After the fire: The best and most effective anti-corrosion and flood protection works in Kythira are already in place! They were built by human decades ago and all they need is some sort of maintenance to do their job.
The forest fire affected areas of Kythera consist largely of maquis and phrygana vegetation. This means that these areas do not need extreme help and restoration works in order to keep the soil or avoid floods. In some areas where there was tree vegetation, it may be necessary to build log and brunches erosion barriers. However, the fire uncovered the largest anti-erosion and flood protection project that’s been already in place and was constructed several years ago (perhaps hundreds) and is none other than the stone terraces (pezoules). So if we want to ensure as much as possible the protection of the soil and the avoidance of floods, we will have to maintain these structures, which have been destroyed to a large extent and do not fulfil their mission. This action, coupled with the (re) construction of some small dams (less than 50 cm high) in the surrounding streams, may prove to be the best works that can be done to assist regeneration and the protection of settlements and crops, while also helping with the enrichment of the underground aquifers. Let us not forget that these same structures, apart from their high cultural value, are also a habitat for a number of species of flora and fauna, such as several chasmophyte species , but also species of reptiles and invertebrates which in turn feed several other species (such as nightmare omnivores, raptors etc.). These works clearly show the way to a restoration where nature and culture can and should be mutually beneficial. The Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos has planned such a small pilot intervention in the Karavas area, but we think now that time has come for a more active and far-reaching intervention and we are ready to help in any way we can.
(photo by N. Georgiadis)