For Everyone Saved a Tree (FOREST) project brings together non-governmental and
scientific organizations from Bulgaria and Serbia into the cause of engaging young people in forest conservation activities. The project is funded by the Interreg-IPA Bulgaria-Serbia
Cross-Border Cooperation Program (http://www.ipacbc-bgrs.eu/en) and has a duration of 15 months. The leading partner in the project is the Bulgarian non-governmental organization
Youth Movement for Development of Rural Areas in Bulgaria (www.ymdrab.eu), while the other partners are the Society Innovation Center, Nis (www.niit.rs) and the Forest Research Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. (https://fri.bas.bg/).
Goals and activities of the “FOREST” project The “FOREST” project is based on the concept of involving youth volunteer in solving problems related to the conservation of forest habitats in the cross-border region. With the methodological support of experts from the Forest Research Institute, BAS and the joint participation of young people from the municipalities of Botevgrad and Nis, a series of activities will be implemented aimed at enhancing the knowledge and skills of young people regarding the assessment of the health status of forests, methods of conservation and restoring forest habitats in poor condition and promoting such initiatives among the public. The specific activities that will be implemented during the project implementation period from May 16, 2019 to August 16, 2020 are the following:
Activity 1: Organisation of International Opening Seminar ”Awareness rаising and willingness for cooperation of young people for forest preservation (venue- Serbia).
Activity 2: Conducting a training course for youth volunteer, with the participation of international experts, who will present topics related to environmental protection and sustainable use of natural resources in forests (venue – Bulgaria).
Activity 3: Carrying out afforestation campaign in different types of habitats on forest and urban territory (Venue – Serbia).
Activity 4: Detecting and control of forest pests and diseases and assessment in the context of related ecosystem services (venue – Bulgaria)
Activity 5: Mapping, assessing and improving the status of valuable species' populations (venue – Bulgaria)
Activity 6 and 7: Creation and exhibitions of herbarium of forest plants (venue- Serbia and Bulgaria)
Activity 8: Creation of a joint electronic database, which will collect information from the field surveys, applied and scientific results from the implementation of the individual project activities (photos, videos, coordinates of locations, maps, publications, data from measurements of populations and communities, etc.) .) (venue – Bulgaria).
Activity 9: Development of Long-term Strategy for involvement of young people into activities for nature protection (venue- Bulgaria)
Activity 10: Final conference with international participation, including presentation of project results and demonstration of good practices from projects and initiatives with similar focus (venue Bulgaria).
Each of the above activities will include 25 young people from the municipalities of Botevgrad and Nis, aged 13 to 18. The participants in the individual activities will not be repeated. Thus, a total of over 400 young people from both countries are expected to participate in the project.
“Youth Movement for Development of Rural Areas in Bulgaria”(YMDRAB) is a leading project partner and non-profit association with headquarters located in Botevgrad. It was officially registered in 2009. Main objectives we set are to assist and encourage free initiative, generating new ideas, adoption and exchange of information and experience with similar organizations, interaction with government and international institutions in science, culture, education, sport, tourism, environment and for social development of youth community in rural areas in Bulgaria. The main areas of activities are protecting the rights of young people, support the social development of youth, development and implementation of strategies, programs and projects for rural development, collection, processing and analyzing data on the status and pеrspective development of rural areas, informational – consulting activity among youth on law-making in Bulgaria and clarifying the rights and obligations of citizens, support of young talents and disadvantaged youth, advocacy of youth and others.
YMDRAB as Lead Partner is responsible for: overall project management and coordination; communication with the Joint Program Secretariat; communication and cooperation between partners; risk management; internal monitoring; reporting on project implementation, etc. In addition, YMDRAB is the responsible partner for the implementation and reporting of activities 2, 4, 5 and 7.
NIIT Society Innovation Center is a voluntary, non-governmental and non-profit organization established in 2007 in Niš, Southern Serbia.
As founders of NIIT, we have an idea to support society development, through the innovative tools and means. Theatre of the association work and interest are not only the Republic of Serbia, but also countries from Balkans region as well as from whole Europe. Since its foundation, NIIT and its team have been committed to a specific mission and vision for its implementation. One of the most important parts of the mission is contribution to civil society improvement, through citizens informing and education about democracy and public institutions. Also, NITT supports groups, associations and individuals, who works on civil society ideas spreading. A tool for democratization strengthening is a citizens incitement for more active and wider involvement in the decision making process. NITT has been involved in the fight against corruption, lack of transparency and other societal challenges. Within the framework of the FOREST project, NIIT аs a project partner is responsible for the implementation and reporting of Activities: 1, 3 and 6. The Organization will provide daily technical management and implementation of these individual work packages. NIIT will also assist other partners in the organization and implementation of all project activities.
The Forest Research Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Siences (FRI, BAS) is the second project partner on the Bulgarian side.The mission of the FRI 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.