LIFE Project Cover Photo

Demonstration of Conservation Actions for Ursus artcos* and habitat type 9530* in Northern Pindos N.P., Grevena Prefecture, Greece

Reference: LIFE07 NAT/GR/000291 | Acronym: PINDOS/GREVENA



The brown bear (Ursus arctos) sub-population in the Natura 2000 network site in the Pindos National Park in Greece (minimum size estimated between 40-50 individuals) is important at a regional level and makes up 3.5% of the national brown bear population. The main threats to the species include mortality as a result of human activities, habitat loss and uncontrolled visitor numbers in key habitat areas. The most important habitat type for the resident brown bear sub-population in Pindos National Park is (Sub-) Mediterranean pine forests with endemic black pine (9530*), which covers an area of some 3 670 ha. However, it is threatened by criminal and/or accidental forest fires, one-dimensional forestry management plans and over-exploitation based on inappropriate silviculture practices.


The PINDOS/GREVENA project aimed to improve 60 ha of priority black pine (Pinus nigra) forest habitat in Pindos National Park, through sustainable and innovative management practices, and to improve the conservation status of brown bear in this habitat. Specific objectives included maintaining human-related bear mortality at a sustainable level (not exceeding 4% of the minimum estimated population) and maintaining the number of reproductive females (at no less than 10-12% of the minimum estimated bear population). The project also aimed to improve the level of awareness of specific target groups to the added value of both the brown bear and the habitat type; improve the know-how of relevant local authorities concerning monitoring and management tools for the conservation of brown bear and its habitat; establish a livestock guard dog unit; and operate sustainable management of National Park visitors through appropriate supporting infrastructure and facilities.


The PINDOS/GREVENA project produced an innovative strategy for the management of protected pine forests (the Pinus nigra* Management Plan), which includes consideration of non-wood forest functions and the development of sustainability indicators. Innovative forest management practices (silviculture, tree selection and wood harvesting), incorporating respect for conservation and non-wood functions (e.g. water percolation, soil quality, wildlife conservation with emphasis on brown bear, aesthetics and fire prevention), were successfully applied and demonstrated on 85.7 ha of priority forest habitat (type 9530*) in collaboration with the Grevena Forest Service and local logging cooperatives. For example, five alternative wood harvesting systems were demonstrated that provide ecological benefits. A best practices guide for the sustainable management of black pine forests was produced. Moreover, a GIS database for the project area, which was developed and used for the design and implementation of sustainable management in pilot areas, was given to the area's forest management authorities.

A Bear Emergency Team (BET) was established and operated for the first time in Greece. It contributed to maintaining the overall human-caused mortality rate at 3.2% over the total minimum bear population. It intervened in cases of bear traffic accidents, cases of habituated bears, and cases where bears had damaged crops, beehives and livestock. By helping rescue bears (if possible) and/or preventing retribution by humans, human-caused mortality was reduced. A network of owners of good-quality Livestock Guarding Dogs (LGD) was formed, to promote and facilitate their use as an efficient preventive measure among livestock raisers and shepherds. A protocol for the operation of the BET and for measures to handle bear-human conflict was produced and approved by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA), constituting the first such attempt in Greece. In collaboration with other NGOs, the project also contributed to the development of a set of proposals for the management of the use of illegal poison baits.

The project raised awareness through actions aimed at specific target groups. Seminars on forest management practices targeted local forest services and the North Pindos National Park Management Body. The implementation of a management strategy on three pilot forest stands demonstrated in situ the principles that the project was advocating. The establishment and operation of the BET and LGD network included a high degree of interaction with livestock raisers and shepherds, and also helped raise awareness among hunters and local people. The establishment of a Visitors’ Information Centre informed local people and visitors about the area’s natural and cultural assets, while the project’s Environmental Education Programme raised the level of awareness of both students and teachers. Other dissemination activities included seminars, brochures and events on poison baits and bear traffic fatalities. Last but not least, the project’s eco-volunteer programme involved people over a wide area, including international volunteers, and supported fire-prevention and wardening activities. It is expected that this programme will continue.

The project succeeded in getting a new 20 km stretch of bear-proof fencing installed along the Egnatia Highway; subsequently no bears were killed along that stretch of road. Following this, it was decided to replace the remaining 10 km of fencing along the project area's stretch of the highway. The project contributed to the sustainable management of the Pindos National Park by developing a Visitors Management Plan, in collaboration (consultation) with the Park authorities. This is being incorporated into the National Park Management Plan. By promoting the area's natural and cultural heritage, and establishing infrastructure for the development of eco-touristic activities, the project has contributed to job creation and other socio-economic benefits in the area. Support mechanisms for farmers, apiculturists and livestock raisers also help to reduce the economic damage caused by bears.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's Layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


Reference: LIFE07 NAT/GR/000291
Start Date: 01/01/2009
End Date: 30/06/2012
Total Budget: 1,153,561 €
EU Contribution: 865,170 €
Project Location: Western Macedonia


Coordinating Beneficiary: Region of Western Macedonia - Sub-regional office of Grevena
Legal Status: PUBLIC
Address: Terma K. Taliadouri, 51100, Grevena, Ellas
Contact Person: Christos GEORGIADIS
Tel: +302310222268

LIFE Project Map



  • Mammals
  • Forests


  • forest ecosystem
  • nature reserve
  • mountainous area


  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)


  • 9530 - (Sub-) Mediterranean pine forests with endemic black pines


  • Ursus arctos


Type Code Name


Name Type
Region of Western Macedonia - Sub-regional office of Grevena Coordinator
Development Agency of Grevena (ANGRE), Greece Participant
National Agricultural Research Foundation/Forest Research Institute (NAGREF/FRI), Greece Participant
CALLISTO Wildlife And Nature Conservation Society, Greece Participant
Business Architects Consultancy SA, Greece Participant