Balkan forest protection seminar “Forest fires, forest protection policies and the participation of environmental organizations”.

Action report

The activity was carried out by “Pindos Environmental” within the program of the General Secretariat for Youth in the Community of Vovousa of the Prefecture of Ioannina and lasted from 8 to 12 October 2008. The topic of the seminar was forest fires, forest protection policies and participation . It was attended by 40 executives of Environmental Organizations and Bodies from Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Serbia.

The main aim of the seminar was to jointly address issues such as the causes of the deterioration of forest fire risk, the consequences of forest fires, forest protection policies and practices and the role of environmental organizations, volunteers and local communities. The development of joint initiatives and actions that will contribute, in cooperation with the competent public bodies of each country, to the more effective protection of the forests of the region from fires.

The priority was to find the most effective procedures for the active participation of young people, volunteers, civil society organizations and local communities in forest protection and forest firefighting, helping to improve forest protection in the wider Balkan and Mediterranean region.

All participants collaborated with the other members gaining additional knowledge and critical thinking on issues related to forest fires, forest protection policies and the involvement of environmental organizations.The exchange of knowledge on the topic helped significantly in the personal development of the participants and their knowledge.

Regarding the priorities of the program, the goals were achieved through the participation of new and older executives of Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations and Government agencies. Regional cooperation through the exchange and coexistence of participants gave importance to the priority of the seminar on policies and environmental protection through meetings and working groups on the main topic of forest protection.

The seminar included four main thematic units, with the corresponding subsections:

  1. Reasons for the worsening of the risk of forest fires:
    – The shaping of the forest and rural landscape from the changes in the productive activities in the countryside and the effects on the manifestation and the treatment of the outbreaks
    – Tourism development and dangers from the uncontrolled movement of visitors
    – Construction outside spatial plans
    – Criminal arsons
    – Climate change and increased risk of forest fire
    2. Consequences of forest fires:
    Ecosystem and wildlife losses
    Desertification and microclimate change
    Social consequences, worsening of rural desertification
    Forest protection policies and practices:
    Unified body of forest protection – forest firefighting
    – Coordination of the bodies involved in forest protection – forest firefighting
    – Effective fire prevention methods: information, awareness, monitoring
    – Effective fire suppression methods: necessary infrastructure and response policy
    – International cooperation and coordination in dealing with large forest fires
    – Methods of rehabilitation of fire-affected areas
    3. The role of environmental organizations, volunteers and local communities:
    – Participation of volunteers in forest protection – forest firefighting practices
    – Coordination of volunteers and organizations with public bodies
    – International coordination of environmental organizations for forest protection in the Mediterranean and the Balkans
    – Proposals and initiatives for new joint actions


(Country, Name of the institution, Contact person)


Bulgaria, Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, AVRAMOV STEFAN

Albania, “EDEN Center”, BREGAJ ALBANA

Serbia, “Young Researchers of Serbia”, TRNAVAC DUSICA