Peristerona Watershed

Peristerona Watershed

Mesaoria Plain

The main focus of the CyI in the FLUXMED project is on the Mesaoria plain, where rainfed agriculture is expected to become very marginal under climate change. We identified the Athalassa Forest Park, henceforth referred as Athalassa site, as a representative research site for the Mesaoria Plain. The Athalassa site has two contrasting land covers next to each other: (i) agricultural site and (ii) a re-forested crop-field. The agricultural site covers 20 ha surface area with ground elevation ranging from 157 to 142 m above sea level. It is planted with rainfed barley with a legume rotation every 3rd or 4th year. The forested site has a 10-ha surface area with ground elevation ranging between 153 and 142 m above sea level. It was converted in 2011 from rainfed agriculture to a mixed species forest by planting seedlings of different, indigenous, drought-tolerant tree and shrub species (e.g. Pinus brutia, Cupressus sempervirens, Pistacia lentiscus, Pistacia atlantica, Olea europaea). It has more than 2,300 plants which were planted in rows and each plant is neighbored by six plants with 5 to 6 m distance between each other. The agricultural site is managed by the Department of Agriculture and the forested site is managed by Department of Forests, both part of the Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment.

Data (1980-2010) from the Cyprus Department of Meteorology station in Athalassa show an average annual rainfall of 315 mm and a mean daily minimum temperature of 5° C during January and February and a mean daily maximum temperature of 37° C during July and August. The site is located on two sedimentary geological formations: 70% is Athalassa formation (calcarenites interlayered with sandy marls) and 30% is Nicosia formation (siltstones with layers of calcarenites and marls). Soil depths up to 1 m can be found on top of the impervious and semi-pervious strata.