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Flora and Fauna

Albania’s high mountains and deep valleys ensure rich and diverse vegetation. The country possesses about 3,250 species of vascular plants, 165 families and more than 900 genera.

The most common forest species of Albania are: beech (Fagus silvatica-L.), spruce (Picea abies), pines (Pinus nigra, P. Peuche, P sylvestris, P. Leucodermis, and P. Heldrechi ), silver fir (Abies alba and A. Borisii-regis), poplar (Populis tremula), Acer pseudoplatanus, Ostrya carpinifolia, Sorbus aucuparia. The most common shrubs are Vaccinium myrtillus, Rubus idaeus, Erica herbacea and Ilex aquifolium. The dominant grassland species is Festuca (F. Bosniaca, F. Adamovici, F. Panciciana, F. F. Paniculata).

The endemic species Wulfenia baldacci is found in the “Bjeshket e Namuna” (accursed mountains) at “Shtegu i Dhenve” and at high altitudes, the endemic plants Petasites doerfleri, Lilium albanicum and Viola ducagjinica are found. Furthermore Teucrium arduini, Micromeria parviflora, Athamantha turbith and Asperulla scutellaris all grow together with the Balkan species Campanula albanica. Other plants that are considered threatened such as Colchium autumnale, Gentiana lutea and Atropa belladonna can also be found here.

The fauna is also very diverse. The mountainous waters are rich in Salmo trutta marmoratus and Salmo trutta macrostigma. Thethi is one of the rare places where Salamandra atra is found, alongside other threatened amphibians like Triturus alpestris, Bombina variegate, Algyroides nigropunctatus, Lacerta agilis, Coronella austriaco, and Vipera spec. In the forest, resident birds include woodpeckers (Piciformes), falcons and hawks (Falconiformes) and capercallie (Tetrao urogallus). There are also some important large forest mammals such as the Brown Bear (Ursus arctos); along the river, the rare otter (Lutra lutra); on the tops of the mountains , Wild Goat (Rupicapra rupicapra) and lower down, the Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus). In Thethi, Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), Pine Martin (Martes martes) Polecat (Mustela putorius), Wolf (Canis lupus) and Fox (Vulpes vulpes) can all be observed.

Medicinal Plants and other non-timber forest products. The importance of medicinal plants (botanicals) and non-timber forest products has been greatly appreciated at the local level of Albanian society for many generations. Their use is widespread throughout the country and many regions of Albania are known nationally for their production of one type of botanical or another. Most botanicals are produced and collected on State or Komuna lands. More recently, a small number of entrepreneurs have begun to understand the economic potential of producing and marketing botanicals on a larger scale. The Albania Private Forestry Development Program (APDFP) has been instrumental in assisting these groups and individuals to move forward with their initiatives through training and technical assistance.

Despite promising developments in the non-timber forest product sector recently, there are a number of significant obstacles that must be addressed. First, policy and legislation that promotes the rational development of this sector is virtually non-existent. Without policy and legislation, the appropriate regulatory environment cannot exist. Other factors that contribute to retarding the development of this sector include limited business and marketing skills, lack of capital for investment, and inexperience in the import/export business due to years of isolation.

Despite these constraints, the Forest and Pasture Sector Strategy (FPSS) contains a number of actions that directly affect botanicals and non-timber forest products. The current action plan which is under development for the next two years contains some of these elements as well, and several recommendations address the constraints listed above. However, as long as policy and legislation relevant to the production and distribution of botanicals is lacking, the development of this sector will always fall short of realizing its actual potential.




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