The presence of spiny broom and other phrygana plants alone in an area is not enough to characterize it as forestland, according to an opinion issued by an advisory panel reporting to the Environment Ministry.
The Technical Council of Forests said that describing an area as a forest requires the presence of other plants defined by Greek legislation as woodland vegetation.
It also said that land previously used for grazing or farming which now has shrubs qualifies as grassland.
This means that areas that appear as farmland in old aerial photographs will not be recorded on the ministry’s new forest maps as forested areas.
This opinion will help the ministry delist areas now described as forestland – which are protected from construction and other forms of exploitation – and reduce public reaction to the maps, especially on the islands of the Aegean and the Mani Peninsula in the southern Peloponnese, which have extensive scrubland.