Silva Balcanica 23(1): 89-102, doi: 10.3897/silvabalcanica.23.e91220
Integrated approach for health status assessment of urban forests in the municipalities of Etropole and Pravets, Bulgaria
expand article infoMargarita Georgieva, Georgi Georgiev, Miroslav Ivanov§, Konstantin Tyufekchiev§, Sevdalin Belilov, Yonko Dodev, Plamen Glogov, Mira L. Georgieva, Grud Popov, Svetozar Madzhov
‡ Forest Research Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria§ South-West University 'Neofit Rilski', Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
Open Access
Abstract

In 2020, the health status of urban forests in Etropole and Pravets municipalities was monitored based on remote sensing data and field assessment. The study provides information for early detection and identification of pests and pathogens causing damage in different forest types. Three forest stands were assessed: Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) plantation near the town of Etropole, European beech (Fagus sylvatica) natural stand near Etropole Monastery, and Quercus spp. coppice stands in ‘Nebesnite Pasbishta’ forest park near Osikovitsa village. In two sample plots (town of Etropole and Osikovitsa village), remote sensing data were obtained by a ‘Parrot Sequoia’ multispectral camera integrated with a specialized professional system eBee ‘Flying Wing’. Normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) was assessed by digital mixing of imagery, captured in the red and near-infrared range. It was established that the Scots pine plantations were weakened, with NDVI values between 0.66 and 0.75. The oak stands in the area of Osikovitsa village were in better health condition (NDVI mainly 0.79-0.98). Symptoms of diseases and pest damage were found during the field verifications. Severe deterioration caused by the invasive fungal pathogen Dothistroma septosporum had destroyed the pine plantation near Etropole. The pathogen caused premature needle defoliation, resulting in loss of timber yield and, in severe cases, tree death. In oak stands, damage was caused mainly by the invasive insect pest – oak lace bug (Corythucha arcuata). In Fagus sylvatica forests damage was caused mainly by abiotic factors (snow and wind), and wood destroying fungus Fomes fomentarius.

Keywords
urban forests, health condition, deterioration, biotic agents, Bulgaria