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[07] Dobrostan

Haskovo, Kardzhali, Plovdiv, Smolyan District
NATURA 2000: Maculinea nausithous, Euphydryas aurinia

Coordinates: 24° 56’ 2’’ E, 41° 49’ 48’’ N — Altitude: 1053 m — Area: 50282 ha

Description: The region is situated in the western Rhodopi Mts and is called after the ridge bearing the same name. It borders the Upper Thracian Lowland in the north, the boundary passing above the town of Asenovgrad. The western boundary is naturally formed by the valley of Chepelarska River. The relief is complex and hilly, cut by river valleys. Geologically, Dobrostan is composed of metamorphic rocks. The region is varied and clearly separated into zones characterised by montane and arid Mediterranean communities. The largest part of the area is occupied by forest habitats consisting mainly of deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forests. The lower parts are covered by a well defined belt of xerothermic Quercus pubescens and Q. virgiliana or Tilia tomentosa forests. The higher parts are grown over with mixed mesophytic forests of Fagus moesiaca, Q. dalechampii, Carpinus betulus, and Ostrya carpinifolia. The largest protected belt of Pinus nigra in this country is found here. The open areas are covered with xeromesophytic grass vegetation dominated by Festuca valesiaca, F. stojanovii, F. panciciana, F. dalmatica, Chrysopogon gryllus, Agrostis capillaris. There are more than 100 species of endemic plants. The lower banks of Chepelarska River are overgrown with Platanus orientalis and Alnus glutinosa galleries.

The butterflies of the region are investigated very well. Results were published by Markowitsch (1923), Buresch & Tuleschkow (1929, 1930). The reasons for including the region is the presence of important populations of 15 of the target species [see a list below], especially Parnassius apollo, Maculinea nausithous and Euphydryas aurinia.

Target species: Pyrgus cinarae, Zerynthia polyxena, Parnassius mnemosyne, P. apollo, Pieris ergane, Pseudophilotes vicrama, Scolitantides orion, Glaucopsyche alexis, Maculinea arion, M. nausithous, Plebejus sephirus, Erebia medusa, Limenitis populi, Euphydryas aurinia, Melitaea trivia.

Mixed deciduous forests and rocky formations in the Dobrostan area (Photo S. Beshkov, October 2004).
Mixed deciduous forests and rocky formations in the Dobrostan area

Protection & threats: There are 14 protected areas — 7 natural sites, 5 protected areas, two reserves declared as such in view of preserving the landscapes, coniferous forests, rock formations, and habitats of rare plant and animal species. The Chervenata Stena reserve was declared in 1962. In 1977 it was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. The nature of the region is affected by forestry and agricultural activities. The forests are threatened by intensive cutting, grazing, intentional fires, and afforestation with alien species. The cutting of forests along the valleys of the mountain rivers and the construction of small hydropower plants disrupts the overall water balance and the natural river bank vegetation and leads to ruderalisation and other damages. A potential threat is the development of huge tourist complexes and facilities.

Other remarks: Part of the territory of the region overlaps with a CORINE area, declared as such in 1998, because of its European importance for the preservation of rare and endangered habitats, plants and animals. In 2005 the territory was proclaimed an area of ornithological importance by BirdLife International. There have been established 149 bird species, 28 of which are included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria. The moths are poorly investigated. There are more data from the lower parts of the region (the valley of Chaya River and the slopes beyond it). The following more interesting moth species have been established in the region: Triodia amasina, Eochorica balcanica, Typhonia ciliaris, Lamellocossus terebra, Phyllodesma ilicifolia, Lemonia balcanica, Charissa intermedia, Nychiodes waltheri, Dasycorsa modesta, Menophria abruptaria, Gypsochroa renitidata, Rhegmatophila alpina, Cryphia rectilinea, Cryphia tephrocharis, Orectis proboscidata, Schrankia taenialis, Hypena palpalis, Zethes insularis, Exophila rectangularis, Odice arcuinna, Pyrrhia treitschkei, Cucullia santonici, Shargacucullia prenanthis, Calocuculia celsiae, Amphipyra micans, Hydraecia micacea, Anthracia eriopoda, Caradrina terrea, Tiliacea cypreago christiani, Apamea aquila, Hadena vulcanica urumovi, Saragossa implexa, Perigrapha rorida, Egira tibori, Egira anatolica, Egira bulgarica, Dichagyris melanura melanura, Nola confusalis, Euplagia quadripunctaria. The last species was included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive of the European Union.

Map of Dobrostan area
Map of Dobrostan area.