Within two years of scientific and field work, WWF Bulgaria and partners have mapped out old forests located in territories owned by 30 municipalities in the country. The large-scale survey was announced at an official press conference at the BTA, which was attended by representatives of municipalities, the scientific and environmental community, as well as non-governmental organizations and state bodies.
13% of the forests in Bulgaria (523 thousand ha) are managed by the municipalities, and only 9% of the municipal forests are over 100 years old. These are forests mainly concentrated in watersheds and steep terrains. In addition to being home to amazing biodiversity, they protect the waters, prevent erosion and floods, purify the air, and enrich the soil, making them of great importance to humans and to sustaining our environment in the face of climate change. However, in order to continue to provide these vital ecosystem services, urgent measures need to be taken to protect them.
Which forests are old-growth forests?
The old-growth forests are one of the last nooks and crannies of wildlife that are poorly influenced by man. They still hold examples of the biodiversity characteristic of the pristine forests that once existed throughout Bulgaria. Only in the old forests do the trees reach the age limit, often between 300 and 400 years old, and acquire majestic dimensions of over 40 - 50 m in height and 1 - 2 m in thickness, perishing without being cut down. Today the old forests in Bulgaria are concentrated mainly in places where access is still restricted due to lack of roads or steep terrain. WWF publishes more information on its public GIS platform: https://gis.wwf.bg/mobilz/