An Austrian company, the Lenzing Group has initiated a new project in Albania that will promote sustainable forestry and improve the living conditions of locals.
A part of its sustainability strategy “Naturally positive”, the Group has announced it will cultivate 20 hectares of degenerated land with forest and fruit trees. The project will take place with the cooperation and input of the local population and a number of other NGOs. They will also work with students in local schools to introduce and develop the concept of sustainable forestry.
In a press release on their website, the Group explains how extensive improvement is needed in Albanian forests and new approaches to both environmental issues and fulfilling the needs of society, need to be created with sustainability in mind.
“Lenzing has long-standing experience in responsible wood sourcing and extensive forestry expertise. This project shows that the Lenzingers passionately stand up for the viability of trees and forests and champion the interests of people above and beyond their daily business and fibre production. The idea for this project at this site came from Lenzing’s wood procurement team. Our forest experts have underlined the important role reforestation can play, especially in this area,” says Robert van de Kerkhof, Chief Commercial Officer of the Lenzing Group.
The project which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations will be co-financed by the Austrian Development Agency.
Areas that will see the benefits of the new project include the Ana e Malit region in north Albania where as much as 50% of official forest areas, do not contain vegetation. The result of this is erosion and annual floods which have a negative impact on the local community.
Some 3660 fruit, conifer, and deciduous trees have already been planted in the western part of the Shkodra Municipality and the foot of the Tarboshi Mountains, and near to the Buna and Drini rivers. Erosion measures including double fences and stone walls were also placed in the area.
Work will also commence with students at the Forest School of Shkodra, the Austrian school, and employees of the Eco-Social Farm which provides assistance to those with disabilities.