Thursday, February 2, 2012

Greeks fell trees for warmth amid economic chill

Rising oil prices and chilly economic times are prompting increasing numbers of Greeks to chop down trees for winter warmth, a group of forest engineers warned Tuesday.

Nikos Bokaris, a spokesman for the Panhellenic Union of Forest Engineers, said the debt-wracked nation's forest ecosystems were not yet under threat, but urged the government to act quickly to prevent broader damage.

"You have to remember what happened in Albania," Bokaris said, describing how that country's population felled trees en masse after the collapse of communism. "Even the trees lining the roads were chopped down."

Greek foresters filed 1,500 criminal complaints last year, twice as many as in 2010. About 70 percent of Greece's forests are public, with most of the rest belonging to various religious institutions. Read More