Ecology Of Modern Greece Article Reviews Example

Type of paper: Article Review

Topic: Environment, Ecology, Athens, Greece, Literature, History, Vegetation, Landscape

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/11/24

One of the most complex field of biosciences is ecology .It deals with not only human behavior towards plants and animals but also the interaction between plants and animals. Ecology is derived from philosophy and specially the political and ethical part of philosophy.
The article moves on from describing ecology to explaining what exactly pseudo-ecology is .Certain made up facts are so often repeated and cited that a perceptions is created about them that they are true .Such statements are called factoids .Factoids are made up about every field and branch of science .The factoids that are made or are formed over time about ecology are termed as pseudo ecology.
The article makes a very valid point about ecology and politics .Ecology has serious political implications and in recent years ecology has become more and more important and thus politicians like to make points about it but unfortunately most politicians, the world over are not well versed and find ecology difficult. Thus they make use of factoids and pseudo ecology more than proper ecology.
One of the most manor mistakes made when understanding ecology is to confuse equally with the study of the environment. Different trees being cut down have different results and understanding such differences is very essential .The points made in this article over this issue are very to the point and specific .
Four different points are given for the development of pseudo ecology. The first is that scholars give only importance to written text. They do not consider the times when things were not written down thus not understanding the true nature of the study .Second is the picking and choosing of past factors that would be suitable for the modern age. The third is obsession with ancient attitudes to ecology without knowledge of fauna and flora at that time .And finally the mistake of over generalizing geographical areas and boundaries.

Understanding is required of factors maintaining the landscape of Greece and its functions .For thousands of years Greek plants have been exposed to fires and wood cutting, therefore buds come out of cut or burnt surfaces .Certain endemic plants are very sensitive to browsing but can still survive burning .Thus every plant has a specific quality factor about it .
The last century has brought about with it, great heights of change .These changes range from reduced cattle and farm intensive farming and depopulation .A stark contrast can be seen between Greece hundred years ago and today and a comparison can easily be done between the two.
Although everybody is convinced that wild vegetation is decreasing, when picture are compared, it is easy visible that it’s the opposite case and vegetation has indeed increased .Thus more chances of burning because some plants have developed an ability to be burnt .Greece is changing from a browsing dominated to a fire-dominated area or landscape .

Ancient Greece and its real ecology;

There is a certain set presumption that is the ancient Greece writers on ecology presumed that the writer would already know about the ecology of that era and area, thus very detailed and minute information is not written about it .Next according to the article, much is known about the ancient Greek philosophers but it one was to try to find out what kind of vegetation was dominant at that time, one would have to face many problems and no definite written or other material will be available on this or even on the topography of that area .
Then if any material on topography and vegetation is available, it deals with unequal distribution .Some areas have ample written material on these topics while minimum or next to nothing is available on other areas .

One of the most important contributor to the landscape of Greek areas is the late Roman and early Byzantine era.

Nest the author goes on to describe the vegetation and topography of ancient Greece by finding phrases and lines in poetry from that era .While this is also a way of finding out what ecological factors were dominant in that time and era, yet it is not a very sound manner to find it out .Since poetry is not research or words written by anybody who was specifically writing about ecology or well versed in ecology.
Thus this whole aspect of the article where the author tries to figure out the vegetation of that era by using poetry as a reference, this makes the whole argument weak and is not a very good reference point .Thus works by Holmer are not good enough when figuring out any information about the topography or vegetation of the era and location.
The next reference point used in the article by the author to figure out the dominant vegetation and topography of the early Greek era is archeology. Associated to archeology is the study of rings of trees that have been cut .such studies are scientific and can give pretty accurate results.
In the weather that is in Greece, pollen analysts cannot be effectively done because suitable pollen deposits are not good enough for analysis .Another reason was the continued and aggressive attitude towards finishing or minimizing wet lands.
Certain cliffs that have over so many years avoided any browsing or burning or intact even have been safe from wood cutting, such cliffs can be suitable sites for data collection to figure out the real vegetation of ancient Greece .All available methods need to be used and the best scientifically proven methods need to be utilized figure out the real ecology of that time (Rakham 25, 26).

Classical to Roman Period-Conclusion;

Certain facts can be determined. Some of them are if a comparison is made between the landscape and weather there will not be a great difference between the ancient and recent times .Yet there have been certain changes such as the disappearance of fens and marshes and changes in sea level because of tectonic changes and also the lack of any reference to terraces in any text.


Pollen analysis (Rackham 27) data from the in era shows that the areas of mainland Greece had trees that were more deciduous and wooded (Rackham 27) .Mostly in the bronze and Neolithic ages did the landscape change to its current form-this is what the author writes (Rackham 27) yet he fails to provide any evidence for such information .No scientific references or studies have been pointed out here .The author also writes that the weather and conditions have turned more arid in this modern time and age .He also writes that the change in landscape was brought out mostly by human activities such as cultivation of land and domestication of animals (Rackham 27) .
Aboriginal Crete has a specific fauna and flora with much herbivores, thus the landscape there has become what should now be called ‘excessively browsed’ (Rackham 27) .But because of the excessive hunting of the early explorers, most of the native animals were wiped out or very reduced in number thus the vegetation there is more wooded than browsed .

Fallacies about Modern Greece;

a myth like factoid is common about Greece according to which in the 1780’s Greece had majestic forests and then the forests were burnt or cut down and because of this the fertile layer of the soil was washed away .Here the author has done a critical analysis of the work done by scholars according to whom Greece had amazing forests and now everything is in decline and the lack of any mention of wood land being restores as it was being consumed up does not directly mean that no such effort was undertaken .According to the author of the article ‘non sense multiplies' and that once it was accepted that the number of trees had decreased then every other natural change was generally thought to be because of this .
Everything from using gypsum for door and window frames instead of wood was also contributed to this .The author strongly criticizes these gullible and inaccurate interpretations.
The article mentions Theodore Wertime who attributes the decrease in woods cut to huge wood consuming industries .Further on he mentions Russell Meiggs (Rackham 30) who has declared after research that there is very minute or minuscule evidence of any mass level deforestation in any sort of classical writing .A symposium held on Roman deforestation (Rackham 30) also gives support to what Russell Meiggs has said.

Attitude of Greeks towards Ecology;

Many ancient Greeks are responsible for certain factoids about ecology that persist till today .Whereas there are some ancient Greeks who are considered to be pioneers in ‘ecological awareness’ (Rackham 35).
The paper goes on to describe the importance of plants in understanding ecology .Accurate identification of plants had to wait till the development of the block print so that exact information could be copies without mistakes and be distributed .

Hebrews and Romans;

In biblical references, animals are given great importance as they are considered as creations of God .Thus the bible also gives information about animals at a very early time and age and since the animals are also an important part of the ecology, this makes the bible good as a resource material for such studies .The sort of comparisons made in the bible are also good understanding references .As at one point , the bible makes a comparison between cruel or evil people and short lives grasses, thus by that it can be presumed that the grasses being referred here were Vulpria, Aira and other such grasses .The reference point of the bible is considered very seriously by the author of the article, yet there are many versions of the bible and many changes have been made over the years to it, thus to use the bible as a reference point is not a good idea .It makes a very weak and incoherent reference in many ways and should have been avoided by the author .


The landscape of Greece is not only large in size but is very diverse as well and the history of this land extends over thousands of years .The Greek landscape is pretty similar to what it used to be still; there are some major significant change that took place and have been mentioned above .Climatic and other changes such as shit of tectonic plates to extinction of certain mammals from those areas took place.
The Hebrews were apparently the most appreciative of ecology and then the Romans that inhabited this area and at last the Greeks though they also seemed to live well within the confines of the ecology .However in the 19th century, overpopulation led to extensive and widespread cultivation of land which lead to negative effects on the environment in general and ecology in particular.
Over the last one hundred years terraces have had the tendency to decay back to slopes and wood land that was used for pasturing has returned back to its original form that is wood land in many different areas.
Such changes and differences in ecology might have even occurred before when because of one reason or another, the total population of humans in that area was reduced at one point or another .Before this modern age with all its technology, it was very hard to do extensive or long lasting damage to the ecology specially to plants and trees but with the development of technology came the bulldozer and it has been a devastation for ecology.
Many different factors have been considered in the article to compare the ecology and topography of Greece. Most of the sources used by the author were good except a few where the author uses references from poems to determine the vegetation .such references are not strong at all.


Eric Laferrière; Peter J. Stoett (2 September 2003). International Relations Theory and Ecological Thought: Towards a Synthesis. Routledge. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-1-134-71068-3.
Rackham, O. (1983), ‘Observations on the historical ecology of Boeotia’,
BSA 78: 291-351
Moody, J. A., and Rackham, O. (eds 1992), Stability and Change in the Cretan Landscape (Petromarula, no. 1).
Baumann, H. (1993), Greek Wild Flowers and Plant Lore in Ancient
Greece, trans. and augmented by W. T. Stearn and E. R. Stearn
Bender, H. (1994), ‘Historical environmental research from the viewpoint
of provincial Roman archaeology’, in Frenzel (ed.), 145-55.
Grove, J. M. (1992), ‘Climatic reconstruction in the eastern Mediterranean with particular reference to Crete’, in Grove et a l (eds), 16-20.
Forestry and forest economy in the Mediterranean region in
the time of the Roman empire in the light of historical sources’,
in Frenzel (ed.), 1-14.

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