The Hellenic Agricultural Organization “DEMETER” (HAO “DEMETER”) (https://elgo.gr/) is a Legal Entity under Private Law (NPID) that belongs to the wider Public Sector, operates for the public interest and is supervised by the Ministry of Agricultural Development & Food of the Hellenic Republic. It was established with the Joint Ministerial Decision Num. 188763 / 10-10-2011 (Government Gazette 2284 / Β / 13-10-2011). Four, until then, independently operating NPIDs, were merged into it, including the National Foundation for Agricultural Research (NAGREF), which since 1989 has been the research arm of the Ministry of Agriculture. The objectives of HAO “DEMETER” include support of actions aimed at the modernization and development of the agricultural sector of the country, by conducting research, promoting innovation and technology, providing vocational education and training, as well as by applying checks in the production and distribution chain of milk and meat in the country.
In this project, the Organization participates through the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems (IMFE), which is one of the oldest research institutes in the country. It was established in 1929 as a Forest Research Office, in the Central Forest Service. Later, in 1944, under the name “Forest Research Institute”, it functioned as a regional unit of the Forest Service. In 1989, it was incorporated into NAGREF. Since November 2011, when NAGREF was merged with HAO “DEMETER” becoming the General Directorate of Agricultural Research of the Organization, the Institute continues its operation as one of DEMETER’s Research Institutes under the new name “Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems”.
IMFE is based in Athens. Its mission is to support forestry practice in Greece through research, technology development and transfer of know-how. Its structure includes the laboratories below:
1) Landscape Architecture, Recreation and Environmental Rehabilitation
2) Forest Management and Forest Economics
3) Forest Ecology and Hydrology (Forest Ecology Lab, Forest Hydrology Lab)
4) Forest Lands and Biogeochemistry
5) Forestry Genetics and Biotechnology
6) Protection of Forest Ecosystems and Fires (Forest Fires Lab, Forest Entomology Lab, Forest Pathology Lab)
7) Forest Products and Biomass Harvesting Technology, and
IMFE research interests include:
- Long-term improvement of the competitiveness of the forest sector and the expansion of the use of forest products and services.
- Conservation and enrichment of biodiversity, carbon sequestration, vitality, health and resilience of forest ecosystems.
- Protection of forest ecosystems from biotic and abiotic factors.
- Contribution to the quality of life through preservation and improvement of the social, economic and cultural parameters of forests.
- Strengthening of cross-sectoral cooperation with research, technological and productive bodies to address the challenges arising from the multifunctional role of forest ecosystems.
- Study of the effects of climate and land use change on the functions of forest ecosystems.
IMFE plays an active role in the country’s Forest Research sector, with a large number of competitive European and national programs covering the full range of forest science. At the same time, it has offered great practical work where it was needed. One characteristic and important example is the urgent study for the “Restoration of the archaeological and wider landscape of Olympia” which burned in August 2007, and the implementation of this study under extremely pressing timeframes. For this work IMFE received an award by the presidency of the Hellenic Republic. The Institute has also contributed through research, studies and implementation to the management of several other areas of great environmental importance (e.g. Mount Mainalo, Oiti National Park).
The forest fire laboratory of the Institute is responsible for the participation of IMFE to the XENIOS project. In the last twenty years, under the leadership of senior researcher Dr. Gavriil Xanthopoulos, the laboratory has been involved in numerous European and national research projects, while it has also offered significant practical work. Some of the most important research projects of the last years few years in which the laboratory has participated are:
|2019-2021||PREVAIL – PREVention Action Increases Large fire response preparedness- European Commission, Grant 826400 – PREVAIL – UCPM-2018-PP-AG|
|2018-2022||COST Action – “Fire in the Earth System: Science & Society” (FIRELINKS) – (COST Action CA18135 supported by the EU RTD Framework Programme)|
|2019-2021||Innovative action for the prevention of forest fires in Kythira through mobilization and cooperation of the population, as pilot in 3 settlements. Funding through the “Green Fund” of the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy|
|2018-2021||XENIOS – Combined platform of applications for the protection and promotion of cultural and tourist sites – Hellenic Republic Ministry of Economy & Development, and European Union, European Structural and Development Funds – Programme: ESPA 2014-2020 (Research-Create-Innovate), Project code: Τ1ΕΔΚ-02219, Action Code OPS- ESPA (MIS): 5031806|
|2014-2017||MedWildFireLab “Understanding global change drivers, impacts & indicators on forest ecosystems: a Mediterranean-scale approach (Global Change)” – ERANet FORESTERRA (“Enhancing FOrest RESearch in the MediTERRAnean through improved coordination and integration”).|
|2011-2019||“Investigation of the relation between the water potential of forest plants and forest fires” – Hellenic Agriculture Organization “DEMETER”|
|2011-2018||“Forest fire damage cost estimation” – Hellenic Agriculture Organization “DEMETER”|
|2012-2015||“Methodology for calculating forest land value in Greece” – (Special Secretariat of Forests, General Direction for Development and Protection of Forests and Natural Environment, funding through the “Green Fund” of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change)|
|2012-2014||“Contribution to forest fire prevention in 2012-2013 with the INCA methodology” – (Special Secretariat of Forests, General Direction for Development and Protection of Forests and Natural Environment, funding through the “Green Fund” of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change)|
|2009-2010||INCA – “Linking civil protection and planning by agreement on objectives” –(European Commission, DG Environment, Grant Agreement reference n° 070401/2008/507855/SUB/A3)|
|2009-2010||MASIFF – “Development of a methodology for the analysis of socioeconomic impact of forest fires and economic efficiency of fire management” – (Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission – Contract Notice No. 2008/S 116-154000 of 17/06/2008)|
|2008-2012||COST Action – “Post-Fire Forest Management in Southern Europe” – (COST Action FP0701 supported by the EU RTD Framework Programme)|
|2006-2009||SCIER – “Sensor & Computing Infrastructure for Environmental Risks” – (European Commission, Proposal/Contract No.: IST-5-035164)|
|2006-2008||“Forest fuels standardization and management methodology in Attica” – (Greek Ministry of Development, General Secretariat for Research and Technology, Project code: ATT-63)|
|2005-2010||DESURVEY – “A Surveillance System for Assessing and Monitoring Desertification” – (European Commission, 6th Framework Programme: Global Change & Ecosystems. Integrated Project Contract No. 003950)|
Some of the activities of the Laboratory in the frame of the projects above, are presented in the following photos: