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.