Oriental Planes Platanus orientalis L. and Other Monumental Trees in Central Squares and Churchyards in NW Greece: Sacred, Emblematic and Threatened

Kalliopi Stara 1  and Rigas Tsiakiris 2
  • 1 University of Ioannina, , Ioannina, Greece
  • 2 Forestry Service of Ioannina, , Ioannina, Greece

Abstract

Trees often offer meaningful metaphors of and for society, connecting symbolically social and cultural life and creating specific bonds between nature and culture. We studied central squares and churchyard trees in the mountainous villages of Epirus, NW Greece, recording tree species and measuring their characteristics in the field, using also ethno-ecological tools for valuing their importance in the local community. The most common trees are monumental oriental plane trees (Platanus orientalis L.) which provide a focal point for community life and serve locally as symbols of community origin, reunion and inter-generational continuity. Such plane trees are also highly appreciated nationally for their aesthetic qualities and historical value. Recognition of the conservation importance of monumental trees should be a high priority, so as to secure the future of emblematic trees and the cultural landscapes they create, especially as invasive pathogens are spreading worldwide threatening their existence.

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