One million hectares of forests to receive FSC certification in Bulgaria | WWF

One million hectares of forests to receive FSC certification in Bulgaria

Posted on 26 February 2006
Strandza Mountains, Bulgaria
Sofia, Bulgaria – After three years of intensive lobbying efforts, WWF welcomes a decision by the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to certify in the next five years 30 per cent of the country's state-owned forests, or one million hectares, under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme, the leading international standard of good forest management.

“This is great news for the nature conservation as well as for the timber industry in Bulgaria," said Zhivko Bogdanov, WWF Danube Carpathian Programme Forestry Officer. "It will mean both improved forest management and more market opportunities for FSC-certified companies in the country.“

The first two FSC certificates were made official by the Woodmark Soil Association Certification Ltd to the managers of the Dospat State Forestry Unit (20,000ha) and the Private Forestry Cooperative BORIKA (2,000ha). This first step in the certification process was made possible with cooperation of the WWF Danube Carpathian Programme, the UNDP Rhodope Project, and the Bulgarian National Forestry Board.

WWF started supporting the certification process in Bulgaria by helping establish the national working group for the development of the Bulgarian FSC standard in 2000. WWF also facilitated the management and monitoring of High Conservation Value Forests in Bulgaria, which is requested under Principle 9 of the FSC standard. A national identification toolkit will be formally endorsed and adopted as a methodology for biodiversity inventorying, and will be included in the national methodological standards for forest management planning in Bulgaria. More valuable forests will benefit from its stipulations and will be managed in an adjusted responsible way.

In addition, a forestry certification information centre was established in WWF's Sofia office with the purpose of offering integrated information about the forest certification process worldwide and its practicalities. Various stakeholders in Bulgaria have benefited from its services and are now supporters of the FSC mechanism.

The wood processing companies from Bulgaria are one of the allies of certification. Following the demand from the EU markets, they have started to certify their Chain of Custody under FSC and support the lobbying for wider FSC forestry certification in the country. The municipalities and individual private forest owners are also in favour of the processes, seeing its good opportunities for developing business relationships based on sustainable forestry and FSC certified products.

The next steps for Bulgaria will be the finalization of the national standards and their accreditation by FSC. From then on, financial resources must be identified to support the certification of the state forests and more interest and involvement of the private owners into voluntary certification must be encouraged.

For more information:
Zhivko Bogdanov, Forestry Officer, Bulgaria
WWF Danube Carpathian Programme
Tel: +359 2 96405 46

Nevena Borisova, WWF Forest Certification Information Centre, Sofia
Tel: +359 2 86530 52
Strandza Mountains, Bulgaria
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First FSC certificate presented in Bulgaria
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