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Randi Forest

The Forest Randi (or 'Gaia') is located in the central Ikaria, on the west side of the Sierra Atheras. It includes an area of ​​about 16km², in an altitude up to 900m high, with steep geomorphology and constitutes 23% of the total forest area of Ikaria.

It is a mature forest, whose age is estimated over 200 years and many of the older trees are more than 300 years old. It is one of the few remaining forests in the Eastern Mediterranean of this size and age.

In the Randi Forest, there is a rare protected species of oak, the holm oak or holly oak or 'Aria' (Quercus ilex), which dates from the Miocene (5 million years old) and is a protected species. The Forest is perhaps the largest region in Greece, where there is no exploitation of this species. The Aria is an evergreen tree of 12 - 15m high or tall shrub and grows slowly.

The presence of Aria in the Aegean islands is rare and occurs mainly as bush. Important risks for the Forest remain illegal logging, fires and overgrazing. In the Forest is also found trees like Arbutus, Glystrokoumaria, Fillyra and shrubs with holly, Astoivi, Obscure, Reiki and Ladania.

The fauna of the forest includes several species of small mammals, such as the Petrokounavo (Martes foina), the Hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor) and various rodent species. Undoubtedly, Randi Forest is a habitat of natural beauty, with a major historical and botanical value to be preserved for future generations, through special protective frame.

Today, there is not an integrated movement for protection, but since 2012, the area has been declared as reforested. Because of its rarity, the forest is of great scientific interest and in recent years, it attracts a large number of visitors, who are rushing to experience this unique monument of nature.