The Land

Albania Table of Contents

In 1991 cultivable land in Albania amounted to about 714,000 hectares, about 25 percent of the country's total area. Arable land and permanent croplands totaled about 590,000 hectares and 124,000 hectares, respectively; permanent pasturelands accounted for another 409,528 hectares. More than 100,000 hectares of the cultivable land had a slope greater than 30 percent and was allocated almost entirely to permanent tree crops, such as olives. Forests and woodlands covered more than 1 million hectares, or 38 percent of the total land area. The soils of the coastal plain and eastern plateau were fertile, but acidic soils were predominant in the 200,000 hectares of cropland in hilly and mountainous areas.

Irrigation and desalination projects, terracing of highlands, and drainage of marshes, often carried out by forced labor, added considerably to the country's cultivable land after 1945. Large population increases, however, reduced the amount of cultivable land per capita by 35 percent between 1950 and 1987 and by 20 percent between 1980 and 1988. About 423,000 hectares were irrigated in 1991, up from about 39,300 hectares in 1950. The economic disruptions of the early 1990s, however, left only about 40 percent of the country's irrigation system functional and 20 percent in complete disrepair. Albania also invested substantially in imported Dutch greenhouses during its drive for food self-sufficiency.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress