Wind: 02 Southeast
Wind: 02 Southwest
Wind: 02 Northeast
courtesy of: www.meteo.gr
Length: 19.5 km
Estimated time: 7.5 hours
Suggested period: March - October
Difficulty: Relatively easy
Rouvas forest lies on the Southeastern part of the Psiloritis mountain range and consists the most significant of the few natural ecosystems in the Prefecture of Iraklio with an enormous ecological and aesthetic value. It is included in the "NATURE 2000" list (NATURA 2000 Mountain Idi). Since 2001 it has been characterized as a Shelter of Wild Life in most of its extend (80%).
The area has an intense anaglyph that creates special micro-environments in the entire forest. It is characterized by the diversity of the landscapes, the high biodiversity, the presence of many endemic animal and plant species of Crete and Greece, rare phytogenic formations, rare and endangered species.
The main species of the forest is the holly (Quercus coccifera). In the forest of Rouvas lies the largest tuft of hollies in Europe. We also come across Maples (Acer sempervirens), which become very colorful at the end of autumn and winter. In the coombs of the forest we will come across planes (Platanus oriendalis), which is a species that is related to the evergreen species (cretica) that are found in Gortina. There are also cypresses (Cupressus sempervirens), pines (Pinus brutia) and holm oaks (Quercus ilex).
At Diplori there is the unrecognizable protected and endemic species of Crete (Zelkova abelicea).
We also come across the Cretan Kephalantiro (Cephalanhera cucullata), an endemic orchid of Crete and an endangered species.
At a higher altitude we will find wild tea or "malotira" (Sideritis syriaca) and gorgeous cyclamens (Cyclamen creticum).
Many animals live in the forest, such as the animal "ghost", the endemic Cretan wildcat (Felis silvestris), "arkalos" or badger (Meles meles), "zourida" (Martes foina) that used to be hunted for its skin, "Kalogiannou" (Mustela nivalis) and the hare (Lepus europaeus) which is hunted by the Cretan scout, while if you are observant you may see an animal called "Mioksos" (Rat-squirell - Glis Glis Argenteus).
At the brushwoods we will come across an animal called "agkathopondikos" (Acomys minys), a shrew (Crocidura zimermani), the harmless "liakoni" (Chalcides ecellatus) and many other animals, such as the frog (Rana tiribunda) and the turtle (Greek turtle).
The forest is also an important place for the avifauna of raptors. We will come across swarms of birds called "skares" (Gyps fulvus) or the lonesome lammergeyer or "kokala" (Gypaetus barbatus) or even a Vitsila (war eagle) (Αquila chrysaetos). High at the sky we will see the buzzard called "lagoudogerakas" (Buteo- buteo) searching for their pray, while the cushats (Alectoris graeca), give a melodic tone to the atmosphere. A rare bird called "Petrokotsifos" or "Galazokotsifas" (Monticola solitarius) also lives here, while the finches (Fringilla oelebs) and the goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis), fill the atmosphere with melodic sounds. During winter we may come across a woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), while the bees (Apis meIIifera) and the colorful butterflies give beautiful colors to the atmosphere and life to the plants.
The most significant problems and dangers that threat the forest are the following: excess grazing, the corrosion of the earth that is favored by the destruction of vegetation, the aging of the forest, the constant reduction of the chase due to the lack of food and intense hunting and fires.
Measures for the protection of the area were taken from the Municipality of Rouvas in cooperation with the Forest management office of Iraklio and Α.Κ.Ο.Μ.Μ. S.A in the framework of the Life Nature project, where a large part of the forest was fenced for its protection from grazing for the natural rebirth.
Source: Municipality of Rouvas