The oak habitats deliver numerous benefits: protecting from erosion, increase the soil moisture, purify the air, climate change adaptation and CO2 sink. They have deteriorated by being managed as scrubby habitats for decades and the applied clear felling system. The natural recovery is badly affected and needs active and scientifically proven methods to be improved. At national scale protection and restoration of oak habitats is facilitated by the Biodiversity and Forestry Laws transposing the EU Directives on habitats and birds. Sustainable forestry management in Natura 2000 demands at least 10% of each forest habitat to be dedicated to old forests. National registry has been established on centuries-old trees. Further increase of the number of protected old oak trees is needed as well as wide awareness campaign generating public demand and support for protection and recovery of oak habitats.
Summary of project results
Oak forests are among the most valuable and sustainable ecosystems, but their condition in Bulgaria is constantly deteriorating, and the most valuable of them - tall old oak forests, almost disappeared. The main objective of the project was raising the awareness and education about the oak habitats and their ecosystem services, including the linkage between oak habitats and climate change. In the implementation of the project 10 volunteers were trained in recognizing ancient oak trees in the Black Sea region. 50 centuries old oak trees were identified and proposed for registration to the Century Trees supported by the Executive Environment Agency. The information provided on century old oak trees will be of use to the Ministry of Environment and Water in the future. Through a large scale information campaign 1000 students and around 5000 people were informed for the importance of the oak habitats, the need for their protection and the types of recovery measures. In five towns in Bulgaria (Pleven, Vratsa, Sofia, Haskovo and Plovdiv) educational events with students were organized. The attraction of the events was the “The Globe classroom” representing inflatable globe (a model of our planet), with a diameter of 6.5 meters, in which students enter to learn more about the Earth's structure, natural sciences, geography, ecology, and more. It was accompanied by an interactive program in the framework of the Oak Campaign that was focused on the role of forests, in particular the importance of oak trees to the environment. An internet based interactive game "Dabrava" was developed targeted to young people and children with a focus on oak habitats.
Summary of bilateral results