Greece is a typical Mediterranean country with highly mountainous land and rugged terrain. Greece’s geographical location in Europe and the mild climatic environment creates favorable conditions for the growth and proliferation of forests with great variety of fauna and flora and interesting forest ecosystems. Greek Forests consist of woods of conifers (pine, fir) and deciduous trees (oak, beech, maple and others) covering large areas (34 million hectares), or 25% of the land mass. Greek forests constitute a precious natural heritage for the whole of Europe. Greek forests are largely unspoilt and provide a habitat a large number of species of wild fauna and flora.

Mediterranean forest ecosystems are characterised by a remarkable set of features that make them naturally and aesthetically attractive, but also quite fragile to adverse environmental conditions for prolonged periods of time. It is imperative to understand this fact and plan careful strategies for conservation and management of forests. This review includes a short history of forests in the Mediterranean area and their large diversity and richness of plants. Is followed by a number of studies on environmental pollution and its impact of forest growth, especially gaseous air pollutants, SO2, NOX and O3, The impact of deforestation, soil erosion, land degradation, changes in land use, urban expansion encroaching into forest areas and overgrazing are presented. Forests in Europe and in Greece are assessed and monitored annually by forest organizations of the Ministry of Agriculture and the International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests. Almost half the area of the NATURA 2000 Network in Greece is covered by forests and is therefore under the responsibility of forest services in the country.

Read the full-text article here