Personal tools

Subscriptions
Sign up to receive our reports (print and/or electronic) and quarterly e-newsletter.
Follow us
Twitter icon Twitter
Facebook icon Facebook
YouTube icon YouTube channel
RSS logo RSS Feeds
More

Write to us Write to us

For the public:


For media and journalists:

Contact EEA staff
Contact the web team
FAQ

Call us Call us

Reception:

Phone: (+45) 33 36 71 00
Fax: (+45) 33 36 71 99


next
previous
items

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sound and independent information
on the environment

Bulgaria

Nature protection and biodiversity (Bulgaria)

Why should we care about this issue

Topic
Nature and biodiversity Nature and biodiversity
more info
Executive Environment Agency
Organisation name
Executive Environment Agency
Reporting country
Bulgaria
Organisation website
Organisation website
Contact link
Contact link
Last updated
15 Jul 2011
Content license
CC By 2.5
Content provider
Executive Environment Agency
Published: 16 Sep 2010 Modified: 10 Jul 2011 Feed synced: 15 Jul 2011 original
Key message

Bulgaria is one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity in Europe.

Between 1991 and 2007, protected areas doubled.

Bulgaria is one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity in Europe.

Between 1991 and 2007, protected areas doubled and now cover 5.14 % of the national land area.

Bulgaria has some of the largest Natura 2000 areas in Europe covering 33.8 % of its territory.

A variety of landscapes, geology and microclimates and thousands of years of human activity have resulted in a rich diversity of species, communities and natural habitats. Bulgaria contains three bio-geographic areas (Alpine, Black Sea and Continental), a variety of communities and ecosystems and almost all major European habitat types.

The state and impacts

Published: 16 Sep 2010 Modified: 10 Jul 2011 Feed synced: 15 Jul 2011 original
Key message

The diversity of Bulgarian flora and fauna has a significant economic dimension as a biological resources of importance to the Bulgarian people and the national economy.

Figures

Figure 3

Index of farmland birds in Bulgaria (17 species), (%)
Data source
http://bspb.org
Figure 3
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 2

Protected areas and Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria
Data source
http://www.natura2000bg.org/natura/eng/index1.php
Figure 2
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 1

Changes in the size of protected areas between 1991 and 2007 (in hectares) ( SEBI 2010\u20147 indicator)
Data source
http://biodiversity-chm.eea.europa.eu/information/indicator/F1090245995/
Figure 1
Fullscreen image Original link

 

Figure 1. Changes in the size of protected areas between 1991 and 2007 (in hectares) ( SEBI 2010—7 indicator).

 

Table 1. Numbers and sizes of Natura 2000 sites (Source: MoEW, Project “Natura 2000” - http://www.natura2000bg.org/natura/eng/index1.php; the table contain information from the SEBI 2010 — 7 indicator):

Natura 2000 conservation areas Number Area (ha) Percentage of national territory Average European percentage
Habitats Directive conservation areas 228 3342962 29.53 13
Birds Directive conservation areas 114 2321653 20.43 10
Total for the two directives 332   33.89 17

Under national legislation, protected areas fall into six categories similar to those designated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN): national parks, reserves, maintained reserves, nature parks, protected sites and natural monuments. By late 2007, there were 941 conservation territories with an overall area of 566 701.2 hectares. The trend is towards an increase in protected areas, which almost doubled between 1991 and 2007. By late 2007, a total of 30 protected area management plans had been adopted.

Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers has approved 332 Natura 2000 Sites covering 33.89 % of national territory: 114 Natura 2000 Sites for wild birds (20.3 % of territory) and 228 Natura 2000 Sites for habitats (29.5 % of territory). Ten Natura 2000 Sites are exactly the same size and carry an identical code under both Directives.

At a bio-geographic seminar in 2008, the current delineation of Bulgaria's designated habitat areas was assessed by the EU as being adequate to guarantee the conservation of priority species and  significant habitat types.

 

Figure 2. Protected areas and Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria.

 

The diversity of Bulgarian flora and fauna has a significant economic dimension as a biological resources of importance to the Bulgarian people and the national economy. The most important source of flora and fauna is Bulgaria's forests which cover a third of the country. Although there is still no economic assessment of the ecosystem services they offer, they play a vital environmental role as a source of oxygen, water, timber and non-timber products, including grassland, forest fruit and herbs, habitats for plant and animal species and a place for tourism, sports and recreation.

Bulgaria's genetic plant and animal resources play an important economic, cultural and biological role. They represent a variety of wild and semi-wild relatives of crops, local types and breeds, many of which are under threat.

Table 2 “(Source: the table contains information on indicators SEBI 2010–1, SEBI 2010 –2- and MoEW- http://www.moew.government.bg).

Numbers of species by biological group

Number of species and habitat types included in the Bulgarian Red Book[1]

 

Mushrooms: 5 200

Mushrooms: 215

Lichens: 933

Algae: 6

Algae: 3 063

Mosses: 102

Mosses: 705

Higher plants: 553

Higher plants: 3 900

Animals: 287

Invertebrates 27 000

Habitat types: 159

Amphibians – 17

 

Reptiles: 36

 

Fish: 218

 

Birds: 421

 
Mammals:100  

[1]The degree of threat to species is defined in accordance with International Union for the Conservation of Nature criteria.

There are a total of 498 species of plant endemic to Bulgaria, representing around 12.8 % of the national species diversity. In all there are 186 species endemic to Bulgaria and 312 endemic to the Balkans.

Bulgaria has some of the most diverse cave fauna in Europe, with 33 species of bat.

The first ever trend projections for 38 common bird species were published in 2007, along with an index of birds in agricultural habitats – an important indicator of sustainability in farmland management (SEBI 2010 – 1). Of the 38 species tracked in the period 2005-2007, a total of 17 were classified as farmland birds. In the first three years of its existence, the index declined.

 

Figure 3. Index of farmland birds in Bulgaria (17 species), (%).

 

Under national legislation, protected areas fall into six categories similar to those designated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN): national parks, reserves, maintained reserves, nature parks, protected sites and natural monuments. By late 2007, there were 941 conservation territories with an overall area of 566 701.2 hectares. The trend is towards an increase in protected areas, which almost doubled between 1991 and 2007. By late 2007, a total of 30 protected area management plans had been adopted.

Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers has approved 332 Natura 2000 Sites covering 33.89 % of national territory: 114 Natura 2000 Sites for wild birds (20.3 % of territory) and 228 Natura 2000 Sites for habitats (29.5 % of territory). Ten Natura 2000 Sites are exactly the same size and carry an identical code under both Directives.

At a bio-geographic seminar in 2008, the current delineation of Bulgaria's designated habitat areas was assessed by the EU as being adequate to guarantee the conservation of priority species and  significant habitat types.

 

Figure 2. Protected areas and Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria.

 

The diversity of Bulgarian flora and fauna has a significant economic dimension as a biological resources of importance to the Bulgarian people and the national economy. The most important source of flora and fauna is Bulgaria's forests which cover a third of the country. Although there is still no economic assessment of the ecosystem services they offer, they play a vital environmental role as a source of oxygen, water, timber and non-timber products, including grassland, forest fruit and herbs, habitats for plant and animal species and a place for tourism, sports and recreation.

Bulgaria's genetic plant and animal resources play an important economic, cultural and biological role. They represent a variety of wild and semi-wild relatives of crops, local types and breeds, many of which are under threat.

Table 2 “(Source: the table contains information on indicators SEBI 2010–1, SEBI 2010 –2- and MoEW- http://www.moew.government.bg).

Numbers of species by biological group

Number of species and habitat types included in the Bulgarian Red Book[1]

 

Mushrooms: 5 200

Mushrooms: 215

Lichens: 933

Algae: 6

Algae: 3 063

Mosses: 102

Mosses: 705

Higher plants: 553

Higher plants: 3 900

Animals: 287

Invertebrates 27 000

Habitat types: 159

Amphibians – 17

 

Reptiles: 36

 

Fish: 218

 

Birds: 421

 
Mammals:100  

[1]The degree of threat to species is defined in accordance with International Union for the Conservation of Nature criteria.

There are a total of 498 species of plant endemic to Bulgaria, representing around 12.8 % of the national species diversity. In all there are 186 species endemic to Bulgaria and 312 endemic to the Balkans.

Bulgaria has some of the most diverse cave fauna in Europe, with 33 species of bat.

The first ever trend projections for 38 common bird species were published in 2007, along with an index of birds in agricultural habitats – an important indicator of sustainability in farmland management (SEBI 2010 – 1). Of the 38 species tracked in the period 2005-2007, a total of 17 were classified as farmland birds. In the first three years of its existence, the index declined.

 

Figure 3. Index of farmland birds in Bulgaria (17 species), (%).

 

The key drivers and pressures

Published: 14 Sep 2010 Modified: 10 Jul 2011 Feed synced: 15 Jul 2011 original
Key message

The ratio of land affected by humans (anthropogenous and farmland) to natural/semi-natural land remained 41.55 -58.45 %.

Fragmentation − or the separation of habitats − increased, producing a negative effect on ecosystem function.

The major threats and challenges to biodiversity in Bulgaria are:

  1. human-driven devastation, fragmentation and loss of habitats;
  2. environmental pollution;
  3. direct destruction and exploitation;
  4. genetic erosion and the import of alien species;
  5. global climate change.

The ratio of land affected by humans (anthropogenous and farmland) to natural/semi-natural land remained 41.55-58.45% for the three Corine Land Cover base years (CLC 1990, 2000, 2006). Fragmentation − or the separation of habitats − increased, producing a negative effect on ecosystem function. When grouping areas into CORINE classes for the 13 basic ecosystem types (E's SEBI 2010 – 4 indicator: Ecosystem Coverage), changes in land cover over the three years were minimal (0-0.14 %).

Invasive species:

The National Strategy for Conserving Biodiversity and the National Action Plan 2006-2010 identifies invasive and introduced species as one of the main threats to national biodiversity.

An assessment of foreign and invasive species in Bulgaria has shown that their influence on natural ecosystems is similar to findings elsewhere in continental Europe, as the most sensitive and endangered are water ecosystems. Action campaigns involve increasing public awareness; creating research capacity; drafting legislative changes and developing strategic documents on national policy in relation to invasive species. Moreover, special measures have been introduced to address invasive species with a harmful economic impact. This involves studying the biology and ecology of the species, their natural enemies and methods for reducing populations and restricting their impact. Examples of such species are Dreisena polymorpha, Rapana tomasiana and Cameraria ochridella to name but a few. Measures to restrict the spread of invasive plant species are also being introduced in some sensitive Danubian and Black Sea areas.

In addition, the most problematic invasive species have been defined and descriptions are now available of 45 invasive animal species and 50 invasive plant and fungus species. (Source: SEBI 2010 -10).

The 2020 outlook

Published: 16 Sep 2010 Modified: 10 Jul 2011 Feed synced: 15 Jul 2011 original
Key message

Plans are also envisaged for the adoption of 48 new protected area management plans and an update of the 30 plans currently being implemented.

The area covered by protected areas is set to increase in stages from 2008-2018 to reach about 7 % of the country's surface area, mainly at the expense of the natural monuments and protected sites categories. Plans are also envisaged for the adoption of 48 new protected area management plans and an update of the 30 plans currently being implemented.

Existing and planned responses

Published: 16 Sep 2010 Modified: 10 Jul 2011 Feed synced: 15 Jul 2011 original
Key message

The main strategic documents defining biodiversity policy at national level are the National Environment Strategy, the National Action Plan 2000-2006, the National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and the two National Biodiversity Conservation Plans (1999-2004 and 2005-2010).

The main strategic documents defining biodiversity policy at national level are the National Environment Strategy, the National Action Plan 2000-2006, the National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and the two National Biodiversity Conservation Plans (1999-2004 and 2005-2010). These documents provide a stable framework for various short-term changes and short to medium-term projections in line with European integration and global management trends.

The Regulation on Conditions and Order for Compatibility Assessments of Plans, Projects and Development Proposals with the Purpose and Objectives of Natura 2000 sites came into force in 2007. This applies the principle of assessment to plans, programmes, projects and development proposals in conservation areas with a view to protecting species and habitats.

 

Biodiversity conservation measures

Two major approaches are applied to protect biodiversity: in situ and ex-situ.

The first approach conserves species by protecting their habitats in protected areas or under the National Ecological Network; placing species under protection or regulation; maintaining or restoring habitats and populations; reintroducing extinct species into nature or keeping a check on foreign species which impact the local biota.

The 30 protected area management plans are currently being implemented.

Eight threatened species action plans have been adopted for sturgeon (Acipenseriformes), the spur-thighed tortoise (Tеstudo graeca) and the spur-tailed tortoise (Testudo hermanni), wild goats (Rupicapra rupicapra), the brown bear (Ursus arctos), the wildcat (Felis silvestris), the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), the Rhodope tulip (Тulipa rhodopea) and the Rhodope lily (Lilium rhodopaeum). http://chm.moew.government.bg/nnps/IndexDetails.cfm?vID=30

These plans offer opportunities for specific action and initiatives relating to species conservation and aim to restrict the impact of existing threats.

Programmes are also underway for the reintroduction of the plant species Aldrovandra vesiculosa and Caldesia parnassifolia into the Dragoman Marshes.

Ex-situ conservation is a subsidiary approach involving cultivation or breeding in controlled conditions (collections, botanical gardens, zoos and breeding centres) or the conservation of genetic material under special conditions (seed banks, pollen, gametes, tissue and cellular cultures).

 

Reference sources:

The Executive Environment Agency (ExEA) http://eea.government.bg/eng

The Ministry of Environment and Waters (MOEW) http://www.moew.government.bg

The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Bird (BSPB), http://chm.moew.government.bg

The Executive Forestry Agency (EFA) http://www.dag.bg

Disclaimer

The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100