Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem Services in Bulgaria
Development of methodological framework and system for mapping, assessing and reporting the biophysical and monetary value of ecosystems and their services in the process of elaboration of sectoral policies is an important priority of the resource efficiency policy of Bulgaria. First steps are taken in this relevance. Programme BG 03 "Biodiversity and Ecosystem services" under the Financial Mechanism of European Economic Area 2009-2014 was implemented. Within the project MetEcoSMap, funded by Programme BG 03, has been elaborated. National Methodological Framework for Mapping and Biophysical Assessment of Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services in Bulgaria, consisting of methodologies for mapping nine types of ecosystems and ecosystem services (for agricultural, grass, shrub and eryoid ecosystems, marine ecosystems, areas with no or rare vegetation, rivers and lakes, wetlands, forest and bush ecosystems and urban ecosystems). Guidelines for monitoring the state of ecosystems and for on-site verification have been prepared, as well as a framework document on the link with the economic assessment. By other six projects financed under Programme BG 03 have been mapped the nine ecosystem types identified in Bulgaria, outside Natura 2000. The data and maps on the state of the ecosystems and their services are included in the National Biodiversity Monitoring System and will be the basis for the making of policies for sustainable use of natural resources, in accordance with the fulfillment of Bulgaria's international commitments and requirements of the EU legislation. Operational Programme Environment 2014-2020 will provide funding for support measures for mapping, biophysical assessment and monetary evaluation of ecosystems and ecosystem services, including green infrastructure, the scope of the measures being limited within the Natura 2000 network. Grant procedure to evaluate ecosystems and their services, green infrastructure and assessment of natural capital value is envisaged. Under grant agreement from theEU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme the Project MAIA (Mapping and Assessment for Integrated ecosystem Accounting) is in process of development. The aim is to promote and develop the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) in the country. The SEEA is a multi-purpose system that generates a wide range of statistics, accounts and indicators with a wide variety of potential analytical applications. It is a flexible system that can be adapted to the priorities and needs of country policies, while providing a common framework, concepts, terms and definitions. Forest ecosystem services concept is enshrined in the Forest Act (Chapter 17 - Public Ecosystem Benefits of Forest Areas), where the valuation of the forest ecosystem services is envisaged by introducing a Methodology/Ordinance to Determine Compensation for Public Ecosystem Benefits of Forest Areas.