Nearly 140,000 BGN will be paid to cooperatives and farmers protecting the feeding areas of the Red-breasted Goose within two years

Nearly 140,000 BGN will be distributed amongst 11 cooperatives and farmers in the Municipality of Shabla for enhancing and protecting the foraging habitats of the Red-breasted Goose. This was made possible within the current testing Pilot Agri-Environment Scheme developed by Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) within the project "Conservation of the wintering population of the globally threatened Red-breasted Goose", implemented with the co-funding of the financial instrument LIFE + Programme of EU.

Following the successful completion in May of the first year of the PAES, the new agreements with participating farmers have been already signed and pending their implementation in the autumn-winter period. Within the agri-environment schemes, farmers agree to perform various activities aimed at improving the food habitats of wintering Red-breasted Geese in the region.

The ultimate goal is the development and adoption of a specific agri-environmental measure in Bulgaria regarding winter habitat of globally threatened Red-breasted Goose, which encourages farmers to apply appropriate crop regimes and receive compensation for the yield losses by grazing geese. The measure should be included in the next programming period and become part of the National Agri-Environmental Programme in Bulgaria from 2015. The BSPB experts and representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture prepared and provided this favorable and useful measure for farmers who grow different crops in places where almost 100% of the population of Red-breasted Goose winters.

Great support during the development and testing of agri-environmental measure BSPB got in the face of the Project partner – the agricultural cooperative Kirilovi Ltd., on whose lands were conducted initial experiments. Leading experts from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds shared experience while working on the creation and implementation of the pilot measure.

After completion of the second experiment year in the municipality of Shabla we shall summarizethe  results - benefits to owners and managers of agricultural lands of the measure, and the benefits of red-breasted geese, whose numbers dramatically declined in the last 15 years. The Coastal Dobrudzha is extremely important for the survival of the species in winter and at the same time there is produced much of the wheat in Bulgaria. The introduction of agri-environment measure aims to conserve birds and ensuring the welfare of the people.

The creation of this measure is one of the most important contributions of the project "Conservation of the wintering population of the globally threatened Red-breasted Goose" for local farmers. Over the past two years BSPB experts introduced another measure of "wintering geese", in which were paid over € 2.7 million subsidy for farmers in the country through the NAEP.