Event titled “Management of Invasive Alien Species: Conclusions of the LIFE ATIAS program and future actions”

On March 20, 2024, a technical meeting titled “Management of Invasive Alien Species: Conclusions of the LIFE ATIAS program and future actions” was held at the Grand Hotel Palace in Thessaloniki. The event was organized by the company “HOMEOTECH” in the framework of the project “LIFE ATIAS: Addressing the threat of invasive alien species in North Greece, using early warning and information systems for mammals” and was addressed to the staff of the Protected Area Management Units (OFYPEKA) and the Forestry Services of Macedonia, Thrace and Epirus.

The event started with a warm welcome from the coordinator of the meeting and administrator of HOMEOTECH, Mr. Konstantino Konto, followed by presentations and discussion about the management of alien species. More specifically:

  • Dr. Charalambos Thomas, Forester from the Laboratory of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, discussed the adaptive management of terrestrial alien mammal species, through the opportunities and lessons learned from LIFE ATIAS.
  • Ms. Eleni Loukaki-Gountara, Forester and Environmentalist M.Sc., representing the Environmental Management Company “HOMEOTECH”, discussed the system for recording invasive species and early detection developed within the project.
  • Mr. Kyriakos Skordas, Forester and Environmentalist M.Sc., General Director of KOMATH, analyzed the invasive management challenges in the After LIFE period and their link to ecosystem services.
  • Ms. Vasiliki Chrisopolitou, Biologist, Greek Biotope/Greek Wetland Centre – the Goulandris Natural History Museum, who in her presentation referred to invasive alien species as a pressure under the European Directives for protected areas and to the LIFE EL BIOS project.
  • Ms. Lydia Alvanou, PhD Biologist, Management Unit of Central Macedonia Protected Areas NECCA, who referred to the spread of alien species in protected areas as a cause and effect of ecosystem degradation.
  • Mr. George Mantakas, Forester, Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems ELGO DIMITRA, presented the management measures implemented for the alien invasive plant species Amorpha fruticosa in the framework of the Life PRIMED project.
  • Mr. Georgia Chrysostomou, Biodiversity and protected areas officer, Forestry Department, presented the aspects of the LIFE IP Pandoteira project relating to invasive species in Cyprus.

The day ended with an open discussion about future challenges with the aim of better understanding of alien species management measures in Northern Greece, the experience and tools developed by relevant LIFE programs and how this can be used in the entire Decentralized Administration of Macedonia Thrace.