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Biodiversity Conservation and Valorization: Sustainable rural development in Balkan Mountains
// BiodivBalkans //

January 2012 - December 2017

Project Summary


BiodivBalkans is a research-action project aiming at crossing environmental injunction of biodiversity conservation with economic objectives of rural development, in Albanian mountainous rural areas.
The main hypothesis is that the building process of an appropriate label of quality/origin/equity/sustainability could provide an effective tool for territorial development and conservation of agro-biodiversity.


The natural and cultural heritage of the Albanian mountainous areas is one of the most rich and varied in Europe. The Balkan mountains harbor highly diverse flora and fauna, the principal resources to preserve in the region. In the meantime, local populations are extremely poor and are making their living out of the exploitation of natural resources, whether through farming, cattle breading or gathering. In that context, labels of quality, especially Geographical Indications or organic farming, allow to improve product prices and added value for producers while encouraging the preservation of biodiversity by introducing environmental specifications. Specifically, BiodivBalkans project seeks to :

  • Produce an inventory of local agro-biodiversity products and assess their potential of valorization through respective commodity chains
  • Improve institutional capacities and legislation on the development of products arising from Albania’s biodiversity;
  • Develop the value added on three products from the Albanian mountainous areas;
  • Integrate the agro-ecosystemic dimension, biodiversity conservation, and heritage preservation in commodity chain development strategies; and
  • Build, during the project, a regional collaborative network on issues related to the use of signs of quality to showcase mountain products and biodiversity support.


Bernard C., Crouteix O., Lerin F., Lopez R. (2013).Forests and Pastures’ Devolution Process in Albania: A sustainable Management of Mediterranean Commons? Tirana, Albania: CIHEAM-IamM, Cofor International, French Embassy.

Bernard C., Boutonnet J.P., Garnier A., Lerin F., Medolli B. (2014). Quality labels: a way to support the development of pastoral resources? Methodological insights based on the monographic analysis of Hasi Region – Northern Albania. Joint meeting of “Mountain Pastures, Mediterranean Forage Resources and Mountain Cheese” Network. Clermont-Ferrrand, France.



Source of funding : French Global Environmental Facility (FFEM) ; Mountain Area Development Agency (MADA) – upon International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funds ; Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Montpellier (CIHEAM-IamM)
Programme and Contact references : François Lerin Claire Bernard
Partners :
  • Mountain Area Development Agency (MADA) - Albania
  • Albanian Ministry of Agriculture (Mardwa) - Albania
  • Regional Network (Montenegro, Kosovo, FYROM) - Kosovo