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[37] Slavyanka

Blagoevgrad District
NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar

Coordinates: 23° 40’ 32’’ E, 41° 25’ 45’’ N — Altitude: 1321 m — Area: 14718 ha

Description: Slavaynka is situated in Southwest Bulgaria. The boundaries of this region follow the orographic borders of the mountain bearing the same name (known also under the name of Alibotush), as well as part of South Pirin to the north of Goleshevska River. In the south the region borders on the boundary of Bulgaria and Greece. The mountain is composed of Proterozoic metamorphosised limestone and marble formations which is the reason for the predominantly karst character of the terrain. This peculiarity of the geological composition, together with the complete lack of any waters and the geographic situation and climate have created conditions for the development of montane nature of the Medditerranean type. The foot is covered by xerothermic oak, consisting mainly of secondary forests and bushes of Carpinus orientalis. Further up are the forests of Fagus moesiaca and Carpinus orientalis, Ostrya carpinifolia, as well as large forests of Pinus nigra. There are also communities of Abies borisii-regis. They are followed by Fagus moesiaca forests. The coniferous belt of the mountain consists of old Pinus heldreichii forests, typical of the limestone mountains in the south and west parts of the Balkan Peninsula. The uppermost part of the mountain is covered mainly by subalpine bush and grass communities.

As far as butterflies are concerned, the region has been investigated well enough. The first study belongs to Tuleschkow (1929, 1931) and Drenowski (1930d, 1931, 1933). The reasons for the inclusion of the region are: The presence of important populations of 19 of the target species [see a list below], especially Agriades dardanus, Polyommatus nephohiptamenos and Pseudochazara orestes

Target species: Pyrgus cinarae, Parnassius mnemosyne, P. apollo, Pieris ergane, Pseudophilotes vicrama, Scolitantides orion, Glaucopsyche alexis, Maculinea alcon, M. arion, Agriades dardanus, Polyommatus eroides, Polyommatus aroaniensis, Polyommatus nephohiptamenos, Coenonympha rhodopensis, Erebia medusa, E. melas, Hipparchia senthes, Pseudochazara orestes, Melitaea trivia.

Meadows and coniferous forests in Livada Place, Slavyanka. Typical habitat of Coenonympha rhodopensis, Erebia medusa (Photo S. Beshkov, 11 July 2006).
Meadows and coniferous forests in Livada Place, Slavyanka

Flowery meadows in the vicinity of coniferous forests in Slavyanka. Habitat of Plebeius (Aricia) eumedon, Erebia medusa (Photo S. Beshkov, 11 July 2006).
Flowery meadows in the vicinity of coniferous forests in Slavyanka

Rocky terrain on the southern slope of Gradishte Hill, South Pirin. Habitat of Euchloe penia and Pseudochazara orestes (Photo S. Abadjiev, 11 July 2006).
Rocky terrain on the southern slope of Gradishte Hill, South Pirin

Protection & threats: The region includes the Alibotush Reserve, declared for the conservation of forest ecosystems in 1951 and a biosphere reserve in 1977 by UNESCO. The habitats are threatened by human activities connected with forestry, agriculture, and water usage. No human activities are permitted in the reserve, but the control is insufficient. A potential threat is the construction of wind power parks. Tourism has also started to develop, which can also leads to negative consequences for the region. A stern threat is the illegal picking of large quantities of Sideridis scardica accompanied by increased human presence and huge amounts of garbage. The tea is rooted out and no efforts are taken to plant it again in the same place.

Other remarks: Part of the region is a CORINE area due to its European importance for the preservation of rare and endangered habitats, plants and animals. In 2005 this territory was declared an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. There have been found 134 birds species, 21 of which were included in Red Data Book of Bulgaria. The butterfly fauna has a prominent xeromontane character. A number of rare species of conservation importance have been found, such as Spialia phlomidis, Euchloe penia, Rethera komarovi drilon, Charissa certhiatus, Nebula nebulata pirinica, Comibaena neriaria, Hypena munitalis, Raparna conicephala, Odice arcuinna, Eublemma rosea, Cucullia formosa, Cucullia lucifuga, Teinoptera lunaki, Amephana dalmatica, Amphipyra tetra, Pyrrhia victorina, Caradrina suscianja, Agrochola wolfschlaegeri, Gortyna cervago, Hadena adriana, Hadena vulcanica urumovi, Hadena wehrlii frequens, Hadena caesia xanthophoba, Hadena drenowskii, Polia serratilinea kowatschevi, Mythimna andereggii pseudocomma, Chersotis anatolica, Standfussiana dalmata, Xestia speciosa, Euxoa conspicua, Euxoa decora, Euxoa vitta hercegovinensis, Euxoa montivaga, etc., some of which are Balkan and local endemics. The species Euplagia quadripunctaria is listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive 92/43 of the European Union.

Map of Slavyanka area
Map of Slavyanka area.