Holy Community of Mount Athos

Coordinating Beneficiary (CB)

Mount Athos, comprised by Twenty Monasteries, is an important center of Eastern Orthodox. The monastic community was formally founded in 963 when St. Athanasius established the monastery of Great Lavra. Today, over 2,000 monks from Greece and many other countries, such as Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia, live in Athos. It is governed as an autonomous polity within the Greek Republic (Treaty of Suvres of 10 August 1920, ratified by the Treaty of Lausanne of 24 July 1923), under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Athos is administrated by the Holy Community (HCMA), the world’s longest continually functioning parliament. HCMA resides in Karyes and is formed by elected representatives from each Monastery. The Superiors of the Monasteries are members of the Holy Assembly and exercise legislative authority, while the Holy Supervision exercises executive authority and consists of 4 members, elected by the 5  hierarchically preceding monasteries. Throughout its centuries-long history, from the time when monastic life was officially organized there in 963 down to the present, has always been governed by a sui generis political and ecclesiastical arrangement.

The Forest Board of the HCMA is a legislated body, established specifically in order to implement and monitor all management and conservation actions related to natural environment and biodiversity. The HCMA has successfully implemented relevant large-scale projects of great importance, in the past and has acquired significant experience in this field. Because of its natural environment as well as the unique architectural, cultural and historical features of immense value, Mount Athos has been listed as an UNESCO mixed World Heritage and Nature site since 1988 and has been included in the Natura 2000 European network of protected areas.

Democritus University of Thrace

Associated Beneficiary (AB)

Democritus University of Thrace (DUTH) operates since the academic year 1974-1975. The University is currently operating eight Schools and nineteen Departments in four cities of Thrace. DUTH is currently participating in 919 projects (EU-funded programmes – FP7, H2020, JUST Grants, Life actions, Erasmus+, Jean Monnet Chair etc.) and transnational and national projects).

DUTH participates through the Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources – Forest Management Lab., the staff of which has more than 15 years’ experience in forest management inventories, model development and sustainable management of forest ecosystems. In the last years, the lab has gained experience in sustainable exploitation of forest resources, regional development, CO2 emissions reduction and estimation of Life Cycle impact of forest products on the environment and climate change, through the participation in one Intelligent Energy Europe (BioEUparks 2013-16) and one H2020 (SEEMLA 2016-18) projects, dealing with these issues and is currently involved in a EuropeAid project (2017-18) to develop a protocol to assess the impact of forest management practices on climate change, following European policies and LULUCF norms. The head of the Lab. (Associate Professor Dr. Spyridon Galatsidas) is currently member of the working groups for the development of the Greek National Forest Strategy and the Specifications for Sustainable Forest Management Plans.

Monastère de Solan Sarl

Associated Beneficiary (AB)

Since its installation in 1992 on the domain of Solan, the nuns of the Monastery of Solan have sought a coherence of life that expresses itself in the way of approaching the earth, cultivating it, respecting its nature, its rhythms, its purpose. This is why the nuns undertook to rethink the management of Solan’s land, seeking not to “exploit” but to “enhance” it.

Despite having undergone – before the arrival of the nuns – 30 years of intensive agriculture (marked by a large use of herbicides) and leaving the soil in a very eroded state, the estate was able to conserve – in its forestry part – a great diversity. This diversity is both richness and fragility. It requires great vigilance in land management and requires the use of specialists in the many areas that constitute it (viticulture, arboriculture, hydrogeology, forest … etc.).

The line of conduct for the management of the domain had as main axes:

– preserving biodiversity

– searching and saving local species and varieties, old, robust, well acclimatized to the site and sufficiently efficient;

For these reasons, all the land has been cultivated organically since 1993. Between 1996 and 2000 forest restoration work was undertaken through selective cutting and planting to enrich the botanical stands and increase biodiversity. These works were followed by hedgerow plantings between 2002 and 2004, again with the objective of protecting or creating habitats friendly to biodiversity. Identification of species of community interest such as Austropotamobius Pallipes led to the registration of the estate in the European Natura 2000 program through the creation of the Natura 2000 Site FR9102003 “Valat de Solan” which was validated in 2009.

Friends of Solan

Associated Beneficiary (AB)

In order to support the monastery in the human values that it represents and the global patrimonial management of the project that it leads, the Friends of Solan Association, created in 1995 under the chairmanship of Pierre Rabhi (a french ecologist, founder of the Colibris movement and a founder of the political and scientific movement of agroecology in France) undertakes studies and actions to protect Biodiversity, federating the aspirations and research of today and allowing people with different backgrounds and convictions to participate in Solan’s approach and to promote new approaches of the relationship between man and nature.

The Friends of Solan Association supervises each year trainees whose subject of work and research is the preservation of biodiversity. The interventions focus mainly on the source area of the “Valat de Solan”, a small permanent flow stream with more than 95% of the catchment area located on the site of the Monastery of Solan. The objective of the actions carried out is the maintenance of the flow and the quality of this stream, sheltering Austropotamobius Pallipes, in order to protect this very fragile habitat from a possible drying out.

Since 2009, the Association of Friends of Solan has been responsible of managing the Natura 2000 site FR9102003 “Le Valat de Solan”. The Association also organizes supervised tours of the Solan area in order to testify to the actions taken in favor of biodiversity and to make visitors aware of this patrimonial management of the estate.