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COP 19 Athens
 Greece lies in the south of the Balkan peninsula and is part of the European East Mediterranean Region. Its territory expands in approximately 132.000 km2, its coast line is 15.000 km long, and has a great variety of geomorphological formations and rocks. In general, the climate can be regarded as Mediterranean, with mild and wet winters, and hot and dry summers

Due to the great range of climatic and geomorphologic conditions, species and ecosystems diversity is high. Greece entirely lies in the Mediterranean biogeographical region, with ecosystems ranging from semi-desert and maquis, to cold climate mountain forests of birch, scots pine and spruce. Wetlands (rivers, estuaties, deltas, lagoons, shallow lakes, shallow marine formations, and marshes) cover a relatively wide area (210.000 hectares) and forests cover nearly 30% of the country's territory.

About two-thirds of the Greek territory is covered by a hilly or mountainous terrain, with the typical landscape being rugged and steep. Greece has a very extensive coastline of about 15.000 kilometres and about 3.000 islands, which represent 20% of the land area. The coastline is mainly rocky and sandy with about 5% wetlands

Greek flora and fauna are among the richest in Europe: more than 5.500 plant species have been recorded, with a large number of endemic species, due to the isolation of mountains and islands. Nearly all mammal species recorded are indigenous, as well as 85% of freshwater fish species.

Greece hosts a large variety of Mediterranean habitats included in the reference list of the Natura 2000 initiative (EU Birds Directive 79/409/EEC and Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC): from open sea, tidal areas and sea dunes, to several types of shrubs and grasslands and Mediterranean mountainous forests of coniferous.

The Greek list of Natura 2000 sites includes 241 Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and 202 Special Protection Areas (SPA). The total area of the network, when overlapping between the areas of the above types of sites is excluded, rises to 4.294.960,14 ha, of which 3.603.354,61 ha are land (27,2% of terrestrial part of Greece) and 691.605,53 ha are marine areas (6,12% of territorial waters). The Natura 2000 sites are mostly wide areas and are scattered throughout the country.




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