Albania passes 10-year moratorium to stop cutting wood

The Albanian Environment Ministry says Parliament has passed a 10-year moratorium on chopping down trees for industry or export purposes.

Spokeswoman Ana Kekezi on Friday said that the law only allows local authorities to approve limited wood-cutting for heating.

Albania's 1.4 million hectares (3.5 million acres) of forests have been savagely cut or burnt over the past 26 years since the fall of the communist regime, with an average of 2.5 million trees chopped down each year.

Environment Minister Lefter Koka said that the "extreme decision on this moratorium" came after recent measures failed to stop loss of forest, one of the main reasons for floods throughout the country in recent years.