Cyprus - Forestry

About 172,000 ha (425,000 acres) are forested; 137,800 ha (340,500 acres) are reserves managed by the Forest Department, the remainder being natural growths of poor scrub used by village communities as fuel and as grazing grounds. Besides furnishing commercial timber, the forests provide protective cover for water catchment areas and prevent soil erosion. Their value is also scenic, numerous holiday resorts being situated in the forest reserves. Most numerous by far among forest trees is the Aleppo pine. The stone pine is found on the highest slopes of the Troodos Massif; the cedar, once a flourishing tree, has become a rarity. In the lowlands, eucalyptus and other exotic hardwoods have been introduced. Other important local species include cypress, plane, alder, and golden oak. The demand for timber during World War I resulted in some overcutting, and in 1956 large fires further reduced forests, particularly in Paphos, where 211,000 cu m (6 million cu ft) of standing timber were destroyed. To offset these losses, all felling of fresh trees for timber was stopped and systematic reforestation begun. The timber cut decreased from 152,415 cu m (5.4 million cu ft) in 1977 to 14,374 cu m (50.1 million cu ft) in 2001 (88% coniferous). Most of Cyprus' timber requirements must be met by imports. In 2000, imports of forestry products exceeded exports by $35 million.

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