Tsentralen Balkan - Bufer SPA



Tsentralen Balkan - bufer SPA covers almost entirely the buffer zone of "Central Balkan" National Park. Mountainous relief with steep slopes. Four altitude belts are clearly distinguished, and the upper parts are habitats of alpine type. Old beech forests predominate in the forest belt. Dry heaths with predomination of the Siberian juniper (Juniperus sibirica) and mesophyllous meadows are dominant in the highlands zone. Northern slopes are covered with forests and the highest rainfalls in the country are given there (1200-1360 mm). Southern slopes are rocky, very steep, cut through by gorges. Mixed broadleaved forests of Fagus sylvatica L. subsp. moesiaca, Carpinus betulus, Quercus dalechampii, Ostrya carpinifolia, etc., at places mixed with Pinus nigra, cover the low mountain belt. The natural forest of Fagus sylvatica is between 100 and 250 years of age. At places they are mixed with fir Abies alba. The belt of coniferous forests composed mainly of spruce Picea abies and more rarely Macedonian Pine Pinus peuce - a Balkan endemic and Tertiary relict species – comes next. The highest mountain parts are covered by sub-alpine shrub vegetation of Siberian Juniper Juniperus communis nana, whortleberries Vaccinium spp. and alpine meadows.

Birds in the protected area

Tsentralen Balkan - bufer SPA is important for the conservation of mainly of woodland bird species listed in Annex 1 of the Birds Directive. Out of 34 bird species, listed in Annex 1 of the Birds Directive, that inhabit the SPA, 27 are breeding and 7 species pass the area on migration.

The data collected in the period between 2007-2011 indicate possible breeding of two pairs of Saker Falcon on the rock massifs on the Southern slopes of the mountain. Besides the breeding season, the area is important site for Saker Falcon also during the migration season, which is proved by the targeted studies during the period 2008 - 2013

The site is an important part of the Natura 2000 network in Bulgaria for birds, aiming the effective protection of many woodland birds and raptors of conservation concern. It is especially crucial for the protection of 7 species that are represented by over 2% of their national population: Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva - represented 16% of the national population; Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata - represented by 3% of the national population; Eurasian Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum - presented by 8% of the national population; Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos - represented by 4% of the national population; Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus - represented by 3% of the national population; Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus - represented by 3% of the national population and Eurasian Eagle-owl Bubo bubo - represented by 2% of the national population.

Threats to the protected area

  • Fire
    Coniferous forests are highly vulnerable to fires.
  • Habitat deterioration
    The natural succession of the Juniper in the high mountain meadows has negative impact on souslik Spermophilus sp. colonies, which are the most important food for the raptors there.
  • Human activities
    The forest habitats are highly affected by the intensive forestry out of the Central Balkan National Park. Cause of disturbance are rock climbing, gliding, hang gliding, off road traffic of motor.
  • Poaching
    Direct threats to birds are caused by poaching (taking chicks and eggs from the nests, shooting of raptors and owls).