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Greek woodcutters give power disaster the chop as gasoline expenses bounce

GREVENA, Greece: Huddled round a campfire sipping sizzling tea, a bunch of Greek lumberjacks take a badly wanted damage in an oak woodland no longer a long way from the Albanian border. With petrol and gasoline expenses expanding, loggers in northern Greece say they’re doing their highest to stay alongside of emerging call for for picket, thought to be a extra reasonably priced possibility for other people to warmth their properties. Many Greeks, nonetheless reeling from their nation’s decade-long financial disaster, are determined to counteract power costs hovering at the again of Russia’s warfare in Ukraine and nationwide inflation working at over 8 %.

“We have now had an build up in call for,” mentioned trees transporter Yannis Paligiannis, 44. “Individuals are considering of turning their heating to picket, however subsequent yr what is going to occur? No person is bound that subsequent yr picket received’t be costlier than petrol. Everyone seems to be cautious,” he added.

For now, an considerable native provide makes firewood the most suitable choice within the north of Greece the place temperatures dip smartly under 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) in deep iciness. “Other people right here can get thru iciness via spending 300-400 euros ($320-425) on firewood, most likely even less expensive in the event that they delivery it and chop it themselves,” Zisis Giakopoulos, a pensioner in his overdue 60s from the village of Aimilianos within the northwestern area of Grevena, instructed AFP.

“A lot of them additionally use the firewood in stoves on which in addition they warmth their meals,” Giakopoulos added.” When put next, figures just lately compiled via Greek insurance coverage web page Pricefox confirmed an 80-square-metre flat wanting to spend some 650 euros on petrol charges, practically 1,000 euros on air-conditioning and practically 1,300 euros for gasoline heating to get thru iciness.

Paligiannis says 70 % of the firewood bought in Greece comes from Grevena, this mountainous area no longer a long way from the border with Albania. “There’s a upper call for for picket in comparison to ultimate yr as a result of the power disaster, however we shouldn’t abuse the woodland,” cautioned lumberjack Dimitris Basnas, 34. “If the timber are previous and tall, it’s sluggish paintings. You don’t get numerous amount. If it’s a more youthful woodland you get extra.”

‘Villages are abandoned’

Greece has practically 270 cooperatives with some 8,500 forestry employees registered on the atmosphere ministry. However in spite of heightened call for this yr, the way forward for the career is not at all assured. Numbers are dwindling, with more youthful other people choosing much less back-breaking paintings. Many of the picket remains to be transported via mule thru thick foliage.

“We learnt this industry from our grandparents and we supply at the similar method,” says Thanassis Papanikolaou, president of a forestry cooperative that produces about 10,000 heaps of firewood once a year. Opening get right of entry to roads to automobiles throughout the woodland is forbidden, he provides.

“My father controlled to boost 5 kids doing this process,” says 62-year-old Yiorgos Koutoulas, the crowd’s eldest member, who’s close to retirement. “Once I depart there’s no younger particular person to interchange me,” he added. “All of the villages are abandoned. The younger other people have left to paintings within the large towns,” he mentioned.

In keeping with forestry maps-which are a decade previous in a rustic that reviews annual wildfires-nearly 50 % of Greek territory is made up of woodland quilt. Logging figures display a trees manufacturing of practically 700,000 cubic meters ultimate yr, down from practically 895,000 a decade in the past and from practically 720,000 in 2020. – AFP




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