1Department of Agribusiness, Faculty of Economy and Agribusiness, Agricultural University of Tirana, Kamëz, Tirana, Albania
Nature provides us with the very essentials of life. It gives us clean air and water; enables us to produce and gather food, fuel and raw materials from the land and sea; regulates our climate; stems flood waters and it filters pollution. It also gives us personal benefits from enjoying it that increases our health and happiness. Collectively, these benefits are known as ecosystem services. A study to obtain information concerning ecosystem services issues in the Albanian part of Prespa Park (AL-Prespa) basin, south-eastern Albania, was conducted from 2010-2012. The main aim of the study was providing an assessment of services coming from a range of AL-Prespa ecosystems, and benefits of the services under different management scenarios. In this study, the problem of how to address and solve the complex issues of assessing ecosystem services is addressed, using a deliberative process based on citizens’ juries aided by multi-criteria evaluation method of analysis. The main elements of the approach presented in this paper are: an inventory process to focus on sets of ecosystem services in AL-Prespa, and a number of future management scenarios are developed in conjunction with an expert panel of stakeholder and scientific representatives. This approach presents an important tool in an analysis of ecosystem services and is essential for identifying and prioritizing the relative importance of the services produced by ecosystems in a protected area. The approach described in this study may be applied to larger ecosystems with a broader range of the ecosystem services to be valued.
Keywords: Prespa Park, ecosystem services, multi-criteria evaluation method, deliberative process, citizen’s jury, stakeholders.