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[38] Sredna Gora

Pazardzhik, Plovdiv District
NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar, Polyommatus eroides

Coordinates: 24° 27’ 43’’ E, 42° 35’ 40’’ N — Altitude: 1135 m — Area: 28155 ha

Description: The Sredna Gora region comprises the highest part of the mountain range bearing the same name between the Fore-Balkan plains and the Upper Thrace Lowland, west of the Stryama River. In geological terms it consists of Proterozoic and Palaeozoic metamorphous rocks and granitoids. The higher parts are dominated by beech forests, which in some places are mixed with hornbeams and other wood species. The lower parts (mainly to the north) are largely covered by Carpinus orientalis or mixed forests consisting of Carpinus orientalis and Quercus polycarpa. Areas that had been covered in the past by forests which were later destroyed, are now grown over by secondary bush and grass formations. Large parts are occupied by vast meadows parts of which have been turned into potato plantations.

The butterflies of the region have been investigated comparatively well. The first data are listed in Iltschew’s regional study (1913). Additional information can be found in Dirimanow & Schikrenow’s paper (1962). The reason for including the area is the presence of important populations of 13 of the target species [see a list below], especially the finding of the species Erebia alberganus, which has been found only in the Balkan range up to now for Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula.

Target species: Thymelicus acteon, Parnassius mnemosyne, Lycaena dispar, Maculinea alcon, Polyommatus eroides, Erebia medusa, E. alberganus, Apatura iris, A. metis, Limenitis populi, Neptis rivularis, Melitaea trivia, Brenthis hecate.

A views of the Sredna Gora area (Photo: S. Beshkov, July 2006).
A view of the Sredna Gora area (1)
A view of the Sredna Gora area (2)

Protection & threats: The region comprises the only reserve in the mountain — the Bogdan Reserve, which was created in 1972 for the purpose of the conservation of beech forests. The main threat for the localities is connected with the development of the production of colour and rare metals. Another threat is deforestation and wooden coal production. As conservation measures we recommend banning the development of new open mines and the usage of pesticides against the Colorado bug in potato plantations. As management measures we recommend determining parts of mountain meadows where mowing is forbidden.

Other remarks: Some rare and interesting species from the other groups are: Lycaena candens, Pyrois effusa, Hadula odontites, Orthosia opima, Spaelotis ravida, Euxoa hastifera. In close proximity, but outside the boundaries of the region are the localities of the rare moth species Lycia graecaria, Moma alpium, Asteroscopus syriaca decipulae, Perigrapha rorida, Orthosia schmidti. The species Euplagia quadripunctaria (Poda, 1761) is listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive 92/43 of the European Union. The beetle Morimus funereus, which is also listed in the same Annex, is very common in and around the beech forests. Of cultural and historical interest is the Thrace tomb which was discovered in 2000 near Starosel Village, as well as the museum town of Koprivshtitsa.

Map of Sredna Gora area
Map of Sredna Gora area.