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||The area is a refuge for many plant and animal species. Regarding birds, there are significant populations of woodpecker species such as the Black, Grey and White-backed Woodpecker, as well as Black Storks, Golden Eagles and Woodlarks. The most important places for the gathering of rare plants are the northern slopes of the peaks of Aftia, Flega and Kapetan Kleidi. All the above places are very steep and difficult for grazing animals. Therefore in the area the natural regeneration of the forest is progressing normally and many rare plants are conserved. The serpentine soil, which is dominant in the area of the Pindos National Park favours the growing of rare Pindos endemic plant species (listed in section 3.3 with motivation B) such as Bornmuellera baldacii subsp. rechingeri, B. tymphaea, Silene pindicola and Centaurea vlachorum. Other species occurring here and being endemic to Greece are listed in sections 3.3 and 3.4 with motivation B. Of them, Allyssum heldreichii, Cerastium vourinense, Silene pindicola and Thlaspi epirotum are listed in the Greek Presidential Decree 67/1981 as well as in the WCMC Plants Database under the category "Rare"; Silene haussknechtii is included in the Greek Presidential Decree 67/1981, and in the WCMC Plants Database as "Vulnerable". Many interesting plants endemic to the Balkan peninsula (listed in sections 3.3 and 3.4 with motivation D) also occur in the area. These are: Abies borisii-regis, Aesculus hippocastanum (the individuals of which must be protected), Alyssum smolikanum and Gymnadenia frivaldii (two very rare species), Campanula hawkinsiana, Dianthus deltoides subsp. degenii, Dianthus haematocalyx subsp. pindicola, Lilium carniolicum subsp. albanicum (=L. albanicum), Anthemis arvensis subsp. cyllenea, Thymus stojanovii, Dianthus cruentus, Euphorbia glabriflora, Pinus heldreichii, Helleborus cyclophyllus, Herniaria parnassica subsp. parnassica, Festuca koritnicensis, Linum hologynum, Thymus teucrioides subsp. alpinus, Soldanella pindicola, Stachys scardica, Trifolium pilzii (only locality in Greece), Viola albanica, and Viola dukadjinica (the southernmost site of this species in the Balkan peninsula), Viola epirota and Onosma stellulata (recently discovered in Greece). Myosotis alpestris subsp. suaveolens, Plantago media subsp. pindica, Helictotrichon aetolicum, Hieracium waldsteinii, Allium phtioticum, Polygala alpestris subsp. croatica, Arenaria conferta subsp. serpentinii, Campanula tymphaea, Saxifraga rotundifolia subsp. taygeta, Crepis viscidula subsp. geracioides, Dianthus integer subsp. minutiflorus, Viola aetolica, Aubrieta scardica, Scorzonera purpurea subsp. rosea, Silene damboldtiana, S. schwarzenbergeri, Thlaspi typmphaeum (which has a disjunct distribution in Greece and S. Albania), Trifolium pignantii, Trinia glauca subsp. pindica, Carum graecum subsp. serpentinicum and Galium oreophilum. Aesculus hippocastanum, Alyssum smolikanum, Lilium carniolicum subsp. albanicum (=L. albanicum) and Campanula hawkinsiana additionaly receive the motivation D since they are protected by the Greek legislation (Presidential Decree 67/1981). Also, additionally receiving the same motivation are Silene damboldtiana and S. schwarzenbergeri since they are listed in the WCMC Plants Database as "Rare". Pinguicula crystallina subsp. hirtiflora (=P.hirtiflora), which is included in the Bern Convention, is listed in section 3.3 with motivation C. Digitalis ferruginea subsp. ferruginea (section 3.4, motivation D) is scattered in Greece.The presence of Pinus heldreichii in the area, as well as the presence of some small stands of Pinus sylvestris at the locality "Kokkina Pefka" (place Zioga of Valia Kalda) is also very important (section 3.3 with motivation D). Each stand of P. sylvestris consists of about some individuals scattered among the trees of Pinus nigra. This locality is the southernmost distribution site for the species in Europe and the single site on the Pindos range. We should also mention the occurrence of a) Geum coccineum, growing on the mountains of the Balkan peninsula and N. Anatolia, the presence of which in Greece is the southernmost site of this species in the Balkans; b) Aethionema saxatile subsp. oreophilum, occurring in the Balkan peninsula and western Anatolia, c) Atropa belladona, listed in the Greek Presidential Decree 67/1981, d) Potentilla geoides which has a widely disjunct distribution in Greece and Crimea, e) Orobanche rechingeri, occurring in C and NW Greece and SW Anatolia, which is the only known serpentine endemic among parastic flowering plants in Europe. It is protected by the Greek Presidentail Decree 67/1981, f) Thymus longicaulis subsp. chaubardii, occurring in the S part of the Balkan peninsula extending to C Anatolia, g) Jovibarba heuffelii, occurring in the eastern Carpathians and the mountains of the Balkan Peninsula. All the above species are listed in sections 3.3 and 3.4 with motivation D. Furthermore, we must note the sporadic presence of Taxus baccata, Ilex aquifolium, Quercus pedunculiflora, Q.cerris, Fraxinus ornus, Ostrya carpinifolia, Populus alba and Platanus orientalis. The zoological significance of this site is clear because of the occurrence of some species listed in Annex II of the Directive 92/43/EEC. Among them the brown bear, Ursus arctos, is a priority species of the Directive. The extensive, dense coniferous and beech forests of this park are one of the most important habitats of the brown bear in Greece. As it was also mentioned for the brown bear in the Vikos-Aoos National Park, the Pindos bear population is the southernmost in Europe, separated from all European conspecific ones. The occurrence of Lynx lynx in the area is another strong indication of the importance of this site, since Lynx lynx is a very rare, cryptic species characterized by a patchy distribution in all southeastern Europe. The Chamois Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica, a Balkan endemic, occupies the northern slopes of the peaks of Aftia, Flega and Kapetan Kleidi and the western slopes of the peak Kakopleuri, which are very steep and rocky; it also lives in areas with beech forests. The population density fluctuates between 3-5 and even 20 individuals/100 ha. depending on the habitat productivity. The three small rivers crossing the area of the park have very clear water and are the well conserved habitat of the otter Lutra lutra. All the above mentioned mammals, as well as the bat Myotis blythi also existing in this site, are mentioned in the Greek Red Data Book (bear and lynx as "Endangered" Chamois as "Rare" and the rest as "Vulnerable"). Noteworthy is the occurrence of the small viper Vipera ursinii, which is another threatened animal of the Greek fauna considered as "Rare" by the Greek Red Data Book. The tendency of this animal to form small isolated populations and the fact that the Pindos mountain range is the southern limit of its distribution in Europe, clearly indicate the local population value and vulnerability. The fish Salmo macrostigma (S. trutta macrostigma according to Economidis 1991) is also a threatened taxon mentioned in the Greek Red Data Book under the categories of "Rare", "Vulnerable", and "Endangered", depending on the specific population. Among the 25 non-bird vertebrate taxa characterized as Other and Greek Important Species (sections 3.3 and 3.4), six are threatened in Greece and are included in the Greek Red Data Book under the categories "Endangered" (the bat species Nyctalus noctula, P. pipistrellus, P. savii), "Vulnerable" (the wolf Canis lupus and the Roe Deer C. capreolus) and "Insufficiently Known" (the mole Talpa caeca). All taxa of sections 3.3 and 3.4, except the mole Talpa caeca, are mentioned in the Bern Convention's list and are therefore given motivation C. Additionally, the same motivation is given to the Wildcat Felis silvestris and the wolf Canis lupus, since they are included in the animals of the CITES Convention. Most of them are also protected by the Greek Presidential Decree 67/1981 (the exceptions concern the taxa Rana temporaria, Vipera ammodytes, Lepus europaeus, Martes foina, M. meles, Felis silvestris, Sus scrofa, C. capreolus and Canis lupus). Moreover, the taxa Coronella austriaca, Natrix tessellata, Nyctalus noctula, Pipistrellus savii, Felis silvestris and Canis lupus, are already evaluated by the CORINE-Biotopes Project. Canis lupus is also mentioned in the 1988 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals and in the European Red List of Globally Threatened Animals and PLants (UNEP). The Edible Dormouse Glis g. pindicus is a Balkan endemic, the frog Rana temporaria has the southernmost end of its European distribution in this site, and the hare Lepus europaeus and the wildcat Felis silvestris are generally rare animals in Greece. For all the above-mentioned reasons, the relevant taxa are allocated the D motivation. Finally, the occurrence of a very diverse and abundant avifauna justifies the listing of this site among the EC Important Bird Areas. The invertebrate species listed in section 3.3 and 3.4 with motivation D are protected by the Greek Presidential Decree 67/1981. Pieris krueperi is also protected by the "Threatened Rhopalocera (butterflies) of Europe.