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[13] Kamchiya

Varna District
NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar

Coordinates: 27° 46’ 15’’ E, 43° 1’ 20’’ N — Altitude: 48 m — Area: 12519 ha

Description: The region is situated at about 25 km south of the town of Varna. It comprises the tidal coastal forests around the estuary and upper flow of the river Kamchia, vast sand dunes with beach strip, bush and grass communities. The main habitat is composed of Fraxinus oxycarpa, Quercus pedunculiflora, Ulmus minor, Acer campestre, and Alnus glutinosa. The swampy parts are grown mainly with Phragmites australis and Typha angustifolia. The bush communities are composed mainly of Paliurus spina-christi. The sand dunes are covered by psammophytic grass communities largely dominated by Leymus racemosus, Ammophilla arenaria and so on.

As far as butterflies and moths are concerned, the region has been insufficiently investigated. The main reason for the inclusion of the region is the presence of one of the strongest populations of Lycaena dispar in this country.

Target species: Lycaena dispar, Scolitantides orion.

Forest and swampy area along Kamchiya River (Photo L. Andreev).
Forest and swampy area along Kamchiya River

Protection & threats: The longose forest at the estuary of Kamchia River was declared a reserve in 1951. In 1977 UNESCO proclaimed the area a biosphere reserve. The sand dunes are included in the protected area of Kamchiiski Pyasatsi. The main threats are connected with the strongly disrupted water regime of the tidal forest and the international highway passing through it, which is a source of huge pollution of the surrounding areas. By using the lack of some archive documents or incorrect orders (according to the modern territory description criteria), claims were submitted to court demanding the cancellation of the order protecting the status of Kamchiiski Pyasatsi. Referring to an ambiguity concerning less than 1% of the total area of the protected territory, a five-member jury of the High Attestation Committee declared the order invalid. Thus, as a result of the claim of one investor who had illegitimately acquired ownership on part of the beach strip in a protected area, the protection of Kamchiiski Pyasatsi was nullified. The nullification of the conservation status of the territory will result in a real threat, connected with the deforestation and construction of hotel complexes along the beach strip accompanied by the corresponding infrastructure. The cutting of parts of the forests in the region is already a fact.

Other remarks: The territory was declared an area of ornithological importance by BirdLife International. There have been established 237 bird species, 53 of which are included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria. The area is situated along the Via Pontica migration route and is also a CORINE area because of its European importance for the preservation of rare and endangered habitats.

Map of Kamchiya area
Map of Kamchiya area.