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ReSAC and partners in mapping of grassland ecosystems and their ecosystem services in Bulgaria

ReSAC together with partners from Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem research (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), Biosphere Consult and Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds, are finalizing the project “Assessment and mapping of GRASSLAND ecosystems condition and their services in Bulgaria, Contr. Д-33-90/03.09.2015”. The project duration is 19 months and started in Aug. 2015. The projects is financed by Program BG03 “Biodiversity and Ecosystems” and co-financed by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area (EEA FM 2009-2014)

GRASSLAND: Assessment and mapping of GRASSLAND ecosystems condition and their services in Bulgaria. Duration: 27.08.2015 – 30.04.2017

The project will contribute to the overall objectives of the Programme for concise inventory of ecosystem services in the implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy of the EU. The main task of the project is to describe and evaluate the grasslands in Bulgaria or, more precisely all pastures, meadows and other grasslands, which falls outside NATURA 2000 territories.

The project has three main tasks: mapping of grassland areas with MMU 0.1ha in scale 1:10 000; mapping the grassland ecosystem condition; mapping the ecosystem services which the grassland ecosystems provide.

The existing national datasets for grassland areas are not sufficient and precise in order to be used for such precise mapping. During the mapping procedure datasets such Land Parcel Identification System and cadaster were used as source information. With the use of aerial orthophoho and ancillary data from Landsat and Sentinels more than 100 000 grassland polygons were mapped. Detailed interpretation keys were developed in order to differentiate the existing in Bulgaria five types of grassland (according EUNIS nomenclature): Dry grasslands, Mesic grasslands, Seasonally wet and wet grasslands, Alpine and subalpine grasslands and Inland salt steppes.

Fig.1 Grassland ecosystem types, ReSAC/ IBER (BAS), 2017

In order to assess the condition of the grassland ecosystem 23 indicators were chosen and each grassland polygon was examined according to indicators for biotic and abiotic heretogeneity, matter storage – according to the classification developed by MAES group.

Ecosystem services which grassland ecosystem provide are assessed for the first time in Bulgaria in national scale. More than 30 indicators for ecosystem services were selected in order to measure the real provision of services in the 3 main categories of CICES: Provisioning, Regulation & Maintenance and Cultural.

In order the analyses to be traceable and repeatable in the future, for each indicator a detailed mapping protocol was developed, with a description of data used, mapping approach and threshold of ranking categories.
The project ends in April 2017, and the work completed by the project partners will be assembled in a special database according to the national methodology for mapping of ecosystem condition and services.
The datasets will become a part of the national system for Ecosystem Services in Bulgaria, which will be hosted in the Executive Environment Agency.

More for the project on Project website
Source Remote Sensing Application Center – Bulgaria