With the use and trade of orchids for the production of salep and traditional kaimaki ice-cream in Greece, research is being carried out from May 2018 by the Laboratory of Ecology (EcoLab), Department of Biological Applications &Technology, University of Ioannina, in order to investigate the impact of salep harvesting on population demographic parameters and distribution patterns of the most common salep orchid in Northern Pindos, Dactylorhiza sambucina, interviewing local collectors and considering the background cultural history of orchid harvesting.
The research is implemented in the framework of the Operational Program "Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning", and is co-funded by the European Union (European Community Fund) and national resources. The study focuses on the species most commonly collected for alpine in both areas of Pindos.
The study is organized around three main pillars: (a) assessing the current state of populations and the pressures they are undergoing; (b) exploring the socio-cultural implications of orchid collection and management, and (c) the study of spatial patterns of population abundance and dynamics. The first two axes are approached by field surveys at two different time periods and by interviews with local communities, while the third by statistical analysis of species' population and abundance data, and exploration of population dynamics prediction models. Unlike previous studies on orchid conservation, which used methodologies such as habitat analysis, this research proposal aims at a new, deeper approach to the issue, combining the fields of Population and Cultural Ecology.