FINAL REPORT. by Latinka Topalova-Rzerzycha

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1 FINAL REPORT Fire and environment: ecological and cultural aspects. Through conflict to sustainable management - case study in the Doupki-Djindjiritza Biosphere Reserve, Bulgaria by Latinka Topalova-Rzerzycha October 2006 i

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS...iv ABBREVIATIONS...v SUMMARY...1 INTRODUCTION...2 STUDY AREA AND METHODOLOGY Study area Methods of work...6 Results and discussion...9 Background...9 General characteristic of the burnt area...10 Microbiological studies...12 Soil studies...14 Plant communities studies...16 FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF A TRANSITION AREA OF DOUPKI- DJINDJIRITZA BIOSPHERE RESERVE...28 Background...28 Legal status of Doupki-Djindjritza Biosphere Reserve...30 Field research Biosphere Reserves state of general knowledge among the population of Razlog Municipality...30 SWOT analysis - Establishment of Pirin BR...35 Zoning of Pirin Biosphere Reserve...37 Socio-economic patterns in the transition area of the Pirin BR, with special regard to Razlog Municipality...41 Background...41 Resource uses in the transition area of the Pirin BR, with special regard to Razlog Municipality...46 Cultural resources in the transition area of the Pirin BR, with special regard to Razlog Municipality Archeological sites Churches 7 churches are designated as cultural monuments Traditional festivals and customs Traditional handicrafts...51 Rising public awareness for nature conservation...51 Information materials...53 Meetings, workshops, presentations...53 Exhibition Fire and people...55 Media...55 Website...56 Conclusion and recommendation...57 References...58 Appendices...A1 ii

3 List of Tables Table 1. Basic information about the burnt area in the Pirin Mt...10 Table 2. Distribution of the territory of the study area by elevations (m above see level)...10 Table 3. Distribution of the territory of the study area by inclination, (slope in Degrees)...12 Table 4. Amount and characteristic of soil microflora in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control sites (10 3 /g dry soil)...12 Table 5. Amount of Mg, Ca, K and Na (total (T) and mobile (M) forms) in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control sites, mg/kg...14 Table 6. Floristic composition of fire-affected P. nigra Arn. forest in the Dupki-Djinjiritza Biosphere Reserve (SP1)...17 Table 7. Floristic composition of fire-affected P. nigra Arn. forest in the Pirin NP, outside Dupki- Djinjiritza Biosphere Reserve (SP2)...20 Table 8. Floristic composition of control site non-burnt P. nigra Arn. forests (SP3), Doupki- Djindjiritza BR...23 Table 9. General information about Biosphere Reserves in Bulgaria...29 Table 10. Main macro economical indicators, characterising Bulgarian economy...41 Table 11. Basic socio-economical indicators in the Transition area...43 Table 12. Dynamics of population number in Razlog Municipality...45 Table 13. Distribution of Resources in Pirin Biosphere Reserve...46 Table 14. Logical framework of the project activities related to rising public awareness for nature conservation...52 List of Figures Figure 1. Study area map, showing Pirin NP and Doupki-Djindjiritza BR...4 Figure 2. Basic map of the study area, showing sample plots in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control site...7 Figure 3. Distribution of the territory of the study area by exposure of the terrain...11 Figure 4. Species diversity and average amount of the baccilar microflora in the 0-5 cm soil layer in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control sites (10 3 /g dry soil)...13 Figure 5. Average amount of pigment forming bacteria in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control sites (10 3 /g dry soil)...13 Figure 6. Soil ph in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control sites...14 Figure 7. Amount of С (%) in fire-affected and not-burnt site...15 Figure 8. Amount of total N (%)in fire-affected and not-burnt site...15 Figure 9. Classification dendrogram...26 Figure 10. Ordination diagram...27 Figure 11. Age structure of the respondents...33 Figure 12. Percentage distribution of the core zone, buffer zone and...38 Figure 13. Zonation of the Pirin Bioshere Reserve...40 Figure 14. Population density is the Transition area of the Pirin BR, number of people/ha...44 Figure 15. Distribution of Resources in Pirin Biosphere Reserve...47 iii

4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my deepest gratefulness to UNESCO MAB for the financial support of this study, as well as to the National MAB Committee for readiness to help in the work process and especially to Vladimir Vladimirov. The implementation of the project would not have been possible without the involvement of wide circle of citizens and experts, individuals and institutions. Special thanks go to a number of experts for the methodology help, advices and technical assistance: Maja Nustororva (University of Forestry), Alexander Tashev (UF), Emilija Velizarova (Institute of Forestry, BAS), Marius Dimitrov (UF), Julia Hristova (UF), Todor Liubenov (Institute of Forestry, BAS), Stojan Stojanov (Institute of Botany, BAS). All activities regarding rising public awareness for nature conservation, as well as the feasibility study for the establishment of a transition area of the in Doupki-Djindjiritza Biosphere Reserve were kindly supported by BFB, Simana Markovska (PTF), municipalities of Razlog, Bansko, Gotse Delchev, Sandanski, Strumiani, Kresna and Simitly. Special appreciation for various kinds of information needed for the project also goes to Georgi Ekov (RIEW-Sofia), Rajka Ivanova (Regional Historic Museum-Blagoevgrad), Tonja Marinova (Municipality of Strumiani). I would also like to thank the leadership and employees of the Pirin NP, especially to Liljana Dekova and Ivan Gergov, for their involvement in the project, technical support and transport. In the process of work I had the opportunity to use professional advices of international consultants with experience in the management of Biosphere reserves, whose practical experience provided me knowledge for better understanding the complexity of the BR concept. I would like to mention Martin Solar (Triglav NP, Slovenia) and Dr. Engelbert Ruoss (Entelbuch BR, Switzerland). Last but not least, I wish to thank to my husband, family and friends, who supported me in the process of work and were directly and/or indirectly involved in the project s implementation. iv

5 ABBREVIATIONS BAS BD BFB BR BRs BSBCP BSPB dka EU GDP MAB MAF MOEW Mt. NP NPA NPD PA PAA PAs PTF RIEW SWOT analysis UF UNESCO Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Basin Directorate Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation Biosphere Reserve Biosphere Reserves Bulgarian Swiss Biodiversity Conservation Programme Bulgarian Society or the Protection of Birds/BirdLife Bulgaria dekar European Union Gross domestic product Man and the Biosphere Programme Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Ministry of Environment and Water Mountains National Park National Park Administration National Park Directorate Protected Area Protected Areas Act Protected Areas Pirin Tourist Forum Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats analysis University of Forestry United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization v

6 SUMMARY The project is an interdisciplinary study in Doupki-Djindiritza Biosphere Reserve with the purpose of searching for mechanisms for sustainable use of nature resources in the Pirin Mountains. The scientific research of impact of fires on forest ecosystems is used as a demonstrative example for nature conservation. An exhibition under the title Fire and people is organised. It presents fires and their natural role, as well as discusses socio-economical aspects of fire. The early-post fire changes in some components of Austrian pine (Pinus nigra Arn.) ecosystems were studied and compared to non-burnt control sites. The amount and the composition of the soil microflora differ in the fire-affected and non-burnt areas. Although in the fire affected sites in the BR there is not a certain change in the number of the total microflora in comparison with the control site, there is a certain change in the distribution of the different groups of micro organisms. The results of the soil analysis of the fire-affected area show that there are differences in the chemical indicators and properties in comparison with the control site. For example, the study revealed an increase for the surface 0-5 cm soil layer in the both sites affected by fire in comparison with the non-burnt areas. Post-fire changes in vegetation and the early post-fire succession was studied. The described communities are formed as a result of disturbance. They represent first stages of fire-caused secondary succession and have different structure and belong to another syntaxon Festuco-Brometea Br.-Bl. Et R. Tx. in Br.-Bl Non-affected forest belongs to Erico-Pinetea Horvat 1959 vegetation Class. Doupki-Djindjritza Biosphere Reserve is an old generation biosphere reserve. It is not in conformity with contemporary concept of a BR, as well as it does not accomplished requirements of international guidelines of the Seville Strategy. Feasibility study for establishment of a transition area of Doupki-Djindjritza Biosphere Reserve was carried out. The state of general knowledge about BRs and traditions in a pilot area (municipality of Razlog) was studied. SWOT analysis about establishment of a biosphere reserve on the territory of Pirin Mountains was made. An appropriate zonation was elaborated. The project implementation involved a number of stakeholders in the Pirin region, as well as decision-makers in the field of environmental protection. More than 50 formal and informal meetings were organised. More than 70 key stakeholders were familiarised with the general idea of the BRs. The stability of the project could be state by the two indicates: 1). personal and institutional engagement towards sustainable development and biodiversity conservation of the study area and 2.) declared interest on behalf of stakeholders to work in this field. 1

7 INTRODUCTION The problems and negative impacts associated with large-scale uncontrolled forest fires have increased in Bulgaria over the past decade. The effects of fires for the period could be classified as a real disaster. All in all from 1999 to ,400 ha forests were burnt (around 3.9 % of the whole territory of the country) and in 2001 alone 57,400 ha were burnt. The culmination appeared in 2000 when almost 3% of Bulgarian forests had been affected by fire [29, 71]. Despite fire is vital and natural part of forest ecosystems [8, 47] and the fact that humans have used fires for thousands of years as a land management tool [48], it is important to protect ecosystems vulnerable to forest fires and that are critically important for the conservation at the national and global level. A human-caused fire destroyed more than 45 dka of high value conservation Austrian pine (Pinus nirga Arn.) forest in the core of (Bayuvi) Doupki-Djindjiritza Biosphere reserve; more than 700 dka just next to the Pirin NP (on the territory of Razlog Forestry District) and took four human victims in July The fire cause was deliberate and with the intention to conceal the consequences of illegal logging on the area outside of borders of the NP. This territory has been used in sustainable way by locals for centuries. Over the past ten years human activities on that area have lead to a great disturbance and run a risk for a total degradation of the ecosystem and losing unique biodiversity. Furthermore none of the Bulgarian Biosphere reserves has a transition area and if such is to be established it will coincide with a conflict area where illegal logging was at a great scale. There are lots of challenges in respect to protected areas management in Bulgaria. PAs in Bulgaria are established in order to preserve environment, nature ecosystems, landscape and biodiversity. However, most of the categories (except for the Nature Park) are not designed to meet contemporary concepts in terms of combining nature protection and economical development. Although BR are designed in order to answer the extremely important question (especially in the case of globalising world and loosing traditions and indigenous knowledge), in practice their real functioning depends on various factors and mainly is connected to the shared responsibility of all stakeholders. Therefore the project has two aspects research of the short-term impact of fire on the ecosystem and studying the possibilities for establishment of a transition area in (Bayuvi) Doupki- Djindjiritza Biosphere Reserve. 2

8 The Strategic goal of the study is: Using Fire&Environment case as a tool for creating a cooperative conservation of biodiversity, ecosystem function and services, as well as natural and cultural values in (Bayuvi) Doupki- Djindjiritza Biosphere reserve Objectives: Investigating the short-term effect of fire on the forest ecosystem; Feasibility study of establishment of a transition area; Zoning of the Biosphere reserve; Rising public awareness for nature conservation. 3

9 1. Study area STUDY AREA AND METHODOLOGY The study is carried out in the Pirin Mountains (South-Western Bulgaria), which belong to the Rila-Rhodopean region, the subregion of Rila Mt. and Pirin Mt. and the Mesta River basin, the Rila-Pirin region [34]. Doupki-Djindjiritza Biosphere Reserve is situated within the boundaries of the Pirin National Park, in the north-western parts of the Park [Figure 1]. Figure 1. Study area map, showing Pirin NP and Doupki-Djindjiritza BR Doupki-Djindjiritza BR covers an area of 2873 ha, which is 7.1% from the total area of the Pirin NP. According to the administrative division of Republic of Bulgaria the territory of Doupki- Djindjiritza BR falls within the district Blagoevgrad and 2 Municipalities: Razlog and Bansko. The Blagoevgrad District is in the southwest planning region according to the National Plan for regional development [1]. Distribution of the area of the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR by municipalities, settlements is: 2373 ha falls within the Municipality Razlog (Settlement, town of 4

10 Razlog), 500 ha Municipality Bansko (Settlement, town of Bansko), i.e. 82,6% of the total area falls within the Razlog Municipality [12, 64, 44]. Due to territorial and administrative dividing of the Pirin NP, Doupki-Djindjiritza BR is situated in the Bayuvi Doupki Park District (with total area of ha), which is guarded by 5 park rangers [20]. The land in Doupki-Djindjiritza BR is won by the state [39]. The Doupki-Djindjiritza Biosphere Reserve is one of the oldest reserves and among the first attempts for nature conservation in Bulgaria. It aim is to preserve unique for Europe forests of Macedonian pine (Pinus peuce Griseb.) and Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii Christ). Pinus peuce Griseb. is endemic for the Balkans tree species, whereas Pinus heldreichii Christ is sub-endemic and occurs on the Balkans and in South Italy [10]. The Doupki-Djindjiritza BR comprises a limestone landscape with ragged landscapes, caves and mainly pine forests between 1300 and 2884 meters above sea level. The Bayuvi Doupki Circuses are situated on the territory of the BR. The slopes are steep, and the predominant expositions are north-western [12, 40]. The territory of the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR belongs to Continental-Mediterranean Climate District, South-western Climate Region, Mountain climatic sub-region (including areas over 1000 m above see level) [46]. Due to the impact of the relief on the climate, the BR is situated into two zones: middle mountain zone with an altitude of m and high mountain zone with an altitude above 1800 m. The main climate characteristics for the whole mountain are lowering of the temperature with increasing of the altitude and increase of the quantity of rainfalls. The annual temperature varies within the ranges of about 5-7 C in the middle mountain zone and within 2-3 C in the highest parts of the mountain. The coldest month is January and the hottest month is July. The annual rainfalls vary in the range of mm to mm [12]. Pirin Mt. as a morphological unit represents a complex horst high mountain structure, rising in the middle part of the Rila-Rhodopes massif between the graben valleys of the Struma and Mesta Rivers. The main orographic and hydrographic ridge stretches from northwest to south southeast and lies closer to the northeastern parts of the mountain. In morphographic aspect Pirin Mountain is divided into three parts: Northern, Middle and Southern [34]. The Doupki- Djindjiritza BR belongs to the Northern Part. The main constituent rock formations in the BR are marbles and granites [40]. The soil types, in accordance with World Soil Classification [16], with biggest distribution in the reserve are Disric-Eutric Cambisols, Umbric Cambisols, Modic Cambisols and Rendzinas [12, 40]. In the reserve the area covered by forests is ha coniferous forests cover per cent, whereas broadleaved forest only 3.80 per cent. The natural forests are per cent. Macedonian pine (Pinus peuce Griseb.) forests cover the biggest territories (more than 10 per 5

11 cent). These are of particular interest from conservation point of view, because of the endemic nature of this pine and the species occurring in the communities. The average age of the Macedonian pine forests varies from years and some individuals are over 500 years old. The communities of Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii Christ) cover about 7.30 per cent of the whole forested area. They occupy mainly the limestone areas in Bayuvi Dupki Park Region. They grow on well-drained habitats, in most cases this is due to protruding sites and very steep slopes. With limited distributions are communities of Pinus nigra Arn. (2.67%), Picea abies (L.) H.Karst. (2.46), Abies alba Mill. (1.97) and Pinus sylvestris L. (1.40%) [12, 40]. In conclusion the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR preserves unique biodiversity and ensures maintaining of natural ecosystems with various plants and animals (including regional and local endemic species). Pinus nigra Arn. forests in the Dupki-Djinjiritza Biosphere Reserve affected by fire were studied during the vegetation term of The fire occurred on 23 July 2003 and continued until 25 July The fire has also impact on the territory of the Razlog Forestry District (over 500 dka), as well as in the Pirin National Park. The average age of the damaged forests in the National Park is 100 years. The slope is 28-35º and the altitude varies from 1300 to 1350 m above see level. The soils are Distric-Eutric Cambisols, formed on marbalised limestone. The exposition of the studied slopes is north or north-east. 2. Methods of work The early-post fire changes in some components of the Pinus nigra Arn. ecosystems were studied. Three sample plots were set [Figure 1]: Damaged forests on the territory of the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR (Sample plot 1 (SP1) marked with B on the map) no human activities after the fire, first stages of the plant and microbial succession studied; natural processes in soils studied; Damaged forests on the territory of the Pirin NP outside the reserve (Sample plot 2 (SP2) marked with A on the map) the burned biomass logged and taken out of the Park; soil preparation made; restoration of the area; Pinus nigra Arn. saplings planted; studied components compared with the natural processes in SP1 Control plot (Sample plot 3 (SP3) marked with C on the map) same components studied in the control site, where the ecosystem has not been affected by fire. 6

12 Figure 2. Basic map of the study area, showing sample plots in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control site 7

13 Three soil profiles were set in the sample plots [see Appendix 1]. Soil samples from the 0-5 cm, 5-20 cm and cm were taken. Three samples from the surface 0-5 cm soil layer were taken. Soil ph is measured using Radelkis ph-appliance in the water extract and in the CaCl 2 extract. The total N, using the Keldal method, is determined (on the Keltek automatic analyser). The total C, using the Tjurin method, is determined. The total Ca, K, Mg and Na are determined through decomposition with the King Water (HCl:HNO 3 =3:1) and mobile forms of the same elements in CH 3 COONH 4 extract (рн=7,00). Mobile forms of P, Ca, K, Mg and Na, as well as total Ca, K, Mg and Na are determined using atom-absorption spectrophotometer Perkin Elmer Analyzer 500. The total amount of the leaves layer, total N, total Ca, K, Mg and Na, as well as the ph of the leaves layer were determined. The microbial analyses were carried out according to standard methods (culture techniques see Appendix 2). The total amount and the composition of the heterotrophic block of soil microflora for the 0-5 cm and 5-20 cm soil layers were studied. The statistical processing of the results is made using Statistica and SPSS. In the discussion mainly average values will be given, but also will be indicated statistically proven hypothesises (t-test assuming equal variances). In the status report results of soil and microbial studies will be given as, the statistic processing will be made using, and will be enclosed in the Final Report. Post-fire changes of the vegetation and the early post-fire succession was studied in the SP1 and SP2 and compared to not-affected SP3. Floristic and phytocenotic characteristic of the study area was made. Sixty descriptions of microphyticenosis in the three sample plot were made. The area for descriptions in the forest communities is 300 m 2 and in the communities, affected by the fire 200 m 2. The floristic composition is determined by walking all over the studied plant communities. The total projection cover of the vegetation is determined and the participation of the cenopopulations of the different species is evaluated using the projection cover indicator of the over-ground parts of the plants, calculated as percentages of the studied territory. The scale of Braun Blaunquet for grouping and abundance [51, 61] is used to characterise the distribution of the individuals from the same species. The principal basis for the project implementation is the Braun-Blanquet approach for the classification of vegetation [7, 11]. Standard techniques for geobotanical description of vegetation plots are used [11]. For interpretation of the data on plant communities of the studied region the software SYN-TAXA is used. For the cluster dendrograms the index of Horn is used. Flora Europaea is used for the nomenclature of the plant species [51, 54]. The burnt area was mapped by Code Phase Trekking of the Global Positioning System [66]. Maps were elaborated: GIS different layers with basic information about the burnt area and related to the zoning of the BR. For the elaboration of maps are used ArcGis and already existing maps and data [1, 68, 63, 72, 65]. 8

14 Results and discussion Background Forest fires are episode factor, affecting structure and functioning of the ecosystems. Fires are part of the natural processes, as well as result of purposive or unintentional human activities [5]. The rate of change of soil properties and soil microbocenosis depends on fire intensity, season, vegetation type and the amount of burnt organic matter, climatic conditions before the fire, soil type ext. [58, 2]. These parameters strongly vary, which determines the different impact of fires on chemical soil properties. Most researches on low to middle intensive fires show increase of mobile forms of nutrients [9, 26, 37]. Some authors, who have studied the impact of high intensity fires, give data about the loss of nutrients through evaporation, transportation of formed ashes or wash out [9, 21]. As a result of burning out the leaves layer, tree and shrub vegetation the amount and composition of the material, assuring the incoming of nutrients in soil as well as the mechanisms of their distribution are changed. Usually the initial effect of fires leads to decrease in total microflora, often followed by its increase [62]. The restoration of the composition and structure organisation of the microbocenosis takes 2-3 years [38, 43]. Some authors consider the impact of fires on the forest communities could be characterised as catastrophic [28, 50], whereas others emphasise that wildfires are neither initially destructive nor constructive, but simply cause change [60]. On the one hand population dynamics of plant species, spatial patterns and compositions of plant communities, as well as the species diversity is changed after burning, but on the other hand plants respond to burning in a different way and there are lots of examples for adaptations and evolutionary mechanisms as a results of fire occurrence [5, 48]. Fires are a disturbance factor in ecosystems and they cause secondary successions [13]. In Europe wildfires happen every year in all types of forests and many forest ecosystems are adapted to low frequency fires. However, during the last decade due to human activities forest fires occur in higher frequencies than they used to and most fires are damaging where they burn out of control [17]. The tendency in Bulgaria is similar. While in the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century 3000 hectares were burnt on average per year, until the middle of the twentieth century about ha and during the 50s and 60s of last century ha per year, whereas during the last years the territory of burnt areas rapidly increased. For the period of three years ( ) ha forests were damaged by fire (around 3.9% of the whole territory of the country). The analysis of the preconditions, reasons and factors leads to the conclusion that Bulgaria is joining the Mediterranean region with traditionally high risk of forest fires according to the parameters of the risk of fires on its territory [29, 22, 14]. The aim of the current research is to study early post-fire effect on the natural Pinus nigra Arn. forest in Dupki-Djinjiritza Biosphere Reserve (Bulgaria) determining the floristic composition 9

15 and phytocenosis studies in burnt area; studying changes of functional and structure organisation of soil microorganisms, as well as studying some physical and chemical properties of soils after fires; the same studies were made in not-affected areas control plots. General characteristic of the burnt area The studies are made 2 years after the fire. The main parameters, representing the range of the fire, are presented in Table 1. Total burnt area is dka and 89.9 per cent of the affected by fire territory falls into the Razlog Forestry District. Table 1. Basic information about the burnt area in the Pirin Mt. Indicator Measure Value Burnt area within the Pirin NP (outside the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR ) dka Burnt area within the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR dka Burnt area within the Pirin NP dka Burnt area within the Razlog Forestry District dka Total burnt area dka Circumference of the burnt area m Circumference of the burnt area in the Pirin NP m Circumference of the burnt area the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR m Altitudes in the burnt area range from 1105 to 1326 m above see level. The average altitude of the whole territory, which was affected by fire, is about 1166 m above see level. [Table 2]. The range of variation within the Pirin NP is not big enough to result in changing environmental conditions of the territory. The map, which shows the variation of altitudes of the burned area, is presented in Appendix 3. Table 2. Distribution of the territory of the study area by elevations (m above see level) Object Min Max Range Mean Std Median Burnt Area (as a whole) Burnt area within the Pirin NP (outside the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR ) Burnt area within the Doupki- Djindjiritza BR The predominant part of the whole burnt area is of shadowed exposure more than 90 per cent. The territory, damaged by fire, which falls into the Pirin NP, is situated on northern, north-eastern or north-western slopes of the mountain [Figure 3]. The map of the distribution of the territory of the study area by exposure of the terrain is presented in Appendix 4. 10

16 North North-West 3 North-East East Flat 3 Figure 3. Distribution of the territory of the study area by exposure of the terrain 1: Burnt Area (as a whole) 2: Burnt area within the Pirin NP (outside the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR ) 3: Burnt area within the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR In order to analyse the study area by inclination, a 5-degree scale is used to classify the slope of the terrain: Flat 0-5º Sloping 6-10º Inclining 11-20º Steep 21-30º Very Steep above 31º The steepest terrains in the burnt area are within the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR and could be classified as inclining. Some parts are flat; this is mainly in the Razlog Forestry District. The range of variation for the whole burnt area totals in 16.72º [Table 3] The map of the distribution of the territory of the study area by exposure of the terrain (slopes in %) is presented in Appendix 5. 11

17 Table 3. Distribution of the territory of the study area by inclination, (slope in Degrees) Object Min Max Range Mean Std Burnt Area (as a whole) Burnt area within the Pirin NP (outside the Doupki-Djindjiritza BR ) Burnt area within the Doupki- Djindjiritza BR Microbiological studies The amount and the composition of the soil microflora differ in the fire-affected and non-burnt areas [Table 4]. Although in the SP1 there is not a certain change in the number of the total microflora in comparison with the control site. However, there is a certain change in the distribution of the different groups of micro organisms. There is an interesting trend of development of the micro organisms in depth in SP2, which could be as a result of the soil preparation in this area. The total amount of micro organisms in the 5-20 cm soil layer increases up to 3.7 times in SP2. Table 4. Amount and characteristic of soil microflora in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control sites (10 3 /g dry soil) Object Sample plot 1 burnt area /reserve/ Sample plot2 burnt area Pirin NP /outside reserve/ Sample plot 3 control reserve /not burnt/ Depth, cm Ammonifying bacteria Bacilli ± ± ± ± ± ±84 Total microflora Actinomycetes Micromycetes Bacteria, assimilating N ± ± ± ± ± ±203 Mineralisation coefficient Note: The data related to the groups of micro organisms, which are studied in component groups, is given only as average values The species diversity of the baccilar microflora [Figure 4] shows that the best development conditions for the 0-5 soil layer are in the control site, whereas their development is limited in the soils affected by the fire. 12

18 SP1 SP2 SP B. mycoides B. megaterium B. cereus Figure 4. Species diversity and average amount of the baccilar microflora in the 0-5 cm soil layer in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control sites (10 3 /g dry soil) The best development, respectively the best contribution to the regeneration processes is observed for the species Bac. cereus, Bac. megaterium and B. mycoides, which are wide-spread in forest soils. The spreading of the other species is limited B. isoides is found only in the 5-20 cm soil layer of the control site and B. subtilis is not found in the studied areas. The pigment forming bacteria has a peak quantity of these micro organisms in the soils affected by the fire [Figure 5]. The chromogenesis could be considered as a way of adaptation and defence mechanism of micro organisms against stress events [52] SP1 SP2 SP3 0-5 cm 5-20 cm Figure 5. Average amount of pigment forming bacteria in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control sites (10 3 /g dry soil) 13

19 Soil studies The results of the soil analysis of the fire-affected area show that there are differences in the chemical indicators and properties in comparison with the control site. Figure 6 shows the soil ph in the study area. There is an increase for the surface 0-5 cm soil layer in the both sites affected by fire in comparison with the non-burnt areas. The increase in the 0-5 cm soil layer in the SP1 amounts up to Mälkönen and Levula (1996) assume that the rate of change in soil ph and the speed of reaching the values before the fire depend on the composition, amount and ratio of ash elements, cation exchange capacity of the soil and the composition of the organic rests. The T-test: Two Sample Assuming Equal Variances (α=0.05) shows that there is statistically proved difference between the mean values of the ph in the fire affected and non-burnt sites SP1 SP2 SP cm 5-20 cm cm Figure 6. Soil ph in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control sites There is a close relationship among big amounts of cations, formed after the burning of the organic matter, soil ph, as well as other physical and chemical properties of the soil [37, 58]. The amount of total and mobile forms of Mg, Ca, K and Na are presented in Table 5. Table 5. Amount of Mg, Ca, K and Na (total (T) and mobile (M) forms) in fire-affected Pinus nigra Arn. forests and not-burnt control sites, mg/kg Object Depth, cm Mg Ca K Na Forms of the elements T M % T M % T M % T M % Sample plot P. nigra burnt /reserve/ Sample plot P. nigra burnt /outside reserve/ Sample plot 3 control /not burnt/

20 There is a small decrease in the total amount of Mg and Ca in the 0-5 cm soil layer in fireaffected plots in comparison with the control site. Macadam (1989) research shows that during the fire the loss of these two elements in the atmosphere is insignificant due to the fact that they become volatile if the temperature is very high ( ºС). The mobile forms of Mg in relation to the total in the fire-damaged areas decrease in the 0-5 cm soil layer, but increase in depth probably due to transportation from the upper layer. There is a similar trend of increasing values in depth of Ca mobile forms in relation to the total in the fire-affected plots. The biggest increase of mobile forms in relation to the total as a result of the fire is determined for K in the SP1. Results of other authors [59] show the similar trends in changes caused by forest fires increase of mobile K and decrease of mobile Mg. there is a decrease in the amount of mobile forms of Ca in relation to Mg in the burnt areas in the surface 0-5 cm soil layer and in depth. Results of content of C and total N, respectively presented on Figure 7 and Figure 8, show that 2 years after the fire there are differences between values in burnt areas and control site. The content of C and total N in the surface 0-5 cm in the control site exceeds values of the same elements on the fire-affected areas. There is the opposite trend in depth an increase of C and total N in burnt areas in comparison with the control site. This trend is probably due to the transportation of the elements in depth cm 5-20 cm cm SP1 SP2 SP3 Figure 7. Amount of С (%) in fire-affected and not-burnt site cm 5-20 cm cm SP1 SP2 SP3 Figure 8. Amount of total N (%)in fire-affected and not-burnt site 15

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