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21 Mar 2024

Sani Resort is home to the Sani Environmental Observatory, a collaboration between Sani/Ikos Group and the Forest Research Institute of ELGO "DIMITRA" aiming at protecting and promoting the unique coastal pine forest of Sani.

March 21, 2024, International Day of Forests - Protecting the environment and preserving the unique Mediterranean biodiversity are a top priority for the Sani/Ikos hospitality Group. The Group consistently invests in environmental programmes to preserve and study the ecosystems surrounding its resorts, in partnership with scientific institutes and NGOs, while also promoting a more sustainable human-nature relationship through specially designed activities and educational programmes for travellers.

Sani Resort in Kassandra, Halkidiki, stretches in an area of ​​1,000 acres, at the intersection of three beautiful natural worlds: the sea, the wetlands, and the forest of Sani. To protect this unique coastal pine forest and its rich biodiversity, the Sani/Ikos Group has partnered with the Forest Research Institute of ELGO "DIMITRA" to establish the Sani Environmental Observatory, dedicated to research, education, and eco-activity initiatives for travellers.

"The observatory is a member of the Greek and international Long-Term Ecosystem Research network (LTER) since 2021, aligning with the new European law for forest monitoring that is currently under development", says Dr. Mariangela Fotelli, Head of the Forest Ecophysiology Laboratory - FRI/ELGO "DIMITRA" who supervises the observatory's activities. "Our main goal is to study the forest's response to climate change and its contribution to climate change mitigation. Additionally, we implement initiatives to protect and promote the ecosystem services of the Sani Aleppo pine forest".

As part of the Sani/Ikos Group - Forest Research Institute partnership, one of Greece’s few forest Eddy towers measuring CO2 and water vapor fluxes operates in Sani. The tower calculates and records carbon storage in the soil and forest biomass, with the aim to determine the carbon footprint and the contribution of the Sani pine forest to climate change mitigation.

Significant action is also taken to enhance forest regeneration through pinecone collection, seed testing, and seedling production in the laboratory. Over the next two years, the planting of more than 6,000 pine seedlings is planned, mainly in the coastal part of the forest that was affected by the extreme weather events of 2019. Additionally, local forest vegetation is being studied, while a network of nests has been installed throughout Sani Forest for the recording of local fauna (small mammals, birds, insects), through which more than 30 insect species and 30 plant species have been recorded to date.

To protect the forest, Sani Resort has a dedicated fire protection team and firefighting vehicles, while daily maintenance and cleaning works are carried out across many kilometers of forest and hiking trails. All organic waste (e.g., branches, leaves) from forest care is collected for composting at Sani Resort's special facilities, where all garden organic waste is also composted.

Watch here the Sani Forest video.

"In partnership with the Forest Research Institute, we study the forest's carbon storage and explore ways to enhance it, as well as record the rich flora and fauna of the ecosystem", notes Eleni Andreadis, Director of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, Sani/Ikos Group. The study and protection of the Sani Forest are part of the Group's sustainability programme, for which it has received significant international awards and certifications. “Through our collaboration with ELGO, we have also designed a series of daily forest walks led by our eco-guide and environmental educational programmes for our visitors - adults and children - focusing on the local biodiversity, from insects to birds and small mammals, highlighting the need for forest protection. In the kids' club, for example, children can meet with an entomologist and assist him in his field work or learn to recognize specific plants in the forest. Our guests’ participation and concern for environmental issues are higher every year, as travellers increasingly seek alternative and more sustainable travel experiences close to nature”.

In 2022 visitor participation in Sani Forest walks tripled, while overall guest participation in Sani/Ikos Group eco-activities (e.g., birdwatching trails, dolphin monitoring expeditions, etc.) more than doubled. For the preservation of the Sani Forest, the Group invites visitors to voluntarily contribute one euro at check-out, which it then doubles, funding regeneration and biodiversity monitoring programmes.

Sani/Ikos Group supports the reconstruction programme for Northern Evia following the 2021 wildfires

As part of its strategy to protect Mediterranean biodiversity and address the impacts of climate change, the Sani/Ikos Group participates in other environmental and social initiatives in Greece.


By supporting the "DIAZOMA" non-profit organisation initiative for the redevelopment of Rovies Beach in Northern Evia and the revitalization of the areas that were affected by the devastating wildfires of 2021, the Group funded the study for the redevelopment project of the coastal settlement of Rovies. The project aims to restore the natural beauty and highlight the coastal front of the area by creating pedestrian walkways, green spaces, sports, and recreational facilities, attracting visitors and, primarily, improving the daily lives of the residents. This initiative is part of the overall reconstruction programme for the fire-affected areas of Northern Evia and is set to be integrated into the Integrated Spatial Investment Programme (ISIP) of the region.


For more information on the sustainability and environmental protection initiatives of the Sani/Ikos Group, refer to the Annual ESG Report for 2022.

About the Forest Research Institute

The Forest Research Institute (FRI) of ELGO "DIMITRA" is one of Greece’s two institutes dedicated to the research of forest ecosystems and the application of new technologies for sustainability and protection of the natural environment. Over the past 20 years, FRI has implemented more than 100 national and international research programmes, in collaboration with institutions, from Evros to Crete and from the USA to Australia and New Zealand. Its 19 researchers study the entire range of ecosystem services of forests to address scientific questions and propose solutions for the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature. Among others, FRI is responsible for the National programme for the surveillance of harmful forest organisms in the country and evaluates the conservation status of habitat types in 45 Special Conservation Areas, covering 20% of Greece's terrestrial Natura 2000 areas. Furthermore, it protects threatened migratory birds, such as the lesser white-fronted goose, and monitors the biodiversity of the country's wildlife using acoustic sensors. It studies how climate change affects the feeding behaviour of grazing animals and the composition of vegetation in the alpine ecosystems of Mount Olympus through the international GLORIA network. It monitors climate changes with a network of 9 meteorological stations in northern Greece, records carbon sequestration in forest ecosystems, and contributes to the preparation of the National Forest Inventory. Using modern tools, it assesses the risk of fire ignition and the genetic adaptation of forests to climate change. Every year, the Institute trains dozens of students from universities in Greece and abroad. For more information and

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