Shebenik National Park is one of the largest parks in Albania, about 34’000 ha, which means it requires a great number of Rangers for monitoring. A much higher comparable number than are currently available at the RAPA of Elbasan office.
Around Shebenik there are several villages that alongside their daily rural routine were evaluated to also have a significant impact on the monitoring of biodiversity in the surrounding area. Some farmers graze their livestock in the pastures of Shebenik, some collect medicinal and aromatic plants, some get the wood for heating in the winter, and the symbiosis between them and the park is much older than the science of the protected areas itself.
When a fire outburst occurs in the park the first responder informs and intervenes are the local community. AlbNatyra had the opportunity to address this within the implementation of this project by putting efforts into strengthening the relationship between RAPA and the community. AlbNatyra emphasized the common interest of RAPA and the Community where working in harmony for the park offers an array of benefits for the community.
Creating a monitoring group with the local community representatives from seven Administrative Units in the area was the main objective. This monitoring group of 11 people, who voluntarily joined the project, will serve as an extended wing for the RAPA team. Their key role is to inform and help RAPA, especially when they observe any threat to biodiversity or in case of fire events. Tailored training aiming to increase their skills in biodiversity monitoring and firefighting was provided.
Biodiversity monitoring was also extended to two Schools in the park area with the aim of providing the younger generation with a greater understanding of the responsibilities to protect and promote the values of their park.