WWF calls for measures to reforest fire-razed Chios

Conservationists on Wednesday called for swift and coordinated action to restore large swaths of land ravaged by wildfires on the eastern Aegean island of Chios and avert further damage being wreaked on its fragile ecosystem.

A series of wildfires on the island, including last summer?s disastrous blazes, led to its forestland dwindling by a third in the past 25 years, according to a report by WWF Hellas. Last summer?s fire razed 14,800 hectares of land, the worst damage in recent history, with blazes in 1988 and 1987 burning a 8,370 hectares and 4,810 hectares respectively.

WWF Hellas proposed that central and local government authorities coordinate their efforts, immediately launch a reforestation program and introduce a more effective system of monitoring local farming and tree felling.

?It is our national duty to protect our natural wealth,? said WWF Hellas head Dimitris Karavellas, noting that this would require ?comprehensive and effective systems for protecting forests and managing the repercussions of wildfires.?

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