Albanian Alps

A treasury of ecological diversity in Europe

© Herbert Bachmeier
The Mountain Apollo butterfly - symbol for biodiversity © Herbert Bachmeier

Primordial, remote, harsh, craggy: this is the mountain world in the north of Albania and the slopes of the Albanian Alps are covered – as was once typical for large stretches of Central Europe – in tall beeches. Such beech forests are now a rarity in the whole of Europe and particularly in Albania. A restricted area as a military zone, the one-time Yugoslavian-Albanian border area was utterly remote and in this way a unique natural landscape has been able to develop. Not for nothing are the Albanian Alps a part of the Balkan Green Belt which connects habitats of unusual diversity along the line of the one-time Iron Curtain. Bears and wolves find valuable retreats and the Balkan Lynx, which is threatened with extinction, still roams the forests here. 

The pressure is mounting
Forest areas which are accessible without too much difficulty have been ruthlessly plundered for building and firewood. This is not the case in the remote Albanian Alps where today one of the last remaining large-scale stretches of Albanian beech forests can be found. Wood for building and heating is still a scarce commodity and so today these last reserves of forest appeal to human exploitation.

 

EuroNatur is committed to

  • collecting well-founded data on flora and fauna in the Albanian Alps
  • preventing the destruction of Albania's priceless forest areas
  • achieving the designation of the Albanian Alps as a National Park
  • preventing legal and illegal logging
  • developing targeted concepts for the protection of the Balkan Lynx.



What we have so far been able to achieve – a selection of important successes:

  • The foundation for the designation of the Albanian Alps as a National Park has already been laid. Together with our Albanian partner organisation PPNEA EuroNatur has collected extensive data material on flora and fauna of the area. We are on course for a National Park with an area of around 1000 square kilometres to be designated in the near future.




Partners: PPNEA (Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania), MES (Macedonian Ecological Society)

Sponsors: MAVA foundation, BfN (German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation) with funds provided by BMUB (Federal Environment Ministry), EuroNatur donors and sponsors

 

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