Natural Heritage in the Republic of Kosovo: Looking for Potential UNESCO Sites
In addition to cultural heritage values, Kosovo is characterised by natural heritage values; these values
identify different areas in Kosovo as potential sites for protection under UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) program and the Convention Concerning the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage. These natural values (i.e. geomorphological, hydrological, biodiversity- and ecosystem-related) are found mainly in the massifs of Kosovo’s four mountain ranges, i.e. the Sharr Mountains, the Bjeshket e Nemuna (Albanian Alps), the Koritnik Mountains, and the Pashtrik Mountains. These regions provide the largest number of potential sites for nomination to the World Heritage List or the MAB program.
Of the natural heritage values, 19 geomorphological areas of international importance were identified;
additionally, 3 areas had regional (Balkan) importance, and 19 sites were caves. Furthermore, 152 glacial
and nival lakes and a bifurcation (i.e. hydrological values), approximately 200 species and subspecies that are endemic to the Balkans, 8 locally endemic, 9 endemic and endemic-relict plant associations and 1 endemic animal species (i.e. biodiversity values), and ancient Beech forests (i.e. ecosystem values) were considered for conservation.
Consideration of the above mentioned areas for protection under UNESCO would provide a legal framework for the protection of natural and cultural values in Kosovo as well as support their sustainable development.
Additionally, protecting these areas would promote the development of environmental and educational
projects and training as well as the research and monitoring of issues related to nature conservation and
sustainable development at local, regional and international levels.