Conserving priority forests and forest openings

11 December 2013 | Article

The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (HSPN) is implementing the project FOR OPEN FORESTS aiming at the conservation of forests and forest openings, in cooperation with the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Hellenic Agricultural Organization DEMETER, the Region of Sterea Ellada and the NGO Arcturos.  

The main objective of the project is the conservation of biodiversity at species, habitat, and landscape level in two mountainous areas of Central Greece (Region of Sterea Ellada), namely Ethnikos Drymos Oitis and Oros Kallidromo.

The core of the project is the maintenance of forest openings hosting mountain grasslands and temporary ponds, both threatened by human pressure and fir forest expansion. The project will also improve the conservation status of the endemic Mediterranean juniper forests through the implementation of restoration activities leading to the expansion of their area of occurrence.

At species level, the project targets the critically endangered flagship plant of Mt. Oiti, the Veronica oetaea, through the in situ enhancement of the species population and ex situ seed banking. The Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), another threatened species in Greece, is also targeted by the project. The species can be found mostly at the margins of the project area and therefore the team strives to support its population through the enrichment of food resources, the elimination of conflict with local farmers and breeders, as well as through an education campaign. This LIFE project also aims to protect five important bird species: three woodpeckers (Dryocopus martius, Dendrocopus leucotos, and Picus canus), the Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) and Tengmalm’s Owl (Aegolius funerus).

In addition to the above mentioned concrete conservation actions, the project includes stakeholder consultation, public education and environmental awareness actions, as well as training for habitat and species conservation.

For more information you can visit the project website.