Silva Balcanica 22(2): 43-68, doi: 10.3897/silvabalcanica.22.e69861
Challenges of assessment and mapping of ecosystem services in Bulgarian (Rhodope) and Russian (Altai) mountain protected areas in the context of post-socialist transformations and new conservation paradigms
expand article infoDmitry V. Chernykh§, Maria Glushkova|, Dmitry K. Pershin, Miglena Zhiyanski|, Alina E. Zinovieva, Dmitry V. Zolotov, Lilia F. Lubenets, Roman Yu. Biryukov
‡ Institute for Water and Environmental Problems, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Barnaul, Russia§ Altai State University, Barnaul, Russia| Forest Research Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria
Open Access

The overarching goal of this survey was to identify the challenges of ecosystem services assessment and mapping in Russian and Bulgarian mountain protected areas in the context of post-socialist transformations, new conservation paradigms and climate change. The Altai Mountains in Russia and the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria were selected as key mountain territories for comparison due to their similar characteristics: agriculture, forest exploitation, tourism activities, etc. Both in Bulgaria and in Russia, perceptions of the protected areas functioning have been changing, facilitated by global shifts. Thus, the concept of ecosystem services has now been actively introduced in nature and biodiversity conservation policies. Based on WDPA data the emergence of different types of protected areas in Russia and Bulgaria was determined. Key problems of assessment and mapping of ecosystem services in Russian and Bulgarian mountain protected areas were recognised, mainly related to the shortage and quality of baseline data. At the same time, there were also some specifics for the two countries due to their size and national legislation. Like many other mountainous regions in the world, the Rhodopes in Bulgaria and the Altai Mountains in Russia are flagships in the improvement of nature conservation strategies. These regions often participate in a variety of international conservation programmes and are constantly expanding the range of protected areas. It is generally accepted that the Altai Mountains and the Rhodopes are not only centres of biodiversity richness in their countries, but also hotspots of a variety of ecosystem services.

ecosystem services, mountain protected areas, Bulgaria, Russia, Rhodopes, Altai