Bulgaria’s old-growth forest conservation initiative is competing for the European Natura 2000 Award. It is a good example of the state and the non-governmental sector joining forces in the name of nature. The nomination is in the category “reconciling interests / perceptions”. You can support the nomination with your vote.

Voting is open until June 2 and you can take part in determining the finalists.

Our country has impressed the jury with the efforts of foresters and conservationists, as well as state policies aimed at protecting and enhancing the importance of the public and ecological functions of forests. In this regard, 109 000 ha of forest areas were declared as old-growth forests. The declared area is twice the total area of the country’s reserves.

These forests were declared by order of the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry in 2016 “forests with a special status”. Appropriate management regimes should be applied to maintain certain structures and elements of these forest ecosystem. Forests that have the potential to reach a state of old-growth phase will be allowed to do so by guiding natural dynamics and processes in this direction.

Thus, our country is one of the first in Europe to meet its obligations and comply with the European Habitats Directives, ensuring that favourable conservation status is maintained for individual habitats in Natura 2000 protected sites. Municipalities such as Botevgrad, Sevlievo and Kyustendil have followed the example of the state and declared part of the municipal forests in the old growth phase, for conservation. This was made possible thanks to the two-year field studies for mapping of old forests – municipal property, carried out within a WWF project.

This year, for the fifth time, the European Commission honours outstanding achievements in the management and conservation of protected sites in the Natura 2000 network. Our country is among the 27 finalists nominated from 79 applications received from all countries in the Community and the United Kingdom.

The aim of the awards is to recognise and encourage the most successful achievements in the management of Natura 2000 protected sites. This raises awareness of the network and its role in conserving Europe’s natural heritage, while promoting the social and economic benefits.

Source: EFA

Photo by: European commission