Although the debate has been dragging on for years, the zero point of the informal pine demonization campaign in Greece is considered to be the Mati fire in 2018. death. The demonization of pine is due to a number of reasons that at first sight have a basis. Greece, like most Mediterranean countries, is overgrown with Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), the most resin-producing tree in the world. The resin with which each tree is filled is practically fuel, hydrocarbon, which when burned becomes very dangerous, transmitting fire at high speed.
This begs the question: why do we “plant” pines?
Forgive us, misunderstanding
First mistake: we do not plant pines. The vast majority of pines you see around you are native, not planted; they are a sperm regenerative plant, propagated by numerous seeds that travel long distances. When a fire breaks out and a pine forest burns, the process of its natural regeneration begins automatically. That is why all these reforestation initiatives are a bit of a waste when we talk about pines. Nikos Margaris, professor of Ecosystems at the University of the Aegean and a diligent researcher of the Mediterranean forests, was the first to point out this in his column in “Vima”: “The nationwide tree planting campaigns and at the same time we are waiting for it to become a forest, they remind of an absurd comedy. (…) Example, the foothills of Hymettus. The scouts go and plant pines and are followed by the KAPI, which reforest with eucalyptus, the PAKOE with whatever it finds, the climbers with cypresses and the werewolves with whatever is left over from the above “. In another article in 2007 he wrote: “We have a mania with pines. We plant them everywhere. In the camps we put them next to the gunpowder depots. But pines have one drawback: they need, they cause, fire. It’s in their DNA. ” cause, fire. It’s in their DNA. ” cause, fire. It’s in their DNA. ”
Note that most of the land burned in the last nightmarish days has been burned at least once since the 1970s. In 1977 alone, more than 200,000 acres were burned in northern Evia. Foresters claim that even without the slightest human intervention, a pine forest will burn at least once or twice in a century. Also, with so many fires in our pine forests every year, Greece should be almost deserted today. On the contrary, the forest cover of the country today is much higher than 100 years ago.
So what is the whole drama about? Forester Dimitris Tsimplinas believes that the discussion has opened well, but we should direct it to specific points. Like, let’s say, enriching our artificial reforestation with other species, more flame retardant (broadleaf). “Even in artificial reforestation there is a preference for pine, because we know that the success rate is much higher. Melikokia, koutsoupia, oak, carobia are much more demanding during the maintenance of reforestation, which in any case is not “I go, plant a tree and leave”. You have to be there for the first two years, the digging of the pits must be the right one to collect the rain water, to do your watering in the summer “. He thinks it ‘s funny to say we’re going to cut down the pine forests, but the National Reforestation Plan announced by the government in 2020 gives us an opportunity to enrich our forests and better protect them in the long run. “It is better to reforest less acres but correctly and with a greater mix of species, than to reforest roughly with an emphasis on pine.”
Plane trees in Sounio?
Dimitris Katsoudas considers the discussion for “abolition” of the pine on the verge of comedy. “Pines grow in areas where no other forests grow. Are you going to plant plane trees in Sounio? ” He believes, however, that there is a basis for species enrichment in artificial reforestation. “Mainly along roads, railways, highways and forest roads, that is, where the forest meets humans and you want to build a fence with fire-resistant items to delay a fire.”
Respectively, he argues, homeowners who are adjacent to a forest or located in residential areas with very dense vegetation (eg Varybobi, Thrakomakedones, etc.) should be facilitated to replace pines that are very close to their homes with other species. . This implies a change in legislation, as today such a thing is prohibited and needs permission from the local Forest Service. In any case, Dimitris Katsoudas insists that from the moment a new forest begins to grow, its management should be taken for granted, so that we do not reach the same impasses that lead to the vicious circle of perpetual destruction.
At the same wavelength, Mr. Dimitris Tsimplinas believes that we could enrich our yard or garden located in or very close to the forest: in summer it protects you with shade, in winter it sheds its leaves and leaves the sun to warm you up. So little by little we will limit the pine to sensitive zones of coexistence of forest and residential zones, mainly in Attica “.
The experienced forester from Kozani also refers to the European program “Urban food”, which encourages residents of urban or suburban areas to grow fruit trees (apples, pears, peaches, lemons, etc.) or to use “stray” olives, while achieving two different goals: and encourages a more nutritious of species with more slow-burning trees. Mr. Dimitris Tsimplinas insists: “In any case, the problem is not the pine; it is that we go and build in the pine and then the pine comes and burns us”.
Source – kathimerini.gr