AGIM PEPKOLAJ1*,NDOC FASLIA2
1,2Department of Plant Sciences and Technologies, Agricultural University of Tirana, Koder- Kamez, 1029, Tirana, Albania
Bilberry is one of the most important medicinal plants in Albania, which spontaneously grows in the forests and alpine pastures of Tropoja region (Qerem area). In Albania, bilberry is found associated with pine forests (Pinetum), beech forests (Fagetum), in meadows and pastures, etc. In the recent years, bilberry coverage has been decreased caused by intensive use without respecting any technical criteria.For that reason, during last years bilberry is becoming much rarer, especially in the vicinity of inhabited areas. We found out that bilberry coverage/abundance is reduced drastically near Markofce site due habitat concurrence, over collection and fires.In these circumstances, it is very urgent to start with in situ conservation methods as well as, in the near future, to start with cultivation practices of bilberry plant. Conservation of bilberry natural population implies more actions to help farmers/collectors to diversify their incomes not only selling the row bilberry fruits to the local collectors but also to introduce new techniques on processing the bilberry fruits. Promoting the sustainable use of bilberry and tourism in Qerem area may imply actions by local authorities, farmers and different donors.
Keywords: medicinal and aromatic plants; biodiversity; bilberry; conservation; sustainable use