SLU will be assisting Albania's environmental authority in building its capacity in designing and implementing an inventory of the country's forests and pastures. The purpose of this national forest inventory is to increase the knowledge about Albania’s forests – their state, changes in them and how they are managed.
SLU will assist with the design and set-up of the inventory, which on a practical level will be carried out by the Albanian authority's staff. SLU will contribute expertise and advice on the statistical approach of the inventory, and will also train the technical staff.
"We will also provide expertise in remote sensing and IT. The inventory is going to generate large amounts of data, so it's important to have well-functioning databases," explains SLU researcher Mats Sandewall, who is leading SLU's work on the project.
He also emphasises that the step after data collection and analysis is essential.
"It's important that the inventory is well integrated at both local level and policy level. For this reason, it is important to ensure that results from the inventory reach the responsible authorities and can be interpreted by them."
The authorities expect to use the results to support a sustainable management of the forests and to develop the country's forest policy. There is, for example, a wish to increase timber production in a sustainable manner, while at the same time safeguarding biodiversity.
The project, which starts this autumn and will run for three years, is funded through the World Bank, with partial input from the Swedish Governmnent. Mats Sandewall, Jonas Fridman, Anton Grafström, Michael Egberth and Esbjörn Andersson are participating from SLU. The Swedish Forest Agency is also participating in the project.
The project is included in the Forest Programme, part of SLU's environmental monitoring and assessment mission.