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The aim of project “Common cross-border policies for forest protection” with acronym FORPRO is exchange of experience and good practices such as regional policies for protection of the biodiversity and constant monitoring of the endangered plant and animal species in the cross-border protected territories.


Since the regional policies from the point of view of protection of the environment and prevention of dangers is a question of great significance for all EU member states, the local and regional authorities of the EU need to work for a more effective cooperation on these matters.


As se out in the program Greece – Bulgaria 2014 – 2020, the cross-border area is one of the most ecologically vulnerable in the Mediterranean. It includes important ecosystems with ecological value and biodiversity, as well as 76 subjects of NATURA 2000, coastal areas, protected by the Ramsar Convention, including National Park “Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli” and region “Kardzhali and Haskovo” with 89 protected territories. The Mediterranean territory faces common problems, caused by abiotic and biotic factors. The activities under project “Common crossborder policies for forest protection” with acronym FORPRO are concentrated on the two factors, however, special attention is paid to some important insect pests that are a serious threat to the forests. They lead to enormous economic losses, and today the implemented control measures often rely on chemical pesticides.


The chosen species are: Lymantria dispar (L.), one of the most important pests from the broad-leaved forests;Thaumetopoea pityocampa (Den. & Schiff) is naturally spread in pine ecosystems (Pinus spp.) in the Mediterranean region.


The latter is deemed the most dangerous defoliant in the Bulgarian and Greek forests. The project is aimed towards the use of the entomopathogenous fungus E. maimaiga which is a safe biological agent for the protection of the environment and the program shall lay out the concept for integrated pest management through securing: significant reduction of economic losses, caused by the selected


pests at the border of the forestry; increased flexibility of the forest ecosystems to biotic and abiotic factors, much lower risks for the environment and human health; instruments for risk assessment and management that minimize the use of chemicals.


The common aim of the project is fast and effective protection and preservation of the flora and fauna from biological and human danger and prevention and minimizing the negative impact of potential disasters – in compliance with Priority Axis 06 – Protection and Preservation of the environment and encouragement of recourse effectiveness. It will be reached by fulfilling a group of interconnected specific targets immediately after the end of the project.


Specific aim 1 is: Integrated innovative methods for forest protection through the use of natural pest control and developed common cross-border cooperation policies for combating biological dangers;


Specific aim 2 is: Improvement of the qualification and instrumentation of the competent authorities for implementing measures for preservation, protection and monitoring of the biodiversity systems;


Specific aim 3 is: Raised awareness of the public about the problems and policies for a balanced protection of biodiversity.


The Forestry Research Institute has the unique scientific knowledge about forests, and RFD Kardzhali and the Managing Body of the National Park “Dadia – Lefkimi – Soufli” has valuable practical skills in the area and can put into practice the findings and innovation of the scientists from BAS. The whole information and scientific research and innovation are important for all forestry directorates, ecological organizations, municipalities, national authorities and academic institutions on a local, national and European level.


The European Commission adopted Cross-border Cooperation Programme INTERREG V-A Greece – Bulgaria 2014 – 2020 on September 9th, 2015, as the main priority is to increase competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises and to assist them to expand outside of local markets. It amounts to 129 million euro, as the contribution of the European Union exceeds 110 million euro from the European Fund for Regional Development.


When adopting the Programme, the commissioner on regional policy Corina Cretu has said:


This Programme will aid the border areas of Greece and Bulgaria to work together and tackle common challenges. This Programme is obviously oriented towards results and will make real change on site, transport infrastructure to new job opportunities.”


The Cooperation Programme INTERREG V-A Greece – Bulgaria 2014 – 2020 is focused on the following four priorities:


  1. Competitive and innovative cross-border area.
  2. Sustainable and adaptive to the climate cross-border area.
  3. Better interconnected cross-border area.
  4. Cross-border area with social inclusion.


The Cooperation Programme INTERREG V-A Greece – Bulgaria 2014 – 2020 also aims:


 improvement of cross-border cooperation for better protection of the local population from the risk of floods;


– development and popularizing the cultural and natural heritage of the border area;


– improvement of management of water recourses and crossborder connectivity (meaning decreasing the amount of time for commuting, improving the safety of travel);


– expanding the social entrepreneurship in the border area that leads to increase of employment in social enterprises and increase in the offering of social services of vulnerable communities;


The 11 regions participating in the Programme are:


 from Greece: Regions (NUTS III) на Evros, Xsanti, Rhodopes, Drama, Kavala, Thessaloniki and Seres.


 from Bulgaria: Regions (NUTS III) Blagoevgrad, Haskovo, Smolyan and Kardzhali.


The common budget of the Programme is 129,695,572.00 EUR, and the total contribution of the EU is 110.241.234,00 EUR from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).





RFD Kardzhali is placed on the South-Eastern part of Bulgaria – Eastern Rhodope Mountain and parts of Thrace valley and Sakar Mountain. 


Overall area managed by the RFD Kardzhali is 8051 км2, which is 7.3% of the whole territory of BULGARIA. The forests in RFD Kardzhali are spread on 337 029 ha.
The average timber stock per hectare is 98.2 м3. Non-state forests are 19.02% from the total area uncer the management of the Directorate.


RFD is run by a Director. The Directorate is divided on administrative reasons to two Divisions: Common and Specialized, in which used to work about 11 experts – state officers, and 25 officers on labour contracts.






The Forest Research Institute was established in 1928 as specific Service for Forest Science, studying management and utilisation of forests in Bulgaria. Phenological observations on the growth of some native and introduced forest tree species were initiated; the first field sample plots and meteorological stations in forest ecosystems were established.
In 1940 the Service has been renamed into Institute for Forest Investigations and Experiments. After the Second World War, research investigations began in the field of establishment of forest plantations, utilisation, inventory and forest protection, erosion control, etc. In 1954 the Institute differentiates as independent structure unit at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Numerous distinguished researchers with significant achievements in the field of forest biology have worked in the Forest Research Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences through the years, among them the academicians Boris Stefanov, P. D. Petkov, Mako Dakov; the corresponding members V. Stoyanov, N. Penev; professors Asen Biolchev, Boyan Zahariev, Ilia Radkov, Marin Marinov, Simeon Nedyalkov, etc.




The mission of the Forest Research Institute is to carry out fundamental and scientific-and-applied investigations of forest ecosystems, which play a key role in the environment, both in its entity and inviolability and in conditions of anthropogenic impact, including mitigation of climate change consequences. The Forest Research Institute makes the theoretical and scientific basis for practical decisions with regard to forestry systems for management, forest genetic resources, protection of forests, erosion and flood control, as well as support of policies and legislation in the field of forest and nature conservation.
Based on the relationship between traditions and innovations in forestry and biological sciences, as well as on priorities of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, specific research activities of the Forest Research Institute include:


  • studies on structure, functioning and adaptation of forest ecosystems to climate change and other natural and anthropogenic impacts;
  • development of programmes for ecological management and utilisation of forests and their products;
  • study on biological resources and protection of forest flora and fauna


Accumulated knowledge in different units support the development of measures and approaches of ecological and sustainable management of forests to minimize the negative ecological consequences. The Institute carries out training of PhD. students, organises training courses to improve the qualification of specialists in the field of ecology and forestry. Expert activity is widely practiced, as well. Researchers from the Institute are invited as consultants, reviewers and experts in various problematic and expert councils, as well as for the development of normative documents.
The Forest Research Institute offers developed research infrastructure, providing carrying out of modern investigations: laboratories with up-to-date scientific appliances, field stations, monitoring network, information centre and library. Popularization of results from studies is possible through editing of two scientific journals – Nauka za gorata (Forest Science) in Bulgarian and English and Silva balcanica in English language and through organising of scientific conferences, symposia and seminars.


Priority fields of study


Research activity of the Forest Research Institute is directed to the following basic priority fields of study:


  • Biological diversity in forest flora and fauna, genetic resources – peculiarities, dissemination and possibilities for conservation and utilisation.
  • Structure, functioning and adaptation of forest ecosystems to climate change.
  • Monitoring, protection and restoration of forests.
  • Silvicultural and social-economic bases for sustainable and multifunctional management and utilisation of forest resources.




The Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park is one of the most important protected areas at national, European and international scale. It is one of the first areas in Greece to be declared as protected since a great deal of flora and fauna species found in the Balkan Peninsula, Europe and Asia coexist here. The landscape mosaic formed by pine and oak forests, interrupted by clearings, pastures and fields is the ideal habitat for birds of prey. The National Park hosts three out of the four Vulture species of Europe (the Black Vulture, the Griffon Vulture and the Egyptian Vulture), while it is home to the only breeding population of Black Vultures in the Balkans.



            It consists of three members – one from each partner, as their legal representatives:

–        for the LB: dipl. eng. Yulian Rusev;

–        for the PB2: assoc. prof. Miglena Zhiyanski, PhD;

–        for the PB3: assoc. prof. Dimitrios Bakaloudis, PhD




for the LB:

– LB project manager: tbd soon

– LB project coordinator: dipl. eng. Vasko Raychinov;

– Financial manager: Zlatina Sevova

for the PB 2:

– PB2 project coordinator: Prof. Georgi Georgiev, PhD;

– PB2 accountant: Anna Borisova;

– PB2 technical assistant: assoc. prof. Margarita Georgieva, PhD

for the PB 3:

– PB3 project coordinator: Alkis Stavridis;

– PB3 accountant: Anna Konstantinidou;

– PB3 technical assistant: Charalambos Papalexandris



The project partners identify the project target groups which need to be reached by different activities.


The target groups to which the information and publicity mearusres are intended are:


+ The general public. The aim is raising the awareness regarding the targets and results of project “Common cross-border policies for forest protection” with acronym FORPRO, financed by Cross-border Cooperation Programme INTERREG V-A Greece – Bulgaria 2014 – 2020 and its financial contribution; attracting the interest of the general public and guaranteeing transparency of the process of implementation of the Programme; guaranteeing equal access to information to all that may be interest, as well as raising the awareness of the public about the positive role of the Programme.


+ Local, regional and national authorities that are involved in the management of the forest fund. This is the main project target group which the information about the planned events and the results in the area


of Integrated pests managements need to reach. This is the target group that can lead to multiplying the effect of the Integrated innovative methods for forest protection through the use of natural control on pests and the


use of the developed common cross-border policies for combating biological threats.


+ Universities and scientific institutions. This is the other very important target group which the information about the planned events and the results in the area of Integrated pests managements need to reach. This is the target group that can lay the scientific foundation of solving the problems and lead to the development of Integrated methods for forest protection through the use of natural control on pests and the use of the developed common cross-border policies for combating biological threats.


+ Non-profit organizations – In both countries there is a number of functioning non-profit organizations dealing with preserving the environment and forests which have a broad net not only in the cross-border area, but throughout the countries. They need to be acquainted and well informed regarding the results of the project and the opportunities for use of innovative methods for forest protection through the use of natural


control on pests and use of the developed policies for combating biological threats. The aim is that these organizations have the possibility to distribute the good practices in other regions of both countries, because the problem that the project FORPRO is combating, is present in all forest territories.


+ Local, regional, national, European and specialized media, which contribute to the popularization of the project – Media is our main target group which can distribute information to all other target groups most


effectively. A large portion of the measured in the policy for dissemination faces namely the media, because it is the main channel for dissemination the results of the project.



The all project specific objectives can be achieved only in the presence of the following coherent project outputs:

  •   Developed project website
  •   Carried on public awareness events
  •   Disseminated publicity materials, tools, practices and methodologies
  •   Selected and evaluated forest areas
  •   Identified bio hazards
  •   Developed innovative methods for forest protection by using natural pest control
  •   Performed pilot operation in selected forest areas
  •   Developed monitoring system
  •   Conducted analysis and assessment of the damage caused by abiotic factors
  •   Performed monitoring of water supplies and water fall
  •   Embodied data visualization methods for the data collected on earth and in the air as well for the procced data
  •   Developed Common policies for biodiversity
  •   Delivered monitoring and observation equipment
  •   Carried on trainings for the relevant stakeholders
  •   Evaluated and classified data – implementation of data integration solution
  •   Prepared info web Platform for both sides of the border
  •   Provision of adequate supporting Infrastructure




The direct and immediate advantages resulting from the project’s activities and the outputs are the following project results:


Increased awareness of society on the project issues;


Data exchange by operation of a common information system;


Improved base for coordinated actions through performed monitoring and analysis of abiotic factors’ effects and developed of Common policies for biodiversity;


Developed integrated Programmeme management to control of the most dangerous pests in forests on the basis of biological agents and reducing the use of insecticides;


The project results are in full compliance with the indicated Programme target results as they follow:


Increased incidence of common approaches in biodiversity protection on both sides of the border;


Increased effectiveness of coordinated biodiversity protection actions (especially in the area of aquatic eco-systems);


Increased incidence of pro-active species protection actions;


Improved degree of conservation of CB protected habitats.




The project directly contributes to the Programme – specific result indicator “Increasing the % of Natura areas reporting excellent or good degree of conservation” The positive impacts will come also from project sub- results:


Creation of a common database that would in time be possible to assess the dangers and possible risks and quantification of joint policies and objectives for improvement.


Preservation and protection measures designs trough transfer of know-how across the border.


Monitoring of forest ecosystems and game habitats and game populations.


Prevention of poaching and illegal logging and other illegal practices.


Monitoring and establishment of damage from heavy snow, snow falls, windfalls, stripping arrays in inaccessible areas.


More efficient control and relation in situations of forest fires or other natural disasters and establish the basis for technical development for monitoring of forest fires with UFA.


Centralized information system with continuously updated database







WP 1

Project Management & Coordination

October 6th, 2017

October 5th, 2019

WP 2

Communication & Dissemination

October 6th, 2017

October 5th, 2019

WP 3

Protection of biodiversity by bio factors

October 6th, 2017

October 5th, 2019

WP 4

Monitoring and analysis of abiotic factors’ effects

February 1st, 2018

October 5th, 2019

WP 5

Providing the necessary equipment, training and implementation

October 6th, 2017

October 5th, 2019

Useful Links:

Programme’s website:
Websites of the partners:

PB2 – Институт за гората – Българска академия на науките



project “Common cross-border policies for forest protection” – acronym FORPRO

Flying over the forest

Program and project information

“This webpage has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of the webpage are sole responsibility of Regional Forest Directorate Kardzhali (Регионална Дирекция по Горите Кърджали) and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union, the participating countries, the Managing Authority and the Joint Secretariat”.

Programme’s website:
Websites of the partners:

PB2 – Институт за гората – Българска академия на науките