Flora and fauna  

Flora

Geographical isolation, the absence of grazing for almost 500 years, the complex topography and the relatively high altitude of Mount Athos which rises to 2,033 m, in combination with the variety of climatic conditions and the diversity of rocks explain the high diversity of flora.

According to Babalonas et al. (1998) the flora of Mount Athos includes 1,453 taxa which belong to 539 genera and 103 families. This diverse flora includes several local and Balkan endemic species.

According to Ganiatsas (1963) the flora of Mount Athos has a Mediterranean origin at a percentage of 70%, Northeastern origin 15%, Balkan origin 9%, Middle European origin 4%, while a percentage of 4% are endemic species.

The floristic wealth of the area makes Mount Athos one of the richest in plant species area in Greece.

 Fauna

Even though the isolation of Athos peninsula and the diversity of habitats are of profound interest, the fauna of the area has not been investigated as systematically as the flora. From the available resources in Mount Athos we take that there have been recorded 131 bird species, 37 mammals, 14 reptiles and 8 species of amphibians. Detailed information about their distribution lacks with the exception of the area of the Holy Monastery of Simonos Petras where some detailed observations of K. Poirazidis exist (Dafis 1992).