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[19] Ludogorie

Razgrad, Ruse, Silistra District
NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar, Euphydryas maturna

Coordinates: 26° 47’ 32’’ E, 43° 49’ 49’’ N — Altitude: 205 m — Area: 69504 ha

Description: The region comprises the geographic area of Ludogorie in Northeast Bulgaria. The relief is plain and hilly with characteristic forms (gorge-like dry valleys and karst fields). Half of the whole area is occupied by deciduous forests, and the other half — by arable lands and pastures. The forests are mainly mixed, composed of Tilia tomentosa and Carpinus betulus or Quercus cerris, with some participation of Q. dalechampii and Acer campestre. The forests of sprout origin are prevailing. The grass communities are xerothermic and consist mainly of Dichantium ischaemum, Poa bulbosa, Chrysopogon gryllus, and ephemerals. The region is largely rural, poorly populated and without any big industrial plants.

The butterflies of the region are investigated very well. The first regional investigations were done by Markowitsch (1904, 1909). The reasons for including the region is the presence of important populations of 10 of the target species [see a list below], especially Lycaena dispar, Euphydryas maturna and Melitaea aurelia.

Target species: Parnassius mnemosyne, Lycaena dispar, Pseudophilotes vicrama, Glaucopsyche alexis, Maculinea alcon, M. arion, Lopinga achine, Euphydryas maturna, Melitaea aurelia, Brenthis hecate.

Dry valley near Kamenovo, Ludogorie (Photo S. Beshkov, 2006).
Dry valley near Kamenovo, Ludogorie

Grass communities in the vicinity of oak (Quercus cerris) forests near Medovene Village, Ludogorie. Habitat of Coenonympha glycerion, Euphydryas maturna and Melitaea athalia (Photo S. Beshkov, June 2006).
Grass communities in the vicinity of oak (Quercus cerris) forests near Medovene Village, Ludogorie

Protection & threats: There are several protected areas in the region declared as such in view of preserving the characteristic landscape. The habitats are affected by human activities. The quality of the forest habitats is destroyed or ruined by the exploitation of the forests (including deforestation) and the forest fires. The dry pastures are highly affected by the fires — both natural and man-caused. As preservation measures and in order to avoid fires we recommend a very strict control on the prohibition of stubble burning. We suggest avoiding the usage of pesticides and artificial fertilisers whenever possible, as well as putting an end to the cutting of forests and afforestation with alien species. As future management measures we recommend stimulating the cutting of Robinia pseudoacacia as timber for heating and using alternative renewable energy sources.

Other remarks: In 2005 Ludogorie was declared an area of ornithological importance by BirdLife International. There have been established 115 nesting bird species, 22 of which are included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria. Part of the region is a CORINE area proclaimed as such in 1998 because of its European importance for the preservation of rare and endangered habitats, plants and animals. The moths of the region are not investigated enough. The following more interesting moth species have been established from here: Hemaris croatica, Dolbina elegans, Cilix asiatica, Cryphia amasina, Schrankia taenialis, Autophila asiatica (the only known locality in Bulgaria), Euchalcia modestoides, Lamprotes c-aureum, Epimecia ustula, Athetis furvula, Enterpia laudeti, Euplagia quadripunctaria. The last species was included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive of the European Union.

Map of Ludogorie area
Map of Ludogorie area.