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Bulgaria - Main Details

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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Bulgaria is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula, bordering on Romania, Serbia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece and Turkey, with a coastline on the Black Sea. With a territory of 110,910 km2, the country encompasses three main bio-geographic regions: alpine, coastal, and continental. Species richness and habitat type within these regions are determined by diverse relief features, geology, micro-climatic conditions and human activity. There are 977 habitat types, including all levels of hierarchy, of which 96 are found only in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria is one of Europe’s biodiversity hotspots with approximately 3,900 species of flora; 210 species and sub-species of fish, 125 of which live in the Black Sea (and 26 of which are of economic importance); 18 amphibious species; 37 reptile species; 428 bird species (252 species are nidifying birds); 95 mammal species. There are about 1,300 endemic species in Bulgaria (5% of the total flora, 8.8% of the total non-insect species and 4.3% of the total insect species are endemic).

Possessing extensive mountain ranges, national parks, a coastline on the Black Sea, as well as numerous cultural and historic sites, Bulgaria has abundant opportunity for eco-tourism which could contribute significantly to the national economy. Other benefits and ecosystem services include the use of wood and non-wood resources (wild mushrooms, herbs and berries) from forests, which play an important part in traditional livelihoods and contribute to local economies and society in general.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The country’s rich biological diversity is subject to the impacts of a large spectrum of threats as a result of human activity and natural processes occurring in ecosystems. Anthropogenic threats to terrestrial systems include construction activities, infrastructure projects, resource extraction, agricultural intensification/extensification, illegal logging, environmental pollution, direct extermination/exploitation, genetic erosion, introduction of alien invasive species and climate change. Marine systems are mainly threatened by coastal development, unsustainable fishing techniques and industrial pollution.

Of the rich biodiversity in Bulgaria, there are 112 species on the international registers of endangered taxons.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The National Biological Diversity Conservation Strategy was completed in 1998 and the National Biological Diversity Conservation Plan in 2000. The latter was updated in 2006 to cover the 2006-2010 period and focused on implementing two main objectives: conserve, strengthen and restore key ecosystems, habitats, species and their genetic resources; and ensure possibilities for the sustainable use of biological resources.

Bulgaria made several important achievements towards the 2010 Biodiversity Target, such as the development of a system of protected areas, designation of zones for the NATURA 2000 Ecological Network and launching a process for their establishment; enhanced requirements towards the application of preventive mechanisms for the protection of species and habitats, subject to protection in the network; gaining experience and capacity-building for the management of these areas.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

To address the two main objectives of the National Biological Diversity Conservation Plan, ninety-six activities were identified and classified into seven categories: efforts to draft acts, secondary legislation, information- and management-related documents; institutional strengthening of biodiversity units; establishment and maintenance of a National Eco-network; expansion and maintenance of the protected areas system; priority restoration and maintenance activities; strengthening of the scientific basis of biodiversity conservation; information and educational activities and training.

Bulgaria currently has 54,6785.3 ha of protected areas classified among 6 categories, equivalent to 5% of the country’s territory. The distribution by category is as follows: 55 Strict Reserves - protected from all kinds of human activities (IUCN Category I); 3 National Parks - strictly protected with some activities permitted (IUCN Category II); 348 Natural Monuments - conservation of natural formations with human activities allowed (IUCN Category III); 35 Managed Reserves - human activities are permitted but only for conservation purposes (IUCN Category IV); 10 Nature Parks - with sustainable development activities (IUCN Category V); 430 Protected Sites - conservation of habitats and sustainable use of natural resources (IUCN Category VI). There are also 10 Ramsar sites, 16 biosphere reserves and 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In the last 50 years, 1.5 million ha of forest cultures were planted in Bulgaria. The goals of afforestation are to increase the area of forests and their productivity and also undertake measures to prevent soil erosion. Through planting native species, creating forests rich in biodiversity and applying proper management measures, natural recovery and the formation of multi-layer stands have been facilitated.

Ten-year projects are elaborated for forests. For game species, fish and invertebrates, in the context of the sectoral policies, a period is determined, within which use is allowed and specific measures are implemented for resource recuperation. For medicinal plants of limited resources, a regime has been implemented for their protection and use, prescribing allowable quantities, regions where use can take place and recuperation periods.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

There is a comprehensive system of environmental legislation within Bulgaria and environmental protection is a concept that is firmly established in the constitution. The Biodiversity Conservation Act provides protection for plant and animal species. Bulgaria is a signatory to several international agreements and, as a member of the European Union, has harmonised legislation for the protection of natural resources. Having ratified the Cartagena Protocol in 2003, Bulgaria also has legislation and policies in place to monitor and control the use of Genetically Modified Organisms.

Funding for biodiversity-related activities can be obtained from government and EU allocations. In terms of agriculture, subsidies and grants are available under the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which initiated a number of measures to protect biodiversity. The EU environmental acquis also promotes the development of the NATURA 2000 Ecological Network.

Inter-institutional communication and coordination concerning actions for biodiversity protection have significantly improved, resulting in an increasingly greater degree of mainstreaming in strategies and sectoral policies. The Ministry of Environment and Water plays a major role in this however the contributions of civil society are also on the rise.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The status of biodiversity in the country will serve as the basis for assessing the efficient implementation of activities in the National Biological Diversity Conservation Plan. Monitoring is used for identifying status, type and degree of impact on the biological species and ecosystems. Elements that will be considered in monitoring the implementation of the Plan include: impact of activities on biodiversity; impact of threats on ecosystems and biodiversity; establishment of a database on species; establishment of the status of vegetation in particular areas; data on the status of environmental components; and the establishment of a GIS database for protected areas and biodiversity.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme