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 increment of forests in the country.
According to official data the harvested timber for 2018 was 8 278 711 m3. The harvesting from state forests is 6 447 693 m3, from municipal forests – 904 463 m3 and from private forests – 926 555 m3.
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 monitoring and control of various biotic and abiotic agents damaging forests, show that in the last five years 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. For 2018 222 forest fires were registered and the burned forest area was 1453 ha, which is much lower than the previous two years.
The Forest Law adopted in 2011 and the related regulations are the main legal framework governing the sustainable forest management in Bulgaria. The strategic goals are directed at ensuring multifunctional management of forest ecosystems including protection and enhancement of forest territory; maintenance and improvement the condition of forests; ensuring and maintenance the ecological, social and economic functions of forests; 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.
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, 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, etc..
Although the forest sector forms a relatively small share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), forestry and 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.
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.