WWF begins the monitoring of biodiversity

Climate change is having an increasing impact on our daily lives. This is clearly felt in the forestry sector, which takes care of the second largest carbon dioxide store on the planet – forests. In this regard, their adequate management is essential both for nature and for all of us.

This is the goal of the environmental organization WWF and its partners in the project “Climate-intelligent forest management in Central and Eastern Europe”- – LIFE19 CCA/SK/001276. The field work in Bulgaria will be carried out on an area of over 1300 ha (13,000 decares) within the scope of the Southwestern State Forestry Enterprise (SWSFE). The aim is to adapt to climate change one of the most vulnerable forests in our country – artificial forest crops of white pine. Similar places will be chosen in Slovakia too, where the same measures will be applied.

Very important part of the project implementation were the field visits, during which was collected information about the sites where the adaptation measures will be applied. It is also important to know the animal species which inhabit these particular forests, so to be sure that the applied measures won’t affect negatively their populations.

This is the aim of the biodiversity monitoring that will begin soon and will be focused on birds, insects, amphibians and bats, In the past months, the necessary methodologies for its implementation have been developed -existing data on the distribution of Natura 2000 habitat types, protected species in the project intervention sites and / or their presumed presence were taken into account. The condition of the forests before and after the implementation of the adaptation measures will be monitored, till the end of the project in 6 years, in order to determine whether the activities affect specific plant and animal species with high conservation value. The big goal of WWF is to achieve a positive impact on them and their habitats, turning artificial forests into natural ones, thus ensuring greater resilience to climate change.

 Not in all forest stands that the monitoring will take place will be applied adaptation measures. This way, it can be concluded how effective the applied adaptation measures are. The project sites in both Bulgaria and Slovakia have similar characteristics, as far as possible.

During the monitoring, will be observed selected indicators of the forest stands – forest health, stability and vitality, reduction of GHG emissions and others. Indicators to be measured as part of the forest stand monitoring include: tree species composition, regeneration, deadwood, etc.

The monitoring of biodiversity will be concentrated in the area of 3 Forest Management units – Vitoshko-Studena , Nevestio and Kyustendil. Among the target species of birds, amphibians, insects and bats are those with high conservation value and are associated with forest habitats. Due to its nature, monitoring will be carried out by biodiversity experts who know the specifics and needs of individual species. Some beetles, are very sensitive to the conditions of the environment and require specific monitoring measures so that their habitat is not mistakenly destroyed. The observation of bats, on the other hand, will be done mainly by detecting their sounds and requires special equipment and software.

Among the target species of birds are mostly different species of woodpeckers. Their monitoring should begin as early as the beginning of April. Their breeding season of the birds already begun, they are now the most active, singing loudly, and the trees and shrubs are not yet deciduous, which allows us to observe them most easily.

Images (from left to right): Lucanus cervus (European stag beetle), Morimus funereusDendrocopos major (Great spotted woodpecker)

@Yana Barzova, WWF Bulgaria