LIFEFORHAB - Restoration and improvement of the conservation status of priority forest habitats within Bulgarian Natura 2000 network

LIFE16 NAT/BG/000817

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Contact details:

Contact person: Teodor Todorov
Tel: 359896665432
Fax: 35973884203
Email: tufo@gbg.bg

Project description:


Forest habitats in the southwest of Bulgaria, designated as priority for conservation in the Habitats Directive, are facing the common problem of reduced natural regeneration. This is threatening their habitat conservation status. Field data and working experience in the region, including that from previous LIFE projects such as BGNATURAGENEFUND (LIFE10 NAT/BG/000146), has shown that natural regeneration is either weak or does not exist in the target area of this LIFEFORHAB project. Therefore, in cases of habitat destruction or damage (e.g. by forest fires, and pest or disease outbreaks), forest habitats are not able to regenerate successfully, which leads to further reduction of habitat coverage and deterioration of habitat conservation status. The main factors causing poor regeneration are human pressures, including overgrazing, improper forestry practices, land use change, infrastructure development and uncontrolled forest fires; the spread of invasive species; a lack of natural reproductive material; and insufficient capacity within the forestry sector in Bulgaria for the sustainable management of priority forest habitats within the Natura 2000 network.


The overall objective of LIFEFORHAB is to improve the conservation status, and to increase the habitat coverage, of seven priority forest habitats listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive, within six target Bulgarian Natura 2000 network sites.

Specific project objectives are to:

  • Support the conservation of the gene pool of priority forest species and habitats;
  • Secure the basis for future conservation and restoration efforts targeting priority forest habitats by developing infrastructure, ensuring necessary equipment, and building expert capacity;
  • Demonstrate best practices for habitat restoration on a regional level over a total area of 104 ha, and foster the replication of results on a national level; and
  • Increase the level of support from stakeholders and target groups for sustainable management of forest Natura 2000 network sites in Bulgaria.
  • Expected results:

  • Sources of reproductive material from forest Natura 2000 network sites from all over Bulgaria identified;
  • 7 291.70 kg of seeds collected and processed from 50 forest species representative of 14 priority habitats;
  • Forest gene bank stocked with collected forest reproductive material to be used for future conservation actions targeting forest Natura 2000 network habitats;
  • Installation of seed processing equipment at SWSFE nursery premises;
  • Establishment of a high-capacity operational production line (1 million seedlings) for containerised seedlings (coniferous and deciduous);
  • More than 860 000 containerised seedlings from priority forest species produced;
  • 104 ha of 7 priority forest habitats restored within six target Natura 2000 network sites;
  • Improved conservation status of three ha of the priority habitat, Endemic forests with Juniperus spp;
  • Increased institutional capacity to ensure replication of project results in Bulgaria; and
  • Raised public awareness of the conservation and restoration of priority forest habitats.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Forests


conservation of genetic resources‚  forest ecosystem‚  restoration measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target Habitat types

  • 9180 - "Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines"
  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"
  • 91H0 - Pannonian woods with Quercus pubescens
  • 9530 - (Sub-) Mediterranean pine forests with endemic black pines
  • 9560 - Endemic forests with Juniperus spp.
  • 4070 - Bushes with Pinus mugo and Rhododendron hirsutum (Mugo-Rhododendretum hirsuti)
  • 91AA - Eastern white oak woods

Natura 2000 sites

SCI BG0000113 Vitosha
SCI BG0000224 Ograzhden - Maleshevo
SCI BG0000298 Konyavska planina
SCI BG0000366 Kresna - Ilindentsi
SCI BG0001011 Osogovska planina
SCI BG0001013 Skrino



Coordinator Southwestern State Forest Enterprise
Type of organisation National authority
Description The Southwestern State Forest Enterprise (SWSFE), established by the agriculture and food ministry in 2011 under the Bulgarian Forestry Act, is one of six state forest enterprises managing state-owned forests. It is responsible for managing and protecting forests in the seven administrative regions of the southwestern region. It manages a total of 686 310 ha of forests and forest lands, over 50% of which lie within Natura 2000 network sites.
Partners Forest Seed Control Station - Sofia, Bulgaria


Project reference LIFE16 NAT/BG/000817
Duration 18-SEP-2017 to 18-SEP -2021
Total budget 2,108,332.00 €
EU contribution 1,580,349.00 €
Project location Yugozapaden(Bulgaria Balgarija)


Read more:

Leaflet "Горите и Натура 2000" (301KB)
Project web site Project's website
Publication "ПРОГРАМА: за възстановяване и подобряване природо ...
Publication: Technical report "Анализ на нуждата от възстановяване на приоритетн ...
Slides Presentation "25 години програма LIFE в Европа – 10 години в Бъ ...
Slides Presentation "Проект «Възстановяване и подобряване природозащит ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version