24° 32’ 7’’ E, 42° 6’ 5’’ N — Altitude:
195 m — Area:
The region comprises the valley of the River Vacha, south of the town of Krichim, near Chernatitsa Ridge. In the lower parts of the region the tree vegetation consists mainly of Quercus dalechampii, mixed here and there with Carpinus orientalis with such Mediterranean elements as Colutea arborescens, Jasminum fruticans, Juniperus oxycedrus, and Pistacia terebinthus. Along the river banks there are single Alnus glutinosa trees.
The butterflies of the region are investigated well enough. A great number of data was published by Buresch & Tuleschkow (1929
). The reasons for including the region is the presence of important populations of 8 of the target species [see a list below], especially Pieris ergane
and Apatura metis
— Target species: Zerynthia polyxena
, Pieris ergane
, Scolitantides orion
, Glaucopsyche alexis
, Apatura metis
, Neptis rivularis
, Nymphalis xanthomelas
, Melitaea trivia
Vacha River Valley; locality of the rare species Apatura metis
(Photo: B. Petrov, 20 April 2007).
Protection & threats:
The region is highly affected by the water exploitation and tourism. The development of the existing Vacha hydropower cascade disrupts the overall water balance and brings about strong negative consequences. The construction of Tsankov Kamak Dam also affects negatively the area with the changed water regime. As management measures we recommend the stimulation of the cutting of Robinia pseudoacacia as timber for heating and banning inert materials extraction from the riverbed.
Izgoryaloto Gyune Reserve is situated near the region. It is within the area of the town of Krichim and has an area of 30 hectares. In the beginning, the reserve was declared as such under a forest development project in 1987 for the purpose of preserving the only Juniperus excelsa locality in the Rhodopi Mountains. Since 1999 Izgoryaloto Gyune reserve has been recategorised into a supported reserve. Some moth species of conservation importance from other groups established in the region and the nearby areas are: Lamellocossus terebrea, Pachypasa otus, Saturnia pyri, Saturnia spini, Janthinea friwaldskii, Pyrois cinnamomea, Xylena lunifera, Hydraecia petasitis, Orthosia schmidti pinkeri, Eugnorisma pontica, Nycteola siculana, Euplagia quadripunctaria. The last species is included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive of the European Union.
Map of Vacha Valley area.