Bulgaria is a country in Southeast Europe. It occupies the whole eastern part of the Balkans, and is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. Bulgaria covers a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, and is the sixteenth-largest country in Europe.
The interaction of climatic, hydrological, geological and topographical conditions has produced a relatively wide variety of plant and animal species.Bulgaria's biodiversity, one of the richest in Europe, is conserved in three national parks, 11 nature parks, 10 biosphere reserves and 565 protected areas. Ninety-three of the 233 mammal species of Europe are found in Bulgaria, along with 49% of butterfly and 30% of vascular plant species. Overall, 41,493 plant and animal species are present. Larger mammals with sizable populations include deer, wild boars, jackals and foxes, Partridges number some 328,000 individuals, making them the most widespread gamebird. A third of all nesting birds in Bulgaria can be found in Rila National Park, which also hosts Arctic and alpine species at high altitudes. Flora includes more than 3,800 vascular plant species of which 170 are endemic and 150 are considered endangered. A checklist of larger fungi in Bulgaria by the Institute of Botany identifies more than 1,500 species. More than 35% of the land area is covered by forests.
Bulgaria has some of the largest Natura 2000 areas in Europe covering 33.8% of its territory.
Bulgaria ranks 30th in the 2018 Environmental Performance Index, but scores low on air quality. Particulate levels are the highest in Europe, especially in urban areas affected by automobile traffic and coal-based power stations. One of these, the lignite-fired Maritsa Iztok-2 station, is causing the highest damage to health and the environment in the European Union. Pesticide use in agriculture and antiquated industrial sewage systems produce extensive soil and water pollution. Water quality began to improve in 1998 and has maintained a trend of moderate improvement. Over 75% of surface rivers meet European standards for good quality.