Forest Restoration in North Macedonia and Albania

As part of the global the Swedish Postcode Foundation's Northern Forests Initiative, the new forest restoration project aims to contribute to the restoration and preservation of especially important forests in Albania and North Macedonia and strengthen the capacity and commitment of local, regional, and national actors for sustainable forest management.

According to Global Forest Watch, North Macedonia lost 5,5% and Albania 6,5% of total tree cover in the last 20 years while recent local analysis confirmed this trend by showing concerning losses of 6.78% and 4.88% of non-degraded forests over the last 12 years. Similar negative trends are recognizable in high biodiversity value regions like core habitats of the Balkan Lynx, critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, and other endemic species. Some of the direct and indirect degradation drivers include poor management of key biodiversity landscapes in protected areas that did not sufficiently prevent forest losses. Moreover, illegal logging has been a long-lasting problem in the Balkans, coupled with rapid urbanisation, land use changes and the climate change consequences.

The implementation of Nature-based Solutions, such as Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) on around 40 hectares of degraded forest land in “Bukovikj” in North Macedonia and “Pashtrik-Morina” in Albania will largely contribute to biodiversity and connectivity, including in surrounding protected areas. These FLR interventions will have multiple benefits such as carbon sequestration and ecosystem resilience, while halting biodiversity loss by improving habitat conditions for the Balkan Lynx and other threatened endemic species. The project also aims to raise national capacities and commitments to future restoration efforts and sustainable management of forests by involving relevant stakeholders and decision-makers.

Balkan Lynx Lynx lynx ssp. balcanicus (Balkan Lynx) has most recently been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2015. Lynx lynx ssp. balcanicus is listed as Critically Endangered under criteria D. Photo: MES

Promoting sustainable forest management and forest landscape restoration in Albania and North Macedonia the project will initiate restoration work in key biodiversity landscapes to enable multiple long-term ecological and societal benefits. It will strengthen local, regional and national actors' capacity and commitment in terms of forest management and restoration via training, workshops and advocacy work. Furthermore, the aim is to increase the exchange and bilateral dialogue towards raising commitments to FLR and sound management of forests in both countries.

Contributing to restoration and sustainable management of terrestrial ecosystems will improve efforts for sustainable forest management in Albania and North Macedonia, and enhance capacities and commitments to restoration and sustainable forest management while reducing degradation.

The project started in January 2023 and will end in July 2025. It is fully supported by the Swedish Postcode Foundation with 6, 900, 000 SEK. 

It is implemented in close cooperation with our members and local partners: Macedonian Ecological Society (MES), Republic of North Macedonia, and Protection and Preservation of Environment in Albania (PPNEA), Republic of Albania. 

Pashtrik Mountain Albania Pashtrik Mountain in Albania Photo: PPNEA