Short history of LTER-Bulgaria
For a long time now, extensive long-term data about the development of the environment have been recorded at many sites in Bulgaria. However, this very important work has been subjected to some limitations:
On November 2005 Bulgaria has been invited to reach the LTER-CE Europe by the coordinator of LTER CEE – Prof. Julius Ozlanyi. The CLGE has nominated Dr Svetla Bratanova-Doncheva – Head of Research Group “Functioning of Terrestrial Ecosystems” as the National Representative. In April 2006 Dr Bratanova participated in the meeting of CEE in Vihodna – Slovakia and she presented the Bulgarian LTER initiative and the potential sites in Bulgaria.
- The methods and concepts used for measuring are usually based on disciplinary or sectoral formulations of the scientific problems.
- System-oriented investigations only exist in very few exceptional areas.
- The research stations were chosen for either historical reasons or because of the specific aims of the study’s objectives.
- Very few research stations are being used by more than one user – institute or university.
- There has (almost) not been joint analyses and integration of data.
- Ecological and socio-economical data are mutually recorded and processed only in few cases
- There is very little communication and cooperation between the official networks and the potentially interested research facilities.
- There is no central place for keeping data, the contents of reports from the measuring networks cannot be recorded in a meta data base. There is no comprehensive status-quo-analysis.
- The continuation of the few ecological, system-oriented measurement programs is not secured for a longer period of time.
On April 2007 CLGE organized the National Conference “Long term ecological research in Bulgaria” with the participation of Central Laboratory of General Ecolgy - BAS, Institute of Zoology - BAS, Institute of Botany -BAS, Forest Research Institute-BAS, National Institute of Meteorology & Hydrology - BAS, Institute of Oceanology - BAS, Forest University, Sofia University, South – West University, Plovdiv University, representatives of Ministry of Environment & Water, Executive Agency of Environment, Ministry of Education & Science, State Agency of Forests, National Commission of UNESCO, National Committee of MAB-UNESCO, Bulgarian Bioplatform, NGOs. During this meeting the National LTER network has been launched and a National Coordinating Committee was elected. In the Committee representatives of institutes of the BAS, University of Forestry and Sofia University were present. Dr Svetla Bratanova-Doncheva as National Coordinator was elected.
In June 2007 Bulgaria participated in the foundation of LTER-Europe in Balatonfüred, Hungary. There have been discussed the Bylaws, Joint research, Common information database management. The Executive & Scientific Committees have been elected.
On February 2009 in Sofia, by the initiative of the National Coordinating Committee of LTER-Bulgaria and with the support of AlterNet and LTER-Europe the I Meeting of SEE countries was organized with the participation of representatives from Albania, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Turkey and Serbia. The aim of this Meeting was to strengthen the cooperation between South-Eastern European countries in ecosystem studies, to promote exchange of data and finally to initiate development of a South-Eastern LTER network.
On February 2009 at the meeting of National Coordinating Committee it was decided that Bulgaria shall present an Application for formal admission to ILTER in August 2009 at the ILTER Annual Co-Ordinating Committee meeting in Australia.
At present LTER-Bulgaria consists of 7 sites developing long term ecosystem research, a National Coordinating Committee and a group of Site Coordinators.
The development of the LTER - Bulgaria Network and the formal Admission to the ILTER are strongly supported with official letters of support by:
1. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
2. Ministry of Environment & Water
3. Bulgarian Union of scientists
4. Bulgarian Ecological Society