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[48] Yadenitsa Valley

Pazardzhik District
NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar, Euphydryas aurinia

Coordinates: 24° 0’ 23’’ E, 42° 6’ 18’’ N — Altitude: 769 m — Area: 17016 ha

Description: The region comprises the eastern slopes along the river bearing the same name and the Hill of Alabak in the southwest as far as the Yundola Saddle and the valley of the Chepinska River near the town of Velingrad. Geologically it is composed of Palaeozoic granites, Gneiss, and marble. The forests consist mainly of oak, beech, and alder. The slopes along the Chepinska River are covered by forests of Quercus polycarpa, interspersed with Carpinus orientalis, or by mixed forests of Quercus cerris and Q. frainetto. There are some Pinus nigra forests with xerothermic elements of Medditerranean character like Juniperus oxycedrus, Genista rumelica, etc. and forests consisting of Ostrya carpinifolia with some participation of Fraxinus excelsior, Quercus dalechampii, Carpinus betulus, Fagus moesiaca, Acer hyrcanum, etc. The lowest parts are occupied by forests and Carpinus orientalis bushes with Medditerranean character like Colutea arborescens, Jasminum fruticans, Juniperus oxycedrus, or Pistacia terebinthus. Some of the parts are grown with Quercus dalechampii forests, mixed with Carpinus orientalis, and a lower layer of Crataegus monogyna, Cornus mas, Corylus avellana, Syringa vulgaris and Sorbus aria. The grass vegetation of this type of forests is dominated by Festuca heterophylla, Poa nemoralis, Dactylus glomerata, Stellaria holostea, etc. There are also some forests consisting of Quercus dalechampii and Ostrya carpinifolia or (here and there) of Fraxinus excelsior, Fraxinus ornus and Carpinus orientalis. The banks of the Yadenitsa River are grown over with galleries of Alnus glutinosa, willows, and the less common Petasitis.

The butterflies of the region are studied comparatively well. A great number of results were published by Buresch & Tuleschkow (1929). The reason for including the region is the presence of important populations of 25 of the target species [see a list below], especially Parnassius apollo, Euphydryas aurinia and Melitaea aurelia.

Target species: Thymelicus acteon, Zerynthia polyxena, Parnassius mnemosyne, P. apollo, Colias caucasica, Pieris ergane, Lycaena dispar, Pseudophilotes vicrama, Scolitantides orion, Glaucopsyche alexis, Maculinea arion, Plebejus sephirus, Coenonympha rhodopensis, Erebia medusa, Apatura iris, A. ilia, A. metis, Limenitis populi, Neptis sappho, N. rivularis, Nymphalis xanthomelas, Euphydryas aurinia, Melitaea trivia, M. aurelia, Brenthis hecate.

Mixed deciduous forests with Mediterranean elements and rocky formations in the gorge of Chepinska River. Habitat of Pieris ergane, Apatura metis, Melitaea trivia (Photo S. Beshkov, 12 July 2006).
Mixed deciduous forests with Mediterranean elements and rocky formations in the gorge of Chepinska River (1)
Mixed deciduous forests with Mediterranean elements and rocky formations in the gorge of Chepinska River (2)

Protection & threats: The natural forests are threatened by the excessive exploitation of the forest resources and the ubiquitous illegal cutting. This ruins the qualities of the forest ecosystems, disrupts the natural water balance in the whole region, and brings about erosion and landslide processes. The implementation of investment projects for the construction of many small hydropower plants will increase the negative effect on the water balance. Construction activities, connected with the development of the tourist infrastructure, have already disturbed and even destroyed valuable habitats in easily accessible parts. As a management measure we suggest that the cutting Robinia pseudoacacia as heating timber should be stimulated financially.

Other remarks: The butterfly fauna of the region is comparatively well studied, whereas the moths data are scarce. But the region is very interesting and promising. It is possible to start developing tourism research and ecotourism in view of the sustainable development of the area. Some rare and conservationally important species from other groups are: Adscita drenowskii, Phyllodesma ilicifolia, Calospylos sylvata, Amphipyra micans, Pyrios cinnamomea, Chortodes fluxa, Diarsia rubi, Ocneria rubea.

Map of Yadenitsa Valley area
Map of Yadenitsa Valley area.