The Annotated Ramsar List: Albania


The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Albania on 29 February 1996. Albania presently has 4 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 98,181 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Albanian Prespa Lakes (Liqenet e Prespes Shqiptare). 13/06/2013; Korçë; 15,119 ha; 40°51’23”N 20°56’43”E. National Park, part of the trilateral international Prespa Park. A high altitude basin (max. 2287m asl) located in the southeastern Balkan Peninsula in the Mediterranean biogeographical region. The site includes two inter-linked lakes, Macro Prespa and Micro Prespa, and is characterized by tree-dominated wetlands, seasonal freshwater marshes and flooded agricultural lands, permanent rivers and creeks, canals, drainage channels, freshwater springs, subterranean karst and cave hydrological systems. The terrestrial ecosystem is dominated by the Mali i Thate (Dry Mountain) calcareous massif that extends south from the Albanian-Macedonian border. The boundary of the site is the same as the boundary of Prespa National Park regarding the aquatic component. The fauna and flora is characterized by not only high diversity but also a high level of endemism. The site is internationally important for globally endangered bird species such as Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) and White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), and it supports diverse and endemic fish, mammal and amphibian communities. The lakes play an important role in groundwater recharge and sediment trapping, and the main economic activities within the site are agriculture, livestock raising, fishery, forestry and tourism. Threats to the ecological character include eutrophication caused by intensive agriculture practices and the introduction of alien fish species for recreational fishing, which has also contributed to profound modification of the natural ecosystem of the lake. A management plan is currently in preparation. Ramsar Site no. 2151. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

28/03/03; Vlora; 13,500 ha ; 39°50'N 20°00'E. National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site. A wetland complex in the southwestern part of Albania, famous for its archaeological monuments (ancient port of Buthrotum), historical significance, and natural richness. The core area is composed by a tectonic lagoon of 1600 ha, known as Lake Butrint, that is surrounded by forested hills and mountains and complemented by saltwater and freshwater marshlands. Butrint supports a large number of plants and animals considered as having an unfavorable conservation status either nationally or internationally, such as Numenius tenuirostris, Caretta caretta, Dermochelys coriacea, and Monachus monachus. The area is also an important spawning ground, food source and migration path for fish. The main activities are fishing, mussel farming, stock raising, vineyards and cultural tourism. Ramsar site no. 1290. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Karavasta Lagoon. 29/11/95; Fier; 20,000 ha; 40º35’N 019º32’E. National Park. An enclosed brackish lagoon and areas of Pinus pinea forest, a species characteristic of the Mediterranean region. Up to 5% of the world’s breeding population of Pelecanus crispus (1,000 individuals) and significant portions of the European breeding populations of Sterna albifrons and Glareola pratincola are supported. Human activities include recreation, hunting, timber harvesting, and fishery. Ramsar site no. 781. Most recent RIS information: 1995.

Lake Shkodra and River Buna. 02/02/06; Shkodra; 49,562 ha; 42°03'N 019°29'E. National protected area. The eastern side of the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula, shared with Montenegro (Skadarsko Jezero Ramsar site), and the River Buna with its near natural delta on the East Adriatic coast. The area comprises a variety of habitats: freshwater, brackish water, woodland, freshwater marshes, wet pastures, sandy shore and rocky habitats supporting about 900-1000 plant species. Connection with the River Drin ensures the migration of mainly fish species from the Adriatic via Shkodra Lake to and from Ohrid and Prespa Lakes, such as the endangered Acipenser stellatus and Salmothymus obtusirostris as well as the critically endangered species Acipenser studio and Chondrostoma scodrensis. The site hosts about 25,000 wintering waterbirds, amongst them the endangered Oxyura leucocephala and the critically endangered Numenius tenuirostris. Threats arise from past and present practices of drainage for agriculture, uncontrolled development, changes in water regime, deforestation, illegal hunting and fishing, and introduced species. Shkodra (Skadar, Scutari) is known for its cultural heritage of more than 2000 years, e.g. the Illyrian walls and the ruins of a 600-year-old catholic church. Today the main activities are agriculture, stock raising, fishing and tourism. Ramsar site no. 1598. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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