Fighting against wildfires
In order to effectively minimize the impact of wildfires on nature and human societies, special attention needs to be paid to prevention. Prevention can only be achieved through the reshuffling and support of the national forest management system, the effective coordination of all responsible authorities, the mobilization of organized and well trained teams of volunteers and the support to scientific research on the ecological status of Greek forests.
WWF Greece is committed to working for the protection of Greek forests against wildfires. Following the catastrophic summer of 2007, WWF’s people spent tireless weeks working for the only ecological assessment of all major wildfires. The reports produced for the catastrophes that afflicted Mount Parnitha, the Peloponnese and Euboea were based on satellite mapping of the burnt areas and the types of vegetation destroyed, which were verified through field visits. The reports were sent to all responsible ministries and authorities.
The "Forests for the Future" programme includes multiple approaches to a very complex issue. The project is structured in 4 axes, so that its objectives will be pursued through 4 main fields of action: fieldwork, policy work, civil society engagement and scientific support and documentation. The project aims to address the problems in all main aspects of forest conservation, in the implementation of protection measures nationally and locally and in the citizen’s level of understanding, knowledge and mobilization for forests conservation.
The ultimate vision of this project goes beyond the limits of WWF’s work, but strategic partnerships are also pursued to ensure more ambitious goals can be met.
The objectives of "Forests for the future"
The project is comprised of 4 main objectives:
1. The national forest protection system
An overhaul of all aspects of forest protection in Greece to improve the collection of knowledge and information regarding fire-protection and management and its dissemination, the facilitation of the necessary co-operation between scientists, practitioners and policy makers for the endorsement of the proposed solutions, and the implementation of measures to empower the volunteer fire protection teams.
2. Forestwatch: monitoring, publicizing, intervening
Address the contributing factors of land-use changes, which poses the main threat to the rehabilitation of forest ecosystems, the project will establish a system for the evaluation of forest cover and its change over time (1987-2007), the assessment of the 2007 wildfires impact and the ad hoc documentation of illegal land-use changes after 2007. Additionally, through the creation of a public-access database for the Greek environment it will deal with the lack of availability of environmental information, as one of the driving factors for human-induced catastrophes.
3. Local rehabilitation interventions.
Assess the status and conservation needs of unburnt patches of vegetation, and their role in the natural rehabilitation process; endangered species which lost habitat in the fires, e.g. jackal, and monitoring of burnt areas of the Peloponnese. Additionally, a model to predict the post-fire regeneration of the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) in the Ilia prefecture, will be developed in co-operation with a Greek university.
4. Awareness and engagement of civil society.
Improve public awareness of the weakness of the current national forest protection system that causes inadequate forest conservation in Greece, and raise public willingness to participate in resolving environmental challenges. Actions include environmental education activities, dissemination of information through mass-media and cooperation with local organizations to foster good practice and respond to local challenges.
Please support our action for Greek forests!
Forest programme leader: Evi Korakaki,
, 210 3314893