AGROFORESTRY in BULGARIA
Successful implementation of agroforestry (AF) is traditionally known, in Bulgarian forestry and agriculture. Particular successes were achieved following the implementation of Agricultural uses of forest area. Agricultural crops are being grown together with tree species either using intercropping techniques, or by planting in open areas prior to their scheduled afforestation. This is a classic type widely used AF system whose ultimate goal is the initial cultivation of young forest plantations and its conversion into a forest.
Another AF, very important for Bulgaria, are Protected Forest Belts (PFBs). Protective forest belts are linear forest plantations designed to protect soil, civil engineering constructions and urbanized areas and improvement of microclimate. The first forest belts were established in 1925 and the early 50s of the last century began their broader application as AF practices. Now PFBs need of improvement and some financial support in legislations is available. Furthermore, the protective belts were designed as Shelterbelts in line by planting appropriate tree species (poplar, acacia, willow, linden, sycamore, etc.) along ravines, canals, rivers, reservoirs, roads, fields and meadows for stabilization of river banks, flood abatement and achievement other environmental benefits.
In the country, on widespread areas silvopasture or Forest-grassland complexes, in which tree and shrub plant species are mixed with herbaceous forage crops ("grass mixtures", etc.), were also created. These areas are used for freely grazing animals.
Forest farming agroforestry practice has also being developed in Bulgaria, in which the reconciliation of the naturally and artificially created trees and bushes, and the business of agricultural activities is being established for a longer period of time. Farms are used for the production of edible mushrooms, medicinal plants, fruits (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples, pear, aronia, etc.) bee and oil-bearing crops, ornamental plants, trees and more.
This agroforestry practice in Bulgaria has serious achievements in cultivation of fruit-productive forest trees in forest areas. Plantations by walnut (Juglans regia), hazel (Corylus avellana), almond (Amygdalus communis), wild cherry, rowan and others were created.
AGROFORESTRY ASSOCIATIONS in BULGARIA
“Bulgarian Association of Agroforestry” (BAA), an association with public utility activity, was established in 2017 in Sofia. Their members are 17 scientists from the Forest Research Institute – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and 3 scientists from the Thracian University in Stara Zagora. At this university there is a specialization in agroforestry and there are farmers who provide their farms for experimental fields. These farmers are also interested in the activities of association.
The main objectives of the Bulgarian Association of Agroforestry are:
- encourage the adoption of agroforestry practices (afforestation of tree species within agricultural systems) in Bulgaria;
- work to disseminate information and strengthen links between agroforestry professionals, the general public and practitioners;
- support the introduction of research in agroforestry;
- work to adopt policy decisions that could encourage the use of trees on farms in Bulgaria and Europe
A project was developed with Romania -2015-2018 "Investigation on the effectiveness of agroforestry systems for improving the productivity and environmental quality of coastal lands along the Danube".
AGROFORESTRY POLICIES in BULGARIA
Bulgaria, as a EU member state committed to harmonize its legislation and policies with those of the EU. With regards to agricultural policy, Bulgaria keeps to the principles and accepts the objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is consistent with the general strategy of the Union - Europe 2020: for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
There are multiple policies, strategic and program documents and legislation in Bulgaria, promoting the development of various agroforestry systems. The Law on ownership and usage of agricultural land (LOUAL); the Law for Forest (LF), the Law on Protection of Agricultural Land (LPAL); the Law for supporting agricultural producers (LSAP) etc. are in action nowadays.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is the authorized institution that endorses the direct payment schemes and support under the CAP; provides information to the owners; approves actions for preservation of the earth and approves the measures of appropriate systems and techniques for soil treatment; activities for restoration, and for maintaining and improving the soil fertility etc. In LSAP the schemes and measures of direct payments (the single payment per area and scheme for “green payments” respectively), and also the rules, approvals and implementations of the Rural Development Program (RDP) of Bulgaria are being pointed and being regulated.
Up to 2020 are provided nearly 800 million € for the “green payments” in Bulgaria. In the forestry sector the rules are determined by the LF and the Regulations for its implementing. In LF is regulated and categorized agroforestry system "protective forest belts".
In New Agroroecoloical Programme of Bulgaria, and New National Programme for Sustainable Management of lands should be applied Agroforestry as a measure. Also, Agroforestry could be promoted by developing new Programmes in the frame of National Schemes for Government Aid by Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
TAKE A LOOK AT AGROFORESTRY in BULGARIA
Photos are from the book: Agroforestry, Yakimov M., Siptsov V., Kalmukov K., Aleksandrova E., Ionovska I., Eds. By Bulgarian Sweiss Forest Fondation and Silvica Fondation, Svishtov, 2003, 22 p. (in Bulgarian)