The continual and long term interaction of hunters with nature and wild life makes hunters the prime users of this natural resource and they have an in-depth understanding of the importance of conserving natural variety and health in ecosystems. As a consequence, this provides a fundamental motivation as well as an obligation for the Hunting Associations of this country and they carry out activities for the conservation and enhancement of many significant habitats.

Over the last 50 years, a serious consequence of human intervention in nature is the deterioration of natural habitats which also has a great impact on game habitats.

The main reasons relating directly to the deterioration of natural habitats and the loss of biodiversity, are the fragmentation of habitats, the non sustainable nature of productive activity like agriculture, climate change, ground, water and air pollution and the introduction of invasive foreign species. The hunter, as harvester of nature and, therefore, direct administrator of this natural resource, has an obvious interest in reversing this phenomenon.

The improvement of habitats constitutes one of the most important activities carried out by the Greek Hunting Association, since protecting natural habitats and species through the body of gamekeepers are found to be core priorities of the two most important European Directives: the Bird Directive (79/409) and the Directive of Habitats (92/43).

In contrast to other environmental organizations in Greece, which remain entrenched in theory and inactivity, the Greek Hunting Association (GHA) is the only organization which has implemented an organized nationwide programme to improve habitats from 2005, with its own resources and without state funding. In this way, it has shown in practice that the role of hunting organizations and hunters does not stop at the end of the hunting season, but continues throughout the year, with projects and activities.

Through Hunting Federations and Hunting Associations, the GHA implements the Habitat Improvement Programme, filling the gap which has been left by the state and funding projects and activities which are implemented by Hunting Associations all over Greece.

The aim of these projects and interventions in habitats is: a) the identification and restriction of factors (e.g. limited available food, minimal stored water etc.), which hinder survival and growth of a game population in its habitat, and b) the creation of suitable conditions in a habitat, so that it can receive and support a number of freed game birds.

Game keepers from Hunting organizations and hunters voluntarily participate in the implementation of annual activities to improve habitats

The most important interventions which are carried out are:

  • Sowing
  • Installing natural hedges
  • Planting fruit trees
  • Reforestation
  • Installation of drinking troughs
  • Cultivation of resources
  • Raising and freeing endemic game

Technical Guide to Improving Habitats