Chainsaw Gangs: The Plunder of Albania’s Ancient Forests

Arlis Alikaj Rrajca, Librazhd, Elbasan, Struga

Rampant illegal logging in Albania’s biggest national park is ravaging primeval woodland protected by UNESCO, a BIRN investigation reveals.

The slopes of Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park. Photo by Viktor Bogdani

The driver shunted the Soviet-made truck into first gear as it hugged the track cut into the mountainside. Rolling over a large rock, the vehicle tilted precariously toward the cliff edge. Below, a sea of clouds stretched to the horizon.

“If Allah wills it, we’ll make it,” the driver said. “But if Allah wills it, we’ll die.”

His fatalism brought little comfort.

The truck stalled, juddered, then burst back into life. Coaxing the accelerator, he skirted the precipice and continued up the muddy road.

Read more at Balkan Insight

Fellow Bio

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Arlis Alikaj

Arlis Alikaj is an Albanian freelance investigative reporter who specialises in conservation and social issues.