In a nutshell
Western Macedonia Model Forest Initiative is located in the region of Western Macedonia, the northern part of Greece and borders with Albania and North Macedonia.
The Region of Western Macedonia covers a total surface of 945,100 Ha (7.2% of country’s total) and the number of inhabitants is 255,056. The nature of the region is mountainous, while Aliakmonas travels down through it. It is the only region without sea coast. Western Macedonia is divided into the regional units of Grevena, Kastoria, Kozani and Florina.
The terittory has plenty of natural beauties and surrounded by large mountains on the slopes of which stretch rich forests with dense vegetation. Magnificent forest landscapes surround the rivers that flow through the Region and bring life to nature. The traditional villages, the stone bridges and the old churches, beautify the image even more and show the harmonious coexistence of the inhabitants with the environment, which is also proven by the rich flora and fauna of the place.
The Western Macedonia Model Forest is defined as a new and original tool of territorial governance in view of sustainable development of the Region of Western Macedonia, with main feature the forests and having the support of all stakeholders and businesses operating in it.
The forests of Western Macedonia cover approximately 24.3% of the total area of the Region (229,555.3Ha). The Regional Unit of Grevena has the largest area with 78,050 Ha, while the Regional Unit of Kastoria follows with 68,384 Ha. Smaller but equally important areas are available to the Regional Units of Florina and Kozani with 46,895Ha and 36,225 Ha.
The landscape encompasses 12 municipalities. Local forestry businesses are on average very small to small enterprises (from 1 to 3 employees), producing mainly firewood, sold directly to local home owners or retail businesses.
According to the forest ownership, the public owns 62.21% in Western Macedonia. The second largest forest owner is the Municipalities, approximately 23.88% of the total forests. The remaining 14% belongs to private individuals, the Church or in co-ownership.
About land cover and use:
- Agricultural land, 22.3%
- Mixed forests, 3.45%
- Coniferous forests, 4.52%
- Broad-leaved forests, 16.95%
- Transitional woodland / shrub, 21.89%
- Lakes, 65% of country’s total
- Pastures, 11.64%
- 24 NATURA 2000 areas
The current partnerships of the Western Macedonia Model Forest consists of 13 groups and 53 individuals.
The types of stakeholders are:
- Region authority
- Communities & municipalities
- Private sector (forestry)/ Forest Cooperatives
- Associations (Mountaineering, Cultural-Folklore)
The Board of Directors consists of five permanent and five deputy members elected by the General Assembly. The permanent members are:
- the President (Dimitris Tsimplinas),
- the Vice President (Christos Papaioannou),
- the General Secretary (Maria Pavlina Kordista),
- the Treasurer (Anastasia Petsi) and
- a member (Efrosyni Ntio).
The mandate of the Board is three years.
Two managers of the WM Model Forest Initiative were elected:
There are four thematic commissions:
- Environment and Society ( Education, activities, projects)
- Culture and Tourism
- Productive sectors (wood and non wood forest products/ local products e.t.c) and
- International Relations (social media, networking, press releases e.t.c)
Each commission has the task to develop actions and projects that correlate with the general objectives of the Strategic Plan adopted by the NGO.
Here the complete list of the associates.
- Identification of sustainable forest management methods to increase and exploit wood and non wood forest products.
- Support the institution of environmental education through Environmental Education Centers and schools, in order to increase student’s awareness about environment.
- Increase the local and regional development by creating new jobs in the countryside and preserving natural and cultural heritage.
- Protect and promote biodiversity of plants and animals, plus improve local soil conditions.
- Rebuild animal habitats, restore soil and critical watersheds, and improve the lives of the communities who most rely on the forests.
- The reduction of negative interactions as well as the enhancement and diffusion of socio-economic benefits, which implies the presence and coexistence of the bear and wild pigs with humans in the area.
- Increase forest workers’ capacities for sustainable forest management.
You can see extensively all the projects on the strategic plan.
Project - Western Macedonia Model Forest Initiative
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