Two biosphere reserves are internationally designated in Greece: part of Mt. Olympus, and the Samaria Gorge in western Crete. There are sixteen areas given protection under EU legislation, mostly for birds, one biogenetic reserve, and eight Mediterranean special protection areas.
There are also nationally designated sites known as 'Monuments of Nature' and nineteen so called 'Aesthetic Forests'. In general, these areas are not managed as nature reserves, but more for recreation (though they vary greatly). There is also a network of 'no hunting reserves', though they were not strictly controlled (at least a few years ago). WWF Greece manages the Dadia Forest in Thrace, and part of the turtle breeding program on Zakynthos, and they strive to increase awareness in Greece of the need for nature conservation.
Hunting is a major problem in Greece in regard to maiming and needless killing of wildlife, especially birds. There are wildlife hospitals on the islands of Aegina and Paros, to which injured or sick animals, mostly birds, are sent for medical care and release back into the wild if feasible, a large proportion of injuries from hunting.
Another serious problem is dumping of garbage, and also burning of garbage. For the first problem, there seems to be no system of fining to discourage dumping, and for the second, the action is often one of municipalities, which burn the garbage because landfills are nonexistent or inadequate to the volume of garbage, hugely increased by lack of recycling in most of Greece.
During the summer months millions of plastic bottles are discarded, many on beaches (which end up in the sea), and generally on roadsides everywhere in Greece. Certainly non Greeks tourists must share the blame for some of this, though the problem stems from a combination of causes . One of these is the habitual purchase of bottled water even where there are taps with spring water from which one could easily fill up thermoses and bottles, seemingly associated with a distrust of the local water in Greece, which is often unfounded on anything.
TIP: After establishing local preference, drink local tap water. Oft times mountain spring water. If you are in a mountainous and green area odds are there arel local springs of fresh water nearby!
The often unneccessary habit of buying bottled water is also someties reinforced in nouveau riche restaurants and seasonal toursit tavernas, where a request for water, unless specified, may result in a large bottle being brought to the table (rather than the 'carafe', or pitcher of water, (right) which must most often, but not always, be specifically requested, and for which there is no extra charge and which they are legally obliged to provide. Pinete to Nero; Is the water potable? To Nero Peen-ete?
Nai Peen-ete (yes its is drinkable)
The plastic bag problem is certainly equal to that of the bottles, and though the problem is global, awareness of it is minimal in Greece compared with many other European Union countries.
Other conservation issues in Greece include other pandemic, global problems such as chemical agriculture, unchecked tourist development, much of it in coastal areas, logging, grazing, road building in areas that are worthy of protection.