Selakano Forest is one of wild beauty, one of the most important ecosystems on the island and so included in the Natura 2000 network. A pine forest, in a mountain setting, it begins some 35 km to the northwest of Ierapetra and runs on up the slopes below the summit of Afendi Christos peak of the Dicte massif.
Composed mostly of the Calabrian pine (Pinus brutia), which is resistant to drought and tolerant of rocky soil, the Selakano ecosystem also includes various oaks, cypress, maple, plane and pear, and sage. Birds of prey (hawks and vultures) soar free over the steep slopes.
In the area known as Melissokipos (the Bee-Garden) the bees indeed have their little kingdom, In the spring, the hives’ numbers swell as bee-keepers from all over Crete bring their swarms here, making the Selakonos forest the most important apicultural regions on the island.
The forest lends itself to walks unlimited in a landscape that alternates between steep slopes, ravines, full-blown gorges (that of Selakanos itself is well worth a visit), springs, streams and forest glades. Access is through the villages of Selakanos and Kalamafka: a network of forest roads spreads within; the E4 Walking Trail passes through too.
Though recently fires and over-grazing have posed threats, yet it remains amongst the most stunning mountain-scapes in Crete.
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