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Transformative Mindset Course

Module 7.

Preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity


Maria Burulyanova


Burgas Municipality, Bulgaria


Objectives of the training module include:

  1. understanding the concept of preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity;

  2. understanding why it is important to preserve and restore ecosystems and biodiversity;

  3. showing ecosystems and biodiversity as one of the elements of the EU Green Deal strategy;

  4. familiarisation with the ways of preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity;

  5. showing how individually contribute to preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity?

  6. Showing example and good practices of preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity at the city level.

Training module will:

  • explain the fundamentals of preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity;

  • provide a rationale for climate change mitigation and propose actions from the perspective of preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity;

  • access a wide range of resources to build on the skills and knowledge developed in the field of preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity.


Ecosystems are made up of living components (assemblages of species and biotic complexes), the abiotic environment, the processes and interactions within and between the biotic and abiotic, and the physical space in which these operate. 

Bland, L.M., Keith, D.A., Miller, R.M., Murray, N.J. and Rodríguez, J.P. (2016). Guidelines for the application of IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Categories and Criteria. Version 1.1. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.


Biodiversity is “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems”.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (1992). Article 2 Use of Terms. Convention on Biological Diversity. 

Using Mesh Bag



Lake at Dusk

Case Study 1:

Atanasovsko Lake - Bulgaria

  • Atanasovsko Lake is a part of Burgas lake complex, which is one of the three most significant wetland complexes for congregations of waterfowl along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. 

  • The region of Atanasovsko lake currently supports 288 bird species, 84 of which are listed in the Red Data Book for Bulgaria (1985). Of the birds occurring there 127 species are of European conservation concern (SPEC) (BirdLife International, 2004).


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Protected zone Atanasovsko Lake BG0000270

Atanasovsko ezero Protected zone BG0000270 is designated by both EU Directives - Directive 92/43 / EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (hereinafter referred to as the Habitats Directive) and Directive 2009/147 / EC on the conservation of wild birds (hereinafter referred to as the Birds Directive). The two directives are reflected in the Bulgarian legislation through the Biodiversity Act.

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Conservation objectives 


Conservation of the area of natural habitats and habitats of species and their populations subject to conservation within the protected area.

Conservation of the natural state of the natural habitats and habitats of species, protected in the framework of the PHS, including the natural species and habitat types, typical species and environmental conditions.

Recovering, where necessary, the area and natural state of priority natural habitats and the habitats of species as well as populations of species subject to conservation within the protected area.

Atanasovsko Lake - Project

Project Title: "Urgent Measures to Restore and Secure Long-term Preservation of the Atanasovsko Lake Coastal Lagoon", LIFE11 NAT/BG/000362, abbreviated as "The Salt of Life" and co-funded by the EU LIFE+ Programme.


Project Location: The city of Burgas, Bulgaria The Natura 2000 site Atanasovsko Lake SCI/ SPA (BG0000270), EU Black Sea Biogeographical Region


Project Duration: 74 months (01/07/2012 - 31/08/2018)


Budget approved by EU: 2 013 027 € (74.95% are provided by LIFE+ Programme; 25.05% - co-financing by the partners)


Coordinating Beneficiary: Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (BBF) (budget 510 265 €)


The associated beneficiaries: Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB, the BirdLife International’s partner in Bulgaria – budget 211 466 €) and “Chernomorski Solnici” JSC (BS Salinas Ltd. Budget 1 291 296 €)

Atanasovsko ezero - The threats

The beautiful and colourful Atanasovsko Lake, as we know it now, is by large a result of the symbiosis between Man and Nature – the significant modification for the purposes of salt production, made the site so rich and significant for the European nature. 


Nowadays, when the coast is severely affected by urbanization, the lagoon is of strategic importance for the conservation of the biological diversity along the Black Sea coastline. The Lake is a complex and dynamic system, perpetually varying in time and space. It consists of two separate water bodies with no connection between them and over 170 pools. The quality of its water depends on the quality of surface, sea and groundwater that feed it and is influenced by their circulation.


The floods in 2006 and especially that in 2010 destroyed more than 30 km of dykes and barriers - important nesting and roosting sites for endangered bird species and destroyed the basic infrastructure to control the levels of sea and rainwater in the Lake. To solve these problems, the partners conceived the six-year project “The Salt of Life” - aimed at achieving a favourable conservation status of the priority Coastal lagoons habitat and its associated protected species.

Atanasovsko ezero - The Goals of the Project:

  • To establish a functional, efficient and sustainable infrastructure for water management and control of the coastal lagoon in Atanasovsko lake. To provide long-term improvements to habitat conditions and enable adaptation to the effects of climate change including changing rainfall patterns and rises in sea-level;

  • To reduce the impact of direct and indirect threats to Atanasovsko Lake lagoon and its priority bird species by securing sustainable habitat management including improvements to existing and creation of new breeding sites for priority bird species;

  • To monitor and evaluate the effects of the proposed habitat restoration measures on the lagoon, other significant habitats, and Annex 1 bird species during the project and to feed this information into future site management plans;

  • To improve the visitor experience at the site and to disseminate the project results to a wide European audience of site managers, ecologists and the general public;

  • To enhance public understanding of the ecological, economic and social values of the coastal lagoons and raise

      support for the conservation of priority coastal habitats and bird species; 

How we communicated our work?

  • Atanasovsko Lake – a tale for lake, salt, birds and people;

  • Atanas the Avocet is telling a story;

  • The exhibition “symBiotic” and the new space of Atanasovsko Lake;

  • Salt Festival on the shores of Atanasovsko Lake;

  • Plain airs and exhibitions;

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Additional materials & sources of information


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