Bulgaria’s Green Belt


Svetoslav Spasov

Restoring ecological networks in Bulgaria’s Green Belt

Project Achievements

Broad-leaved forests, gallery woodland and grasslands in southeast Bulgaria hold relatively intact populations of wildlife. The area provides strongholds for globally threatened species such as eastern imperial eagle, Greek tortoise and mouse-tailed dormouse. It also lies on a migration flyway for thousands of raptors and storks. Low human population density and proximity to a formerly restricted border area mean that natural landscapes have not yet been significantly degraded by large-scale agriculture or urbanisation.

However, recently designated protected areas suffer from weak management and protection, grasslands are being converted to arable crops, and commercial plantation forestry has used ill-suited species that provide feeble economic returns and are poor for biodiversity. The project worked with the Southeast State Forestry Company to create plans to conserve and restore natural forest and grasslands over 230,000 ha of Natura 2000 sites, and to establish new protected areas. Achievements included the identification of 114 passes for wildlife along the Maritza highway, the preparation of forest maps and the development of two proposals that were submitted for funding, one of which (to the Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme) was successful.

To see the full restoration project’s future direction and aims, visit their project page.

Project Partners

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB)
Southeast State Forestry Company (SSFC)

Quick Facts

ELSP funding


Duration of grant

October 2019 – April 2022

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