The Flora of Amorgos
Amorgos hosts a great diversity of flora. Around 600 species exist on the island out of 1,670 species in the Cyclades, according to the Flora Hellenica Database. This biodiversity, as well as the quality, especially of the pharmaceutical aromatic plants (e.g. high content of essential oils) may be due to the combination of the island’s micro-climate, the particular geological information and its geomagnetic content. Amorgos is a narrow island but it is long with relatively high altitude and very hilly, so it offers plenty of surface area for its flora.
The local enterprise for the cultivation, harvest and refinement of the pharmaceutical aromatic plants is known as IAMATA. Sensitive to the pulsation of the nature of Amorgos, IAMATA continues and evolves an age old tradition of utilising this natural wealth. Iamata means ‘holistic herbs’ or ‘remedies’ in Greek.
The Protection of the Environment
Every effort is made to replenish endangered endemic species, therefore these species are not harvested; instead they are encouraged to grow through finding different ways to cultivate them. By fencing fields off for cultivating the herbs and rebuilding the fallen stone walls of the perimeters, IAMATA contributes to the local agricultural development, limiting the over grazing and the corrosion of the land. A fundamental concern is to recycle materials in the various stages of the process.
To find the optimum quality of a particular species, (local chemical fingerprint) a series of scientific studies are necessary that include, inter-population studies, intra-population studies, seasonal and lunar variation studies and diurnal variation studies. These studies guarantee the location of the best crops to ensure optimum utilisation, therefore avoiding unnecessary harvest of less potent strains. Furthermore, research continues to the ethno botanical field by interviewing and documenting the empirical and traditional knowledge of the people of Amorgos.
Education and Sustainability
The laboratory and cultivation gardens attract visitors from far and wide to observe and participate in the activities and build an understanding of the concept and principles of IAMATA. Walks of botanical interest are organised and visitors are also given the opportunity to purchase unique local natural products with quality assured (ISO9001). On top of all this, IAMATA’s dedication to this botanical alchemy attracts people to Amorgos throughout the year, to come and connect with the true aspects of the island which then aides the sustainable development of the local community.
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