Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Albania: Assisted Natural Regeneration of Degraded Lands

UNFCCC Reference No.: 2714


Forest landscape in Albania.

Land degradation is a major issue in Albania. Uncontrolled grazing and fuelwood collection has prevented the growth of a protective vegetative cover causing rapid erosion of the soil cover. As a result, highly degraded, unproductive and barren lands have been left behind. To halt the erosion, it is therefore, imperative to restore the vegetative cover - providng an opportunity to institute a host of co-benefits as well.

The Project 

The Assisted Natural Regeneration of Degraded Lands in Albania project has restored 5,357.36 hectares of degraded lands by assisting with the natural regeneration of vegetation. The project supports a participatory approach within the community to arrive at a common agreement on the selection of sites and their protection from grazing, and facilitates the implementation of the interventions needed to accompany this change. The project is being implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MAF) and its Directorate General for Forests and Pastures (DGFP), under the larger umbrella of the Natural Resources Development Project (NRDP) , a World Bank loan project to the Government of Albania.

Activities financed under the NRDP include: (a) protection from grazing to promote natural regeneration; (b) supplemental planting to enrich species diversity and to stabilize highly eroded areas; and (c) silvicultural measures to enhance biomass density.

Environmental Benefits

The project has helped in improving biomass accumulation on degraded lands, reducing soil degradation, improving water quality, and conserving biodiversity. A focus on improving livelihoods of the rural poor is alleviating pressure on over-exploited natural resources, promoting sustainable management of forests, pastures, and agricultural lands. In addition, improved land management is providing significant erosion control benefits, helping to moderate runoff, enhance water quality, and protect marine ecosystems.

Social and Community Benefits

The reforestation activities occured on land distributed over five of some of the poorest regions in the country (Diber, Elbasan, Kukes, Korce, Shkoder) involving 24 communes in over 100 villages. The project employed a participatory approach within these communities and were therefore, consulted on site selection and implementation of the reforestation activities. As a result, the project supported important environmental changes that have translated into improved livelihoods of poor rural households.

Forest landscape and community gathering in Albania. Employment and revenue benefits: The project has provided an opportunity to bring critically-needed sustainable revenue streams directly to poor rural communities. The project has brought substantial employment benefits, providing short- and medium-term employment generated by reinvestment of carbon revenues, reduced maintenance costs of irrigation and drainage infrastructure, affordability of water treatment, and diminished flood risk.

Alternate resources and land products: In the longer term, the project will produce several alternate resources and land products, such as small timber, firewood, nuts and fruits (including chestnuts and cherries), and medicinal products. Where alternative pasture or grazing resources are in short supply, grasses germinated within fenced-off areas will be available for cutting and collection to serve as fodder for winter stall-feeding.