Kati. V., Kassara, C., Tzortzakaki. O. , Petridou, M., Psaralexi, M., Galani, A., Gotsis, D., Papantoniou, S., Papaioannou, H. 2022. Greece shows the way for a roadless policy in Europe: links with the European biodiversity strategy. 6th European Congress of Conservation Biology (ECCB) “Biodiversity crisis in a changing world”. Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic. 22-26 August.

Road sprawl is a key catalyst of land-use change, the greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide, and its negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function are well documented. Although Europe is the most fragmented continent of the world, the reduction of fragmentation from roads and artificial land does not appear in the key commitments of the European Biodiversity Strategy. In January 2022, Greece has endorsed the first national roadless legislation in the EU. The “Untrodden Mountains” governmental project has used scientific evidence to impede road and artificial land expansion in six large mountainous roadless areas (0.74% of Greek land) aiming at fragmentation mitigation and effective biodiversity conservation. Research is ongoing, involving extensive road mapping using satellite imagery. We have identified 55 roadless areas over 10 km2 (2.42% of Greek land), whilst over 60% of the 774 smaller candidate areas (1-10 km2) and 90% of the 3642 islands evaluated are expected to be added to the national roadless map when completed. We suggest roadless policy expansion in Greece and the EU, by integrating roadless areas in the criteria of (a) defining strictly protected zones, (b) expanding and interconnecting Natura 2000 sites, (c) defining rewilding restoration targets in the European Biodiversity Strategy.

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