Tsentralen Balkan SPA



Mountainous relief with steep slopes. Altitude's displacement within the park's territory is 1900 m. Four altitude belts are clearly distinguished, and the upper parts are habitats of alpine type. Old beech forests (40% of the park's territory) predominate in the forest belt. Dry heaths with predomination of the Siberian juniper (Juniperus sibirica) and mesophyllous meadows (40%, too) 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.

Park's area is made up by magma plutonic bodies, sediment and metamorphous rocks of the Prepaleozoic, Mesozoic and Paleogenic age. Four denudation levels are observed in the park with various geomorphologic elements. These include flattened ridges, sloping steps, sloping declivities, granite over-thrusts and well expressed surface and underground limestone (karst) forms. Approximately one quarter of the forested area of the park is on granite rock. Next in distribution are the crystalline schists. Third is sandstone. The Stara Planina karst covers a small area of the park.

The site is with national, European and global significance for the preservation of examples of the Mixed Mountainous Systems with Complex Zoning Biome. 27 types and subtypes recognized in the park are natural habitats with European and national significance and they cover 94.7% of the park's territory. Fagus sylvatica forests take 40 % of it. They are distinguished for their high degree of naturalness, forests of between 100 and 250 years are prevailing.

Birds in the protected area

Central Balkan SPA is a home for over 220 bird species (123 species of the nesting ones that occur during the breeding period) and 60 mammals. The additional list includes 49 species of the Red Data Book of Bulgaria, of the Red List of UICN, species, included in the Bern convention (Annex II) and in the Bonn convention, as well as bird species with unfavorable status in Europe and 2 endemic subspecies. Central Balkan is among the most valuable areas in the country on the level of European Union for other 12 breeding species - White-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos), Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Hazel grouse (Bonasa bonasia), Tengmalm's owl (Aegolius funereus), Ural owl (Strix uralensis), Pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum), Black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), Semi-collared flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata), Red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva) and European nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus).

The species oriented survey about the Saker falcon done in 2007-2011 indicated that about three pairs probably breed in the SPA Central Balkan. The area was identified as the best for restocking the Bulgarian Saker population also by the feasibility study done by the Bulgarian Academy of Science. Targeted studies during the period 2008-2013 confirmed that the area is important site also for the migration of the species.

Threats to the protected area

  • Disturbance
    Many activities may cause disturbance in the area including - rock climbing, gliding, hang gliding, off road traffic of motor vehicles.
  • 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.