RFD Kardzhali is placed on the South-Eastern part of Bulgaria – Eastern Rhodope Mountain and parts of Thrace valley and Sakar Mountain. 

Overall area managed by the RFD Kardzhali is 8051 км2, which is 7.3% of the whole territory of BULGARIA. The forests in RFD Kardzhali are spread on 337 029 ha.
The average timber stock per hectare is 98.2 м3. Non-state forests are 19.02% from the total area uncer the management of the Directorate.

RFD is run by a Director. The Directorate is divided on administrative reasons to two Divisions: Common and Specialized, in which used to work about 11 experts – state officers, and 25 officers on labour contracts.



The Forest Research Institute was established in 1928 as specific Service for Forest Science, studying management and utilisation of forests in Bulgaria. Phenological observations on the growth of some native and introduced forest tree species were initiated; the first field sample plots and meteorological stations in forest ecosystems were established.
In 1940 the Service has been renamed into Institute for Forest Investigations and Experiments. After the Second World War, research investigations began in the field of establishment of forest plantations, utilisation, inventory and forest protection, erosion control, etc. In 1954 the Institute differentiates as independent structure unit at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Numerous distinguished researchers with significant achievements in the field of forest biology have worked in the Forest Research Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences through the years, among them the academicians Boris Stefanov, P. D. Petkov, Mako Dakov; the corresponding members V. Stoyanov, N. Penev; professors Asen Biolchev, Boyan Zahariev, Ilia Radkov, Marin Marinov, Simeon Nedyalkov, etc.


The mission of the Forest Research Institute is to carry out fundamental and scientific-and-applied investigations of forest ecosystems, which play a key role in the environment, both in its entity and inviolability and in conditions of anthropogenic impact, including mitigation of climate change consequences. The Forest Research Institute makes the theoretical and scientific basis for practical decisions with regard to forestry systems for management, forest genetic resources, protection of forests, erosion and flood control, as well as support of policies and legislation in the field of forest and nature conservation.
Based on the relationship between traditions and innovations in forestry and biological sciences, as well as on priorities of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, specific research activities of the Forest Research Institute include:

  • studies on structure, functioning and adaptation of forest ecosystems to climate change and other natural and anthropogenic impacts;
  • development of programmes for ecological management and utilisation of forests and their products;
  • study on biological resources and protection of forest flora and fauna

Accumulated knowledge in different units support the development of measures and approaches of ecological and sustainable management of forests to minimize the negative ecological consequences. The Institute carries out training of PhD. students, organises training courses to improve the qualification of specialists in the field of ecology and forestry. Expert activity is widely practiced, as well. Researchers from the Institute are invited as consultants, reviewers and experts in various problematic and expert councils, as well as for the development of normative documents.
The Forest Research Institute offers developed research infrastructure, providing carrying out of modern investigations: laboratories with up-to-date scientific appliances, field stations, monitoring network, information centre and library. Popularization of results from studies is possible through editing of two scientific journals – Nauka za gorata (Forest Science) in Bulgarian and English and Silva balcanica in English language and through organising of scientific conferences, symposia and seminars.

Priority fields of study

Research activity of the Forest Research Institute is directed to the following basic priority fields of study:

  • Biological diversity in forest flora and fauna, genetic resources – peculiarities, dissemination and possibilities for conservation and utilisation.
  • Structure, functioning and adaptation of forest ecosystems to climate change.
  • Monitoring, protection and restoration of forests.
  • Silvicultural and social-economic bases for sustainable and multifunctional management and utilisation of forest resources.


The Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park is one of the most important protected areas at national, European and international scale. It is one of the first areas in Greece to be declared as protected since a great deal of flora and fauna species found in the Balkan Peninsula, Europe and Asia coexist here. The landscape mosaic formed by pine and oak forests, interrupted by clearings, pastures and fields is the ideal habitat for birds of prey. The National Park hosts three out of the four Vulture species of Europe (the Black Vulture, the Griffon Vulture and the Egyptian Vulture), while it is home to the only breeding population of Black Vultures in the Balkans.