The Southwestern State Forestry Enterprise is joining the European Natura 2000 Day, which is being celebrated in the EU today. Over 50% of the company’s territory falls within protected areas of the European network, which is more than twice the European average (18%). In the EU, the eco-network consists of over 26,000 protected areas, 68 of which are within the scope of SWSFE – 43 areas under the Habitats Directive with a total area of 619,299 ha and 25 areas under the Birds Directive with a total area of 392,585 ha.
The enterprise’s contribution to biodiversity conservation in the eco-network is significant. More than 3% of the state forests (or a total of 20,743 ha) managed by the South-Western Development Project are defined and protected as “old-growth forests” by order of the Minister of Agriculture and Food of 2016. In 2018 in connection with the forest FSC certification the share of state forests designated for the protection of old-growth forests and representative samples of natural forest ecosystems has been increased to 10.4% or 71,544 ha.
All Natura 2000 forests are managed by SWSFE in accordance with the strictest European forestry principles, in order to maintain and improve their favorable conservation status. This includes the application of logging, which ensures permanent forest cover, protection of micro-habitats such as dead wood, biotope trees and riparian areas, as well as limiting the spread of invasive species.
The implementation of the project “Restoration and improvement of the conservation status of priority forest habitats from the Natura 2000 network in Bulgaria” is another step for wildlife conservation.
The project is one of the 9 most interesting and innovative projects that will be presented at a symposium in Alicante, Spain. The selection of the Consortium for monitoring and evaluation of the EC under the program was made in competition with many other European developments and is a great honor and recognition for the work of SWSFE.