Mt. Athos (Greece)
The Committee noted that the deforestation in this mixed site could have adverse impacts on the landscape in the area. In response to a request for information from the Centre, the Greek authorities indicated that 25,732 acres of forest in the area were damaged due to a fire in 1990 and this calamity might have been responsible for reports concerning the removal of vegetation. The Greek authorities have, however, pointed out that the natural regeneration of the forest is progressing satisfactorily.
The Committee noted that Mt. Athos is an autonomous region within Greece and removal of timber from the forests by monks resident in Mt. Athos is permitted under a law gazetted on 24 February 1953. This law was amended on 9 April 1991 to ensure that the removal of timber is carried out on a sustainable basis. The amendment also allowed the establishment of a Forest Service which takes measures to control fires. During 1992 there were seven fires caused by lightning, and the Forest Service successfully controlled these fires to maintain damage to the vegetation in this site at minimum possible levels.
The Committee was in agreement with the view of the Greek authorities that the state of conservation of the natural environment in this site is satisfactory and that there was no need for a special expert mission.