Synopsis main content.


The summer of 2007 saw a series of wildfires in Greece, most notably a five-day blaze that destroyed much of a protected forest atop Mount Parnitha just outside of Athens. Dominated by native Greek fir and Aleppo pine, the forest was rich with biodiversity, including 96 plant species that are endemic (found nowhere else), rare, or protected. The site is included in the European Union's Natura 2000 list of the most threatened habitats in Europe.
Athens is now coping with the loss. The forest cooled the city, offsetting the heat from the 2.5 million cars in Athens. Parnitha was also used recreationally by many city dwellers. Indeed, urban pressures may have triggered the disaster: both malfunctioning power lines and arson to clear land for development have been suspected. 
Renewal plans are now in the works. The many challenges include staving off erosion of the scorched soil, monitoring wild animal grazing of new seedlings, and replanting vegetation.