WWF: Human activity is harming natural landscape
Hundreds of thousands of hectares of forestland and other natural vegetation in Greece was converted to farmland between 1987 and 2007, according to a study by conservation group WWF Hellas, which also found that construction and development destroyed another 33,000 hectares of natural expanses.
Farmland increased by 500,000 hectares over the 20 years while the country’s forests dwindled by 130,000 hectares, according to the study, which did not assess the impact of the catastrophic forest fires of summer 2007. The blazes, in which 84 people were killed, razed an estimated 200,000 hectares of land.
“What we saw between 1987 and 2007 was an increase in man-made expanses of land such as agricultural tracts and settlements to the detriment of natural vegetation,” said the head of WWF Hellas, Dimitris Karavellas. Finally some good news regarding people’s real finances, instead of the usual assortment of cold macroeconomic figures. Recent data indicating a decline in prices are, no doubt, a very welcome development. After all, at some point, prices in Greece had to follow the trend of salaries and rents, which have dropped considerably since the debt crisis hit the country. However, a further slide in consumer prices is necessary so as to reflect the new economic reality. The only way to achieve this is by strengthening competition in the Greek market and not by having the state introduce outmoded market regulations. Introducing structural reforms to further liberalize the market must be a key priority for the conservative-led government in the coming weeks.