Assessment of Livestock Management and Demands for Fire Woods in Prespa National Park
Faculty of Economy and Agribusiness, AUT, Albania
As e result of extensive over-utilization, most local forests of the Prespa National Park (PNP) have deteriorated into unproductive shrub communities of low commercial and biodiversity values. This is presumably associated with a reduction in species diversity and loss of biodiversity. There are three factors which impact the condition of forest inside PNP: grazing of animals, lopping of fodder (branches and leaves), and illegal wood cutting. Grazing of alpine meadows requires a sound range management plan that regulates grazing season, livestock numbers, and species composition and rotation cycles in designated areas. Tree looping for winter fodder production is considered a problem in the basin. As a result, woodland near the villages is degraded. Dry foliage of oak branches cut in August or September are fed at a rate up to 80% of the winter diet of goats, and to a lesser extend to sheep. Well-known local energy shortage continues to have detrimental effects on the forest ecosystems of the Prespa National Park and its surrounding area, as a fuel wood is the major source of energy for the predominantly rural population of the region. The present study, has the purpose that starting from actual park situation, which is result of: (i) several improvement interventions during last years on protection, management and treatment of forest-pasture ecosystems; rehabilitation of degraded oak areas; forest products exploitation; reforestation of empty areas, and (ii) a series of abusive interventions, such as: uncontrolled forest cutting for firewood and tree lopping for livestock; overgrazing from goats; hard social economic conditions of the local inhabitants etc., to offer some solutions for good management and exploitation of biological and biodiversity potential, sustainable economic activities and opportunities for ecotourism development in the park, through investments stimulating forest treatment, its artificial reforestation, sustainable harvesting of forest products, alternative renewable energy resources etc., with effective impacts on the park forest ecosystems and for the population of Prespa zone.