LIFE ForestLife - Building cooperation, developing skills and sharing knowledge for Natura 2000 forests in Greece

LIFE14 GIE/GR/000304

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Contact details:

Contact person: Luiza Nikolaou
Tel: 302310473320
Fax: 302310471795
Email: ekby@ekby.gr

Project description:


Mountains and forests are prominent features of the Greek landscape. Forest area covers half of the surface area of the country, with high forests accounting for 30.2% and wooded land another 20.5%. High forests have shown some increase since 1990 while wooded land has decreased. Around 77% of forest areas are publicly owned, with the church, municipalities and individuals owning the remaining 23%. Some 43% of the terrestrial SCIs are covered by forest habitat listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive. The main environmental problem is the degraded conservation status of forest habitats in Natura2000 sites caused by a low level of knowledge, a lack of guidance, and a lack of best management practices. The skills of forestry personnel and others involved in forest management are inadequate to deal with the problems.

These problems were highlighted during the Mediterranean Biogeographic process at a seminar in Thessaloniki (26-28 May, 2014). The forest habitat types that were selected include 9260, 9320, 9330, 9540, 92A0 and 92D0. The main issues identified were poor management, land use change, fragmentation, disturbance by recreation, diseases, climate change, changes in hydrological conditions, access to financing, and invasive alien species. Management needs include longer rotation periods, abandonment of coppicing, defragmentation, reducing high densities, and communication and information aimed at forest users to increase acceptance of measures to reduce human disturbance. There is a lack of technical guidance on sustainable forest management and a lack of knowledge transfer among Member States. Insight into ecosystem services provided by forests in Natura 2000 sites is lacking, as well as an understanding of the conflicts between various policies and forest users.

To address these problems, it was recommended to promote the exchange of best practices and the development of skills of Natura2000 managers. Identification of knowledge gaps, promotion of communication between scientists and other stakeholders, the establishment of a portal on Natura 2000 forest spatial information, with guidance material on effective fund management and innovative financing mechanisms were also recommended.


The LIFE ForestLife project aims to support the exchange of best practice and the development of skills of forest Natura 2000 managers in Greece. Specific objectives are to:

  • Facilitate knowledge sharing by developing an online Collaboration Platform for Forests;
  • Foster the development of skills of forest-related target groups through training; and
  • Increase the capacity of forest managers by providing tools that aim to reduce human disturbance from forest users, to support and exchange experience and best practice, and to enhance cooperation.

    Expected results:

  • An online Collaboration Platform for Forests (CPF) will have been created. Around 2 000 persons will have visited the site in its first four months and at least 150 users will register as members. A fivefold increase in visits is expected by the end of the project, with at least 15 000 visits per year;
  • Eight training seminars will have been organised. Around 460 individuals from target groups will have been trained in seminars and another 300 will have participated through live streaming. Training material uploaded on the project website and on CPF;
  • An App called ‘Forest LIFE’ and an e-book, ‘Forests of Greece’ will have been produced. Around 20 000 downloads are expected;
  • More than 80% of the target audiences in Greece are aware of the project’s objectives, actions and results. Increased levels of information and awareness of the target groups and the wider public achieved through extensive presentations of the project on TV and radio stations as well as through social media;
  • More than 107 500 people are informed of the project through leaflets, flyers, noticeboards and the Layman’s reports;
  • 350 000 people will have been informed through project presentations in events.
  • Overall, the project is expected to have the following outcomes:

  • Improved conservation and sustainable management of Natura 2000 forests through the use of the CPF;
  • Skilled and knowledgeable forest managers that apply sound management measures in forest Natura 2000 sites in the country;
  • Change in attitudes and behaviour of target groups and the general public towards more environmentally friendly ones, contributing to the compliance of environmental legislation in forest Natura 2000 sites;
  • Increased levels of information and awareness of target groups and the wider public; and
  • A social coalition of forest managers, users and residents for the conservation and sustainable management of Natura 2000 sites.



Environmental issues addressed:


Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information
Habitats - Forests
Information - Governance - Public and Stakeholders participation


forest management‚  information system‚  knowledge development

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator The Goulandris Natural History Museum - Greek Biotope Wetland Centre
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description EKBY has wide experience in nature conservation activities, including forests. Previous projects include the rehabilitation of coppice woods on Mt Athos (LIFE03 NAT/GR/000093), the restoration of the palm forest of Vai (LIFE98 NAT/GR/005264), the restoration of burnt black pine forests in the Peloponnese (LIFE07 NAT/GR/000286) and the rehabilitation of the riparian forest of Nestos through an EEA grant. EKBY is also the beneficiary of a LIFE Environment project on adaptation of forest management to climate change in Greece (LIFE08 ENV/GR/000554). It is experienced in implementing EU legislation on aspects of nature and biodiversity, such as the implementation of the Habitats and Birds directives, and in the establishment of the Natura 2000 network including the submission of Part B (information on species and habitats) of the 2nd national report of the Habitats Directive, Article 17. In addition, EKBY supports the competent authorities in planning and on environmental issues such as the drafting of biodiversity strategies.
Partners DGDPFRE(Ministry of Reconstruction of Production, Environment and Energy), Greece


Project reference LIFE14 GIE/GR/000304
Duration 16-JUL-2015 to 15-JUL -2021
Total budget 1,021,628.00 €
EU contribution 607,546.00 €
Project location Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki(Ellas) Kentriki Makedonia(Ellas) Dytiki Makedonia(Ellas) Thessalia(Ellas) Ipeiros(Ellas) Ionia Nisia(Ellas) Dytiki Ellada(Ellas) Sterea Ellada(Ellas) Peloponnisos(Ellas) Attiki(Ellas) Voreio Aigaio(Ellas) Notio Aigaio(Ellas) Kriti(Ellas)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version