Natura 2000 is described as a pan-European network of protected areas aimed at ensuring the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and endangered species and habitats in accordance with national and international agreements in the field of environmental protection and biodiversity. This suggests that indeed this network should spread all across the old continent. This news article examines those in Bulgaria.
Natura 2000 has become so important that it has been an official prerequisite for future member states who wish to join the European union. For Bulgaria, the process of creating the Natura 2000 ecological network began in 2002 (5 years prior Bulgaria’s accession in the EU) with the adoption of the National Biodiversity Act (BDA), which introduces the norms of the two European directives related to NATURA 2000: The Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora and the 2009/147/EC Directive on the conservation of wild birds.
Following the BDA, Bulgaria managed to list the protected areas and have them declared in the country as part of the National Ecological Network: places on land and water, that meet the requirements for the presence of important for biodiversity plants and animal species, and types of natural habitats included in the EU directives mentioned earlier.
The Natura 2000 Protected zones in Bulgaria are estimated to be 34.8% of its territory, twice the EU average, making Bulgaria the third in EU when it comes to protected areas share. Currently, the network of protected areas includes:
- 120 protected areas for protection of wild birds, covering 23.1% of the territory of Bulgaria;
- 233 protected areas for protection of natural habitats, covering 30.3% of the territory of Bulgaria
The Natura 2000 network database for Bulgaria is publicly available online. The website allows you to filter a search by name, site code, type of protected species, habitats, place (e.g. a specific city or municipality). Here are some of the most well-known Bulgarian Natura 2000 sites we wanted to share with you.
– Atanasovsko lake – the lake is known for its habitat of protected species: out of the 400 bird species which can be seen all over Bulgaria, 316 species are found here and 14 of them are globally endangered. In addition, 83 bird species are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria, and 170 species are of European natural protection significance. The lake is located north-east of the city of Burgas and in the past it was exploited for salt extraction. The salterns had existed since 1906. What’s intriguing about the Atanasovsko Lake is that it does not freeze during the winter, which turns the lake into a center of the hibernating water birds. If you are interested in learning more about the Atansovsko lake, you may do so by reading the official NATURA 2000 data form available in English and check out the following video tour for a more interactive experience.
– Rila – the highest mountain range in Bulgaria with an area of 2629 km² where 779.27 km² are included within the Natura 2000 network. It includes 24 types of habitats. Rila National Park is the most significant territory in presence in the country of high-mountain glacial lakes and lake biota of glacial type. The total importance of natural resource and the richness of the habitats is 11% of the European ones. The habitats include 192 vertebrates species and 2934 species and sub-species invertebrate fauna, 312 out which are rare. The Rila mountains are the highest in the Balkan peninsula with its highest peak Musala reaching 2925 m. The Rila is also home to a number of tourist attractions of high interest like The 7 Rila lakes, The Rila Monastery (also part of the UNESCO heritage), the Rilska Skakavitza waterfall and many other.
source: Bulgaria Travel
To find out more about the Rila mountains, read the official NATURA 2000 data form available in English here or by reading the information available at this specialised eco-tourism web site.
– Kompleks Kaliakra -Kaliakra is one of the most well-known Bulgarian Black sea nature and archaeological reserve. It expands over 687.5 decares with wild steppes and beautiful coastal rocks. Within the territory of Kaliakra, can be found more than 400 plant species, while 310 kinds of birds live on the territory of Kaliakra and 100 of them require special measures for preservation of their habitats. 106 of these bird species are protected at European level. The marine area east of Cape Kaliakra – Tulenovo is a fish habitat including a migratory corridor to spawning grounds in the Danube River and a region for the nurturing and growth of juvenile fish and spawning stock after the breeding. The region is the richest of lime steppe habitats as well as coastal cliffs habitats and coastal cave habitats in Bulgaria. Kaliakra is also a place of historical significance (first settlements are estimated at around 4th century B.C.) and a very popular tourist destination. If you are interested in learning more about Kompleks Kaliakra, you may do so by reading the official NATURA 2000 data form available in English here or reading the following article about the area.
source: Bulgaria Travel