Greek version
Phrygana Macchie Pine forest Firforest Oak thickets
Brushwood Riverine vegetation Chasmophytes Meadows


The 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.

firforest at MolaIt 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.

The 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.

Currently 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.

At 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. Young firtrees under black pines

The 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.

The most important shrubs growing at firforest clearings are: prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus ssp. oxycedrus), wild roses (Rosa canina, Rosa sempervirens), barberry (Berberis cretica), hawthorns (Crataegus heldreichii, Crataegus monogyna), but also several trees, such as bullaces, blackthorns, (Prunus webbii, Prunus spinosa), wild pears (Pyrus spinosa) and naturally numerous herbs, like different kinds of daisies (Bellis sylvestris, Doronicum orientale).



Play our game and meet the animals living on Mt Parnitha!



  Forest Service of Parnitha
  Thrakomakedonon Ave.    142, Acharnes. GR13601
   Athens, Greece.

Tel.: 0030 210 2434061-3 fax.: 0030 210 2434064



  Eirini Aplada, Biologist-M.Sc. Environmental Biology and Terrestrial and Marine Ecosystem Management