Motivation of the proposal and conservation significance of the area:

The current situation is that the ministery of environment and waters has evaluated the Proposal for the Protected territory as meaningful. However, the processe is being stopped at the moment due to opposition of the forestry company.

Location and boundaries

The Shipka Mountain covers the lowest parts of the Middle Balkan Mountains. Its boundaries are separated by:

  • Western border – the valley of the Leshnitsa River, that passes along the Yassen Pass (New Krakan) and the valley of the River Levice (north)
  • Eastern border – the valley of the Eninska River, the Kameshtitsa River, the saddle west of Atovo Padalo peak and Sapatatz (the initial inflow of Yantra)
  • Northern border – the Panicharka River, the Smirnenski Dam and the Yantra river bend, south of the town of Gabrovo.
  • The southern border is the periphery of the Kazanlak valley.

The highest peak is Ispolin – 1524 m above sea level, the other higher peaks are Shipka (St. Nikola) 1328m, Buzludzha 1441m and Atovo with 1496m. Main roads: Shipchenski Pass, the road to Buzludzha peak,  which connects Shipka and Buzludja through an 2.1km long road. The deciduous forests are predominantly composed of beech, hornbeam and bush, Coniferous forests are white and black, pine and spruce. The flora and fauna are characteristic of the temperate, deciduous forest area.

The proposed protected area covers the central part of the southern slopes of the mountain as is limited: from the west valley of the Selska River to the east of the Stara Reka; from the south – regulated land – town of Shipka; from the north ridge road Shipka-Buzludja and boundaries of subdivisions.

Protected Natural Objects

The following Protected Areas and Zones are located near the proposed protected area:

  • Bulgarka Nature Park is separated from the proposed protected territory only by the road to Buzludzha Peak.

The protected territory is located respective to other natural reserves as follows:

  • Kemetitsa 1km ;
  • Protected territory Bears 3.2km;
  • Protected territory Gorge 5.2km;
  • Protected territory Leshnitsa 7.6 km;
  • Central Balkan National Park 12 km;
  • Protected zone (NATURA 2000) Bulgarka BG0000399 at 1.1km;
  • Protected zone Central Balkan 12km;
  • Protected zone Koprinka 6 km;

The protected territory borders with the protected zone Central Balkan Buffer BG0000493.

Common nature characteristics and species of conservation significance

The proposed site includes deciduous forests and coniferous forests created at the beginning of the last century. A small part of the area covered by the proposed protected territory falls on forest open areas in GF – meadows and pastures, silicate slopes, caves, sheer rock masses, of which some are up to 15 m high.

The total area of ​​the site is 659.14 ha, of which 386 ha are natural deciduous forests; 227 ha of forest crops; 19.2 ha open habitats – pastures and meadows; 21.7 ha of silicate rocks and slopes typical for the region and 4.5 ha of roads, temporary warehouses and other areas of the country.

Species of reptiles and amphibians found in the last year are: Salamandra salamandra, Bufo bufo, Hya arborea, Vipera ammodytes, Elaphe longissima, Anguis fragilis ).

There are species included in the Habitats Directive 92/43 EEC and the Birds Directive 79/409 / EEC – Large water frog (Rana ridibunda, Lacerta agilis), Podarcis muralis (Euche longissima), Nyctalus leisleri, Canis lupus, Felis silvestris, Ciconia nigra, Columba palumbus, Drycopus martius, Dendrocopos syriacus), Lullula arborea and others.

In the area there are potential habitats for plant species included in the CITES list as Galanthus nivalis species of the genus Cyclamen, Anemone, Orchis.

It is also the percentage of participation of species of the Berne Convention in the area – Hya arborea, Great water frog (Rana ridibunda), Anguis fragilis, Ciconia nigra, Dryocopus martius, (Talpa europaea), Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), Weasel (Mustela nivalis) and others.

In the last year in the region there were furthermore observed: Ural wolf, wild cat, small eagle, big hawk, small hawk, rock eagle, white-eyed buzzard and others.

Natural habitats and conservation significance

The proposed Protected Site Gradishka mogila preserves natural and secondary natural habitats under Directive 92/43 / EEC and habitats of species included in the Red Book of Bulgaria. With its central location between the surrounding protected areas and territories, it will contribute to the establishment of ecological corridors, in the direction C-YU and I-, H, connecting micropopulations from neighboring natural sites. Ecological corridors are a very important mechanism for the conservation of the living populations of species with specialized complex requirements for habitats, for species with limited habitats, and for those carrying out frequent seasonal and periodic migrations or requiring larger living spaces and individual territories. Such species in the area are large predatory and grazing, daytime and night-stray, woodpeckers and other holub-birds, as well as animals requiring a specific forest structure. By improving the natural connection of protected areas in the region of Shipka Mountain, the natural resilience of the ecosystems and the vitality of the populations of the species will increase.

The need for additional nature conservation measures through the declaration of a protected area in the area is dictated by the intensification of the forestry activities in the area and the introduction of new forest roads. Increased intensity of felling contributes to long-lasting anxiety, habitat disturbance and even disappearance of habitats for a number of species including bears, day-old birds of prey, black storks, species adapted to old forests (woodpeckers, half-breasted flyfish, other hollows) and deadwood .

 

Table 1. Natural habitats

Habitats code Type of habitat under Directive 92/43 / EEC Dissemination %

participation in the total area of the Protected Site

Mountain hay meadows In the lower part <2%
9130 Beech forests of the Asperulo-Fagetum type The vast majority of beech forests in the Protected Landscape Area 33%
9110 Luzulo-Fagetum beech forests Small spots around the ridge <1%
9170 Oak-hornbeam forests of the Galio-Carpinetum type Single spots <1%
9180 * Mixed Tilio-Acerion forests on slopes and steep slopes in the valleys unknown
8110 Silicate slopes from the mountain to the snow belt Separate elements  

A total of about 3%

8230 Silicate rocks with pioneer vegetation from the Sedo-Scleranthion or Sedo albi-Veronicion dillenii About the two tips
  TOTAL   About 38%

 

Tourism

The protected area will be managed in order to preserve the landscape components, preserve, maintain or restore habitats in accordance with the ecological requirements of the species and communities subject to protection. The protected territory will provide opportunities for scientific research, education and environmental monitoring as well as the development of cognitive tourism. With its proximity to national sites such as the Shipka and Buzludja monuments, the Central Balkan National Park and the Bulgarka Nature Park, Etara, the Thracian Tombs in the area, the tourism development in the proposed Protected Site will provide additional opportunities for the visitors, realizing a natural connection between the sites. Thus, the proposal will contribute to both the conservation of nature and the enhancement of ecological culture and the development of tourism; the cultural and spiritual enrichment of visitors.

 

Additional information on biodiversity

When announcing the Protected Site, the Shipka Initiative Committee will collect additional information on the species and communities, their conservation significance and nature conservation status. Literature data from the EEA will be used according to national monitoring systems, the NATURA 2000 program (mapping project 2011-2013); data from Institutes at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, EAG and NGOs.