CONSERVATION THROUGH RELIGION. THE SACRED GROVES OF EPIRUS

Abstract: 

Sacred natural sites are ancient conservation systems with high cultural and biodiversity significance. A network of such sites is found in the mountainous areas of Epirus, in Northwest Greece, as either protective forests above villages or groups of veteran trees around chapels and shrines.

The aim of our study is to examine if these sacred groves follow the common pattern associated with locally-adapted management practices and to investigate their value for local people and for biodiversity conservation.

The interdisciplinary nature of this study requires the participation of biologists, historians, ethnographers and foresters who will cooperate in four groups to complete a series of six work-packages. These work-packages involve

  1. the study of sacred groves as locally-adaptive systems of nature protection and resource management and an assessment of their present cultural value,
  2. the creation of a common GIS database which will combine all current information as well as incorporating new reconstructions of their history using various methods of historical ecology,
  3. the study of their biodiversity, focusing on groups of organisms known to be associated with mature trees (plants, lichens, birds, bats, fungi and certain types of insects) in comparison with 15 conventionally managed forests,
  4. the creation of an environmental education kit addressed to local communities and services,
  5. the synthesis of the results.

The expected results will

  • provide evidence of their value in biodiversity conservation,
  • assess the effectiveness of a past management system to different socio-economic circumstances,
  • provide insights towards more effective conservation today.

In turn, the process of their mapping together with the establishment of permanent sampling plots and the probable designation of some as "Forests of High Natural Value", will draw attention to the preservation of these groves and promote greater awareness of such natural monuments.

Project info

Acronym:
uoi32
Coordinating Institution:
University of Ioannina
Scientific Coordinator:
Halley John
Research Team 2 Leader:
Kati Vasiliki
Research Team 3 Leader:
Diamantis Stefanos
Research Team 4 Leader:
Nitsiakos Vasilis

Stats

I.D.:
505
Mis:
379405
Duration (months):
42
Budget:
600 000.00
Diavgeia:
ΑΔΑ: Β4Λ59-3Λ6

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