WWF makes significant contributions to the progress of the Natura 2000 work in Bulgaria
In the field - on the Danube Vit tributary, Northen Bulgaria
Supporting the national effort in Bulgaria, WWF is making its contribution to the elaboration of the Natura2000 list of sites of community importance through several activities. 2006 is the crucial year for this process in both Romania and Bulgaria. Being a request for the EU accession moment planned for January 2007, the list should include the most valuable natural areas in the country, according to the Birds and Habitats Directives. These sites will be proposed to be included in Natura 2000 – the European Ecological Network of Protected Areas.
Under the coordination of the WWF Danube Carpathian Programme, 35 sites of community importance were identified, mapped and proposed to the Ministry of Environment and Waters at the end of January. 10 experts worked for field inventorying and data processing for 200 days in 2005.The proposed sites cover an area of 40 305 ha from the Lower Danube floodplains, including the Danube islands and the Western Danube tributaries from Iskar to Timok river.
The financial support for this achievement is provided by WWF Germany, and the work completed in cooperation with (and with co-financing of) the Bulgarian NGO’s Green Balkans and the Association of Parks in .
The Bulgarian Habitats Manual
The Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water officially endorsed the first illustrated Bulgarian Habitats Manual, developed together by WWF and Green Balkans in 2005. Until last year, there was no unified common national guiding document, manual or handbook to be used for identification of habitat types during the field work for inventory of Natura 2000 sites, which certainly lead to incoherence and omissions in the information about the identified sites. As the Interpretation Manual of Habitats in the European Union was rather general and not reflecting national characteristics, there was the clear need for a Bulgarian manual with national characteristics of the habitats to serve during the field identification of sites of community importance.
The Manual was elaborated by a group of experts – botanists and phytosociologists and illustrated with color photographs from Bulgaria. It presents 88 habitat types from Annex I of the Habitats Directive, which are present in Bulgaria and illustrates their main features and characteristic species with 131 photographs. A wide range of stakeholders and users received the Manual for their further work on Natura2000 this year– national and regional state authorities, scientific institutes, NGOs, and experts from the scientific community.
WWF Danube Carpathian Programme established a partnership with the Bulgarian National Forestry Board for making the connection between the forestry work and the future requirements and benefits of the Natura 2000 network in . In this framework, a series of capacity building seminars and lectures are organized for the Bulgarian foresters in 2006. The meetings offer the opportunity of experience sharing with foreign foresters from the EU member states and with protected areas experts from and abroad. The forest authorities also receive up-to-date information about the Natura 2000 preparation process in , as well as about the forest territories within proposed Natura 2000 sites and national coverage of forest habitats listed in the Habitats Directive.
For more information:
Vesselina Kavrakova, Natura2000 Project Manager, WWF DCPO Bulgaria, firstname.lastname@example.org,