The protection and sustainable management of biodiversity—including genetic resources, species and ecosystem services that support human development—is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of measurable, time-bound goals and targets adopted by world leaders at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000; one of the MDGs deals explicitly with biodiversity (MDG 7b: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss).

In biodiversity protection, the high nature value farmlands – HNVF play a major role along with natural areas. They account for one third of the european territory (31,5%), and host many plant and animal species of great interest for conservation purposes.

In the Mediterranean region, they include the ancient olive groves, which are extensive crops (about 50 plants/hectare) and constitute the elements of a mosaic of semi-natural and cultivated areas, spaced out by typical small-scale structural elements, such as Mediterranean shrublands edges, dry walls, strips of woodland, high sensitive areas exposed to several threats that risk to compromise the biodiversity. The ancient olive grove, as HNVF, is the target habitat of this project.

CENT.OLI.MED. is a project funded with the contribution of LIFE financial instruments of European Community (contract code LIFE07 NAT/IT/00450) (;

From the scientific point of view the project aims to contribute to the current studies on the identification, conservation, enhancement and management of high nature value farmlands as a habitat.

Moreover the project outcomes (Guidelines, Socio-Economic Enhancement plan) will also be taken as a reference for the identification of solutions aimed to halt social desertification processes (as the abandonment of internal rural areas) in economically unfavourable farmlands, which is a priority for the economic policies in rural sector.

Contributions will come from 3 Associated Beneficiaries:

and the following Supporting Authorities:

  • Management Consortium of Torre Guaceto State Nature Reserve (Italy),

  • Community of Organic Farmers of Torre Guaceto State Nature Reserve (Italy),

  • Prefecture of Chania – Crete (Greece),

  • Municipality of Voukolies - Crete (Greece),

  • Ioannis Malandrakis (private owner, Voukolies, Greece).

CENT.OLI.MED. implements the following activities:

  • Preliminary study on morpho-genetic and environmental characterization of the biodiversity.

  • Enhancing biodiversity through actions of re-naturalization creating micro-habitats by mean of shrubs and trees plantation, turfing and building of dry stone walls.

  • Development and implementation of guidelines to help farmers to protect biodiversity in the centuries-old olive groves.

  • Development of an economic enhancement plan of the ancient olive groves.

  • Elaboration and implementation of an innovatory governance model.

  • Elaboration of an Euro-Mediterranean action plan for the protection of ancient olive groves.