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[26] Ostrovche

Razgrad District
NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar, Polyommatus eroides, Euphydryas maturna

Coordinates: 26° 27’ 31’’ E, 43° 26’ 9’’ N — Altitude: 342 m — Area: 20423 ha

Description: The region comprises part of the Razgrad Heights southwest of the town of Razgrad, forming a curve between the valleys of the rivers Cherni Lom and Beli Lom. It is composed mainly of lower cretaceous sand layers. Here and there the slopes are cut by hollows. The greater part of the region is covered by highly changed anthropogenic vegetation. It has a strongly expressed continental climate. The forest consist mainly of Quercus dalechampii, mixed with hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). This type of forests are often grown with Crataegus monogyna and Cornus mas bushes and grass consisting of Poa nemoralis, Dactylus glomerata, Festuca heterophylla, etc. There are also purely hornbeam forests consisting of Carpinus betulus and Carpinus orientalis, as well as forests consisting of common Carpinus betulus and Acer campestre. In the hornbeam (Carpinus orientalis) forests the grass cover is mainly grown with spring bulb plants (Corydalis, Scilla bifolia, etc.). Some places are covered by purely oak forests consisting of Quercus dalechampii, Q. cerris, and Q. frainetto. In some parts of the region the lime (Tilia tomentosa) is an edificator while in others it forms monodominant phytocenoses made up of Carpinus betulus, Acer campestre, Quercus cerris or Quercus dalechampii.

The region has been investigated comparatively well. The first regional investigations were done by Markowitsch (1904, 1909). The main reason for including the area is the presence of important populations of 13 of the target species [see a list below], especially Euphydryas maturna and Melitaea aurelia. It is interesting that the species Lopinga achine was reported from this region by Abadjiev (2001) (and has not been reported from there ever after).

Target species: Zerynthia polyxena, Parnassius mnemosyne, Lycaena dispar, Pseudophilotes vicrama, Glaucopsyche alexis, Polyommatus eroides, Lopinga achine, Apatura metis, Neptis sappho, Nymphalis xanthomelas, Euphydryas maturna, Melitaea trivia, M. aurelia.

Meadows in the vicinity of deciduous forest in Ostrovche area (Photo S. Beshkov, 8 May 2007).
Meadows in the vicinity of deciduous forest in Ostrovche area

Protection & threats: The main threats, connected with the intensive development of agriculture in the region are no longer valid. The forests are not of any serious economic value, but the forest fires caused by burning stubbles could be a real threat. Another prerequisite for setting fires is the presence of areas of artificially planted black pine. As possible future management measures we recommend stopping the using for afforestation of such alien species as Pinus nigra, Robinia pseudoacacia and the hybrid poplar. The places planted with such species should be recultivated and brought back to their natural state.

Other remarks: The region is scarcely populated or even uninhabited and many of the once cultivated lands are abandoned. Because of the unpolluted nature though, the region holds promise for restoring the traditional means of livelihood of the local people — agriculture, cattle breeding, and organic production, as well as village and eco tourism development. Some of the more interesting and rare moth species are: Polypogon tentacularia, Lamprotes c-aureum, Cucullia lactucae, Epimecia ustula, Oria musculosa, Spaelotis ravida, Euplagia quadripunctaria, the last of which was listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive 92/43 of the European Union.

Map of Ostrovche area
Map of Ostrovche area.