firforest of Parnitha consists entirely of Grecian fir (Abies
cephalonica) and covers an area of c. 3,500 hectares,
which is mainly public land. This forest occupies the highest
mountain summits at altitudes of 900-1400m, and is the closest
to the capital city of Athens.
is an old firforest with a lot of problems. It has an irregular
structure and although it is strictly protected, it is degraded,
as a result of intensive logging and grazing during the past,
fires and a bark-eating insect epidemics, that causes drying
out of the firtrees.
general image of the forest is unsatisfactory, but it is a fact
that despite its mishandling, the firtrees were regenerating
naturally for centuries. Taking into consideration that Parnitha's
climate and geological substrate is not very appropriate for
fir's growth (low altitudes, long dry season and high temperatures
during the summer, poor and shallow soils), it constitutes a
necessary and indispensable species for the area, that needs
to be preserved.
the firforest forms pure clusters at altitudes above 1,000m
and mixed thickets with haleppo pine at lower altitudes. At
the south slopes of the mountain the following phenomenon can
be observed: due to the poor soils and heavy drought, haleppo
pine (a very competitive species) dominates the fir's biotope
and causes the reduction of the firforest in these areas. Surprisingly,
the pines on Parnitha grow at up to 1,000m, while the upper
limit for this species is usually 800m.
hot spots and on sterile soils,
firtrees attain a maximum height of 4 m, although they might
be more than 120 years old. At damp places and on deep soils
though, average tree height is 14m, rarely 16 - 18m. According
to the Management Plan of Parnitha National Park (Amorgianiotis,
1997), firtrees grow at a very slow pace on Parnitha. In order
for a firtree's trunk to obtain a
diametre of 10, 20, 40 and 50 cm, it takes 41,
73, 171, 247 years respectively, with average height being 5.38,
8.60, 12.30, 13.61m accordingly.
Forest Service of Parnitha has planted black pines (Pinus
nigra), in order to assist fir's regeneration. Black
pines are out of their distribution range on Parnitha and cannot
regenerate naturally; nevertheless, they provide shade and shelter
for fir's sperms to sprout and grow.
most important shrubs growing at firforest clearings are: prickly
ssp. oxycedrus), wild roses (Rosa
canina, Rosa sempervirens), barberry (Berberis
cretica), hawthorns (Crataegus
monogyna), but also several trees, such as bullaces,
blackthorns, (Prunus webbii, Prunus spinosa), wild
spinosa) and naturally numerous herbs, like different
kinds of daisies (Bellis sylvestris, Doronicum