The aim of project “Common cross-border policies for forest protection” with acronym FORPRO is exchange of experience and good practices such as regional policies for protection of the biodiversity and constant monitoring of the endangered plant and animal species in the cross-border protected territories.

Since the regional policies from the point of view of protection of the environment and prevention of dangers is a question of great significance for all EU member states, the local and regional authorities of the EU need to work for a more effective cooperation on these matters.

As se out in the program Greece – Bulgaria 2014 – 2020, the cross-border area is one of the most ecologically vulnerable in the Mediterranean. It includes important ecosystems with ecological value and biodiversity, as well as 76 subjects of NATURA 2000, coastal areas, protected by the Ramsar Convention, including National Park “Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli” and region “Kardzhali and Haskovo” with 89 protected territories. The Mediterranean territory faces common problems, caused by abiotic and biotic factors. The activities under project “Common crossborder policies for forest protection” with acronym FORPRO are concentrated on the two factors, however, special attention is paid to some important insect pests that are a serious threat to the forests. They lead to enormous economic losses, and today the implemented control measures often rely on chemical pesticides.

The chosen species are: Lymantria dispar (L.), one of the most important pests from the broad-leaved forests;Thaumetopoea pityocampa (Den. & Schiff) is naturally spread in pine ecosystems (Pinus spp.) in the Mediterranean region.

The latter is deemed the most dangerous defoliant in the Bulgarian and Greek forests. The project is aimed towards the use of the entomopathogenous fungus E. maimaiga which is a safe biological agent for the protection of the environment and the program shall lay out the concept for integrated pest management through securing: significant reduction of economic losses, caused by the selected

pests at the border of the forestry; increased flexibility of the forest ecosystems to biotic and abiotic factors, much lower risks for the environment and human health; instruments for risk assessment and management that minimize the use of chemicals.

The common aim of the project is fast and effective protection and preservation of the flora and fauna from biological and human danger and prevention and minimizing the negative impact of potential disasters – in compliance with Priority Axis 06 – Protection and Preservation of the environment and encouragement of recourse effectiveness. It will be reached by fulfilling a group of interconnected specific targets immediately after the end of the project.

Specific aim 1 is: Integrated innovative methods for forest protection through the use of natural pest control and developed common cross-border cooperation policies for combating biological dangers;

Specific aim 2 is: Improvement of the qualification and instrumentation of the competent authorities for implementing measures for preservation, protection and monitoring of the biodiversity systems;

Specific aim 3 is:Raised awareness of the public about the problems and policies for a balanced protection of biodiversity.

The Forestry Research Institute has the unique scientific knowledge about forests, and RFD Kardzhali and the Managing Body of the National Park “Dadia – Lefkimi – Soufli” has valuable practical skills in the area and can put into practice the findings and innovation of the scientists from BAS. The whole information and scientific research and innovation are important for all forestry directorates, ecological organizations, municipalities, national authorities and academic institutions on a local, national and European level.