Since 1937, Greece has started to identify natural areas of specific ecological importance (forests, wetlands etc.) and place them under special protection.

In the early stages of this special protection, all human activities were prohibited. Later on, this concept is abandoned and a new approach is followed, that of associating its protection with the sustainable use of natural resources.

In Greece natural areas are identified as protected areas either according to existing national legislation, or through international conventions and international or European initiatives. Furthermore the sites of the Natura 2000 network are areas of conservation of natural habitats and species of wild fauna and flora of Community interest. In many cases the same area is listed both in national, European and International level.

- Protected Areas According to National Legislation

- Protected Areas in International Level

- Protected Areas in European Level

- Application "Important Areas for Nature Protection"

- Common Database on Designated Areas (CDDA) and related geospatial data

 

 

   PROTECTED AREAS ACCORDING TO NATIONAL LEGISLATION

As far as the national legislation is concerned, the declaration of protected areas, in various categories of protection, was based up to 1986 mainly on Forest Law. National Woodland Parks, Aesthetic Forests and Natural Monuments and Landmarks are stipulated by Law No. 996/1971 which is a part of Law No. 86/1969 "on Forest Law". Wildlife refuges, Controlled Hunting Areas and Game Breeding Stations are stipulated by Law No 177/75, as amended by Law N. 2637/1998. Later on, Law N. 1650/86 further introduced the designation of five categories of protected areas:

Today, the categories of protected areas according to the existing legislation are as follows:

   PROTECTED AREAS IN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL

Apart from the national legislation, special commitment on the protection of the natural environment derives from international conventions, ratified by the country, and from Greece’s participation in international organizations such as the Council of Europe and UNESCO. The following categories apply to the above:

 

   PROTECTED AREAS IN EUROPEAN LEVEL

A remarkable area of the Greek territory has been included in the European Ecological Network Natura 2000. Greece includes at its National List 163 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) according to Directive 79/409/EEC and 239 Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) according to Directive 92/43/EEC. The surface area of the network in Greece, excluding overlaps, is approximately 3.4 million hectares and occupies 21% of the land. These areas include the National Parks, the Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, as well as other important areas such as Aesthetic Forests and Natural Monuments and Landmarks.

In the framework of the cooperation with the Greek Ministry of Environment as regards matters of management of the natural environment, EKBY updated an application entitled "Important Areas for Nature Protection" (data up to October 2007).

The application “Important Areas for Nature Protection” is a useful tool for the uniform management of descriptive and geospatial data on protected areas, i.e. easy access to data and easy export of information. It includes sites that:

  • have been declared under national legislation

  • have been included in Natura 2000 Network as Sites of Community Importance and/or Special Protection Areas

  • have some international characterization

  • have been recorded as wetlands in the national census

The application is only available in the Greek language and runs at Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP. To install it, you can download for free the zipped file by clicking the frame bellow and then follow the installation guides.
 


Application "Important Areas for Nature Protection"

(
data up to October 2007)

The Common Database on Designated Areas – CDDA as well as the related geospatial data, are submitted every 2 years to the European Environment Agency and can be found at: http://cdr.eionet.europa.eu/gr/eea/cdda1.

The database is available in MsAccess format and the geospatial files in shapefile format. The user can save the database and the geospatial files per protection category, in a uniform zip file, by selecting the command “zip envelope” on the upper right corner of the website. The correspondence of the protection categories with the codes used by CDDA can be found in the table titled “designations” of the database. The table titled “sites” contains all descriptive information of each protected area (e.g. protection category, area, IUCN code). It is noted that the areas mentioned in every protected area according the CDDA were derived from their digitized boundaries and may differ from the ones mentioned in their designation acts. Furthermore the database includes all zones of wider protected areas (e.g. nature reserve areas or absolute nature reserve areas within national parks) so the sum of the zones' areas does not correspond to the correct total of the protected area. In any case, different category protection areas might overlap (e.g. a wildlife refugee with a National Park).


Common Database on Designated Areas (CDDA) and related geospatial data
 

The current submission of the national CDDA was made on 15th of March 2011 and is available online at the above link in Envelope ''CDDA 2010''. It includes both the descriptive database and the GIS files. However, the submitted GIS files do not represent the complete GIS dataset of National Protected Areas, but an addition to the previous submission included in Envelope ''CDDA 2009''.

 

 

National Woodland Parks
These areas include mainly forests with special ecological and scientific interest. Ten National Woodland Parks have been declared under Law 996/1971, which is part of Law 86/1969 “On Forest Law”. The National Woodland Parks of Prespes, Vikos-Aoos, Pindos, Oiti and Sounio include core and peripheral zones while others include only the core zone.

National Parks
National Parks were introduced as a special category of protected areas by Law 1650-/1986 (articles 18 and 19). When the National Park, or a large part of it occupies forest areas it may be classified as a National Woodland Park. Similarly, if a National Park occupies marine areas it may be classified as a National Marine Park.
Up to
December 2009 seventeen (17) National Parks have been declared according to Law 1650/1986.

Aesthetic Forests
The Aesthetic Forests are established under the forest legislation and include forests with aesthetic and ecological interest, in order, apart from nature protection, to give an opportunity to the public to learn and enjoy the natural environment with various recreational activities.
Nineteen (19) areas have been characterized as Aesthetic Forests, with a total of 32.506 hectares. According to the digitized boundaries, the total land area of the Aesthetic Forests corresponds to 0,24% of the area of the country. Their marine part occupies an area equal to 9,8 hectares.

Natural Monuments
The natural monuments may include single trees or groups of trees with special botanical, ecological, aesthetical or historical and cultural value. The Forest Law implied their establishment.
Fifty-one (51) natural monuments have been established with a total area of 16.840 hectares. The majority of these monuments occupy a few square meters. It is worth mentioning that the Petrified Forest of Lesvos covers 89% of the total area of all natural monuments. According to the digital boundaries, the natural monuments area represents 0,12% of the country’s land area.

Wildlife Refuges
Law 2637/1998 provides for the characterization of Wildlife Refuges. Up to
December 2009 the total number of Wildlife Refuges sums up to 610.

Controlled Hunting Areas
There are seven Controlled Hunting Areas.

Game Breeding Stations
The state Game Breeding Stations are 21, covering a total area of 3.603 hectares. According to the digitized boundaries, their total area corresponds to 0,023% of the total land area of the country.

Nature Reserve Areas
Nature reserve areas were introduced as a category of protected areas under Law 1650/1986 (articles 18 and 19). Until
December 2009, twenty three (23) areas have been declared as Nature Reserve Areas.

Absolute Nature Reserve Areas
Absolute Nature Reserve Areas were introduced as a category of protected areas under Law 1650/1986. Until
December 2009, eight areas (8) have been declared as Absolute Nature Reserve Areas.

Protected Forests
Until June 2009
, three (3) areas have been declared as Protected Forests.

Protected Natural Formations and Landscapes
The Protected Natural Formations and Landscapes were introduced as a category of protected areas under Law 1650/1986. Up to date two areas were declared as such.

Ecodevelopment Areas
The Ecodevelopment Areas were introduced as a category of protected areas under Law 1650/1986 (articles 18 and 19). Up to date one area was declared as such, this is the land and lake district of Lake Pamvotida of Ioannina which includes a peripheral zone as well.

Wetlands of International Importance according to the Ramsar Convention
The Ramsar convention was ratified by Law 191/74 (Official gazette 350/A/1974) “On ratification of the Ramsar Convention” and amended by Law 1950/91 (OG 84/A/1991) «On ratification of amendments to the Ramsar Convention». The Directorate of the Ministry for the Environment is the responsible service for the Ramsar wetlands.
Greece has characterized 10 Wetlands of International Importance according to the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar wetlands cover a total area of 167.501 hectares. According to the digitized boundaries, the total area corresponds to 0.85% of the total land area of the country, and the marine part occupies an area of 55.617 hectares. The Ramsar wetlands are also included in the Natura 2000 Network. More information on the Ramsar wetlands can be found in the Ramsar Sites Information Service.

Specially Protected Areas according to the Barcelona Convention (Protocol No. 4 “On special protected areas of the Mediterranean”)
The Barcelona Convention with its attached Protocols was ratified by Greece under Law 855/78 (OG 235/A/1978) and Law 1634/86 (OG 104/A/1986). Under Protocol «On specially protected areas of the Mediterranean» nine (9) areas have been declared as Specially Protected Areas with a total area of 260,176 hectares. According to their digitized boudaries, the total area represents 0.32% of total land area of the country, while the marine section occupies an area equal to 214,790 hectares.

Biogenetic Reserves
The European Network on Biogenetic Reserves, was established in 1976 by the Council of Europe, and aims to preserve representative samples of flora and fauna of European natural areas. Sixteen (16) areas have been characterized as Biogenetic Reserves, with total land coverage of 22.261 hectares. According to their digitized boundaries, the total area represents the 0,16% of the total land area of the country, and its marine part occupies 4.434 hectares.

Biosphere Reserves
According to UNESCO’s programme entitled “Man and Biosphere” two areas have been categorized as “Biosphere Areas”. The National Woodland Park of Olympus (with a core of 3,988 hectares) and the National Woodland Park of Samaria (with a core of 4,850 hectares). According to their digitized boundaries, their total land coverage represents 0,07% of the total land area of the country.

Sites that have been awarded with the Eurodiploma by the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe launched in 1965 the Eurodiploma, it was formally adopted in 1973, and its revised regulations were adopted on 1991 and 1998. The Eurodiploma is granted to areas recognized as areas of natural heritage and of European interest, and are protected accordingly. In case of degradation of the natural environment the Eurodiploma can be withdrawn. The National Woodland Park of Samaria (an area of 4.850 hectares) has been granted the Eurodiploma (Category A
'). According to its digitized boundaries, the total area corresponds to 0,04% of the total land area of the country.

World Heritage Sites

According to the Convention on World Cultural Heritage, which operates under the auspices of UNESCO and was ratified by our country in 1981, two areas have been declared as World Heritage Monuments, the Antihasia Mountains – Meteora (area of 387 hectares) and Mount Athos. Even though the boundaries of Mount Athos are not defined, it is considered that its area corresponds to the total area of the peninsula (33.700 hectares). Responsible for declaring the areas is the Ministry of Culture. According to their digitized boundaries, the total area represents 0.26% of the total land area of the country.

EKBY, 2010