli’s eagle populations in Greece and Cyprus. The overall objective is to ensure the long-term favourable conservation status for the species’ interconnected local populations, through the establishment and operation of the East Mediterranean Bonelli’s Eagle Network.

The project is implemented by the Natural Museum of Crete - University of Crete, the Game and Fauna Service (Game Fund) - Cyprus, the Hellenic Ornithological Society/BirdLife Greece, the Ministry of Environment & Energy - Greece, the Department of Forests - Cyprus and the NCC Environmental Studies Ltd with the financial contribution of the LIFE instrument of the EE.

For conservation issues:
+30 2810 393292
For Communication issues:
+30 210 8228704 & +30 210 8227937

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University of Crete - Natural History Museum of Crete, Knossos Avenue Premises, 71409 Heraklion, Crete


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