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This range of natural systems and socio-economic patterns requires a variety of skills and technical expertise to ensure sound management. Furthermore, administratively there are 36 districts superimposed on this range of natural areas, and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Water Administration (MoEFWA) through Directorate of Forests and Pastures Policies (DFPP) is responsible for the management of a considerable amount of this area. The 36 districts are currently being grouped into 12 regions, and a new initiative is to re-group them into 7-8 aimed at improving planning, coordination and communications among the districts. The regions have not been designed around major ecological zones; they are essentially larger administrative units.

Place Fig. 3A. Protected Areas Network, 2007.

Fig. 3B. Thethi NP, Accursed Mountains, Albania, 2005.

Productivity and Health. A third issue is the productivity and health of forest ecosystems, plantations and pastures. Many of the actions contained in the Strategy of Biodiversity plan are predicated on attaining a level of sustainable utilization of the resource in question. At present, it is widely believed that some of the management systems as currently practiced (whether formal or informal) are not sustainable. Implicit in the strategy, though not clearly stated, is the importance of improving the overall productivity and health of the forest and pasture estate.

There are a number of specific problems that could be addressed to ameliorate the situation. Only two examples are presented here. In the case of forest and agroforest species, significant improvements could be realized in both growth and disease resistance within 15-20 years. Several key species are suffering from chronic insect and disease problems. Among these populations, however, there are individuals that are outperforming the rest of the trees. A modest tree improvement program could be developed around these individuals that would not require a great deal of resources. Most of this could be accomplished through training and regular fieldwork. This is, of course, a medium to long term investment, but one that could eventually pay great dividends. Another factor related to productivity is the uncontrolled grazing that takes place in many parts of Albania. The grazing patterns are very extensive, often leading to a considerable amount of damage to the young forest stock particularly on State and Komuna lands. (Komuna lands still as property-ownership belong to the State though there is a scheduled program supported by the World Bank Natural resources development project, NRDP, 2005-2010, to go to full property rights transfer to Komunas in the next ten-years.) This damage retards the development of a needed resource and could be averted through the introduction of basic grazing management techniques executed at the village level. These examples illustrate how technical improvements, whether based on biophysical or sociological factors, could help increase productivity of the forest and pasture resource base.

Biodiversity and protected areas in Albania.




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