News | WWF

News



Young plants of rare species planted for the first time by human hands in Strandja

June 27 2014

Young plants of Caucasian Whotleberry and Black Sea Holly were planted Strandzha Nature Park. The Black Sea Holly and the Caucacsian Whotleberry are glacial relics with limited distribution, which in Bulgaria, Europe as a whole and the Natura 2000 network, are found only within the Park in Strandzha Mountain. These endangered species are included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria and are protected under the Biological Diversity Act. Reproduction of both species from stem and root cuttings in laboratory was a major challenge as scientific publications and experience of appropriate methodological approaches do not exist.

The objective was to strengthen existing populations of both species in the park as part of habitat 91S0* Western Pontic beech forests. The local populations of Caucacsian Whotleberry and Black Sea Holly in Strandzha are few in number and occupy limited areas. The collected cuttings were rooted in a nursery. During the laboratory work several stages of various difficulties occurred associated with the relict nature of the species and their specific reproduction mainly through root cuttings in soil environment or in decomposing leaf litter. A second method was tested: production of saplings by applying the growing tissue cultures. Production by both methods was successful and in June 2014 thirty individuals of both species were planted on 8 appropriate places in the park. The first conducted monitoring of successful transplantation gave encouraging results.

 
	© WWF Bulgaria
Засаждане на колхидски джел
© WWF Bulgaria

The brochure with lessons learned is prepared

June 23 2014

On June 23, WWF published a broshure of the project "Restoration of forests in 10 nature parks in Bulgaria." Here you can find details of the project, the results of the project and a detailed description of the activities and lessons learned.

Besides afforestation and removal of alien species, actions for restoration of rare plants have been carried out, as well as cultivation of young forests, habitat protection through specialized infrastructure and cleaning of target habitats. Aerial photos of all 10 parks were also taken.

We hope that the lessons the project shared in the brochure will benefit similar environmental projects and initiatives.

The entire report can be found here:
http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/______6.pdf
 
	© WWF
© WWF

Dwarf pine communities were restored in Vitosha Mountain

Volunteers helped for the seeds' sowing above Chuypetlovo village.
June 13 2014

On May 23 2014 a group of volunteers and experts from Vitosha Nature Park planted seeds of dwarf pine in Vitosha Mountain above the village of Chuypetlovo. The seeds were collected from Rila Mountain and processed by Sofia Forest Seed Control Station.

This planting method has already given good results in 2013 and, for great joy of the project's participants, the monitoring this spring showed that the seedlings survived the winter. The method is applied for the second time under the project in order to achieve even better results and to cover larger areas. 

The dwarf pine is a conifer from the pine genus and is dominant in plant communities in Rila and Pirin mountains. In the past it largely covered also Vitosha Mountain but currently remain only small groups of dwarf pine bushes. The aim of this project activity is to restore some of the dwarf pine communities. The places of work under the project are located near Aleko hut to the north and on the land of Chuypetlovo to the south.

The species is important for stabilization of the soil and for maintaining the biodiversity. The plant has durable wood and contains essential oil. It has been used for different purposes in the past - for timber, charcoal, in pharmacy and perfume industries. According to the Red Data Book of the Republic of Bulgaria, the construction of ski runs, ski lifts and other tourist facilities destroy the dwarf pine communities. Although its commercial use is minimized, the current development of tourism infrastructure also impacts negatively the dwarf pine. 
 
	© Desislava Gyurova
Dwarf pine in Vitosha planted on May 23 2014.
© Desislava Gyurova

The saplings planted in the autumn in Persina Natura Park are now flooded by the Danube

It is very likely for the new saplings to survive like the saplings submerged in 2013.
May 20 2014

In the autumn of 2013 saplings of black poplar, field elm and pedunculate oak were planted again on Gradina Island in Persina Nature Park under LIFE/08/NAT/BG/281 project, as part of the restoration of natural habitat 91E0 * - a type of riparian forests in the place of hybrid poplar plantation. Characteristic of these forests is that they resist flooding, depending on the seasonal flood of rivers.

In May 2014 the river level went up and many of the saplings were under nearly 1 meter of water which in general does not interfere with their survival.

Other Saplings were planted in the spring of 2013 just before going under the Danube water level, again. A field inspection at the end of July 2013 showed that after the water withdrawal, only few of the saplings located in the low parts of the island since the spring of 2013 died. The rest were in very good condition. Therefore it is very likely the saplings planted in the autumn of 2013 to survive as well, if the flooding on Gradina Island withdraws within a month.

Professionals of Persina Nature Park continue monitoring the island and Danube’s water level.

This is the first project in which a partner is the Executive Forest Agency. It co-finances afforestation with conservation purposes. The participants in the project are the Executive Forest Agency, ten nature parks, Sofia Forest Seed Control Station, Pazardzhik Poplar Station and WWF.

Project “Restoration and conservation of forest habitats and plant species in 11 Natura 2000 sites in 10 SCI’s in Bulgarian Forests”, co-financed by the Life+ Program of the EU.
 
	© Persina Nature Park
The saplings planted and flooded in 2013, after the water withdrawal.
© Persina Nature Park

Final meeting of the project’s Steering Committee

May 14 2014

The final meeting of the project’s Steering Committee was held on May 13 2014 in the building of Executive Forestry Agency. Members of the committee are representatives of governmental, nongovernmental and scientific organizations. The beneficiaries presented the current project results.

During the meeting the Steering Committee’s members gave their comments and recommendations on the work done under the project and in connection to the remaining activities until the end of June 2014, as well as for future activities in the field.
 
	© WWF/Stela Dineva
Meeting of the Steering Committee.
© WWF/Stela Dineva

WWF presents the results of the project for restoration of rare plants to students

A story about the return of rare plants in the parks, planting riparian forests, dwarf babies and many others.
May 7 2014

On May 7 2014 at 6:30 pm in 163 hall of the Faculty of Biology, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", Katerina Rakovska, expert in WWF’s Protected Areas and Natura 2000 Program will present the project "Restoration of forests in 10 nature parks in Bulgaria".

This is a project for restoration and conservation of forest habitats and wetland habitats in ten nature parks in Bulgaria, where both traditional and innovative methodologies for afforestation with extinct species are used. You will learn how we’ve returned rare plants (with which no one has worked until now) in four nature parks for four years, how we restored forest habitats in an area of over 800 daa in seven nature parks and cultivated over 700 daa of young forests in Strandzha Nature Park, and how was created a gene bank for black poplar for future conservation activities.

You will hear about young saplings, which become new riparian forests, for new places for water soldier and buckbean, for the restored water lilies, sundew, yew and Caucasian whortleberry, as well as for other rare plants. We'll tell you about the help of many volunteers who took part in the cleaning of the parks and helped to repair new park infrastructure.

After the presentation Katerina Rakovska will answer the questions of the audience.

This is the first project in which a partner is the Executive Forest Agency. It co-finances afforestation with conservation purposes. All participants in the project are the Executive Forest Agency, ten nature parks, Sofia Forest Seed Control Station, Pazardzhik Poplar Station and WWF.

Project “Restoration and conservation of forest habitats and plant species in 11 Natura 2000 sites in 10 SCI’s in Bulgarian Forests”, co-financed by the Life+ Program of the EU.

You can join the event in Facebook.
 
 
	© Ivan Kamburov, Strandzha Nature Park
Strandzha Nature Park
© Ivan Kamburov, Strandzha Nature Park

The cleaning with heavy equipment in Vitosha Nature Park is completed

March 27 2014

On March 25 bulldozers and trucks removed the illegal dump of construction and household waste located near the road between Boyana and Tihiya kat districts in Vitosha Nature Park. 80 cubic meters of waste was collected and transported.

The nature parks’ cleaning is one of the activities under the project "Restoration of forests in 10 nature parks in Bulgaria." Volunteers collected waste in protected areas within 4 consecutive years as part of the cleaning of the parks. Currently, officials from all nature parks are finishing the work on cleaning with heavy equipment.

Besides the beneficial effects of improvement in certain places, the cleaning seeks to remind us that the nature parks in Bulgaria do not have organized waste collection and disposal. So, "The garbage - in the backpack!"

This activity is part of a big project for restoration and conservation of forest habitats and plant species in 10 nature parks, implemented by WWF, Executive Forest Agency and ten diractorates of nature parks, co-funded by LIFE + Programme of the EU, project LIFE08 NAT/BG/000281.
 
	© Yulian Antonov
One of the many illegal dumps at Vitosha Nature Park.
© Yulian Antonov
 
	© Yulian Antonov
Cleaning of the illegal dump in Vitosha Nature Park.
© Yulian Antonov

Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park presents the results from the Project for conservation and restoration of natural habitats

WWF tells about the project in the remaining nine nature parks.
March 7 2014

On March 11 at 11 am, Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park, a unit of the Executive Forests Agency,  is organizing a final press conference within the project "Conservation and Restoration of 11 Natura 2000 Riparian and Wetland Habitats in 10 Sites in Bulgarian Forests" under the LIFE + Programme. It will be held in Natura Environmental and Information Center  in Vratsa on 27-29 Pop Sava Katrafilov Street (on the Red Square).

Experts of Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park will introduce to the guests the activities and the results of the project within the park, including the restoration and conservation of natural habitats through planting of native species, cleaning of the park area and placing specialized infrastructure. Katerina Rakovska, project coordinator from WWF and protected areas expert will present the results of the entire project in the other parks that are partners of the project.

The project LIFE08 NAT / BG/000281 is implemented under the LIFE + Programme (2007-2013) and is totaling 1 236 834 euro. The cofunding of the European Union is 615 199 euro and the rest is paid by the Executive Forests Agency. It started in January 2010 and its duration is four years and a half.
 
	© Venislav Vulchev
Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park
© Venislav Vulchev

Natura environmental and information center hosts the traveling exhibition

The exhibition presents unique photos from the air of the ten parks and informs about the project activities.
February 17 2014

From February 18 to the end of March 2014 the traveling exhibition with unique photos from the air of the famous Bulgarian photographer Alexandar Ivanov, designed under the project of WWF “Restoration of Forests in 10 Nature Parks” will be located at Natura environmental and information center in Vratsa, 27-29 Pop Sava Katrafilov Str. (on the Red Square).

Besides images from the air, the exhibition presents panels describing project activities in the ten nature parks. The visitors can get acquainted with general information on the protected area (location, size, characteristics, etc.), as well as on the activities carried out in the park under the project.

Natura environmental and information centre within Vrachanski Balkan nature park directorate is located near the center of Vratsa. It provides information on the protected areas and sites on the territory of Vrachanski Balkan, as well as on the ecotrails and educational routes, places for accommodation and entertainment. The centre organizes training events and seminars, carries out educational programs, works with children and students on environment conservation related themes. It carries out environmental events and campaigns, provides professional guides upon request, etc.

This activity is part of a big project for restoration and conservation of forest habitats and plant species in 10 nature parks, implemented by WWF, The Executive Forest Agency and ten nature parks' directorates, co-funded by the LIFE + Programme of the EU, project LIFE08 NAT / BG/000281.
 
 
	© Aleksander Ivanov
Persina nature park - view from the air.
© Aleksander Ivanov

The afforestation in Persina nature park was completed during the autumn of 2013

Februari 14 2014

The second phase of afforestation in Persina nature park aimed to restore riparian forest habitats (code * 91E0 under the Habitats Directive) is now completed. Saplings of black poplar, white willow, pedunculate oak and elm were planted on the Gradina Island and near Dragash Voyvoda village on a total area of 270 daa.

Soon after the first stage of afforestation in the spring, the level of the Danube River rose significantly and flooded almost the entire island. After the withdrawal of the water, it became clear that some of the newly planted saplings had been washed away, but those who hadn’t been washed away by the river not only survived, but were in very good condition. This is typical for riparian forests which can be periodically flooded without being damaged.

This activity is part of a big project for restoration and conservation of forest habitats and plant species in 10 nature parks, implemented by WWF, Executive Forest Agency and ten diractorates of nature parks, co-funded by LIFE + Programme of the EU, project LIFE08 NAT/BG/000281.
 
 
	© Persina Nature Park/Veselin Koev
Elm sapling
© Persina Nature Park/Veselin Koev

Yew saplings were planted in Strandzha nature park

Artificial planting of yew in a natural environment happened for the first time in Strandzha Mountain.
December 3 2013

In the last week of November 2013 more than one hundred common yew saplings - one of the rarest relict evergreen tree species - were planted in Strandzha Nature Park to reinforce the population of the plant and ensure its reproduction. Recovery in a natural environment of this species which is typical for the area, is made for the first time in Strandzha Mountain.

The young saplings arrived in the nature park after being cultivated for about two years in a nursery. Planting young yews is part of the activity for restoration of rare species under the project "Restoration of forests in 10 nature parks" (LIFE08 NAT/BG/000281). Experts from the park planted the saplings in suitable habitats in Siniyat vir area (land of Sinemorets), Marina reka protected area (land of Bulgari village), Slivkata area (land of Bulgari village) and in Marzevski dol area (land of Kondolovo village). Other twenty young yews were deposited the Specialized nursery of the Strandzha Nature Park Directorate in Kachul area.

The Common Yew (Taxus baccata L.) is a protected species under the Biological Diversity Act and was assessed as endangered species in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria. It appears in limited populations - from single individuals to small groups in several mountains in the country: Predbalkan, Stara Planina, Vitosha, Slavianka, Pirin, Rila and Rhodope mountains, while its habitats in Strandzha Mountain are at the lowest altitude. The yew is called "otrovachka" (meaning poisonous) because its branches and needles are poisonous. Only mature fruits are suitable food for birds which spread the seeds of the plant.

Only four individuals of yew had survived in the Bulgarian part of Strandzha Mountain before the start of the project "Restoration of forests in 10 nature parks" due to excessive logging in the past and change of forest habitats.

In the spring is forthcoming further planting of yew saplings and monitoring of the success of the growth of trees that have already been planted.
 
 
	© Strandzha Nature Park Directorate
Arrival of the yew saplings.
© Strandzha Nature Park Directorate

The gene bank created under the project is already used for other conservation activities

Almost 40 000 young poplars were produced in 2013.
November 22 2013

A gene bank for black poplar and white willow was created in 2010 under the project "Restoration of forests in ten nature parks". Additional 38 000 cuttings from the local species black poplar P. nigra L. were produced there in 2013. They are sold to the Southeastern State Enterprise Sliven for the production of saplings and for planting in sites of Natura 2000 European ecological network located in the territory of the enterprise.

Poplar trees are the favorite trees for nesting of the Imperial Eagles in Bulgaria. For this reason, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) purchased 970 poplar saplings of the species P.Nigra L, under the project “Conservation of imperial eagle and saker falcon in key Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria", funded by the LIFE programme of the European Union. BSPB planted saplings to provide a home for the eagles in the coming years.

The gene bank, created under the project of WWF Bulgaria "Restoring forests in ten nature parks", covers an area of 20 decares. It is created by experts from Pazardzhik Poplar Station, which is a project partner, and with the support of the Forest Seed Control Station Sofia. The experts from the Forest Seed Control Station Sofia examined the existing forest base and chose particular black poplar trees suitable for the production of reproductive material for the project needs.

A tractor and pneumatic shears were purchased for maintenance and using of the gene bank.
 
 
	© Pazardzhik Poplar Station
Pazardzhik Poplar Station created under the project "Restoring forests in ten nature parks"
© Pazardzhik Poplar Station

Four Rare Plant Species Planted In Rilski Manastir Nature Park

Traveling Exhibition tells about Restoration of Rare Species in Nature Parks.
November 7 2013

One of the main conservation project activities in Rilski Manastir Nature Park was the strengthening of the populations of four rare plant species - Angelica pancicii, Rila Primrose, Rila Rhubarb and European Yew. Three species were successfully reproduced in nurseries and planted in various suitable habitats near Rilska River. Specimens of Rila Primrose were taken from places where there is a great number of the beautiful plant and planted in suitable habitats.

Rila Primrose (Primula deorum Velen.) is a very rare Bulgarian endemic species, remnant from the glacier period on our lands and found only in Rila. It is protected by the Bulgarian and international laws and is included in the Red Data Book.

Rila rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum L.) is endemic of Northwest and Central Rila and is one of the rarest species in the Bulgarian flora. It is assessed as critically endangered in the national red list of vascular plants. Included in the IUCN (R) lists and in the Bern Convention. Rila rhubarb is also survivor of the last ice age, and that’s why its regeneration is difficult and its populations are highly fragmented.

Angelica pancicii is a Balkan endemic. It is assessed as vulnerable in the national red list of vascular plants and is included as rare in the Bulgarian Red Book. Angelica pancicii is also a medicinal plant.

The European Yew is an endangered species, one of the rare evergreen relict trees in the flora of Rilski Manastir Nature Park. At national level, it has been assessed as endangered in the red list of the vascular plants in Bulgaria. The yew has limited distribution and disordered populations throughout the country - single individuals to small groups. The species is protected according to the Biodiversity Act.

To present this interesting and innovative work as well as the other work under the project, we elaborated a traveling exhibition that can be seen in November in the cultural centre of the town of Rila - the first town of the national tour of the exhibition since its opening in Sofia.

This activity is part of a big project for restoration and conservation of forest habitats and plant species in 10 nature parks, implemented by WWF, Executive Forest Agency and ten diractorates of nature parks, co-funded by LIFE + Programme of the EU, project LIFE08 NAT/BG/000281.
 
	© WWF Bulgaria
Обикновен тис (Taxus baccata)
© WWF Bulgaria

Exhibition on Restoration of Forest Habitats and Rare Plants in the Parks

We opened a traveling exhibition that tells how forest habitats and rare plants are being conserved and restored in 10 nature parks in the country. Photos and text for each activity describe planting of Rhubarb in Rilski Manastir nature park, the return of the Buckbean in Vitosha, of the White Water Lily in Persina, the new method of young forests growing in Strandzha, the protection of karst springs in Shumensko Plato, the restoration of riparian forests in Vrachanski Balkan and Bulgarka and forests of slopes in Rusenski Lom and Sinitе Kamani as well as planting of ash in Zlatni pyasatsi. And many more.

Each park is represented with a photo from the air by photographer Alexander Ivanov, author of the album Bulgaria: A Bird’s Eye View.

From 1 to 15 October the exhibition can be seen at the Museum of Natural History in Sofia, 1 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd. Then, by the end of October, it will be hosted in the eco center in Vitosha in Belite Brezi area. In November it will be displayed in the town of Rila, where host will be Rilski Manastir nature park. Then the exhibition will tour Vratsa, Gabrovo, Belene, Ruse, Varna, Malko Tarnovo and Shumen, the cities where the directorates of the nature parks are. We will announce on the website of the project when the exhibition arrives at a new place.

This activity is part of a big project for restoration and conservation of forest habitats and plant species in 10 nature parks, implemented by WWF, The Executive Forest Agency and ten directorates of nature parks, co-funded by the LIFE + Programme of the EU, project LIFE08 NAT / BG/000281.

 
	© WWF България
© WWF България

New 8,81 ha of local origin saplings have been planted in five nature parks thanx to LIFE+

8,81 ha  of local origin saplings have been planted during the spring and autumn planting in five nature parks: Vratchanski Balkan, Bulgarka, Sinite Kamani, Zlatni Pyasatsi and Vitosha. The objective is to restore forest habitats in nature parks  protected also by the European ecological network Natura 2000.

This activity is part of the project "Conservation and restoration of 11 habitat types of rivers and wetlands in 10 protected areas in Bulgarian forests." It is implemented by the Executive Forest Agency (EFA), ten nature park directorates, agency structures and WWF.

Additional 1,5 ha of sycamore and beech were planted this year as part of the project in Sinite Kamani in the area of Daulite. A total area of 30,8 ha in Rusenski Lom nature park were planted with saplings of turkey oak, silver lime, field elm and European Ash. In Persina Nature Park, on an area of 15 ha were planted saplings of black poplar, European White Elm and Pedunculate Oak.5,7 ha of Dwarf Mountain Pine were planted in the Vitosha Nature Park. Wokers with the help of volunteers also planted 0,4 ha of Caucasian Ash in the Zlatni Pyasatsi Nature Park.

Cultivation of saplings planted last year was done this spring in Vratchanski Balkan, Bulgarka and Sinite Kamani. Supplementing was done where saplings planted last year had died.

8,81 ha have been planted to date. Nearly 12 ha in Persina nature park remain to be planted until the end of the year.

One of the project's activities is the removal of invasive species as the Amorpha in Persina and the Acacia in Rusenski Lom. Although they have attractive colors, these species spread rapidly and take away living space of the Bulgarian flora.

Donor of the project "Conservation and restoration of 11 habitat types of rivers and wetlands in 10 protected areas in Bulgarian forests." is the LIFE + project, which is the financial instrument of the European Union concerning the environment.

Our aim is to restore the natural habitats of native species typical for the area. Natural habitat is a region with typical plants, exposure and soil composition. Habitats of Natura 2000 are protected within the whole European community because they are endangered, have very little natural cover or represent outstanding examples of a particular biogeographic region. In Bulgaria we can find 119 species and 90 types of natural habitats of interest for the European community. Many Bulgarian species protected by Natura 2000 are still widespread in the country but are endangered or already extinct in Europe.
Ulmus minor 
	© WWF Bulgaria
Saplings of Field Elm in Rusenski Lom nature park
© WWF Bulgaria

Restoration of yellow water lilies on the island of Persin continues

A team of Persina Nature Park continues the restoration of Yellow Water Lilies in the marshes of Persin Island in the Danube. In the last days of April 20 specimens of this rare species were taken from the Veleka River in Strandzha and transferred to Peschinsko and Martvoto Marshes in Persina Nature Park. It is expected that their number will increase in a natural way.

The marshes of the Persin Island (also known as the Island of Belene) were restored four years ago. The return of the protected Yellow Water Lily, also known as “barduche”, will allow the species to return its place in the wetlands of the park. The work began last year and is part of the project "Conservation and Restoration of 11 Natura 2000 Riparian and Wetland Habitats in 10 SCI’s in Bulgarian Forests", which is implemented by the Directorates of ten nature parks at the Executive Forest Agency (EFA) jointly with WWF.

In the past the Yellow Lily has formed a small community in the central parts of Martvoto Marsh, but it disappeared with the destruction of the marshes in the Park. Aside from being a beautiful flower, this plant is typical for the habitat “natural eutrophic lakes”. 4 more species from the same habitat are subject to recovery in the park - Water Chestnut, Four Leaf Clover, Water Soldier and White Water Lily.

Water lilies have many useful roles in nature. They are inhabited by a variety of rare and endangered species. On their leaves can often be seen terrapins that gather heat and fish is hiding in their roots.

The restoration of the water lily happens under the supervision of the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water - Ruse in accordance with a program approved by the Ministry of Environment and Water. The work is co-funded by LIFE + programme.
Жълтите лилии, малко преди да бъдат засадени в новото им местообитание. 
	© WWF Bulgaria
The process of restoration in Persina.
© WWF Bulgaria

Return of Rare Species in Vitosha Nature Park

Experts from Vitosha Nature Park Directorate returned specimens of sundew and buckbean in nature. The way of the rare species back into the wild is long. It includes development of restoration programme, agreed with the Ministry of Environment and Water, the collection of reproductive material from natural habitats, growing in a nursery in the past year and a half.

Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) is a rare insectivore plant typical for bogs which are part of the protected natural habitats in the park.

A few decades ago the buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) could be seen in the bogs close to peatlnds in Vitosha - at Boeritsa hut, under Chernata Skala, and probably elsewhere. Both are typical of the habitat 7140 Transition mires and quaking bogs, one of the target habitats of conservation in Vitosha. After changes in the water regime, mainly due to water use as well as increased picking of buckbean for medicinal purposes, it was found that the plant disappeared from Vitosha.

Plants are planted in Konyarnika area, along Boyana River and around Cherni Vrah in suitable habitats. Monitoring of the transplanting success is forthcoming in the next year.

This activity is part of a big project for restoration and conservation of forest habitats and plant species in 10 nature parks, implemented by WWF, Executive Forest Agency and ten diractorates of nature parks, co-funded by LIFE + Programme of the EU.
Drosera rotundifolia 
	© WWF Bulgaria
Drosera rotindifolia
© WWF Bulgaria

Nearly 90 000 Trees Were Planted In Four Nature Parks under LIFE+ Project

Nearly 90 000 trees were planted during the spring afforestation in four nature parks: Vrachanski Balkan, Bulgarka, Sinite Kamani and Vitosha. They are all local species and the aim is to restore forest habitats in the nature parks which are also protected areas from the European ecological network Natura 2000.

The spring afforestation was carried out within the project “Conservation and Restoration of 11 Natura 2000 Riparian and Wetland Habitats in 10 SCI’s in Bulgarian Forests”. The project is being implemented by the Executive Forest Agency, ten nature parks, structures of the Agency and WWF.

This year 2500 saplings of black poplar and white willow were planted on an area of 23 daa in Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park within Mezdra State Forestry Enterprise. The saplings were provided by Pazardzhik Poplar Station. The planting with these species aims to restore the riparian forests in the region. By the end of the year three cultivations are forthcoming to provide a higher percentage of saplings survival. Next year another 330 saplings of black alder will be planted.

On a total area of 106 daa in Bulgarka Nature Park 53 800 saplings of the species black alder, willow and mountain ash were planted. The aim is restoration of riparian forests. To restore the forests on the slopes beech, sessile oak, sycamore and silver lime were used. In the recent two weeks, the first cultivation of new plantations was carried out; two more are foreseen by the end of this year.

Within the project, in Sinite Kamani Nature Park, on an area of three daa, near Asenovets dam, 750 white willows were planted. The aim is to restore a riparian habitat, typical for rivers and wetlands in southern Bulgaria. Moreover, in the Daulite area, 16 daa were planted with 3 000 maple and 8000 beech trees this year. Cultivation should be carried out three times this year - in June, July and September; the first two had been realized till now.

On an area of approximately 100 daa in Vitosha Nature Park 19 722 saplings of dwarf pine have been planted. Forestry activities are conducted on the south side of the park in the land belonging to Chuipetlovo village. The aim is to restore the so called bog woodlands. In the autumn of the last year in the same area 835 saplings of white willow, which are part of riparian forests in southern Bulgaria, were planted.
Залесяване на явор. Природен парк Сините камъни. 
	© Katerina Rakovska/WWF
Afforestation in Sinite Kamani Nature Park
© Katerina Rakovska/WWF

1 000 saplings of Mountain Pine were Planted in Vitosha

On November 3, 2012 over 1000 saplings of Mountain pine (Pinus mugo) were planted with the support of a volunteers group "The Green Team of Bulgaria" 

Planting was performed in the area of the Aleko tourist center and over 70 volunteers took part. The aim of the campaign is to protect and restore the habitats of the Mountain pine in the Vitosha Nature park.

The activities for restoration of Mountain pine communities are part of the project LIFE +08 NAT/BG/000281 “Conservation and Restoration of 11 Natura 2000 Riparian and Wetland Habitats in 10 SCI’s in Bulgarian Forests” where the Nature Park is a partner.
 
Над 70 души се включиха в залесяването 
	© Katerina Rakovska/ WWF
Over 70 volunteers took part in the event
© Katerina Rakovska/ WWF

Yellow Water Lilies Come Back On the Island Of Persin

Restoration of the yellow water lilies in Persina Nature Park started in. This is one of the five rare species, which will be restored under the project as elements of habitat 3150 - Natural eutrophic lakes. This species disappeared from Persina marshes as a result of the big drought during the seventies of XX century. Their return as a part of the local flora became possible after reconstruction of the wetlands on the Island of Persin (known also as Belene Island).

These beautiful flowers inhabit the land at an altitude of 200 m and are found along the Black Sea (the Shabla lake, lower streams and the estuaries of Kamchia Veleka, Velyov vir area), Northeastern Bulgaria (Kalimok – Brushlen protected area), Danube Valley (channels to the town of Belene and Orsoya village) and Thracian plain (Maritsa river spills).

In May this year rhizomes of yellow lilies of Veleka were planted in the Peschinsko Marsh and in one of the channels on the Belene Island. Agreed by the Ministry of Environment and Waters, the planting was carried out by experts from WWF and Persina Nature Park.

Next year, when it becomes clear whether the yellow lilies survived, additional rhizomes will be taken from the Shabla Lake.
Жълтите водни лилии отново са част от природата на Персин 
	© WWF
Yellow water lilies are part of the Persin nature again
© WWF
 
	© Веселин Коев/ДПП
In May rhizomes of yellow lilies of Veleka were planted in the Peschinsko Marsh
© Веселин Коев/ДПП "Персина"

On May 5, 2012 WWF and Executive Forestry Agency celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the LIFE + program

with a special photo, symbolizing the ecological network, which was taken from the roof of the National Palace of Culture. 
20 години от създаването на програма LIFE + 
	© Десислава Кушева
Twentieth anniversary of the LIFE + program photo
© Десислава Кушева

WWF and Executive Forestry Agency celebrate twentieth anniversary of the LIFE + program start

 More information could be found here
Преди 20 години ЕС създаде най-голямата мрежа от защитени зони в света - Натура 2000 
	© Simon de TREY-WHITE / WWF-UK
20 years ago, the EU has created the largest network of protected areas in the world - Natura 2000
© Simon de TREY-WHITE / WWF-UK

Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park starts spring forestation

The spring forestation campaign, organized by Vratchansky Balkan Nature Park Administration started. It is a part of the activities under the project “Conservation and restoration of 11 Natura 2000 riparian and wetland habitats in 10 sites in Bulgarian forests.” The project is implemented by Executive Forestry Agency and the international conservation organization WWF.

The forestation will cover 23 daa of the territory of Mezdra State Forestry Enterprise in the land of Zverino village (the so called 51–6 forestry unit). In the autumn of 2011 there was carried out soil preparation (cleaning) as a preliminary action.

The species used for the afforestation are black poplar (Populus nigra) and white willow (Salix alba). 2500 saplings are provided by Poplar Enterprise - Pazardzhik which is a partner in the project. 330 saplings of black alder (Alnus glutinosa) will be planted in the next years. These species are chosen for the restoration of alluvial forests nature habitat (91ЕО).

Nursing of the newly created culture will be made by the end of 2012. Its aim is to ensure a high percent of survival of the saplings.

This year the afforestation activities coincide with the annual campaign Forest Week which was celebrated in Vratsa at national level.

Additional Information:

The purpose of the project is to improve the condition of 10 protected areas, managed by the Executive Forestry Agency, by conservation and restoration of 11 habitat types

Project sites: Natura 2000 sites Balgarka, Vitosha, Vrachanski Balkan, Zlatni pyasatsi, Persina, Rilski manastir, Lomovete, Sinite kamani, Strandzha and Shumensko plato

Expected results:

• Removal of alien species from total area of 76.5 ha
• Restoration of 80 ha natural habitats by planting local species
• Restoration of 1.4 ha characteristic plant species
• Protection of sensitive habitats by placement of specialized facilities (fences, grates, bridges, tourist spots) over area totaling 240.6 ha with the aim to restrict the human impact
• Cleaning of 97.5 ha

Project partners: EFA, WWF, Nature parks “Balgarka”, “Vitosha”, “Vrachanski Balkan”, “Zlatni pyasatsi”, “Persina”, “Rilski manastir”, “Rusenski Lom”, “Sinite kamani”, “Strandzha”, “Shumensko plato”

Additional information could be found here

Spring Forestation at Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park  
	© EFA
Spring Forestation at Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park
© EFA

Water lily restoration begins in Persina Nature Park

A joint team of international conservation organization WWF and the Persina Nature Park works on the restoration of water lily in the ponds on the Island of Persin in the Danube River. Not long ago 10 samples of rare species were taken from the region of Small Preslavets and transferred to Pischinskoto and Dead marshes in Persina Nature Park. The expectations of the experts, are that their number will increase in a natural way.

Lakes on the Island of Persin were restored three years ago. The return of the protected water lily, also known as white water rose, will allow the wildlife to return in full to the wetlands of Persina Nature Park. The water lily is found in other wetlands in the country, but it has disappeared from Persina due to destruction of wetlands, although in the past the Island of Persin was one of its biggest locality. Water lilies have many useful roles in nature. They are habitat of variety of rare and endangered species. For example, the leaves of lilies near to the water surface are used by the terns for nesting. Pikes are hiding in the water beneath them as well.

Restoration of water lily is developed under the supervision of the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water-Rousse, according the program approved by the Ministry of Environment and Water. The project is funded by the EU LIFE+ program as part of the project “Conservation and Restoration of 11 Natura 2000 Riparian and Wetland Habitats in 10 SCI’s in Bulgarian Forests” which is implemented by the Executive Forestry Agency (EFA) and WWF.

Another four plant species are going to be recovered in Persina Nature Park as part of this habitat.

During 2011 WWF, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature Park Persina built the platform for pelicans in restored wetlands. It provides more space to this endangered species in one of the most important places for him along the Danube.
Бялата водна лилия отново се завръща в в езерата на остров Персин 
	© WWF
White water lily returns to the lakes on the island of Persin
© WWF

A new forestry method starts in Strandzha

A new nature friendly method of forests management is implanted in Strandzha. It is a part of “Conservation and Restoration of 11 Natura 2000 Riparian and Wetland Habitats in 10 SCI’s in Bulgarian Forests” project which is being jointly realized by the Executive Forestry Agency (EFA) and WWF and funded by the LIFE+ Programme of the EU.

The purpose of the method, which is applied in young forests, is production of high-quality wood by using minimal resources and meeting the high standards of nature conservation. Using this method instead of the traditional afforestation, special care of trees called “trees of the future” is taken. These trees must have good quality and to be viable and regularly distributed over the whole area. “The trees of the future” are being chosen with priority among the local species.

One of the regions where the project is carried out is Natura 2000 area - Strandzha, Strandzha Nature Park. It is one of the biggest low mountainous, continuous forest massifs in Europe. Its natural restoration forest is very good. That’s why afforestation is not needed and the work is directed towards the improvement of the forest quality. Unlike Strandzha, in other project regions restoration of forest habitats by planting seeds and saplings of local species is planned.

The method was put into practice for the first time in France (Alsace – Lorraine regions) and in Germany (Saarland) where it yielded excellent results. It is adopted by the certification system for responsible forest management, FSC and is compatible with the conservation of forest habitats under Natura 2000.

The implementation of the method in Bulgaria dates back from 2010 when the quality of 66 da forests in the area of State Forestry Enterprise Kosti and 154 da in State Hunting Enterprise Gramatikovo was improved. Until the end of the year 214 dka more will be restored including the Western Pontic beech forests. The project will end in 2013 but both the enterprises plan to continue the management of these areas in the future.


- The method is compatible with nature conservation because it promotes local species even those which are not used by the traditional forestry as for example Chequer Tree, Wild cherry, Hornbeam, Aspen, Manna-ash. The removal of the competitor species is made by using hand tools – without noise, gases and vibrations. That why it can be carried out even during the nesting period of the birds. When logging is needed, the forest machinery moves only along specifically made cuttings which prevents the congestion of the forest soil and decreases the erosion. The method is connected with long-term planning therefore it helps the conservation of the ecological functions of the forest and the production of wood at the same time.

- The trees which are grown this way produce wood without nodus, with regular annual rings and no rottenness. This makes the wood to be of great demand – the price for 1 m3 can could reach 2000 euro.

- There are no expenses for afforestation when using this method because the natural restoration of the forest is used. In addition, labor costs are low because the growing of 1 ha young forest takes no more than 8-10 hours. Natural self-trimming of trees is used and not mass trimming.

Project data:

- Donor of the project is LIFE+ (financial instrument for environment of EU) and its duration is January, 2010 – December, 2013. Its total cost is 1 236 834 euro including 615 199 euro co-financing of EU

- Expected results:

• Removal of alien species from total area of 76.5 ha
• Restoration of 80 ha natural habitats by planting local species
• Restoration of 1.4 ha characteristic plant species
• Protection of sensitive habitats by placement of specialized facilities (fences, grates, bridges, tourist spots) over area totaling 240.6 ha with the aim to restrict the human impact
• Cleaning of 97.5 ha

- Beneficiaries of the project: EFA, WWF, Nature parks “Balgarka”, “Vrachanski Balkan”, “Zlatni pyasatsi”, “Persina”, “Rilski manastir”, “Rusenski Lom”, “Sinite kamani”, “Strandzha”, “Shumensko plato”, State Forestry Enterprises “Gabrovo”, “Vitoshko – Studena”, “Mezdra”, “Varna”, “Nikopol”, “Sliven”, “Kosti”, State Hunting Enterprises “Dunav – Ruse” and “Gramatikovo”, Forest Seed Control Station, Poplar Enterprise - Pazardzhik
Хабитат на букова гора в Странджа 
	© Zhivko Bogdanov
Beech forest habitat in Strandja
© Zhivko Bogdanov

Package of methodologies for restoration of rare species in Persina and Vitosha national parks is approved

 Ministry of Environment and Waters approved a package of methodologies for restoration of rare spices in Persina and Vitosha nature parks. They are brand new and will be implemented for the first time.

The work on the implementation of methodologies includes collection of reproductive material (parts of plants and seeds) as well as plantation and breeding.
Водната лилия е застрашена от изчезване 
	© wwf
Nymphaea alba
© wwf

WWF presents the activities connected with the recovery of the riparian forests in the Bulgarka Nature Park

WWF organized the first media trip - part of the project for restoration of riparian forests in the Bulgarka Nature Park in Gabrovo. During the tour, the journalists were acquainted with the places where the Gabrovo State Forestry Enterprise will restore riparian forest habitats.

Besides presentation of project`s activities, the goal of the tour was to promote the nature parks mission and values.

Ellimination of invasive rainutria japonica in Balgarka Nature Park, Bulgaria 
	© WWF/Konstantin Ivanov
Ellimination of invasive rainutria japonica in Balgarka Nature Park, Bulgaria
© WWF/Konstantin Ivanov

The first meeting of the Steering Committee of the project for restoring rare and endangered plants and trees in the 10 Bulgarian nature parks has been held

 On November 26 2010, the first meeting of the Steering Committee for project "Preservation and restoration of 11 habitat types rivers and wetlands in 10 Natura 2000 sites in Bulgarian forests” has been held in Executive Forestry Agency.

The participants in the meeting presented an overview of the activities under aegis of the initiative and the progress in their implementation. A discussion about the methods for removal of invasive non-native plant species and the future of the restored forest habitat after the project ends has been organized as well.
Първа среща на Направляващия комитет на проекта за възстановяване на редки и застрашени растителни ... 
	© WWF DCP Bulgaria archive
First meeting of the Steering Committee
© WWF DCP Bulgaria archive