Forests occupy a large proportion of the land area in the Western Balkans – from 28 per cent in Albania up to 44.7 per cent in Kosovo1 (Tomter et al., 2013, World Bank, 2012) – and play a significant social and economic role in all of the countries, both in terms of the national economies and local livelihoods. People in rural areas rely heavily on fuelwood not only for energy, but also for employment and additional income. The wood industry is an important contributor to the development of local economies. In some countries, the contribution of forestry to GDP is high (8 per cent in Montenegro), but in other countries it ranges between 0.5 and 2.5 per cent (Markus-Johansson et al., 2010); however, the true value to local economies and livelihoods is estimated to be much higher. Forests also provide numerous ecosystem services including maintaining biodiversity, mitigating and adapting to climate change effects and regulating soil and water regimes.
From collection: Outlook on Climate Change Adaptation in the Western Balkan Mountains
GRID-Arendal and Cartografare il Presente/Nieves Izquierdo