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[18] Lozenska Planina

Sofia District
NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar, Polyommatus eroides

Coordinates: 23° 30’ 45’’ E, 42° 34’ 2’’ N — Altitude: 790 m — Area: 7852 ha

Description: The region comprises part of the mountain bearing the same name and part of the Ihtimanska Stredna Gora Mountains. To the west it borders the Mount Plana and to the north — the Sofia Field. The slopes are steep, woody, and dank. In the past it was covered by century-old oak and beech forests, a small part of which is still preserved along the northern slopes. The lowest belt is grown with Quercus cerris, Q. pubescens, Q. dalechampii, Q. frainetto, Carpinus betulus, and Carpinus orientalis. The sunlit southern slopes are covered by mixed forests of Carpinus orientalis and Fraxinus ornus. Separate areas are covered by Fagus moesiaca and Tilia tomentosa forests. The mixed forests are interspersed with wild cherry trees. The valley of the Iskar River is mainly grown over with Alnus glutinosa, willows, and poplars. The bush vegetation consists of Corylus avellana, Cornus mas, Crataegus monogyna, etc. The open areas in the forests are occupied by mountainous meadows. The southern stone slopes are covered by xerothermic grass communities dominated by Dichantieta ischaemi, Poeta bulbosae, Crysopogoneta grylli, ephemerals, and Juniperus oxycedrus. Small lakes and swampy areas are found in some parts of the mountain.

The butterflies of the region are investigated very well. Regional investigation results from the Pancharevo Gorge were published by Abadjiev (1999). The reasons for including the region is the presence of important populations of 23 of the target species [see a list below], especially Carterocephalus palaemon, Lycaena dispar, Apatura iris, A. ilia, Limenitis populi, Neptis rivularis and Melitaea aurelia.

Target species: Thymelicus acteon, Carterocephalus palaemon, Zerynthia polyxena, Parnassius mnemosyne, P. apollo, Lycaena dispar, Pseudophilotes vicrama, Scolitantides orion, Glaucopsyche alexis, Maculinea alcon, M. arion, Plebejus sephirus, Polyommatus eroides, Erebia medusa, Apatura iris, A. ilia, Limenitis populi, Neptis sappho, N. rivularis, Nymphalis xanthomelas, Melitaea trivia, M. aurelia, Brenthis hecate.

Wet grassland in the vicinity of mixed deciduous forests in Lozenska Planina. Habitat of Carterocephalus palaemon, Parnassius mnemosyne, Glaucopsyche alexis, Erebia medusa, Melitaea trivia, M. aurelia, Brenthis hecate (Photo S. Beshkov, 12 May 2007).
Wet grassland in the vicinity of mixed deciduous forests in Lozenska Planina

Flowery meadows and rocky formations near Dolni Pasarel Village, Iskar Valley. Habitat of Plebejus sephirus (Photo S. Beshkov, 12 May 2007).
Flowery meadows and rocky formations near Dolni Pasarel Village, Iskar Valley

Protection & threats: The nature of the region is highly influenced by the human activities, connected with urbanisation and the development of infrastructure, tourism, forestry, as well as by the exploitation of the meadows and pastures. The growing of the capital city leads to intensive construction of new buildings in the region. Several years ago, in some parts of the Pancharevo Gorge the natural Alnus glutinosa forests along the river banks were cut off while others were replaced by hybrid poplars. The human and automobile flow at the weekends and during the hot summer months is extremely great and makes the region look like a city park.

Other remarks: Some years ago the Pancharevo Gorge was proposed to be included in the Iskar Hydropark, but the proposal was not processed further. It remains one of the most investigated butterfly areas, but the moths are not sufficiently investigated both in this part and in the whole region. The following more interesting moth species have been established there: Perisomena caecigena, Schistostege decussata, Moma alpium, Panemeria tenebromorpha, Dasypolia templi vechimontium, Pseudoxestia apfelbecki, Hadena vulcanica urumovi, Nola confusalis, Euplagia quadripunctaria. The last species was included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive of the European Union. The species Perisomena caecigena was included in Annex II of the Biodiversity Law (2002).

Map of Lozenska Planina area
Map of Lozenska Planina area.