The European Green Belt

The European Green Belt is an initiative started in Germany about 20 years ago and afterwards spreading all over Europe. After the fall of the Iron curtain between the Eastern and Western Europe it became clear that the regions along the former East-West border have turned into very important sanctuaries for many threatened in Europe animal and plant species. As recognition for the uniqueness of these areas IUCN, The German Federal Agency for Nature protection (BfN) and German nature conservation NGOs started the initiative European Green Belt. It contributes to conservation of valuable natural territories along the borders and stimulates their inclusion into an ecological network. The Balkan states joined the initiative in 1999.

The Rhodopes region and most of all the ridges along the border with Greece, part of which falls within Smolyan region are located along the southernmost stretch of the European Greenbelt, the Balkan Green Belt. There are several protected areas on the very Bulgarian-Greek border declared for conservation of rare plant and animal species like the Brown bear (Ursus arctos), the Wolf (Canis lupus), Lillium rhodopeum, etc.

The current project idea corresponds directly with the aims of the European Green Belt initiative. The successful project completion will support the management of NATURA 2000 sites that are partially or entirely situated in Smolyan region. The contribution of the project to sustainable management of SCI Rodopi-Zapadni, SPA Trigrad-Mursalitsa and SCI “Tsigansko gradishte” will be a direct benefit for development of the European Green Belt.