FOREST MANAGEMENT IN BULGARIA
Forest activities in the Bulgarian forests are aimed to protection and increase of the main functions of forests through cultivation of forests, giving priority to the natural renewal, conservation of genetic resources, maintenance and restoration of biological diversity, etc. The maximum removals use of the natural regenerational potential of the forests and its support are the basis of all forests activities related to forest management.
Maintenance of natural (bioecological) functions of the forests is also provided for the economic sustainability of the forest sector. Conservation and production are equally important for the society.
The balance between the average annual increment and average annual use of timber is one of the most important indicators for the sustainable management of forests.
The analysis of data on forest recourses on a national scale indicates that after 1980 the usage starts to seriously lag in comparison of the growth. Since 1990 i.e. during the past two decades, in the Republic of Bulgaria the amount of the annual use of wood varies from 34 % to 55% of the total average annual growth of forests in the country.
The average annual increment for one hectare in last five years is circa 3, 9 m3, compared to the average of 4, 7 m3/ha for the countries of the EU. With the highest growth of 1 ha are coniferous forests – 6, 2 m3/ha, followed by the deciduous tall – 3,7 m3/ha. The values of the average growth of coppice and low-stem forests are in the range of 2.3 to 2,5 m3/ha.
According to official data the harvested wood for 2016 was 7 094 027 m3. Almost 2/3 of the annual volume of harvested timber is harvested in state forest areas. In the municipal forests the use is from 9, 3 to 11 % of the total timber cut of all forest areas. The share of harvested timber from other non-state forests noted a trend of reduction.
The implementing of felling of trees improves the future construction, structure, stability and the productivity of the forest and has been a priority in the field of management of the forest in the past 15 years. In the 2016 in the state forests for the adjustment of wooden composition and the improvement of developmental conditions there has been implementing of felling of trees in the area of 42, 577.6 ha which represent 61,9 % of estimation of forest plans.
From the implementing thinnings 43, 5 % are in coniferous forests, 38, 3 % in deciduous high stem forests, and 17,7 % in coppice forests for seed conversion. The implementation of thinnings without material harvest in the area of 4, 225.5 ha is 87, 6% of the predicted in the forest plans.
In 2016 the implemented selective cuttings were in the area of 1,275.3 ha which represent 105,4 % of the predicted in the forest plans.
Fig 3. Dynamic of the implementation of thinning without material harvest in the period 2010-2016
Very important mean of ensuring the sustainability of the forests is the right choice of appropriate types of wood for the afforestation or tolerating them in the carrying out of growing events in the forests.
Of particular importance for the Bulgarian forests is the provision of quality reproductive material, the preservation of biological diversity and conservation of indigenous species improved by the methods of forest genetics and selection of genetic resources.
According to official data forest seed producting base occupies 1% of the total wooded area of the country and the number of basic resources is around 5, 101 of 48 tree species – 15 coniferous and 33 deciduous.
PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION OF FORESTS IN BULGARIA
The data provided by the system of surveillance and prevention against various biotic and abiotic factors damaging forests, show that in the last five years 2010-2016 the most serious risk factors continue to be forest fires and pests diseases. Windthrows, snowfalls, drought and floods have not shown noticeable negative impact on the development of forest ecosystems in the country.
In the statistics of the Executive forest agency for the forest fires in the country in 2016 are registered 583 forest fires which have affected 6, 338,9 ha forest areas.
Policy for sustainable management of forestry sector in Bulgaria is formed by a system of regulations and strategic documents which in its interconnectivity establishes a strategic perspective for its development.
Regulatory policy framework in the forestry sector, which has dynamically developed in recent year, reflects national policy for development of the sector and its fully synchronized with EU legislation.
Adopted in 2011 Forest Act and related regulations at present are the main legal framework governing public relations relating to the conservation, management and use of forest areas in Bulgaria. Objectives of the law are directed at ensuring multifunctional and sustainable management of forest ecosystems and include: protection and enhancement of forest area; maintenance and improvement the condition of forests; ensuring and maintenance the ecosystem, social and economic functions of forest territories; ensuring and increasing the production of timber and non –timber forest products through environmentally sound management of forest areas; maintenance of biological and landscape diversity and improve the populations of species of wild flora, fauna and micota; providing opportunities for rest of the population and improve conditions of recreation; achieving a balance between the interests of society and the owners of forest areas; supporting and encouraging landowners in forest areas; implementation of international and European commitments to conservation for forest habitats.
Other key documents for the development the sector are the Law on Hunting and Game protection Act, the National Strategy for Development of the Forestry Sector in the Republic of Bulgaria comprising the period 2013-2020, adopted by Protocol of the Council of Ministers, Strategic Plan for the development of the forestry sector in Republic of Bulgaria 2014 -2023, Protected areas Act, Environmental Protection Act, Biodiversity Act, Renewable Energy Act and more.
Although the forest sector forms a relatively small share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), forestry and the forest industry as a traditional means of livelihood are of particular importance for the development of rural areas in Bulgaria and the improvement of the quality of life.
The favorable natural conditions and the traditions in forestry and the forest industry in the presence of internal and external markets for forest products and services are the prerequisite for the development of activities, providing income from sales of timber and non – wood forest products, the provision of ecosystem services in t.h water –developing and water protection, soil forming and soil protection, etc., as well as for the production of biomass.
The increasing importance of the forest areas as a natural environment for recreation and tourism and the development of activities that generate employment in rural areas should be taken in account.
Valuation of the contribution of the forest sector in the conservation of the environment, natural resources and biodiversity, and to satisfy a number of environmental and social needs of the society, would have demonstrated the importance of the sector for the country`s socio-economic development. The forestry sector in Bulgaria has a huge potential for the development and production of high quality products and benefits, not only as a raw material and natural resource, but such high added value, which meets the diverse and constantly multiplying demand for modern society. Technological development, innovation and investment in quality and human resources are necessary to ensure its dynamic and sustainable development. The competition in the forest sector is a necessary condition for the achievement of the various benefits, which the forest provides to the public.
At this moment the produce of the forest sector is supported mainly by the sales of timber. The sales of wood waste from logging and from the processing of wood as a biomass for the production of energy are becoming more and more important.
After the restructuring of the state forest sector sales of standing timber to legal representatives in auctions are significantly increased, as well as individuals for their own needs.
In total for the three sectors of the forest industry the largest is the number of micro-enterprises – from 77% up to 81% of the total number, and the large enterprises is the lowest from 0,2 %to 3,3 %.
As a whole the businesses in the forestry industry have overcome the crisis of 2009-2010 and there is an increase in production. The sector can be assessed as a perspective one, having in mind the availability of a sufficient raw material resources, sustainable internal and external market positions of the manufactured products, and its importance as a source of income and employment for considerably large number of the population in mountain and rural areas.
Forests are one of the main sources of biomass and can contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the European energy policy, including curbing the negative changes in climate and the promotion of economic growth and employment, secure and affordable energy for consumers and the implementation of the commitment made in Bulgaria to increase the proportion of energy from renewable energy resources in the amount of 16% to 2020.
Having in mind the sortimental and age structure, tree species and other specific features of the Bulgarian forests, on a national scale about 70% of abstractive wood may, and in most cases is used for technology and energy purposes, i.e for the production of plates, cellulose and for firewood. According to date of the Executive forest agency in recent years, the share of the wood in categories “wood” and “top hamper” is in average of 57 % of the total amount of abstractive wood in Bulgaria as it varies from 55% to 64 %.
CONTRIBUTION OF THE FORESTRY SECTOR TO GDP
|Relative share of value added by economic value
sectors in the total value added for the period 2007-2011
||Relative share of value added in total value added in %
|Agriculture and fishery
| Incl: Forestry
|* preliminary data
Official data by NSI
It should be noted that the statistical data does not contain the value of the information provided by the forest territories services relating to their environmental and social functions, due to which the contribution of the forest sector to GDP is incomplete and underestimated.
Net forest revenue is an important indicator of the level of economic sustainability of forest management that measures the pay of all factors of production (land, capital, labor) and represents the total value generated by a structural unit engaged in production.
It can be derived from gross value added by deducting consumption of fixed capital (depreciation) in order to obtain the net added value and then be adjusted by factor costs at basic prices, deducting all taxes on the product and adding all subsidies on the product produced. Net entrepreneurial income measures the return on income to the owner of the forestry enterprise and consists of compensation for unpaid labor, land remuneration belonging to the production unit and the yield from the use of capital.
According to data of the report “State of European Forests” 2011, FAO / UNECE for Bulgaria reported a value of the income factor of EUR 89.1 million, which is by EUR 38.2 million more compared to 2005, and the “net entrepreneurial income” factor – EUR 46.7 million – an increase of EUR 28 million compared to 2005.
Profit in the forest sector is driven by sales of round timber. The importance of forest-wood waste as a wood biomass for energy production grows.
Table 3 Usage of round timber and wood products in Bulgaria during the period
2006-2011 m3/ equivalent defoliated round timber/ 1000 habitants)*
||м3 RWE/ 1000 habitants
|1. Round timber
|2. Firewood (incl. coals)
|3. Industrial timber
* m3 RWE / 1000 habitants
Data by EUROSTAT, State of European’s Forests 2011, FAO/UNECE
As a result of the impact of the World Economic Crisis in 2008-2009, the consumption of round wood was uneven – with a sharp decline in 2009 and a subsequent positive growth. In 2010, timber consumption in the country is 892 cubic meters equivalent of wood / 1000 inhabitants, which is 12.1% less compared to the value of this criterion for the EU and by 19.7% higher than the average consumption of wood in the Southeast European region (State of European’s Foresters 2011, FAO / UNECE).
EXPORT AND IMPORT OF TIMBER
According to data of NSI and EUROSTAT in the period 2007 – 2010, the volume of exports of timber and timber products – total for EU and non-EU countries – is 3 183.402 thousand cubic meters. m. The industrial timber represents 80.1% of the export volume and the firewood – 19.9%.
The total amount of timber and timber products sold for EU and non-EU countries during the period 2007 – 2010 exceeds the realized imports of timber and timber products from EU and non-EU countries by 1 736 thousand cubic meters (45.5%) or 434 thousand cubic meters per year. For the period under review, the total value of the exports exceeds the total value of imports of round timber and products thereof by BGN 193,562 thousand.
WORKFORCE IN FOREST SECTOR
According to the data by CITUB the total number of persons employed in the forest sector has continuously been decreasing during last decade.
The largest is the percentage of employees in the wood production and wood products – 27%, “”Forestry” – 22,9% and the ‘production of paper and paper products” – 10,8 %.
According to the data of National statistic institute of Bulgaria the average number of employed in economic activity forestry is around 13 900, mainly men -74 %, while women are 26%.