recently-established Athalassa Park
is so far the only "National Park"
on the Island.
However, the un-spoilt areas of Akamas
peninsula and Stavros tis Psokas both
in Paphos area may shortly be designated
Certain forest areas have been designated
National Forest Parks and Nature Reserves,
for the protection of wildlife.
Troodos National Forest Park, with an area of 93 km2 was declared as such in 1992, while four areas within the Park (with a total area of 220 ha) were declared as Nature Reserves. It is covered mostly by natural black pine (Pinus nigra subsp. pallasiana) and brutia pine (Pinus brutia) forests. The Park is a unique area for Cyprus with high ecological, recreational, hydrological and geological values. It has been designated as a Special Protection Area under the Birds' Directive and proposed for inclusion in the European network Natura 2000. About 800 plant species were recorded here, 72 of them are endemic to Cyprus, of which 12 are exclusive to the Park. It is also an Important Bird Area (IBA) of Cyprus, about 80 species are recorded there. The Park offers many recreational facilities, such as picnic sites, camping sites, nature trails, facilities for winter sports etc. The Visitor Centre of the Park is situated 200m west of the Troodos Square with a main function to inform visitors about the Park and various environmental issues and to provide environmental education to schools.
Cavo Gkreko, in the south east part of the island, is a National Forest Park and occupies an area of 390 ha and offers facilities for hiking, picnicking, cycling, horse-riding, climbing, swimming and diving. The National Park Area together with other forest and private land and the surrounding marine area have been proposed for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network.
Athalassa National Forest Park, with an area of 840 ha with man made vegetation, is situated near Lefkosia town, and offers many recreational facilities, such as nature trails, picnic-sites, botanical gardens, bird-watching sites and volley-ball, basket-ball fields. A Visitor Centre has been recently created providing information to visitors and environmental education to schools.
Paedagogical Academy National Forest Park, with an area of 45 ha, with man made vegetation, is situated near Lefkosia town, and offers many recreational facilities, such as picnic-sites, nature trails etc.
Rizoelia National Forest Park, near the town of Larnaka, covers an area of 97 ha and it offers recreational facilities, such as picnic-sites, nature trails. The entire area has been proposed as a Natura 2000 site, mainly because it hosts habitats of European interest.
Tripilos - Mavroi Gremmoi Nature Reserve, covers an area of 3381 ha and its is situated in the middle of Pafos Forest. The last natural stands of the endemic Cyprus Cedar (Cedrus brevifolia) which are restricted to this area, together with the ancient stands of the endemic golden Oak (Quercus alnifolia) make the area unique from the ecological point of view. The presence of the Cyprus moufflon (Ovis gmelini ophion) and the rare birds of prey (Hieraaetus fasciatus and Accipiter gentilis) add a lot to the ecological value of the area. The area is part of a proposed Natura 2000 site and a designated Special Protection Area under the Birds' Directive.
Akamas, Pegeia and Meleti Forests, with a total area of 7,140 ha, have been managed for the last twenty years as National Forest Parks, although they have never been formally gazetted as such. The Akamas Peninsula is the last remaining region on Cyprus with large extent and complete pattern of low land vegetation, most of it in good natural state. The Lara -Toxeftra area is protected as a Marine Reserve and is of international importance. The beaches of the area are some of the few known nesting areas of the remaining populations of the Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta).