Greek LIFE Task Force - LIFE Capacity Building

January 2020 - ForestLIFE

Α) Identity of the project

Title/ N°
Building cooperation, developing skills and sharing knowledge for Natura 2000 forests in Greece
ForestLIFE - LIFE14/GIE/GR/000304
Duration

16/07/2015-15/07/2021

Budget

1,021,628 €

 Beneficiaries

Coordinator:
Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre

Partner:
Directorate General of Forests and Forest Environment-Ministry of Environment and Energy

Location of activities Greece
Website

www.forestlife.gr

Contact

Petros Kakouros (Project manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Description/Aim

The project aims to support the exchange of best practice and the development of skills of forest managers and other personnel working in forests within the Natura 2000 network in Greece.

Τhe project develops information infrastructure and implements other supportive actions, to promote the knowledge and the dissemination of best practices, to facilitate cooperation between the Forest Service and other stakeholders working in Natura 2000 forests and to enhance the skills of the personnel of Forest Service and other stakeholders involved in forest management within Natura 2000 sites. IT infrastructure will also strengthen communication of the values of Greek forests and will raise awareness of the general public regarding forests’ conservation needs.

IT infrastructure includes a Collaboration Platform for Forests (CPF) and a Web Application for Greek forests and an e-book “The forests of Greece”. CPF will provide access to forest management knowledge, documentation, events and news andIt will facilitate of cooperation between the Forest Service and other stakeholders working in Natura 2000 forests. The web App will provide basic information on Greek forests and will guide visitors and other users to enjoy the services of the forests with the less impact possible for the environment.

The project is also organising training seminars on forest management for the conservation of biodiversity, adaptation of forest management to climate change, management of degraded coppice oak forests, visitors’ management and innovative funding. The specific issues of each seminar correspond to the needs of the staff of the Forest Service and other stakeholders working in forests in Natura 2000 sites. The project presents its work and other contemporary forest issues through its website and social media accounts.

Β) Best Practices

ForestLIFE uses current and develops new best practices for the dissemination of knowledge, the exchange of best practices for the management of forest ecosystems and the cooperation between stakeholders on forest management, emphasising in those within the Natura 2000 network. For the assessment of the information, communication and cooperation needs of the personnel involved in forest management, the project has made use of a combination of modern and traditional social research methods. The outcomes of this research revealed that, in order to meet its objectives, the project should respond to the established communication practices of the different target groups. In line with this, along with the development of the IT infrastructure, the App and the seminars, the use of multiple communication tools, such as social networks in person communication has been intensified. Moreover, the project facilitates and participates in relevant initiatives of the Ministry of Environment and the Forest Service, which contribute to the dissemination of knowledge about the benefits and responsibilities that convoy the inclusion of a forest in a Natura 2000 site. Examples of these initiatives include the drafting of the National Forest Strategy and the process of updating the specifications for forest management plans.

C) Results

The project, considering the results of the research “Assessment of needs of the personnel of Greek Forest Service and other stakeholders involved in the protection and management of forests in Greek Natura 2000 sites” and the “Strategic plan for the dissemination and communication of the Collaboration Platform for the Forests” has implemented several communication and dissemination actions. Indicatively: a) the participation in more than 10 conferences and workshops in Greece and abroad regarding transfer knowledge and best practices and cooperation development, b) the participation in 2018 and 2019 at Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, c) the successful organisation of exhibitions related to the Greek forests, such as this at the Athens International Airport “El. Venizelos” https://forestlife.gr/greek-forests-green-destinations/, d) a popular social media account and website which are disseminating information related to project actions as well as news related to forest conservation and management and the Natura 2000, e) the organisation of two successful seminars regarding innovative funding of forest management in the Natura 2000 and f) the development of the  Collaboration Platform for the Forests (CPF).

The target groups of the project include both professionals working in forests and the general public. All its activities and results are available and can be accessed via its web services, while the project continues to participate in events that present opportunities for the promotion of its objectives.

The most important next steps of the project are the delivery of the CPF and the App, and the organisation of six seminars regarding the conservation of biodiversity in forests, adaptation to climate change, management of coppice forests and visitors’ management.