At the Prefecture of Drama, you will find the forests of Elatia , Simidas and Fraktos which has been declared a preserved natural monument because of its great ecological significance.
Not far away from the Greek-Bulgarian boarders, on the north side of the municipality of Drama and on a mountainous area with acid soil, lies the unique in Greece birch forest (Betula pendula). This area constitutes the southern end in Europe where this species extends (in the form of a forest). The color change of birch leaves which become golden during autumn make birch forest scenery of unique beauty.
Virgin Forest of Central Rodopi
This “Virgin Forest” is situated on the northern end of Central Rodopi mountain chain and is part of Fraktos forest. It has been proclaimed “Preservable Monument of Nature” since 1980 and since then it is so strictly protected that it has been turned into something completely inaccessible. A forest is considered to be virgin after it has reached the highest level of its phytosociological evolution without any human intervention. Every human activity is forbidden in Fraktos Virgin Forest and this allows the forest to function as a natural laboratory of immeasurable scientific value.
Fraktos forest is the broader forest complex which also includes the “Virgin Forest” and as the “forerunner” of the Virgin Forest it is partially protected. Fraktos forest flora is middle European and due to the area’s large altitudinal extend it has a rich variety of plant species. Fraktos natural formation with its gorges, vertical slopes and fields includes a rich fauna which is not different that the one of the Virgin Forest. The strong geological formations, the various rock piles and the several water springs which form many small and large streams and six successive waterfalls make Fraktos forest ideal forest scenery. To enjoy this unique scenery, visitors must obtain special residence permit to Fraktos hostel.
The well known Elatia forest (or Karantere) is the epitome of the ecological “lesson” of Rodopi and is located on the north central part of Drama prefecture. The dominant species of this forest is the spruce (Picea abies) which has the characteristics of a complete, healthy and stable ecosystem. This area is the southern tip where spruce extends. The presence of forestall pine and oak trees is also important in this area. Rapid streams form labyrinthine mountain plains revealing the area's wild beauty which after the Second World War has been completely “free" from the human presence. Due to its uniqueness Elati forest has been proclaimed protected and is included in the “NATURA 2000”network.