Project info

LIVEMOUNT: Achieving sustainability of livestock farming in the high mountains under climate change Year 2024–2025
BCL-Biodiversity Conservation Lab

*This project has received funding from the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI), under the Action: Basic Research Financing (Horizontal Support of all Sciences), National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Greece 2.0). Project Number: 015451.

Project team

Prof. Vassiliki Kati – University of Ioannina (UOI), Department of Biological Applications & Technology, Biodiversity Conservation Lab

Assoc. Prof. Giorgos Fotiadis – Agricultural University of Athens (AUA), Department of Forestry & Natural Environment Management, Forest Botany-Geobotany

Asst. Prof. George Adamidis – University of Patras (UP), Department of Biology, Plant Functional Biology

Prof. Michalis Vrachnakis – University of Thessaly (UTH), Department of Forestry, Wood Sciences & Design, Rangeland Science


Asst. Prof. Charilaos Yotis, plant biologist
Dr. Konstantina Zografou, entomologist
Dr. Olga Tzortzakaki, entomologist
Dr. Haritakis Papaioannou, biologist
Dr. Christina Kassara, biologist
Dr. Yorgos Iliopoulos, biologist
Konstantina Nasiou, biologist, PhD student
Apostolis Stefanidis, biologist, PhD student
Niki Evaggelopoulou, economist, scientific staff
Effrosyni Varoucha, biologist, scientific staff


Assoc. Prof. Yannis Kazoglou, agronomist/rangeland scientist
Prof. Nikolaos Gougoulias, soil scientist
Dimitrios Oikonomou, agronomist, PhD student
Pinelopi Alexaki, economist, scientific staff


Achieve sustainable livestock farming in the mountainous grasslands under global warming, through the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem functions.

Research questions



Nested fieldwork sampling of plants, grasshoppers and butterflies; field measurements of soil properties, ecophysiological processes, plant traits and grazing capacity;setting up multivariate datasets


Data analysis (e.g. modelling, mapping)


Scientific paper writing and publication


Result dissemination; link with conservation policy and practice

Concept & methods

Study area

Seven mountains that are all protected under the Natura 2000 network: Smolikas (GR2130002), Tymfi (GR2130009), Mitsikeli (GR2130008), Lakmos (GR2130007), Athamanika (GR2110002), Oiti (GR2440004) and Parnassos (GR2450005). They are managed by three Protected Areas Management Units (MU) operating under the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA).

Site selection

We will focus on the grasslands available at high altitudes (>1,000 m) across the Pindos Mountain range (e.g. habitat types 4090 or 6230: Annex I of the Habitats’ Directive).
We will define a two-dimensional gradient of grazing intensity (LSU) and aridity stress over the study area and select a set of at least 25 sites to maximize this gradient’s range (different climate profiles and stocking densities).

Target taxa

We selected three taxa – vascular plants, grasshoppers and butterflies – that capture different trophic and functional facets (e.g. biomass production, nutrient cycle, pollination), are sensitive microclimatic indicators and highly responsive to grazing regime change.

Methodology approaches

Taxonomic: We will study the impact of grazing/climate change on the three taxa’s diversity patterns and community structure across the grazing/aridity gradient. We will use standard field methods (e.g. protocols, nested sampling) to set up a multi-taxa database and analyze the data using appropriate modelling methods (e.g. Generalized Linear or Additive Mixed-Effects Models).

Functional: We will study how ecosystem processes are altered by grazing under different aridity stress levels. We will sample and deliver a database of soil properties; chlorophyll fluorescence (including stress indicators) and gas exchange data for dominant plant species; plant traits of dominant plants and grazing capacity. We will employ structural equation models (SEMs) to analyze our data.

Synthesis: We will collect data of livestock capital (heads of cattle, sheep and goat), production (milk, meat) and substitutes on annual basis for Greece, using data repositories. We will deliver a sustainable grazing map of current suggested grazing intensity levels, to be also projected in the future, accounting for the aridity values increase. We will then link our scientific findings with conservation policy and practice, in the broader socio-economic and policy context at the national and EU level.

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