Lurë-Dejës Mountain National Park
In 1966, the Council of Ministers of Albania declared Lurë National Park a protected area to preserve the area’s biodiversity as it’s noted for a rich bird and plant life. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists the park as a Category II, which is defined as a large area with a functioning ecosystem and its main objective is to “protect natural biodiversity along with its underlying ecological structure and supporting environmental processes, and to promote education and recreation”. In 2018, the park was expanded and renamed Lura-Mt Dejes National Park to include former Zall Gjocaj National Park for a total coverage area of 20,242 ha.
Unfortunately, the area has suffered from a number of problems namely indiscriminate cutting and burning of trees, littering, and poor infrastructure. Attempts to address these problems have not met with great success. In order to remedy these issues, in 2017, the Minister of Tourism and Environment and the Council of Ministers of Albania proposed to divide the expanded park into three conservation and management zones, as follows:
a) The Central Subdivision, with an area of 2 861.62 ha., that includes the main habitats of forests and shrubs and is designated as a high-value area for its natural heritage and biodiversity.
b) Area of Traditional Use and Sustainable Development, with an area of 16 898.4 ha, that includes agricultural lands and pastures, as well as aquatic areas, where traditional activities such as agriculture, grazing, collection of medicinal and aromatic plants can be continued, with their balanced use. Construction and activities causing changes in the natural state of the ecosystem are not permitted in this area.
c) Recreation Subdivision, with an area of 482.76 ha., that includes parts of forest and water habitats created by the reservoir dam. It applies the third level of protection, which provides a low-impact territory and control of tourist activities such as outdoor hiking opportunities, tourist services, respecting the functions of the protected area, its ecological values and those of the natural landscape.
The Regional Administration of Dibra Region Protected Areas performs the functions of the administration of the National Park “Lura-Mali i Dejës” and a National Park Management Plan will be implemented soon.
Environmental Organizations in Albania (The list is not comprehensive)
Ministry of Tourism and Environment: Government department in charge of regulations concerning the environment, the sustainable use of natural resources, promotion of renewable resources, protection of nature and biodiversity, sustainable development and management of forestry and pastures, and the quality monitoring of water resource
National Agency of Protected Areas: Established in 2015, this organization is tasked with the management, protection, development, expansion, and operation of the country’s protected areas.
Institute for Environmental Policy: Based in Tirana and focuses on environmental research, policy, and awareness.
Institute of Nature Conservation in Albania: Based in Tirana and focuses on the protection of flora and fauna, biodiversity assessments, management of protected areas, river basin management, raising awareness of the public and policy and decision-makers, and undertakes conservation measures when possible and appropriate to protect species and their habitats.
PPNEA: Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania aims to achieve sustainable environmental development through empowering local community social development that assures minimization of human-nature conflicts and integrated environmental improvement