Forests in Greece
Greece is mostly a mountainous country and almost 25% of the territory is covered with forests, making it the fourth largest country in Europe with respect to forest resources. The majority of the forests in Greece are natural and not technical. The most usual trees to see in the forests in Greece are firs, Aleppo pines, black pines and other coniferous, while there are also large quantities of beeches, chestnuts, oaks and plane trees.
The climate of Greece is typically the Mediterranean over most of the country. This gives warm to hot summers and mild winters. There is little rain in summer and rare snowfalls in winter in low altitude. Snow falls on high mountain tops in winter months, particularly on the northern side of the country (Epirus and Macedonia). It rarely snows on the islands, except for the island of Crete island that sees snowfalls on the top of the White Mountains and Mount Psiloritis.
Apart from rich flora, the forests in Greece also host fauna of high biodiversity. A large variety of mammals live there, such as the brown bear, the wolf, the jackal, the badger, the fox, and the deer. Numerous kinds of birds, reptiles, and insects are live in Greek forests. This is why many of these forests have been proclaimed as National Parks.
In particular, the most important National Parks in Greece are in Mount Olympus, Mount Parnassus in central Greece, Mount Aenos in Kefalonia, Vikos-Aoos in Epirus, Cape Sounion in Attica, the White Mountains in Crete, Mount Pindos in Epirus, Mount Parnitha in Attica, Prespes in western Macedonia and Mount Iti in central Greece. These parks are protected by Greek law.
Apart from the normal forests in Greece, there are also aesthetic forests, which means forests with special natural beauty. Such is the Vai Palm Forest in eastern Crete island, the Oak Forest in Foloi Peloponnese, the Aesthetic Forest in Rodopi Mountains in Thrace, the Lemon Forest in Poros island and the Kesariani Forest in Athens. Hiking in these forests is a special experience.
Unfortunately, over the last decades, the forests in Greece have suffered from many fires and violations. The largest and most shocking forest fires in Greece broke out in August 2007. These fires started for 5 days and severely affected the western part of Peloponnese, southern Evia and Mounts Parnitha and Hymettus in Attica. This was the worst summer for forest fires in the modern Greek history as the fires burnt down villages, buildings, olive groves, farmlands, sheepfolds in the mountains and caused the death of 87 people, both villagers, and firefighters.