Greece is slammed over forests

A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report yesterday criticized Greece for planning to introduce a «highly controversial new law… (which) will potentially open up important forest ecosystems to land-use change and uncontrolled development.» The bill «tries to deal with the lingering problems of ownership and management of forest areas in Greece but will introduce major changes to the existing forest management regime some of which are totally undesirable, not only from the view of environmental NGOs but also of foresters and civil servants,» according to an extract from the WWF report’s focus on Greece, which also maintained that the legislation would be drawn up «in the absence of data on the actual forest cover in Greece.» The report – whose publication yesterday coincided with the opening in Vienna of the fourth Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe – set Greece’s alleged failings within the broader context of «gaps in Mediterranean forest protection.»