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International Forest Fire News (IFFN) No. 28 (January – June 2003) p. 73-81


Update on the Forest Fire Situation


This paper is an extract of a comprehensive study "Economic Analysis for alternative Scenarios of a Forest Fire

Management Programme" conducted by the Directorate of Forest Police, Directorate General for Forest Protection,

Albania, in October 2002. Some remarks have been extracted from the report "Development of a National Forest Fire

Management Strategy and Action Plan for Albania", November 2001.

1. Background: Albania's Forest Sector

Albania, despite its very small territory (28,750 km2), is one of the European countries with rich vegetation, which

originated during the Tertiary era. Today’s vegetation of Albania is composed of endemic relic vegetation and of

species that have invaded from neighbouring regions thought migration, having phytogenetic similarities with floristic

elements of neighbouring countries. Albania is a mountainous country with higher topographic and climatic variety than

the other European countries: 52% of it’s surface is on elevation between 600 and 700 m a.s.l. with prevailing steep

slopes (ca.30%). Thus, ca. 90% of its surface is subject to severe erosion. The northern, north-eastern, south-eastern and

central areas are characterized by hilly-mountainous terrain; whereas the north-southern/costal area along the Adriatic

and Ionian coast is lowland.

Climate extremes range from extreme cold winters in the northern, northeastern and southeastern areas to very hot and

dry summer along the coast. Rainfall regimes vary from north to south and from Coast to Inland. There are fewer rainy

days in the south that in the north, but months without rainfall can occur at any time of the year, as it is typical for the

Mediterranean climate. Local precipitation differences lead to diverse vegetation patterns. Forests occupy 1.025 million

ha standing volume of about 82 million m3 and an average annual growth of 1.4 m3 per ha (this is very low compared

with many country of central Europe). The management regime of the forest areas is as follows:

• round 460,950 ha are high forest (46% of the total forest areas) consisting in 171,850 ha conifers and 289,370

ha broadleaves

• 332,250 ha are coppice (29% mainly oaks)

• 257,850 ha are shrubs (25%)




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