Western Macedonia Model Forest: Greece welcomes its first Model Forest!

April 16, 2024 | Written BY : IMFN


The International Model Forest Network (IMFN) Secretariat and the regional Secretariat for the Mediterranean Model Forest Network formally confirmed acceptance of the Western Macedonia Model Forest as a full member of the IMFN and congratulate the stakeholders on their significant efforts to successfully bring to fruition a first Model Forest in Greece.

Located in the northern part of Greece and bordering with Albania and North Macedonia, Western Macedonia Model Forest covers 945,100 hectares (of which approximately 24% are forests) with a population slightly over 255,000 people across 12 municipalities. It is the only region of Greece without sea coast. The territory is surrounded by large mountains and slopes with rich forests of dense vegetation. Local forestry businesses are on average very small to small enterprises (from 1 to 3 employees), producing mainly firewood, sold directly to local homeowners or retail businesses. The Western Macedonia Model Forest is defined as a new and original tool of territorial governance in view of sustainable development of Western Macedonia region, with as main features the forests, and the support of all stakeholders and businesses operating in them.

Acceptance of the Western Macedonia Model Forest is the result of completion of a joint review of the strategic plan, onsite consultations by the IMFN Secretariat and the Mediterranean Model Forest Network Secretariat, and the diligent work and commitment of the local stakeholders. Overall, it has been clearly demonstrated that the development of the Model Forest has been undertaken with a considered review of the Model Forest concept and its applicability and usefulness to the region.

Model Forest proponents in the region have strongly engaged a diversity of stakeholders and have effectively taken into account a range of land uses, including significant cultural and historical values. As well, the four areas of work identified within the Western Macedonia Model Forest Strategic Plan 2023-2027 effectively set out an ambitious but achievable program of activities that are clearly focused on current social issues of importance to the local community and that have relevance at national and international levels, such as networking, environment, tourism/society, management and promotion of woods & non woods forest products.

Best wishes for a successful and productive future to the Western Macedonia Model Forest, and welcome to the IMFN!


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