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[25] Osogovo

Kyustendil District
NATURA 2000: Polyommatus eroides

Coordinates: 22° 36’ 23’’ E, 42° 10’ 23’’ N — Altitude: 1504 m — Area: 24184 ha

Description: The region is situated in Southwest Bulgaria, south of the town of Kyustendil and near the border with the Republic of Macedonia. It comprises the greater part of the mountain bearing the same name, which lies within the Bulgarian borders. To the northwest and north, the border passes along the slopes of the mountain above highway E871 and the town. The mountain consists of two high and flat ridges situated northwest-southeast and southwest-northeast. In some parts of the ridges and the hollows there are bare jutting cliffs, small rock formations, and eroded marshy places. The largest area is occupied by beech forests or beech (Fagus sylvatica) forests mixed with Pinus sylvestris. The lower parts, comprising a smaller area, are occupied by oak (Quercus dalechampii) forests. The high montane pseudoalpine belt is grown with Juniperus communis nana and Chamaecytisus absinthioides, mainly in communities with derivative bush-like (Vaccinieta myrtilli, Vaccinieta vitisidaeae) and grass formations. The derivative grass vegetation is made up of grass formations consisting of Nardeta strictae, Festuceta validate, Festuceta validae, Bellardiochloeta violaceae, Agrostidta capillaris and Bruckenthalieta spiculifoliae.

The butterflies of the region have been sufficiently investigated. The first regional investigation was done by Drenowski (1930c). The main reason for including the area is the presence of important populations of 13 of the target species [see a list below], especially Colias caucasica, Polyommatus eroides and Erebia pronoe.

Target species: Zerynthia polyxena, Parnassius mnemosyne, P. apollo, Colias caucasica, Scolitantides orion, Glaucopsyche alexis, Maculinea alcon, Polyommatus eroides, Coenonympha rhodopensis, Erebia medusa, E. pronoe, E. oeme, Neptis sappho.

Meadows in the vicinity of Fagus sylvatica forests in Studen Kladenets Place, Osogovo, 1300 m. Habitat of Parnassius mnemosyne, Lycaena candens (Photo S. Abadjiev, 9 July 2006).
Meadows in the vicinity of Fagus sylvatica forests in Studen Kladenets Place, Osogovo, 1300 m

Bush communities with predominance of Juniperus and Chamaecytisus absinthioides on the slopes of Begbunar, Osogovo, 1800 m. Habitat of Colias caucasica, Polyommatus eroides (Photo S. Beshkov, 9 July 2006).
Bush communities with predominance of Juniperus and Chamaecytisus absinthioides on the slopes of Begbunar, Osogovo, 1800 m

Damp meadows in Osogovo, 1800 m. Habitat of Coenonympha rhodopensis, Erebia medusa (Photo S. Beshkov, 9 July 2006).
Damp meadows in Osogovo, 1800 m

Protection & threats: The territory has only one protected area — the Tsarnata Reka Reserve, declared as such as part of the measures for the protection of characteristic forest ecosystems. The localities in the mountain are liable to be influenced by human activities, connected with forestry, agriculture, water usage, and the inconsistent usage of the natural resources. Only the pastures near the settlements are used. The distant pasture are not used efficiently because of the reduced number of agricultural animals (unlike their usage in the past) and the continuing process of abandonment. This has led to land abandonment, bush and forest succession, and deterioration of important butterfly localities. Another threat are the investment plans, which have already passed the Environment Impact Evaluation procedure for the construction of hydropower plants including water catchment and bed drying of the River Eleshnitsa.

Other remarks: Because of its European importance for the preservation of rare and endangered habitats, plants and animals, Osogovo was declared a CORINE area in 1998. In 2005 this territory was declared an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. There have been found 111 birds species, 11 of which were included in Red Data Book of Bulgaria. The following species of conservation importance from the moth fauna have been established: Syngrapha rilaecacuminum, Autographa bractea, Shargacucullia prenanthis, Paradrina wullschlegeli schwingenschussi, Apamea maillardi, Apamea zeta, Apamea rubrirena, Hadena caesia bulgarica, Mythimna andereggii pseudocomma, Divaena haywardi, Spaelotis senna contorta, Chersotis cuprea, Epipsilia grisescens, Euxoa vitta hercegovinensis, Nycteola siculana, Euplagia quadripunctaria, the last of which was listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive of the European Union.

Map of Osogovo area
Map of Osogovo area.