Pilot alder restoration

The mapping of Prespa littoral habitats, conducted in 2018 resulted with scientifically sound recommendations on their management. According to the habitats map, priority habitats, Alluvial alder forests together with wet meadows were identified as a priority for restoration and management, respectively. 

The habitat selected for revitalization-Riparian forest with Alnus glutionosa, is a priority habitat type according to the Habitat Directive 92/43/EEC. The common alder not only in NP Ezerani, but also along the entire shore of Prespa Lake is presented with small forest patches, scattered through different types of vegetation. Given the biodiversity and the importance of different vegetation types i.e., the presence of important habitat types all over Prespa, it is very difficult to choose the most suitable place for reforestation, and it is crucial to take into account the importance of the surrounding habitats and types of vegetation. 

The process of selecting the most suitable plot for reforestation included analysis of a number of parameters, but also a number of filed visits to determine the true condition of the potential plots. The hydrology, morphology, pedology of the area, as well as the land ownership were taken into account. The results were presented in a summary map with possible places for revitalization. All identified plots were further ranked through their prioritization. For this purpose, the funnel method was used, through which, by applying different exclusion and selection criteria, it gave the most potential reforestation area. The highest scoring plots were singled out as the most suitable one.

The process of revitalization and restoration of alder forests is a complex process and includes a series of follow-up activities which determine its success, that MES undertook: 

  • Research on the suitability for revitalization of a given area,
  • Favorable and appropriate weather conditions for each of the activities (seed collection, production of planting material, field preparation, afforestation, etc.),
  • Providing seed material for afforestation,
  • Appropriate treatment of the seed material,
  • Human resources and equipment (nurseries, manual workers, mowing equipment, ploughing, digging, watering, protection and care of seedlings, electronic equipment for monitoring seedlings),
  • Preparation of the terrain for revitalization and providing water source for watering the seedlings (mowing, removal of other shrubs and weeds, digging, channelling the nearest waters).

After the finalization of all the preparation activities, one part of the selected plot was sown with alder seeds and another part was planted with 45 one-year and two-year old shoots, that were collected previously near the area of reforestation. The Ezerani Nature Park followed closely and was involved in all the activities, as they will continue to monitor the growth and the development of the seedling in the next period. The reforestation process will continue in the following years.