Mapping and assessment of Sparsely vegetated land ecosystem services in Bulgaria (SPA-Ecoservices)

Project facts

Project promoter:
Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Project Number:
Target groups
Researchers or scientists,
Civil servants/Public administration staff
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
From EEA Grants:
€ 266,464
The project is carried out in:


Spersely vegetated land ecosystems are insufficiently known in Bulgaria to allow valuation, sustainable conservation and use. Therefore, the project aims to map Sparsely vegetated land ecosystems on the entire territory of the country outside NATURA 2000 sites, and to assess their conditions and services in a manner consistent to the technical requirements of the National Biodiversity Information System. Using available information of various sources and own field investigations numerous GIS layers will be elaborated with specific values of the ecosystems of Sparsely vegetated lands. During the implementation of the project all results and outputs will be validated/ verificated. A Publicity Plan will be prepared.

Summary of project results

Mapping ecosystems and assessing the condition and services they provide is taking place for the first time in Bulgaria.The majority of past studies have been focused on some elements of biodiversity but not to ecosystems in general. Assessment of services was also not performed. The aim of this project was to precise the distribution of habitats referred to ecosystems of sparsely vegetated lands outside Natura 2000 network, to assess their ecological condition and services they provide based on a set of indicators and parameters. As a result of the implementation of the activities, information on biotic diversity, the occurrence of violations such as fires, pollution was collected, based on number of indicators. It can be concluded that the overall ecological condition of ecosystems in sparsely vegetation lands is good. Among the summarized scores, Grade 4 - Good condition and Grade 5 -Very good condition predominates. Grade 3 (moderate state) under subtype B1 Coastal dunes and sandy shores with respect to the parameters "Plant vegetation cover" and "Plant species" are explained by the specificity of vegetation in this subtype of habitats represented by a relatively small number of species that do not form dense cover. Most of the areas occupied by sparsely vegetation lands are rated with grades 2 and 3 in terms of service opportunities. These assessments effectively reflect the capacities of this type of ecosystems, considering the set of specific characteristics regarding biotic diversity, abiotic factors, distribution in Bulgaria, way of use, potential for use. The Black Sea coastal areas are of greater value and potential as places offering conditions for tourism combined with places with access to sites of cultural, historical and archaeological heritage. Inland rock and scree habitats have so far been mainly used for research on biodiversity, but they have a potential as landscaped of aesthetic value, especially the more accessible ones, located near settlements, tourist sites and routes. The results of this project can be used by municipal and regional administrative structures, tourism agencies, MoEW structures, schools, NGOs and other stakeholders in the planning of activities in the field of environmentally friendly tourism and recreation, training, promotion of natural landmarks. The created database, layers in GIS and map material provide a convenient way to use the results of the project.

Summary of bilateral results