The forests of Smolyan region
The forestry sector is amongst the most important industries in Smolyan region. To guarantee its sustainable development it is required that the forestry activities within the NATURA 2000 sites are synchronized with the conservation objectives there.
In general the geographic area where Smolyan region falls is very important for conservation of Brown bear (Ursus arctos) population in Bulgaria and Greece. It preserves extensive conifer and mixed forests that have important ecological functions for protection of water supply areas as well as for support of globally important biological diversity.

The sustainable forestry management concept is the best possible choice for management of forestry in Smolyan region. Its integration in local forestry practices will guarantee retention of forests’ multifunction: biodiversity conservation, support of forest ecosystems productivity, conservation and support of soil and water resources, preserving the contribution of the forests in the global carbon cycle, preserving and increasing the long-term benefits for covering the community’s needs.

The term NATURA 2000 is still misinterpreted and considered in many circles as an instrument for imposing strict restrictions concerning certain activities.
That shows the need of purposeful actions (consultation, trainings, presenting best practices, etc.) as in that way the basis for a common understanding that NATURA 2000 and forestry are not necessary in contrast but can harmonized bringing benefits for the local people as well as for conservation of the natural treasures in the region is laid.

The forests in this region are of the best preserved forests in Bulgaria. Thus, we consider that thanks to the good traditions and professionalism of the local foresters, namely here very fast and easily the conservation objectives of NATURA 2000 will be integrated into the forestry management and the project results will serve as a model for other regions.