Harmful amendments dropped from Bulgaria’s Forest Act | WWF

Harmful amendments dropped from Bulgaria’s Forest Act

Posted on 25 July 2012
The Plateau area of Vitosha Nature Park, Bulgaria
The Plateau area of Vitosha Nature Park, Bulgaria
© WWF DCP BG Archive
The controversial amendments of Bulgaria’s Forest Act, which were adopted by the Bulgarian Parliament in June, have been dropped from the final version of the legislation after weeks of massive pressure from environmentalists and citizen groups in Bulgaria. WWF had warned that the amendments would open the door to the plundering of Bulgarian forests, the country’s last significant natural resource.

“This is a huge victory for Bulgaria’s environment and civil society”, said Konstantin Ivanov, Head of Communications at WWF Bulgaria. “The amendments of the Forest Act would have gone against the public interest as well as basic EU and Bulgarian legislation on nature protection. If these amendments had stayed, we would be facing further deforestation and building up of forest and protected areas in Bulgaria.”

A new amendment, passed by the Bulgarian Parliament, allows for already existing ski lifts to be renovated. Put forward by environmentalists, this amendment aims at resolving the issue with the replacement of obsolete ski facilities.

A series of protests in the past six months demonstrated massive public support for the protection of Bulgaria’s forests and protected areas. The protestors, mainly young people and families with children, carried posters reading "Forests are life" and "Sorry for disturbing you, we are just trying to rescue what has been left of Bulgaria”.

State forests and protected areas, the last significant public resource that has not yet passed into private hands in Bulgaria, occupy about 20% of the country’s territory.