Theth National Park
|Theth National Park|
Theth during autumn.
|Area||2,630 ha (26.3 km2)|
|Established||21 November 1966|
The Theth National Park (Albanian: Parku Kombëtar i Thethit) is a national park in northern Albania. Established in 1966, the park covers 2,630 ha (26.3 km2) and is centred on the Albanian Alps, encompassing the larger portion of Shala Valley. The park was established to protect various ecosystems and biodiversity and the cultural and historical heritage of the region. It is dominated by high terrain, with a wide variety of natural features including valleys, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, dense forests and several rock formations. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the park as Category II. Notably, the region has been also identified as an important Bird and Plant Area. In 2017, Theth has been further declared a Protected Historic Center.
Theth villages sprawls across the upper Shala Valley and is trapped on four sides by numerous two-thousanders such as Radohima in the west, Arapi and Poplluka in the north and Jezerca in the east. Standing at 1,795 m (5,889 ft), the Valbona Pass leads a mountain path in the west, which separates the park from the Valbona Valley National Park. Like most of the Albanian Alps, the park is dominated by limestone and dolomite rocks and shows major karst features such as the Grunas Canyon and the southern wall of Arapi, which is considered the highest rock face in the Balkans.
Despite of its limited area, the park is distinguished by a highly diverse flora with estimates which vary between 1500 and 1650 species of plants among which 70 species are endangered. Theth is part of a large preserved ecosystem all of which is primarily untouched with pristine quality. Biogeographically, the Dinaric Mountains mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest occur in the park. There are three types of forest found at the park. The oak floor extends from an altitude between 600 metres up to 800 metres and is dominated, among other by austrian oak, oriental hornbeam, hophornbeam, cornel and flowering ash. The beech floor is mainly covered with common beech, silver fir and sycamore, between 900 metres and 1,900 metres. The alpine floor, lying at an altitude which ranges between 1,900 metres to 2,300 metres, is characterized by herbaceous plants and shrubs most notable amongst them is the juniper and willow. Moreover, the most important plants of this floor include the alpine bluegrass, alpine aster, trefoil and common bird's-foot trefoil.
Only 20 species of mammals has been recorded within the park's land area. Additionally, large mammals such as brown bear, roe deer, chamois as well as rare or endangered species like the gray wolf, lynx, and wild goat inhabit the park. 50 species of birds have been observed, with raptors such as the golden eagle, lesser kestrel, nuthatch, robin, blackbird, red-backed shrike, western capercaillie and rock partridge. Due to the harsh winters, the park has few reptile and amphibian species. A total of 10 species of reptiles and 8 species of amphibia reside in park including the alpine salamander, common frog, alpine newt and brown trout.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Theth National Park.|
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- BirdLife International. "Thethi". datazone.birdlife.org.
- Albanian National Agency of Tourism. "Valbona Valley National Park" (in Albanian). Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
- IUCN, World Wide Fund for Nature, Plantlife. "Important Plant Areas of the south and east Mediterranean region" (PDF). portals.iucn.org. p. 75.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- "Maja e Arapit, Geoquest Kletterführer" (PDF). dav-augsburg.de (in German). p. 3.
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- Rudolf Abraham. The Peaks of the Balkans Trail: Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo. Cicerone Press Limited, 2017. p. 27. ISBN 9781783625550.
- "VLERËSIMI STRATEGJIK MJEDISOR P.P.V. BASHKIA SHKODËR" (PDF). bashkiashkoder.gov.al (in Albanian). Shkodër. pp. 118–120.