Despite the state of emergency, the production of container saplings for the needs of the Southwestern State Forestry Enterprise at state forest nursery – Lokorsko continues at a rapid pace.

The work involves processing, cleaning and sorting of seeds, filling of containers with soil substrate, sowing seeds, transporting and placing the seeded containers in project greenhouse and fields for germination and cultivation of saplings. Nearly 390,000 seeds of 8 tree species have been sown in containers since the beginning of 2020.

Fully automated production of conifers has also started during Forest Week, using the production line established under LIFEFORHAB project with the financial support of EC LIFE 2016 Programme. At maximum capacity, the line produces 720 conifers per minute, allowing large numbers to be sown in short time. Currently, we have reached over 50% of the implementation of the plan for the production of saplings in 2020, which provides for 700,000 trees. Work is ongoing also on afforestation of the last container saplings produced under the project in 2019.

So far, a total of 60.5 ha have been afforested in Natura 2000 sites on the territory of the SWSFE for the purpose of restoring forests damaged by forest fires, diseases and pests. In 2020, the SWSFE will continue to provide seedlings for nature conservation initiatives in conjunction with NGOs. For the second consecutive year, the company has contracted with WWF Bulgaria and will provide over 4,000 trees for the restoration of riparian habitats along the Maritza River. This spring, a partnership with the South-Central State Enterprise – Smolyan for the cleaning and processing of seeds for the production of saplings has started. Private companies are also interested in working together to produce saplings in the Lokorsko nursery.

The evaluation of two large-scale projects for the restoration of nature-damaged forests in Natura 2000 sites, submitted by the SWSFE under the LIFE 2019 Program of the EC, is currently underway. The projects were developed jointly with WWF Bulgaria and the Northeastern State Enterprise – Shumen, successfully completing the first phase of LIFE funding approval. With a successful second phase of the evaluation, SULP will provide funding for the production of saplings and afforestation of new 275 hectares of damaged forests, with work expected to begin at the end of 2020.