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Innovation and importance of the project

Despite that Holm oak and Hungarian oak forests of Mount Athos and especially those of Holm oak have been degraded to coppice, they still hold their floristic diversity and suffer from limited soil erosion. No other threats exist, except from fires, which could spread rapidly due to the structure of the forests.

Rehabilitation to high forest, a status that they had until the end of the 19th century, will give them an almost excellent conservation status, being an example throughout the Mediterranean Basin.

Beyond the importance of these forests to nature conservation at a European level, their rehabilitation will substantially contribute to the restoration of the ancient landscape of Mount Athos, which had old-growth forests as a primary characteristic.

The project has a strong innovative spirit since it is the first time that selective-inversion thinnings are used for the rehabilitation of Holm oak coppice forests. It is expected that the successful implementation of this action will result in the application of similar management techniques in other forests of the same habitat replacing other, not ecologically sound methods.