Race against time to protect burnt forests from erosion and flooding

Race against time to protect burnt forests from erosion and flooding

The Department of Forests has found itself between a rock and a hard place, racing against time to protect the forests of Cyprus devastated from great blazes this summer from erosion and flooding.

Replying to CNA questions Department of Forests head Takis Tsintides says that the restoration action plan for the forest area of Solea in the Troodos Mountains has been prepared and submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment today, while the action plan for Argaka in Pafos District is expected to be ready next week.

Work has been under way since July 11 in a massive drive to minimise erosion and flooding, he says.

Already, Tsintides says, the Department has awarded projects in the Solea affected area of the order of €150,000 and €80,000 in the affected area in Argaka.

Asked when the projects will be completed he estimates the first phase to be complete in 15 days to a month. Some projects will be finished by the end of August, while others by mid September, he notes.

At the same time he says that next week a new package of tenders will open for projects of up to another €100,000 for the affected forest in Solea.

Tsintides tells CNA he visits the site two to three times per week and closely monitors the progress of the work underway.

Time is running out, he points out. “We hope the first rains are a little late or that they are mild,” he adds.

Techniques used against soil erosion and flooding include cages filled with rocks, called gabions, which are positioned in streams, dams made by logs, rocks or hay in streams, dry stone walls close to roads where streams end, bundles of tree trunks on slopes and mulching.