LIFE Project Cover Photo

Restoration and conservation of riparian forests of habitat type *910 in Natura 2000 sites and model areas in Bulgaria

Reference: LIFE13 NAT/BG/000801 | Acronym: LIFE Riparian Forests

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

Although the priority habitat, Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae) is found all over Bulgaria, its total area accounts for only 0.5% of the countrys overall forested area. These marginal and riparian forests create unique conditions that control and influence the transfer of energy, nutrients and sediments between the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Due to their accessibility and proximity to towns and villages, however, these riparian forests frequently experience disturbance, which has resulted in a continual decline in their area. In recent decades, the habitats have suffered from a wide range of detrimental actions including clear felling and transformation into arable lands or hybrid plantations for the intensive production of timber. Furthermore, cleaning and correction of riverbeds, and infrastructure projects, such as the construction of small hydropower plants and the extraction of inert materials, have also had a negative impact. Such long-term adverse human impacts lead to degradation of the priority habitat and negative changes in its structure, composition, stability and functionality. No real direct conservation activities have targeted this priority habitat to date in the project sites. According to the National Protected Areas Act of Bulgaria, several protected areas are located within or adjacent to the project sites, which preserve riparian forests, but none of these areas has a management plan.


OBJECTIVES

The overall objective of the project was to improve the conservation status of the priority for conservation listed Annex I of the Habitats Directive habitat 91E0*: Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae), through activities in two Bulgarian Natura 2000 sites: Marten-Ryahovo and Reka Maritsa SCIs. This goal would be achieved by directly restoring and improving the quality of habitat at the sites through the applications of a range of techniques and the testing alternative forestry methods. The project also aimed to improve the knowledge of the habitat to aid its restoration and management of this habitat. It planned to develop a good practice guide, as well as build up the capacities of the EFA, WWF and two of its regional directorates. Public awareness would also be increased, reaching out to local groups within the project area to secure support for the conservation of this target habitat.


RESULTS

The conservation status of habitat 91E0* was unfavourable-unsatisfactory in Reka Maritsa and unfavourable-bad in Marten-Ryahovo SCI. The project improved the coverage and the structure of 91E0* over 16 ha in the Reka Maritsa site, which is an important ecological corridor in the south of Bulgaria. It is home to the largest wintering location of the pygmy cormorant (4 000 to 6 000 individuals). The coverage and the structure of 91E0* at Marten-Ryahovo was also improved over 32,1 ha. The site covers Danube islands of the Aleko group and the bank between the towns of Marten and Ryahovo.

At Reka Maritsa, around 47 960 saplings of Quercus robur, Ulmus minor, Ulmus laevis, Fraxinus angustifolia, Alnus glutinosa, Populus nigra and Alnus incana were planted on an area of 14.2 ha. Intensive restocking was carried out in order to overcome the low survival rate of saplings caused by the hot and dry summer seasons of 2016 and 2017, as well as tending, manual weeding and watering of the young plants. Around 78 000 saplings were planted in total. At Marten-Ryahovo, saplings of Salix alba and Populus nigra were planted on an area of 9.8 ha, while existing trees were preserved. Here, the survival rate at 80% was significantly higher overall. However, in areas of low survival rates, additional measures were carried out. The conservation status of habitat 91E0* was unfavourable-unsatisfactory in Reka Maritsa and unfavourable-bad in Marten-Ryahovo SCI. The project improved the coverage and the structure of 91E0* over 16 ha in the Reka Maritsa site, which is an important ecological corridor in the south of Bulgaria. It is home to the largest wintering location of the pygmy cormorant (4 000 to 6 000 individuals). The coverage and the structure of 91E0* at Marten-Ryahovo was also improved over 32,1 ha. The site covers Danube islands of the Aleko group and the bank between the towns of Marten and Ryahovo.

At Reka Maritsa, around 47 960 saplings of Quercus robur, Ulmus minor, Ulmus laevis, Fraxinus angustifolia, Alnus glutinosa, Populus nigra and Alnus incana were planted on an area of 14.2 ha. Intensive restocking was carried out in order to overcome the low survival rate of saplings caused by the hot and dry summer seasons of 2016 and 2017, as well as tending, manual weeding and watering of the young plants. Around 78 000 saplings were planted in total. At Marten-Ryahovo, saplings of Salix alba and Populus nigra were planted on an area of 9.8 ha, while existing trees were preserved. Here, the survival rate at 80% was significantly higher overall. However, in areas of low survival rates, additional measures were carried out.

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE13 NAT/BG/000801
Acronym: LIFE Riparian Forests
Start Date: 01/09/2014
End Date: 28/02/2019
Total Budget: 537,056 €
EU Contribution: 402,792 €
Project Location:
Project Website: http://www.iag.bg

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: Executive Forestry Agency
Legal Status: PAT
Address: 55, Hr. Botev, Blvd., 1000, Sofia, Bulgaria Balgarija
Contact Person: Kiril Tashev
Email: tashev.k@gmail.com
Tel: 35929879792
Fax: 35929813736


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Forests

KEYWORDS

  • forest ecosystem
  • protected area
  • restoration measure

TARGET EU LEGISLATION

  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)

TARGET HABITAT TYPES

  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"

SPECIES

  • None or non applicable

NATURA 2000 SITES

Type Code Name
SCI BG0000529 Marten - Ryahovo
SCI BG0000578 Reka Maritsa

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
Executive Forestry Agency Coordinator
WWF BG(WWF Danube - Carpathian Programme Bulgaria), Bulgaria Participant
RFD R.(Regional Forestry Directorate Ruse), Bulgaria Participant
RFD Pl.(Regional Forestry Directorate Plovdiv), Bulgaria Participant

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