Dadia Forest: Burning Nature vs. Economic Development?

Here are some of Greece’s literally vital statistics: 17 National Parks, 2 Geoparks, hundreds of Natura 2000 areas in the country. There is an ecological saying, “nature does not need protection, it needs to let it be.” It is true.

Nature is not something fragile; it is an unlimited force which created – among everything – us.

But human beings are egoists believing, that the world revolves around them only and that they rightfully possess the power of both protection and destruction.

It is not like that. We are sniffing around in each corner of the Earth, unbalancing everything. Hence, it has been necessary to establish the protected zones of nature around the globe. You can call them National Parks, Natura 2000 zones, Geoparks, Marine Parks and so on, depending on the national or global legislation. These are all zones of nature, protected from the greed of human activities – but not only.

Dadia National Park is one of my favorite places in Greece. It has an extraordinary beauty, balancing hundreds of thousands of lives. Or it used to. The 2022 Dadia fire destroyed a huge chunk of this unique land. I will not analyze the reasons of this fire, but I will present highlights of the park itself.

This magnificent organism, Dadia-Lefkimi-Sofli National Park is one of the world’s most important protected zones on a national, European and international level. It is one of the first National Parks in Greece due to the mosaic of landscapes that spread out there: forests of pine and oak, riparian vegetation, grazing lands and cultivated areas, inhabited and wild lands. This is one of the reasons for the great diversity of predatory birds like vultures who dwell there. Dadia is the habitat of the last colony of the Black Vulture in Europe.

In this remote area of Greece something unique happens: Flora and fauna in Dadia is a combination of Europe and Asia. It is the corner of Balkans, uniting East and West, in terms of nature.

Even if the highest area of the park is only 620 m, the area has Paleogene era volcanic rocks, creating an intense landscape with rocky cliffs. There is also a great network of small and large streams. The climate is Mediterranean but with cold winters because of the Northern winds. The median yearly rainfall is 732 mm with the lowest – of course – amounts in August. Last year’s total rainfall, however, was not so much.

The forest is a great example of economical support for the nation that still comes from rural areas. At the very least, the economy of the region strongly depends on the National Park. Logging of the forest is the main source of income for many residents of this remote area. Also, the area is a an important beekeeping destination. Pine and oak honey are highly aromatic and delicious.

The Soufli area is also known for the production of high quality silk. But competition with cheap, poor quality silk is shrinking this dynamic agricultural sector.

So are all these fragile protected areas worthy of protection? Are we not fully dependent on them in our exploitation/capitalistic economy and way of life? Are we doing enough to maintain the vital balances? The future will show.


* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.


Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botany-Biology.




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