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1. When was the Department of Forests founded?

2. Which are the competencies of the Department of Forests?

3. Is there any common forest policy in the European Union?

4. What measures does the European Union take for the protection and development of forests in the context of rural development?

5. Which period of the year is considered as the most hazardous for forest fires?

6. What actions should be taken in order to avoid setting forest fires?

7. What we should do in case we detect a fire?

8. Are there any regulations regarding the lighting of a fire?





    1. When was the Department of Forests founded? Top of page


    The Department of Forests was founded in 1879 by the British Colonial Government. It is the oldest Department of the Cyprus Government.




    2. Which are the competencies of the Department of Forests? Top of page

    The competencies of the Department of Forests are the following:

    - Formulation and implementation of the forest policy
    - Formulation and enforcement of the forest legislation
    - Management of state forests
    - Running of Cyprus Forestry College



    3. Is there any common forest policy in the European Union Top of page

    Even though the Treaty of European Union does not include a common forest policy, various kinds of provisions concerning forests are issued under different policies like the environmental, agricultural and trade policies.

    4. What measures does the European Union take for the protection and development of forests in the context of rural development? Top of page




    In order to support rural development and achieve the objectives and priorities, EU takes a series of measures. Among these, the forestry measures can be found. These measures, which aim to the maintenance and development of the economic, ecological and social functions of forests in rural areas, can be found under all axes as stated above.

    Under axis 1 (improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector) the following forestry measures which will contribute to a stronger and more dynamic forestry sector can be found:

    1. Measures aimed at promoting knowledge and improving human potential through:
    - vocational training and information actions, including diffusion of scientific knowledge and innovative practices,
    - use of advisory services by forest holders and
    - the setting up of forestry advisory services.

      2. Measures aimed at restructuring and developing physical potential and promoting innovation through:
      - improving the economic value of forests,
      - adding value to forestry products,
      - cooperation for development of new products, processes and technologies,
      - improving and developing infrastructure related to the development and adaptation of forestry.

      Under axis 2 (improving the environment and the countryside) which is of great interest to Cyprus Department of Forests, the following forestry measures related to the sustainable use of forestry land can be found:

      1. First afforestation of agricultural land
      2. First establishment of agroforestry systems on agricultural land
      3. First afforestation of non-agricultural land
      4. Natura 2000 payments
      5. Forest-environment payments
      6. Restoring forestry potential and introducing prevention actions
      7. Support for non-productive measures

      The above measures aim to the protection and enhancement of the natural resources and landscapes in the rural areas. All of them can be applied to private forests whereas the first, third, sixth and seventh measure are also applied to state forests.

      Under axis 3 (improving the quality of life in rural areas and diversification of the rural economy) the following measures can be found:

      1. Measures to diversify the rural economy like the encouragement of tourism activities
      2. Measures to improve the quality of life in the rural areas like the conservation and upgrading of rural heritage.

      The new Rural Development Programme of Cyprus covering the period 2007 - 2013 was approved by the European Commission on 24th November 2007. The Department of Forests is the implementing unit of the following Measures:

      2.4 "Afforestation"

      2.5 "Restoring forestry potential and introducing prevention actions"

      2.6 "Maintenance and improvement of the social and ecological role of the forests"



      5. Which period of the year is considered as the most hazardous for forest fires? Top of page

      The period May – October according to statistics is considered as very hazardous for fire outbreaks. Most of the forest fires occur during the months June and July.


      6. What actions should be taken in order to avoid setting forest fires? Top of page

      We should avoid throwing burning cigarette ends and matches or the lighting of fires within or near forests for any reason. The lighting of fires is only allowed at special barbeque structures which can be found within the picnic sites.


      7. What we should do in case we detect a fire? Top of page

      We should inform the Department of Forests immediately through the telephone number 1407 giving clear information regarding the exact location of the fire as well as the type of vegetation burnt. We should stay calm and try to extinguish the fire by using water, earth or green branches.



      8. Are there any regulations regarding the lighting of a fire? Top of page

      According to the Forest Law the following are considered as an offence:
      a. The lighting of any fire or the throwing of burning cigarette ends and matches in the state forest or within a radius of 1 km from the boundaries of the state forests or
      b. The abandonment of a fire in the state forest or within a radius of 1 km from the boundaries of the state forests, or
      c. The throwing of burning cigarette ends and matches or of any object that may cause a fire, in the state forest or within a radius of 1 km from the boundaries of the state forests or
      d. The cause of a fire as a result of thoughtless or carelessness behavior.

      According to the Forest Law the following aren’t considered as an offence:
      a. The lighting of a fire after acquiring a written permission by a forest officer, or
      b. The lighting of a fire by picnickers for feeding purposes within the hearths found in picnic sites, or
      c. The lighting of a fire for domestic purposes by owners of houses located within the state forest or within a radius of 1 km from the boundaries of the state forests.

      Offenders are liable to imprisonment not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding £ 5.000 (8.500 euro) or to both such sentences.


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