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Bulgaria - Main Details

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


The world’s development is unthinkable without the conservation and the sustainable use of all living organisms and of the eco-systems in which these participate as a living component. Though it is a global process, the conservation of the plant and animal species is the priority and the obligation of the state and municipal authorities and of the citizens in each country.

Though Bulgaria is a country of a comparatively small area, the conditions in the country make possible the existence of a rich biota, including: 94 species of mammals; 33 species of bats; 421 - birds; 36 - reptiles; 17 - amphibians; 218 - Black sea and fresh-water fish; 445 - mollusks; 1583 - acaride; 1090 - arachnida; 20900 - insects; 1606 - Protozoa; 3900 - vascular plants; 707 - moss; 933 - lichen; 3063 - algae; 4900 - fungi. The endemic organisms represent approximately 5% of vascular plants and 8.8% of vertebrates. Several species, including 31 plant and 3 fish species, have become extinct due to anthropogenic pressures in the last decade.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

The present situation in Bulgaria is: 546785.3 ha of protected areas in 6 categories, equivalent to 5 % of the country’s territory. The distribution in each category is as follows: 55 Strict Reserves: strictly protected, all kinds of human activities are prohibited (IUCN category I); 3 National Parks: strictly protected, some activities permitted (IUCN category II); 348 Natural Monuments: conservation of natural formations, human activities allowed (IUCN category III); 35 Managed Reserves: human activities are permitted but only for conservation purposes (IUCN category IV); 10 Nature Parks: sustainable development (IUCN category V); 430 Protected Sites: conservation of habitats and sustainable use of the natural resources (IUCN Category VI)

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

The National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy was inspired by the Pan European Strategy for Biological and Landscape Diversity, and the National Biodiversity Conservation Plan is a direct follow-up of this strategy. The identified actions are largely achievable within the existing institutional, financial and personnel resources and are set in a five-year plan. To achieve conservation of biodiversity, the first priority set by Bulgaria is the drafting of acts, normative acts and information/managerial documents, followed by the institutional strengthening of government biodiversity units, the establishment and maintenance of a national eco-network and protected area network, restoration and maintenance activities, strengthening of the scientific base for biodiversity conservation, and finally education and training. A total of 96 separate activities have been identified to address these priorities. Indicators were established to monitor the successes of the plan, of which the main ones include changes in area covered with various vegetation types, changes in the age structure of the forests, changes in balance of nutrients, changes in soil acidity, and percentage of the area under management plans.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target


The general principles and measures for the conservation of biodiversity are described in the Environmental Protection Act 2002, which sets up the contemporary framework of the state policy and management. There are three main acts and their sub-law-documents in Bulgaria that regulate biodiversity conservation, which are: the Protected Areas Act, the Biological Diversity Act and the Medicinal Plants Act. The Protected Areas Act is the first modern nature conservation Act in Bulgaria. It took force in 1998. It introduces a contemporary, adequate to the international norms, system of protected areas categories and defines the interactions between the institutions responsible for their management. This law has also imposed the elaboration of management plans, determining the concrete regimes for each protected area.

Another specialized nature conservation law is the Biodiversity Conservation Act, adopted in 2002. It settles the relations between the State, the municipalities, the juridical and physical persons, in terms of the protection and the sustainable use of the biological diversity in Bulgaria. The law regulates the protection of habitats, of species of plants and animals and their biotopes, the elaboration of action plans, as well as the hunting, the gathering and the trade in them. The Act on the Biological Diversity introduces in the national practice the requirements of the Habitats and the Birds Directives, focused on preservation of habitat types and biotopes of plant and animal species. The Act on the Biological Diversity envisages the establishment of National Ecological Network, consisting of protected zones and protected areas.

The Biodiversity Conservation Act provides protection for plant and animal species. 598 plant species and 441 animal species are strictly protected, whereas 30 plant species and 55 animal species are under a regulated regime of use. Those species are listed in separate Annexes of the Biodiversity Conservation Act. The act also ensures the development of Action plans for plant and animal species. Such plans are being developed with priority for species that are threatened on an international level or whose populations are in bad condition on the territory of Bulgaria. There are 35 action plans for different species.

The Biodiversity Conservation Act regulates the introduction of alien species or reintroduction of local species. This could happen after the elaboration of a comprehensive program, approved by the National biodiversity council under the MOEW. The act introduces the regulations of CITES convention. The MOEW is the authority in charge for the implementation of the CITES convention and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is the consultative body. Finally, the act introduces Decrees for minimal conditions for keeping of animals in Zoological gardens and other for Licenses of the zoos.

MEDICINAL PLANTS ACT, 2000 Wild growing medicinal plants are one of the major renewable resources of our country. Bulgarian medicinal plants are characterized with a large diversity of species and rich composition of active ingredients. There are about 770 species of medicinal plants being 20% of the Bulgarian flora. From these species, 200 are currently in use, from which more than 250 herbs are derived, currently used in the prophylactics, medicine, cosmetics, and the food industry.

The legislation determines two categories of conservation significance species: protected species and species under special regime for conservation and use. During the year 2004, two regulations were enforced pursuant to the Medicinal Plant Act: Regulation № 2/2004 concerning the rules and the requirements for collecting herbs and genetic material from medicinal, and Regulation № 5/2004 concerning the requirements towards the stations for herbs processing and/or herbs stores .

Concrete rules and requirements for herbs collecting were introduced by these regulations, as well as requirements towards the organization and the activities of the herbs primary processing stations and the herbs stores. Some general conditions concerning the traditional processing of the herbs are laid in the regulations, scientifically proved requirements, as well as elements from the good practices in the domain of collecting and processing of herbs.

The conservation and use of the natural resources and biodiversity are regulated with other specialized acts, including not only species from wild flora and fauna, but species cultivated from the people as well. They are the Agricultural Land Conservation Act, the Agricultural Land Ownership and Use Act, the Protection of new Plant Varieties and Animal Breeds Act, the Forestry Act, the Hunting and Game Protection Act, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Act, the Veterinary Practices Act, etc. The great number of elaborated and promulgated acts and regulations at national and global level in the field of environment and nature protection is a consequence of the intensive legislative work which is done in the country in the context of the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria to the European Union.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

Management Plans The Protected Areas Act requires the elaboration of management plans for protected areas. There are 31 management plans approved, 11 are in the process of approval, and 20 are in the process of preparation.

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