European Green Belt

The European Green Belt initiative is a grassroots movement for nature conservation and sustainable development along the corridor of the former Iron Curtain. The term refers to both an environmental initiative as well as the area it concerns. The initiative is carried out under the patronage of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Mikhail Gorbachev. It is the aim of the initiative to create the backbone of an ecological network that runs from the Barents to the Black and Adriatic Seas.

The European Green Belt as an area follows the route of the former Iron Curtain and connects National Parks, Nature Parks, Biosphere Reserves and transboundary protected areas as well as non-protected valuable habitats along or across the (former) borders.[1]

EuGB solid labels web
Route of the European Green Belt


In 1970, satellite pictures showed a dark green belt of old-growth forest on the Finnish-Russian border.[2] In the early 1980s, biologists discovered that the inner German border zone between Bavaria in the west and Thuringia in the east was a refuge for several rare bird species that had disappeared from the intensely used areas covering most of Central Europe.[3] The reasoning behind this observation was that negative human impact on the environment is smaller in such border zones which are commonly closed to public access and thus wildlife is minimally impacted by human activities.

After the end of the Cold War in 1991, the strict border regimes were abandoned and the border zones gradually opened, starting with the German reunification in 1990 and continuing with the step-by-step integration of new member states into the Schengen Treaty as part of the enlargement process of the European Union. At the same time, large military facilities such as training grounds and military research establishments in or close to the border zones were closed down. For most cases, it was unclear whom the property of these lands belonged to and thus what the fate of the valuable landscapes would be. Against this background, the conservation initiative Green Belt formed to conserve the natural assets along the former Iron Curtain.


The route of the Green Belt follows the course of the borders which during the second half of the 20th century divided the eastern European communist countries and the western capitalist countries. It is divided into three regional sections:


The historical starting point of the initiative was the Green Belt Resolution of Hof (Germany) in December 1989,[4] one month after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This document formulated and signed by more than 300 environmentalists from the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany initiated the first conservation projects targeting the inner German border. After several achievements, the idea was taken to the European level. After a first conference on the European Green Belt in 2003, it was decided to establish a working group with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as overall coordinator for its implementation; IUCN together with the Ferto-Hanság National Park in Hungary organized the first meeting of the working group, which took place 9–12 September 2004.[5] In the following, the working group together with stakeholders of the Green Belt elaborated a Programme of Work and proposed representatives in each country along the Green Belt to be officially appointed as National Green Belt Focal Points by the respective Ministry of Environment. A Memorandum of Understanding to jointly protect the Green Belt in Fennoscandia was signed by the Environmental Ministers of Russia, Finland and Norway in 2010. In November 2010, the Binding Award for outstanding contributions to nature conservation was awarded to five individuals for their continuous engagement in protecting the Green Belt.[6]

For several years there have been considerations to nominate the European Green Belt as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[7]

Organisational structure

The initiative’s network consists of official representatives for the three regions named above (Regional Coordinators) and for each country (National Focal Points) appointed during the first European Green Belt meeting in 2003:[1]

  • Fennoscandian Green Belt: Association of Reserves and National Parks of Russian North-West/ Baltic Fund for Nature
  • Central European Green Belt: Bund Naturschutz Bayern/ Friends of the Earth Germany
  • Balkan or South Eastern European Green Belt: Euronatur

The implementation of the Green Belt vision in the regions is carried out by several hundred stakeholders from nature conservation and sustainable development[8] who contribute either on a project or voluntary basis.

Ecological values

Observations by biologists revealed that the military practice along the borderline led to wildlife conservation in numerous ways:[9]

  • A ban on pesticide spraying has preserved many rare insects.
  • Keeping the vegetation cut so border guards can see across easily, stopped the area from becoming continuous forest and thus preserved wildlife that needs open land.
  • One peculiar occurrence noticed was that in a forested part of this belt on the frontier between Bavaria and Bohemia, 18 years after the border barrier was removed, forest deer still refused to cross the frontier: compare hefting of livestock.
  • Old landmine explosion craters have become wildlife ponds.
  • In the Bulgaria/Greece section there are many eastern imperial eagle nests.
  • Where the River Drava is the frontier between Hungary and Croatia: mutual mistrust prevented river development works, so the river and its banks are still natural, including the river creating sand cliffs where sand martins nest. The Drava has cut off meanders, leaving many bits of each nation's territory on the wrong side of the river; these areas are not farmed and have become wildlife areas.
  • Along the coast of the Mecklenburg area, restricted access to the coast, to stop people from crossing over by boat or swimming, helped to preserve coastal wildlife.

Cultural values

It has been proposed to develop not only the natural but also the cultural heritage of the Soviet period: following the idea to link the numerous historical initiatives, installations, projects and relics in the Green Belt with the natural heritage,[10] in order to turn the European Green Belt into living historical monument of the Cold War during the 20th century.[8] In the context of the European Green Belt, cultural heritage has been assessed and/ or developed in several places already:

  • On mount Brocken, Germany, the former border patrol path has been turned into a hiking route called “Harz border path”[11]
  • In the Slovenian Nature Park Goricko, border stones with information plates have been set up which inform visitors, about the history of the Iron Curtain and the natural values in place due to this history
  • Military heritage along the Latvian Green Belt has been assessed and compiled in a data base and map for visitors, including almost 100 stories of contemporary witnesses[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b Riecken, U., K. Ullrich, A. Lang (2007): A vision for the Green Belt in Europe, in: Terry, A., K. Ullrich and U. Riecken (Eds.): The Green Belt of Europe. From Vision to Reality, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, ISBN 2-8317-0945-8
  2. ^ Haapala, H., Riitta, H., Keinonen, E., Lindholm, T. and Telkänranta, H. 2003. Finnish-Russian nature conservation cooperation. Finnish Ministry of the Environment and Finnish Environment Institute
  3. ^ Beck,P.and Frobel,K.1981.Letzter Zufluchtsort:Der “Todesstreifen”? in: Vogelschutz: Magazin für Arten- und Biotopschutz (2):24 (English: Last refuge: Border strip?).
  4. ^ Riecken, U. & Ullrich, K. (2010): Implementation of the Green Belt – from paper to practice. 20 years of experience in Germany, in: Gulbinskas, S., Gasiūnaitė, Z., Blažauskas, N. and Sterr, H. (Eds.): 2nd Baltic Green Belt Forum - Towards sustainable development of the Baltic Sea coast, 304 pp., Klaipėda University Publishing, 2010
  5. ^ Vogtmann (2007): Preface, in: Terry, A., K. Ullrich and U. Riecken (Eds.): The Green Belt of Europe. From Vision to Reality, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, ISBN 2-8317-0945-8
  6. ^ Press release "Binding Award: under the sign of the Green Belt Europe", Euronatur, 20 Nov. 2010 [1]
  7. ^ Gaudry, K.H., Diehl, K., Oelke, M., Finke, G. and Konold, W. (2014): Feasibility Study World Heritage Green Belt - Final Report [2]
  8. ^ a b Frobel, K. (2009): The Green Belt – lifeline in no man’s land, in: Wrbka et al. (Eds.): The European Green Belt. Borders.Wilderness.Future., Publisher Bibliothek der Provinz, ISBN 978-3-85474-209-8
  9. ^ "Natural World: Iron Curtain, Ribbon of Life". Sky TV. 6 March 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
    "Natural World Iron Curtain, Ribbon of Life". BBC. 10 March 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
  10. ^ Jeschke, H.-P. (2009): The Green Belt as a natural and cultural heritage, in: Wrbka et al. (Eds.): The European Green Belt. Borders.Wilderness.Future., Publisher Bibliothek der Provinz, ISBN 978-3-85474-209-8
  11. ^ Website of project Experience Green Belt
  12. ^ Data base of military heritage in Latvia

External links

Buna River-Velipoja Protected Landscape

The Buna River-Velipoja Protected Landscape (Albanian: Peisazh i Mbrojtur Lumi Buna-Velipojë) is a protected landscape area in northwestern Albania, encompassing the estuary of Drin, the lagoon of Viluni, the river of Buna with its estuary, and the gulf of Drin that runs across the city of Velipojë alongside the Adriatic Sea.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the park as Category V and has been further recognized as a wetland of international importance by designation under the Ramsar Convention. Being part of the European Green Belt, the landscape is also an Important Bird and Plant Area, because it supports extraordinary threatened and endemic bird and plant species.

Stretching between the Dinaric Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, the river of Buna is an outflow of the lake of Shkodër, the largest lake in Southern and Southeastern Europe, which ultimately runs through the river until it drains into the Adriatic Sea. The landscape is an essential migration corridor at that season for hundreds of species between the Adriatic Sea and the innland.The region is specifically marked by a relatively flat and shallow landscape supplied with alluvial forests, dry grasslands, marsh and shrublands, estuaries, freshwater wetlands and beaches. The climate of the landscape is strongly under the influence of the Adriatic Sea in the west and the Albanian Alps in the north. Under the Köppen climate classification, it experiences a mediterranean climate characterized by warm to dry-hot summers and mild-wet to rainy winters.An extraordinary variety of wildlife species live in the region. The golden jackal occurs in the woodlands and marshes of the riverine floodplains. The coastline, dotted with sand dunes, offers great feeding opportunities for the brown bear. The common bottlenose dolphin has been identified within its waters and prefers the coastal waters and river deltas. Two species are outstanding though, the green sea and loggerhead sea turtle which nest in the beaches of the gulf. The dalmatian pelican uses the salt pans around the region as feeding habitat during autumn.

Central Mountain Range (Albania)

The Central Mountain Range (Albanian: Krahina Malore Qëndrore) is a physiogeographical region encompassing the central and eastern edge of Albania. It comprises the mountainous inland extending all the way from the valley of Drin and the mountains of Sharr, Skanderbeg, Korab, and Shebenik-Jabllanicë, through the lakes of Ohrid and Prespa, until it reaches the village of Ersekë and the mountains of Pindus close to the border between the country and Greece.The central mountain range can be conventionally divided into a number of subregions. The north encompasses the mountainous districts of Mirditë and Pukë. The center is dominated by the mountains of Lurë and Korab alongside the regions of Martanesh and Çermenikë. The south includes the valley of Shkumbin as well as the mountains of Mokër and Valamara, the plain of Korçë with the upper districts of Devoll and Kolonjë.

The relief of the central mountain range is varied and supplied with high mountain passes, steep canyons and gorges, dense forests and alpine landscapes dotted with glacial lakes, which in turn provide excellent conditions for a great biodiversity. Most of the terrain was formed by ultramafic rocks, originating from the earth's mantle, which has become largely serpentinite.The protected areas of the region are home to some of the most iconic views and landscapes of the country. There are six national parks, a ramsar site, a biosphere reserve and a world heritage site located in the region. Likely the largest protected areas, measured by area, are the Korab-Koritnik Nature Park and Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park.

Dibër County

Dibër County (Albanian pronunciation: [diːbəɾ]; Albanian: Qarku i Dibrës) is one of the 12 counties of the Republic of Albania, spanning a surface area of 2,586 square kilometres (998 sq mi) with the capital in Peshkopi. The county borders on the counties of Durrës, Elbasan, Kukës, Lezhë, Tirana and the country of North Macedonia. It is divided into the four municipalities of Bulqizë, Dibër, Klos and Mat. The municipalities are further subdivided into 290 towns and villages in total.

Topographically, the county is dominated by mountainous and high terrain, with a great variety of natural features including valleys, canyons, gorges, rivers, glacial lakes and dense forests. Various mountains ranging between 1,500 and 2,700 metres (4,921 and 8,858 ft) meters above sea level run the length of the county from north to south, including the Korab mountains in the east with Mali i Gramës and Korab at an altitude of 2,764 metres (9,068 ft) being the highest mountain in the county and as well as in Albania. The Dejë mountain 2,245 metres (7,365 ft) rises in the center, while in the east the county is dominatet by the Lura mountains. The Skanderbeg mountains on the west separates the Central Mountain Range with the Western Lowlands. The county, marked by a significant biological diversity, is water-rich with a dense river network, a rich aquifer system, and significant karst underground watercourses. It is home to the source of the river Mat which rises in Martanesh. Besides the Mat, the Drin river is an important waterway in the region.The county territory covers four distinct climatic types as of the Köppen climate classification; oceanic, continental, mediterranean and subarctic. Located in the interior of Albania, the climate is mediterranean with continental influences. Mean monthly temperature ranges between −20 °C (−4 °F) (in January) and 25–30 °C (77–86 °F) (in July). Mean annual precipitation ranges between 600 millimetres (24 inches) and 1,000 millimetres (39 inches) depending on geographic region and prevailing climate type.

Dibër is an historically homogeneous county. Its capital and most populous city is Peshkopi. Tourism is one of the most important sectors in the county and has the largest potential to be a source for sustainable income, due to its natural and cultural heritage. Although the county has abundant natural resources like chromium, sulfur and marble. Dibër is predominantly an agriculture county. Agriculture mainly produces fruits and vegetables.


EGB may refer to:

Erzgebirgsbahn, a German railway

European Green Belt

Educación General Básica, the first phase of Education in Spain

EV13 The Iron Curtain Trail

The Iron Curtain Trail (ICT), also known as EuroVelo 13 (EV13), is a partially complete long-distance cycling route which will run along the entire length of the former Iron Curtain. During the period of the Cold War (c. 1947-1991), the Iron Curtain delineated the border between the Communist East and the capitalist West, with the East being the Warsaw Pact countries of the Soviet bloc and the West being the countries of NATO.The ICT can also, of course, be walked as a long-distance trail.

Gashi (river)

The Gashi River (Albanian: Lumi i Gashit) is a 27 km (17 mi) long river located in Tropojë, northern Albania.

It is a nature reserve, spanning an area of 3,000 ha (7,400 acres). The nature reserve forms a part of the European Green Belt and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site within the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.The river is located in the eastern part of the Albanian Alps at 2,175 m (7,136 ft) above sea level. It originates at the Dobërdol Pass 2,238 m (7,343 ft) and flows through numerous peaks including the Trekufiri 2,354 m (7,723 ft) in the north, Maja Bogiçaj 2,405 m (7,890 ft) in the northeast, and Maja e Shpatit 21,995 m (72,162 ft) in the northwest. The various streams, flowing first to the north and northwest, merge with the Dobërdol pasture in the northwest, than leaving the basin westward. Few kilometres further the river changes its course southwards and stops the direction in the sequence. It passes the Maja e Shkëlzenit 2,405 m (7,890 ft) on its western side. Further south, the river passes through a narrow gorge and valley to the Tropoja basin, where the river below flows into the Valbonë river.

The climate is subarctic and oceanic, having cool summers and generally cold winters. Forests occupy the majority of the region's area. The region falls within the Balkan mixed forests and Dinaric mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. The river is particularly known for the diversity of flora and fauna and is surrounded by swamps and canals that drain the whole local basin such as the region of Malësia e Gashit within the Albanian Alps into the Adriatic sea. Forests occupy the majority of the total area.

The flora of the region is diverse and is characterized with high endemism due to the combination of southern geographic latitude and high altitude variation. The forests are host to several plants such as beech, macedonian pine, bosnian pine, norway spruce, and silver fir. The fauna is represented by 64 species of mammals, such as the brown bear, gray wolf, chamois, lynx, roe deer, wild boar, western capercaillie, golden eagle, eurasian otter and 14 species of amphibians.

German Green Belt

The German Green Belt (Grünes Band Deutschland in German) is a project of Bund Naturschutz (BUND), one of Germany's largest environmental groups. The project began in 1989 facing a forbidding, 870-mile (1,400 km) network of fences and guard towers once ran the length of Germany, separating East and West. Now, one of the world's most unusual nature reserves is being created along the old "Death Strip," turning a monument to repression into a symbol of renewal.For decades, Germany's former border sector remained an inaccessible region. It is one of the great anomalies of Germany's division history that in a place where a hostile line had been drawn, nature was able to develop undisturbed over a period of several decades. Apart from the no man's land itself, this also applied to extensive tracts of adjacent land because they were so cut off. This "Green Belt" is characterized by an exceptional wealth of species and habitats, most of which are now endangered, representing a system of interlinked biotopes of national importance, which joins together or passes through valuable swathes of land and intensively farmed agricultural landscapes. The federal government, Länder and nature conservation organisations are joining forces to protect this "Green Belt" and develop it into a valuable habitat for humans and nature. Something which once divided Germany is now a symbol of national unity.


Gramos (Albanian: Gramoz, Mali i Gramozit; Aromanian: Gramosta, Gramusta; Greek: Γράμος or Γράμμος) is a mountain range on the border of Albania and Greece. The mountain is part of the northern Pindus mountain range. Its highest peak, at the border of Albania and Greece, is 2,520 m (8,268 ft). The region is inhabited by Albanians, Aromanians and Greeks.The brown bear occurs in the region.

Inner German border

The Inner German border (German: Innerdeutsche Grenze pronounced [ˈɪnɐdɔʏtʃə ˈgʁɛntsə] or Deutsch-deutsche Grenze pronounced [ˈdɔʏtʃˌdɔʏtʃə ˈgʁɛntsə]; initially also Zonengrenze pronounced [ˈtsɔnənˌgʁɛntsə]) was the border between the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) from 1949 to 1990. Not including the similar and physically separate Berlin Wall, the border was 1,393 kilometres (866 mi) long and ran from the Baltic Sea to Czechoslovakia.

It was formally established on 1 July 1945 as the boundary between the Western and Soviet occupation zones of former Nazi Germany. On the eastern side, it was made one of the world's most heavily fortified frontiers, defined by a continuous line of high metal fences and walls, barbed wire, alarms, anti-vehicle ditches, watchtowers, automatic booby traps, and minefields. It was patrolled by 50,000 armed East German guards who faced tens of thousands of West German, British, and US guards and soldiers. In the hinterlands behind the border were more than a million North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Warsaw Pact troops.

The border was a physical manifestation of Sir Winston Churchill's metaphorical Iron Curtain that separated the Soviet and Western blocs during the Cold War. It marked the boundary between two ideological systems—democratic capitalism and single-party communism. Built by East Germany in phases from 1952 to the late 1980s, the fortifications were constructed to stop the large-scale emigration of East German citizens to the West, about 1,000 of whom are said to have died trying to cross it during its 45-year existence. It caused widespread economic and social disruption on both sides; East Germans living in the region suffered especially draconian restrictions.The better-known Berlin Wall was a physically separate, less elaborate, and much shorter border barrier surrounding West Berlin, more than 155 kilometres (96 mi) to the east of the inner German border. Berlin, which was entirely within the Soviet zone, had been similarly divided by the four powers after World War II, thus creating an exclave surrounded by East Germany that was closely aligned with (but not formally part of) West Germany.

On 9 November 1989, the East German government announced the opening of the Berlin Wall and the inner German border. Over the following days, millions of East Germans poured into the West to visit. Hundreds of thousands moved permanently to the West in the following months as more crossings were opened, and ties between long-divided communities were re-established as border controls became little more than a cursory formality. The inner German border was not completely abandoned until 1 July 1990, exactly 45 years to the day since its establishment, and only three months before German reunification formally ended Germany's division.

Little remains of the inner German border's fortifications. Its route has been declared part of the European Green Belt linking national parks and nature reserves along the course of the old Iron Curtain from the Arctic Circle to the Black Sea. Several museums and memorials along the old border commemorate the division and reunification of Germany and, in some places, preserve elements of the fortifications.

Kai Frobel

Kai Frobel is a German environmental ecologist. When he was young he lived very near the German part of the Iron Curtain, on the west side, near Coburg. He realized that the public-excluded security zone along the Iron Curtain had become a de facto wildlife reserve. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, he was instrumental in getting these wildlife reserves preserved as the European Green Belt. He runs the Ribbon of Life project which seeks to preserve these areas. He is associated with the BUND (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland).


Korab (Albanian: Mali i Korabit, Macedonian: Кораб) is a mountain range in the eastern corner of Albania and the western part of North Macedonia, running along the border between both countries. It forms also the European Green Belt. In Albania, it is also called Vargu lindor (English: Eastern range), but this term encompasses mountains further north, such as the Koritnik and Gjallica. The highest peak is Mount Korab at 2,751 m (9,026 ft) above sea level. With a prominence of 2,169 m (7,116 ft), Korab is the 18th most prominent mountain peak in the European continent. The mountains are composed of sedimentary rock, including shale, sandstone, dolomite and limestone. The name refers to a Paleochristian sea god.

Geographically, the Korab mountain range extendes 40 km (25 mi) from the Dibër Valley in a north-south direction, between the river valleys of the Black Drin and its tributary the Radika. It is located near the tripoint of Albania, North Macedonia, and Kosovo, southwest of the Šar Mountains. The Drin Valley lies around 400 m (1,300 ft) to the west, the bed of the Radika at about 1,000 m (3,300 ft) above sea level.

The geology of the park is dominated by mountains made up of exposed faulted sedimentary rock and valleys containing glacial lakes.

The Albanian part has numerous high peaks and ranges, almost as tall as the Korab massif. To the north of this double-peak there are many other nameless peaks of a similar height. Korab-Pforte (Albanian: Maja Portat e Korabit, Macedonian: Mala Korapska Vrata) lies around 2 km (1.2 mi) southwest of Korab massif and is almost as tall as the main mountain, at 2,727 m (8,947 ft). A few hundred meters further south, there are another peaks, Maja e Moravës 2,718 m (8,917 ft) and Mali i Gramës 2,345 m (7,694 ft). The mountains are composed of shale and limestone. Much of the range is protected by nature parks; the Korab-Koritnik Nature Park.South of the complex of peaks around Mount Korab, there are other large mountains: Mali i Gramës (2,345 m (7,694 ft)) and Dešat's Velivar summit (2,375 m (7,792 ft)). After that, the range falls away to the city of Debar and the Debar Lake. The city of Peshkopi is to the southwest of Mali i Gramës and has geothermal baths.

Korab-Koritnik Nature Park

The Korab-Koritnik Nature Park (Albanian: Parku Natyror i Korab-Koritnikut) is a nature park in eastern Albania and forms a section of the European Green Belt, which serves as a retreat for endangered animal and plant species. It encompasses 55,550 hectares (555.5 km2) of alpine mountainous terrain, with valleys, rivers, glacial lakes, caves, canyons, dense coniferous and deciduous forest. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the park as Category IV. Both,

Koritnik and Korab has been recognised as an Important Plant Area of international importance by Plantlife.Korab-Koritnik Nature Park starts on the frontier with Kosovo in the north along the border with North Macedonia to the Desha Mountains in the south. The nature park is named after the Korab Mountains and Koritnik Mountain. Korab is the highest summit of both Albania and North Macedonia, standing at an elevation of 2,764 metres (9,068 ft). It is also one of only two summits in Europe, which is the highest point for more than one country and as well the 18th-most prominent mountain peak in Europe. The summit is a very rugged mountain massif and consists mainly of shale and limestone of the Paleozoic period with block structures and also severely damaged gypsum rocks of permo Triassic. On the west side, the mountain falls steeply over rock walls, while the north side consists of craggy rocks.The nature park experiences a moderate humid continental climate with wet cold winters and dry hot summers. Due to a great variability in elevation, a rich diversity of climates, flora and fauna can be found within the territory. It falls within the Dinaric Mountains mixed forests and Balkan mixed forests terrestrial ecoregions of the Palearctic Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. The forests are composed by diverse species of deciduous and coniferous trees and a great variety of wildflowers. The levels of the vegetation are distinguished based on different altitudes, oak forests from 400 to 900 metres (1,300–3,000 ft), conifers and beech forests with mixed broadleaved forests from 1,000 to 2,000 metres (3,300–6,600 ft) above sea level. The slopes of the mountain meadows are mostly covered with deciduous forests. The most common types of tree in the park are silver fir, austrian pine, bosnian pine, macedonian pine and black alder. Oak forests can be found on the lower altitudes including the oriental hornbeam, downy oak, macedonian oak and field maple.

The fauna is represented by 37 species of mammals. Large mammals such as the brown bear, grey wolf, balkan lynx, roe deer, wild boar, weasel, pine marten, and red squirrel can be found in the area. It also contains a variety of suitable habitats that support dense populations of birds such as the golden eagle, western capercaillie, peregrine falcon, common buzzard, accipiter, eagle-owl, griffon vulture, hazel grouse and many other.


Koritnik (Albanian: Maja e Koritnikut) is a wooded, limestone mountain, located in northeastern Albania and southwest Kosovo between the cities of Kukës and Prizren. The mountain is entirely surrounded by branches of the White Drin river. The highest point of Koritnik massif, Maja e Pikëllimës reaches an elevation of 2,393 metres (7,851 ft) above the Adriatic. Gryka e Vanavës (English: Vanave Gorge) separates the mountain from Gjallica. The gorge is 3.5 km (2.2 mi) long, 30 m (100 ft) wide, and about 300 m (980 ft) deep.The massif falls within the Balkan mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. The slopes of the mountain meadows are mostly covered with coniferous forests. The Koritnik mountain because of its high pastures contains a population of 60 chamois.

Koritnik falls within the Korab-Koritnik Nature Park, forming the European Green Belt. It has been recognised as a Important Plant Areas of international importance by Plantlife.

Kukës County

Kukës County (Albanian pronunciation: [ku:kəs]; Albanian: Qarku i Kukësit) is a landlocked county in northeastern Albania, with the capital in Kukës. The county spans 2,374 square kilometres (917 sq mi) and had a total population of 84,035 people as of 2016. The county borders on the counties of Dibër, Lezhë and Shkodër and the countries of Kosovo and North Macedonia. It is divided into three municipalities, including Has, Kukës and Tropojë. The municipalities are further subdivided into 290 towns and villages in total.

The human presence in the lands of modern Kukës County can be traced back to the Bronze Ages, when ancient Illyrians, Dardanians and Romans established settlements in the region. Several Illyrian tombs were discovered in the villages of Këneta and Kolsh close to Kukës.Kukës is predominantly mountainous and framed by mountain ranges including the Albanian Alps in the northwest which is typified by karst topography. The northeast is dominated by the mountains of Gjallica, Koritnik and Pashtrik, while the southeastern bound is mostly formed by the Korab and Sharr Mountains. At 2,694 metres (8,839 ft), Maja Jezercë is the county's highest peak, and the second highest peak of Albania. Karst topography predominates in the county, resulting in specific landforms and hydrology because of the interaction of the karst and the region's watercourses. It is crossed and drained by the Drin river. The county is also home to the sources of rivers such as the Valbona, which originates south of Maja Jezercë and Gashi a notable tributary of Valbona.

Located in the north of Albania, the climate is alpine and continental. Mean monthly temperature ranges between 11 °C (52 °F) (in January) and 25 °C (77 °F) (in July). Mean annual precipitation ranges between 900 millimetres (35 inches) and 3,000 millimetres (120 inches) depending on geographic region and prevailing climate type.

According to the last national census from 2011 this county has 85,292 inhabitants. They are mostly Muslim and a significant Catholic Christian minority are present. They speak the Gheg dialect.

Lake Gramë

Gramë Lake (Albanian: Liqeni i Gramës) is a glacial lake situated in the eastern Korab Mountains, close to the Mount Korab and Mali i Gramës in Albania, spanning an area of 5 ha (0.050 km2). It is also the largest and deepest lake within the mountain range. The lake is located 1,750 metres elevation above sea level. Their shores are steep and rocky. It takes water from rainfall, and snowfall. The biggest amount of water can be observed in the late spring, which is due to melting of the snow on the surrounding peaks.

Prespa National Park

The Prespa National Park (Albanian: Parku Kombëtar i Prespës) is a national park in southeastern Albania lying on the border triangle shared with Greece and North Macedonia. At approximately 277.5 km2 (107.1 sq mi), the park encompasses the country's sections of Great and Small Prespa Lake that are surrounded by mountains. It is considerably marked by high mountains, small islands, vast freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, meadows, reed beds and dense forests.

Established to protect the natural and as well the cultural heritage of the region, it is included in the European Green Belt and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme. The country's section of Great Prespa is recognised as a wetland of international importance by designation under the Ramsar Convention and further as an Important Bird and Plant Area.The lakes are essentially situated between 850 and 900 metres elevation above the Adriatic in the Balkan Peninsula. Located about 150 metres above Lake Ohrid, its waters passes through several underground channels composed of karst and emerge from springs into the lake. Mali i Thatë separates the Great Prespa from Lake Ohrid, one of the most ancient lakes in the world. It is primarily known for the cultivation of mountain tea that flourish at the limestone rocks of the mountain; it is one of the most popular tea types of the Albanian people. Besides, the park protects the island of Maligrad, which is dotted with many caves suitable for wildlife and a circular cliff.

Due to the temperature and climate differences between different areas and elevations of the park, it is characterized by housing a wide range of plants and animals. The park falls within the Pindus Mountains mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub. Forests cover 13,500 hectares (135 km2) of the park's area, with dense coniferous and deciduous forests.

Out of the 1130 species of flora and 174 species of fungus are distributed throughout the park. The fauna is represented by 60 species of mammals, 270 species of birds, 23 species of reptiles, 11 species of amphibia and 23 species of fish.

Prespa National Park is a cultural landscape that displays evidence of cultural practices dating back thousands of years, with the oldest traces of human habitation dating back to the neolithic. During classical antiquity, the trade route of Via Egnatia passed nearby the region as it was inhabited by several Illyrian and Ancient Greek tribes as well as Romans and later by Byzantines. Nonetheless, the park is dotted with many natural and cultural features containing prehistoric dwellings and byzantine churches such as the caves of Zaver and Treni, the St. Mary's Church and so on.

Rewilding (conservation biology)

Rewilding is large-scale conservation aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and core wilderness areas, providing connectivity between such areas, and protecting or reintroducing apex predators and keystone species. Rewilding projects may require ecological restoration or wilderness engineering, particularly to restore connectivity between fragmented protected areas, and reintroduction of predators and keystone species where extirpated. The ultimate goal of rewilding efforts is to create ecosystems requiring passive management by limiting human control of ecosystems. Successful long term rewilding projects should be considered to have little to no human-based ecological management, as successful reintroduction of keystone species creates a self-regulatory and self-sustaining stable ecosystem, with near pre-human levels of biodiversity.

Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park

The Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park (Albanian: Parku Kombëtar Shebenik-Jabllanicë) is a national park in eastern Albania adjacent to the border with North Macedonia. It encompasses 339.277 square kilometres (33,927.7 ha) and is specifically marked by a mountainous landscape supplied with glacial lakes, valleys, dense coniferous and deciduous forests and alpine meadows and pastures. Elevations in the park vary from 300 metres to over 2,200 metres above the Adriatic at the peak of Shebenik and Jabllanica, hence the name. It dwells a number of endangered species that are fast becoming rare in Southern Europe, including the brown bear, gray wolf and balkan lynx. The abundance in wildlife can in part be explained by the variety of vegetation types and remote location.

The park offers some of the most rugged scenery in the eastern section of country that were carved into their present shapes by the glaciers of the last ice age. It is home to 14 glacial lakes, the highest situated between 1,500 and 1,900 metres elevation above the Adriatic. Small cirque glaciers are fairly common in the mountain ranges, situated in depressions on the side of many mountains. Two rivers flow and multiple smaller water sources flow through the park's area including the rivers of Qarrishte and Bushtrice, both of which are 22 km long. The park area is thought to contain one of the primary remaining ranges of the balkan lynx, a subspecies of the eurasian lynx.

The park falls within the Dinaric Mountains mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. The forests are home to a number of different rare and endemic species of plants, mammals and fungi.

The park contains beech, fir, pines, and oak species as well as species such as purple willow, norway maple, silver birch, and silver fir in the northern slopes of the mountains. Bird species include the golden eagle, western capercaillie, and hazel grouse.

The park is managed by a directorate subordinated to the Ministry of Environment and based in the towns of Librazhd and Prrenjas. It is among the newest and the second largest national park in Albania. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the park as Category II. It also includes the Rajca Nature Reserve. Although 212,945 hectares (2,129.45 km2) of the park's territory are included within the Primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Notably, it is also part of the European Green Belt, which serves as a retreat for endangered animal and plant species. The mountains of Shebenik and Jablanica and the region of Rajcë has been recognised as an Important Plant Areas of international importance by Plantlife.

Unintended consequences

In the social sciences, unintended consequences (sometimes unanticipated consequences or unforeseen consequences) are outcomes that are not the ones foreseen and intended by a purposeful action. The term was popularised in the twentieth century by American sociologist Robert K. Merton.Unintended consequences can be grouped into three types:

Unexpected benefit: A positive unexpected benefit (also referred to as luck, serendipity or a windfall).

Unexpected drawback: An unexpected detriment occurring in addition to the desired effect of the policy (e.g., while irrigation schemes provide people with water for agriculture, they can increase waterborne diseases that have devastating health effects, such as schistosomiasis).

Perverse result: A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended (when an intended solution makes a problem worse). This is sometimes referred to as 'backfire'.


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