Scientists from the National Agricultural Research Foundation ring the alarm of natural herb depletion, apparently as a result of the economic crisis. During the last two years illegal harvesting of mountain tea (Sideritis raiseri and Sideritis clandestina) and oregano (Thymus spp.) has skyrocketed.
The harvesting of wild mountain tea for commercial purposes is prohibited by Presidential Decree since 1981. Foresters are reportedly alarmed by the fact that groups of tea collectors roam the mountains and uproot large quantities of plants, thus preventing natural regeneration in vast areas. Primarily due to understaffing and lack of resources, such as fuel for the vehicles, the local forestry services are unable to police the affected forests, which also suffer from illegal logging. The areas most affected by the overharvesting of mountain tea are the mountains of Crete, Prespa and mounts Grammos and Voras in Western Macedonia, Olympus in Central Greece and Taygetos in the Peloponnese.
Sources: Kathimerini (in Greek)