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23 September 2013

Workshop on Natura 2000 management

CEEweb for Biodiversity jointly with Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation and the European Environmental Bureau organized a Workshop on Natura 2000 management: threats, challenges and solutions, with a specific focus on management of forest and grassland habitats in the Alpine biogeographic region. The meeting took place in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria on 12-14 September, 2013.

After being welcomed by Stefan Kirilov, Director of Rila National Park, participants discussed issues related to Natura 2000 management in thematic sessions. The session ‘Policy processes of Natura 2000 management‘ provided update about the status of Natura 2000 management and financing at CEE national level as well as about Natura 2000 and forest conservation processes at EU level, more precisely, the preparation of a Natura 2000 and forestry guideline and the recently released EU Guidelines on Wilderness in Natura 2000. A separate session was dedicated to the ‘management of Natura 2000 Alpine habitats‘, including an overview on the threats and management challenges which forests in the Alpine region face, and possible solutions to those challenges. Bulgarian national examples on forest and Alpine Natura 2000 sites were presented, giving the context for the field visit of the subsequent day. This session included discussion on management of grasslands and grassland-forest complexes too, focusing on their threats and management recommendations in the light of climate change as well as on their adapted management recommendations considering butterflies and insects. The third session focused on the preparation for the Alpine seminar, providing an introduction to the Alpine Biogeographical Process and the role of NGOs in the preparation for the Alpine seminar. There was room for the concrete preparation work in parallel groups on forest and grasslands habitats, with participants reading through the issues identified and actions proposed in the Alpine Workshop and compiling comments and further recommended actions to be channelled into the process.

Participants had the chance to visit good examples of forest management on the field, such as the old-growth spruce forest in the reserve Parangalitsa and the mixed old-growth forest in the reserve Rila Monastery Forest. Parangalitsa Reserve, declared a nature reserve in 1933, is located on the southwest slope of the Rila Mountains, and covers an area of 1,509 hectares. In 1977, the reserve was added to the list of biospheres recognized by UNESCO under the auspices of its “People and Biospheres” program. Parangalitsa is home to one of the oldest spruce forests in Europe. The trees there are on average over 200 years old. The forests offer favourable conditions for the growth of more than 290 species of larger flora and a wide range of fauna, many of which are listed in Bulgaria’s Red Book of endangered and protected species. Reserve Rila Monastery Forest was declared to protect the primary forest ecosystems of coniferous and mixed forests, the habitats of rare and endangered species and the natural environment of the architectural reserve “Rila Monastery”. With a surface of 3 676,5 ha, the Reserve is a model of mixed deciduous-coniferous forests with participation of mainly fir and beech. The fauna includes Balkan Chamois, Marten, Bear, Wolf and Capercaillie. The site formulates the Important Bird Area Rila, hosting high number of rare bird species of European importance.

Lastly, an NGO brochure was outlined with management recommendations and good examples for some highlighted issues on forest management. The workshop ended by planning and agreeing on future cooperation by the participating NGOs.

Download related documents:
list of participants
The state of play of Natura 2000 management and financing at the national level: country updates (Bulgaria, PolandRomania)

NGO brochure on management of Natura 2000 forests

Presentation slides:

EU processes addressing forest conservation: the Natura 2000 and forestry guideline (Pawel Pawlaczyk, Naturalists Club Poland) pdf
EU processes addressing forest conservation: the wilderness management guideline (Zoltán Kun, PAN Parks Foundation, via skype) pdf
Forests in the Alpine region: overview on the threats, management challenges and possible solutions (Pawel Pawlaczyk, Naturalists Club Poland) pdf
Bulgarian national examples on forest and Alpine Natura 2000 sites (Stanislav Lazarov, freelance forest engineer) pdf
Threats and management recommendations for Carpathian grasslands in the light of climate change (Ildikó Arany, CEEweb) pdf
Natura 2000 habitats in the Alpine region: adapted management considering butterflies and insects (Matthias Dolek, Butterfly Conservation Europe) pdf