The development of Forest Maps aims at the spatiotemporal delineation (with reference to the present and the past periods) and representation of forests and forestlands. The whole procedure involves studying in detail the areas that were covered in the past or are covered today by forest vegetation, codifying the data and correctly representing it on the appropriate basemaps according to the forest maps technical specifications in force (Government Gazette 1811, Volume B’, 10-09-2007).
Delineation and recording of past forests and forestlands is performed through photo-interpreting historical air photos acquired in 1945/1960 or even earlier (e.g. air photos acquired in 1937 are used for the Attica Prefecture), if they are available. Historical air photos of 1945 are the oldest record that uniformly covers the Greek territory and that is why they are used.
Respectively, delineation and recording of existing forests and forestlands comprises the analysis of an area’s vegetation through the interpretation of recent air photos (the most recent uniform cover of the Greek territory is 2007), validated thorugh ground based interpretation.
Combining photo-interpretation results from historical and recent air photos with identical aerial coverage, may render the following land cover categories:
- Areas that were and still are forests and forestlands
- Areas that were deforested or altered in the meantime
- Areas that were reforested or forested in the meantime
After the development of the Forest Map, which has been made by Foresters, it is then posted publicly. In this way, every interested person is informed about the classification of areas of land (forest or non-forest) and are given the opportunity to submit relevant objections.
The ultimate goal of the entire procedure is to ratify forest maps as definitive after resolving the objections submitted.
The recording of forests and forestlands aims at the:
- Environmental protection of forests, forestlands and grasslands (which are also recorded during the development of Forest Maps).
- Consolidation and protection of the Greek State’s real property rights on forests, forestlands and grasslands through the Hellenic Cadastre’s procedures and the complete clarification of their ownership.
- Detailed recording and assurance of state lands, a large part of which are forests, forestlands and grasslands.
- Development of baseline IT infrastructure for the development of a Forestry Species Registry in the future.
Completion of Forest Cadastre is part of and the base for completion of National Cadastre which was originated in the 1975 Greek Constitution and it has to be completed now until the end of 2020. Greece is the only European country without National Forest Cadastre.