Bulgaria Is Europe's Leader in Virgin Forest Protection - Expert

NW 19:10:31 20-07-2021

Bulgaria Is Europe's Leader
in Virgin Forest Protection -

Sofia, July 20 (BTA) - Bulgaria is a leader in the protection of virgin forests in Europe thanks to the fact that there is a lot of State-owned woodland and that the State, together with environmentalists, undertook to protect it, said Alexander Dountchev, Director of the Forestry Executive Agency (FEA).

He was speaking during Monday's field visit to an old-growth forest at Vitosha Nature Park organized by FEA and WWF-Bulgaria. The field visit was led by Prof. Tzvetan Zlatanov of the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who has been studying the virgin forests in the Balkan Range, Belasitsa, Vitosha, the Rhodopes, Rila and Pirin in the last 20 years.

Dountchev noted that just days ago, the EU presented its Biodiversity Strategy, according to which Member States have to protect 10 per cent of their old-growth forests in the next ten years.

"To date, Bulgaria has placed under protection 5 per cent of its virgin and old-growth forests, which makes it a leader in the entire European Union. In Europe, an average of 1 to 2 per cent of virgin forests are protected at the most, i.e. Bulgaria is far ahead," he commented. A strategy for the remaining five per cent is being drafted, aimed specifically at wetlands and nature parks.

Dountchev said Bulgaria could easily implement this European strategy because it has the potential and forests are well preserved by the experts.

Bulgaria's great advantage in this process is that 70 per cent of its forests are State-owned, which makes for a prompt and easy solution of the problem, Neli Doncheva of WWF Bulgaria said. The remaining 30 per cent are municipal or private property or are owned by religious denominations./NV/BR