TIRANA, March 15
Vjosa River was designated National Park by the Albanian Council of Ministers during its last meeting. This decision gives Vjosa the status of the first and only protected wild river in Europe. International and local experts, environmentalists, NGOs, and local communities along the river have worked hard for many years to protect the river and its tributaries from damaging development projects.
Based on the official decision, Vjosa River National Park covers an area of 12,727 hectares. The national park is divided into two sections. The sub-central section covers 11,822 hectares or 92.9 percent of the national park area. This area is subject to strict conservation of biodiversity, endangered species, and their habitats, natural monuments, unique landscape, and exceptional geomorphological and historical natural features without the need for permanent remedial interventions. Scientific research and recreational ecotourism activities will be allowed in this area of the park.
According to Balkanrivers.net, the river is host to over 1,100 species, including 13 globally threatened animals and two plant species, and at least 50 animal and 24 plant species are included in the national Red Lists of Albania.
The second section consists of the sub-zone for traditional and sustainable development use. It covers over 905 hectares of forests, arable lands and pastures, and waterscapes where it’s possible to carry on with traditional activities such as agriculture, and medical and aromatic plants (MAPs) cultivation. Economic activities and developments that would cause changes to the natural state of the ecosystem will not be allowed. The area will be listed under class II protection.
Meanwhile, an official ceremony was held on Wednesday in Tepelena castle. Which overlooks the wide Vjosa valley. Among others, Prime Minister Edi Rama said that new green businesses in the area will get financial support. Moreover, he added that Albania and Greece are discussing cross-border cooperation to protect Vjosa.
Source: Prime Minister’s Office
Photo Credit: Tepelena Municipality FB Page
Read also: Rafting on Vjosa River- One of the Wonders of Europe
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