When a huge wave of fires broke out in Greece in August 2007, many people considered it one of the worst natural disasters in modern history. Seven years later, the GlobalForestWatch (GBW) gives a clear image of the natural disaster of the millennium that took place in Greece, by creating a world map with every forest area that has been burned and those which have been replanted since 2000.
According to GlobalForest’s map, more than 150,000 hectares of forest, equivalent to 1,000 km2, has been destroyed in Greece since 2000. This number is outrageously high considering that the total area of the country is a bit more than 130,000 km2.
Between 2000 and 2012, one percent of the total area of the country has burned and if we estimate the percentage of the total Greek forest area, the number grows. At the same time, forest areas have been created since 2000 without, however, exceeding 350 km2. That does not even compensate one-quarter of the loss in recent years.
As is logical, the most disastrous year was the year 2007 during which 530 km2 of forest land was burned. The vast fires that took place in August 2007 burned down more trees than those planted between 2000 and 2012. The second most disastrous year was the following, when 230 km2 of forest was swallowed by flames. Throughout the years, there has been a relatively stable loss of Greek forest land with an average of about 100 km2
The places most affected by the fire during the course of these 12 years were Attica and some parts of Peloponnese such as the western and the central part. Several islands and most importantly Corfu, Zakynthos and Rhodes also suffered severe destruction.