- Title: GREECE: Greenpeace says damage from Greek fires will take generations to repair
- Date: 5th September 2007
- Summary: (EU) ATHENS, GREECE (SEPTEMBER 4, 2007) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREENPEACE ENVIRONMENTALIST NIKOS CHARALAMBIDIS SAYING: "The good thing is, the positive thing, is that the forest of Kaifa was a forest of pine trees, very old and big pine trees which normally if not disturbed, left alone, no other catastrophe, no grazing by goats, it is self regenerated. That's the good news. The bad news is it takes minimum two generations, which means maybe our grandchildren may be lucky enough to see forests in that area."
- Embargoed: 20th September 2007 16:20
- Location: Greece
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVAAEWSPSK5I24FKNZJDXXKLO03B
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Greenpeace has warned of a long road to recovery for the Greek environment, after devastating forest fires.
Greece's forest fires have contributed to global CO2 emissions and depleted the area's ability to soak up carbon dioxide, the environmental pressure group Greenpeace said on Tuesday (September 4).
The organisation said the fires also created a difficult environment for people to live in, and the forest could take generations to repair itself.
Hundreds of thousands of acres of plants and brush, and millions of trees perished in the fire in the Peloponnese.
Greenpeace environmentalist Nikos Charalambidis said: "This forest fire has contributed to increase of CO2 emissions globally. We don't know yet the final figure, its something we have to figure out in the next months I guess. Also we have lost a major mechanism of absorbing CO2 - these are the forests. So there's two problems happening together."
Trees help to soak up CO2 in the atmosphere, but when they burn they release carbon dioxide. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, deforestation accounts for 18 percent of CO2 emissions.
In the atmosphere, CO2 is the main gas which contributes to the greenhouse effect -- trapping the earth's heat which would otherwise be radiated into space.
The latest United Nations report on global warming says temperatures will rise by an estimated 1.8 to 4.0 degrees celsius this century, and that sea levels will rise by between 18 and 59 centimetres.
Charalambidis said the people of the Peloponnese will feel the full effects.
"An area that was covered by plants which were cooling down the area, especially during the nights in summer time, now is working as a black box, meaning that it absorbs heat during the day and emits heat during the night. So the living conditions for the people there is not going to be pleasant at all," he said.
Rich endemic plant species found only in the Peloponnese, as well as many animals, like rabbits, foxes, and boars also suffered.
But the biggest loss may be to the golden jackal, a globally endangered species that lives on Mount Parnonas.
"There is a possibility that the last remaining population of the jackal in Europe, the one that was identified in Mount Parnonas, is either gone for good, or cannot find a place to go because a bigger area there was destroyed," Charalambidis said.
He said reforestation may be possible in some areas, but in others it is not the answer, as some trees do no always take in certain areas. Many types of trees have mechanisms that regenerate by themselves, and those areas must be left alone to seed and grow undisturbed.
"The good thing is, the positive thing, is that the forest of Kaifa was a forest of pine trees, very old and big pine trees which normally if not disturbed, left alone, no other catastrophe, no grazing by goats, it is self regenerated. That's the good news. The bad news is it takes minimum two generations, which means maybe our grandchildren may be lucky enough to see forests in that area," he said.
Other trees, like olives, will take 15-20 years to grow back.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None