Project Restoration and improvement of the conservation status of priority forest habitats within Bulgarian Natura 2000 network (LIFE16 NAT/BG/000817) is a joint initiative of Southwestern State Forest Enterprise – Blagoevgrad and Forest Seed Control Station – Sofia. The project is implemented with the financial support of LIFE 2016 Programme of the European Commission.
In this section you can find summarized information regarding the project objectives, territorial scope, planned activities and the stage of their implementation, as well as the achieved project results.
The overall project objective is the improvement of conservation status and increasing of habitat coverage of 7 priority forest habitats (91AA*, 01E0*, 9560*, 91H0*, 9180*, 9530* and 4070*) within 6 target Bulgarian Natura 2000 sites (BG0000224, BG0000366, BG0001013, BG0001011, BG0000298 and BG0000113).
Expected main project results can be summarized as follows:
– Identified sources of forest reproductive material from forest Natura 2000 sites on the whole territory of Bulgaria;
– Collected and processed 7300 kg seeds from 50 forest species represented in 14 priority habitats from the Natura 2000 network;
– Stocked forest gene bank with collected forest reproductive materials to be used for future conservation actions targeting forest Natura 2000 habitats;
– Installed and operational seed processing equipment at project nursery premises (seed cleaning and calibrating machine, seed de-winger, etc.);
– Installed and operational high capacity (1 million seedlings) production line for containerized seedlings (coniferous and deciduous) at project nursery;
– Produced more than 860,000 containerized seedlings from priority forest species to be used for project habitat restoration actions;
– Restored 104 ha of 7 priority forest habitats within 6 target Natura 2000 sites within Bulgarian Natura 2000 network;
– Improved conservation status of 3 ha of habitat 9560* in one Natura 2000 site (BG0000360);
– Raised institutional capacity and ensured grounds for replication of project results on the whole territory of Bulgaria (managed by the rest 5 State Forest Enterprises).
– Raised awareness regarding the conservation and restoration of priority habitats from the Natura 2000 network in project stakeholder, target groups and public.
All project results will be described in the prepared Layman’s report and disseminated to project target groups, stakeholders and public at project end.
The project foresees various action types such as: preparatory and direct conservation actions, dissemination and capacity building, as well as management and monitoring actions.
Project preparatory actions are focused on information collection and analysis, as well as preparation of documentation necessary for the implementation of project activities. A key preparatory action is the development of Restoration Program for targeted habitats in Natura 2000 sites that will be submitted for approval to the Ministry of Environment and Water.
Project direct conservation actions include:
– field visits and information analysis for the identification of sources of forest reproductive material within the whole Natura 2000 network in Bulgaria;
– collection and testing of seeds from the identified sources;
– delivery and installation of seed processing equipment at project nursery including training of nursery staff for operation with the equipment;
– installation of automated production line for containerized seedling production at project nursery;
– construction of project greenhouse and seedling growing areas at project nursery, equipped with systems for irrigation and climate control;
– production and growing of seedlings from collected reproductive material of priority forest species;
– clearing, ground preparation and reforestation works for habitat restoration and improvement of the conservation status of targeted priority habitats and Natura 2000 sites included in the developed Restoration Program;
– subsequent works for cultivation and care for restored habitats including replacement of dead seedlings.
Project dissemination actions foresee the organization of meetings with stakeholders and target groups, media events, printing and dissemination of information materials, internet communication through project website and social networks profile and erection of notice boards at project target sites.
Specific attention is put to capacity building and replication of project results through the organization of trainings, publication and dissemination of guidebooks for habitat restoration and sustainable management, etc.
Project success will be measured via dedicated actions and will be focused on: the success in production of seedlings, the success of habitat restoration works in target Natura 2000 sites, assessment of the socio-economic impact of the project, etc.
SCOPE AND TARGET SITES
Project actions related to the identification of sources and collection of forest reproductive material cover Natura 2000 sites on the whole territory on Bulgaria.
Project direct conservation actions related to the restoration and improvement of the conservation status of forest habitats are targeting 6 Natura 2000 sites within the territorial scope of Southwestern State Forest Enterprise – Blagoevgrad: BG0000224, BG0000366, BG0001013, BG0001011, BG0000298 and BG0000113.
Project dissemination and capacity building activities target experts, stakeholders and the public on local, regional and national levels.
The expected period for project implementation is 4 years starting on 18.09.2017 and with expecting project end – 18.09.2021.
PROJECT BUDGET AND FUNDING
Project Restoration and improvement of the conservation status of priority forest habitats within Bulgarian Natura 2000 network (LIFE16 NAT/BG/000817) is implemented with the financial support of LIFE 2016 Programme of the European Commission.
The total project budget is 2,108,332 EUR 74.96% of which is provided by the LIFE Programme and the rest is co-financed by project beneficiaries.
LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed more than 4500 projects. For the 2014-2020 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately €3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate.