Albania has approved a law that imposes a 10-year moratorium banning logging in all forests and the export of timber. This law, approved at the beginning of February, was passed with 101 votes in favor out of 140, and it carries jail sentences of up to 10 years for offenders.
The law has been prepared by the Environmental Ministry and allows only municipality representatives to cut a limited amount of trees in order to meet the needs of people who burn wood for winter fuel. Moreover, it foreseen that all manufacturers using wood to produce goods will be forced to import it.
“The authorities brought in the legislation after Albania’s forests were severely damaged over the last 25 years by illegal logging, often carried out in collaboration with officials in charge of protecting the forests. A Balkan Investigative Reporting Network investigation showed that in 2011, up to 46 million cubic feet of trees were felled illegally in Albania — the equivalent of 11,600 acres, an area larger than the size of Tirana, the capital.”