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Chornohora Wilderness Candidate

Chornohora Wilderness Candidate

Chornohora Wilderness Candidate

September 282021

Chornohora Wilderness

The 1 130 ha Chornohora Wilderness Candidate is embedded into the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. The Reserve is in the Ukrainian part of Carpathian Mountain. The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve already hosts the certified Uholka – Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness, Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest and Maramarosh Wilderness. The Reserve further includes additional, large area with Wilderness potential: Svydovec

Chornohora Wilderness represents an outstanding example of undisturbed old-growth mixed forest (beech, fir and spruce), tree line with mugo pine and rare fragments of subalpine and alpine habitats (composition of mugo pine, juniper, alder and rhododendron). Sub-alpine meadows used to be intensively grazed in the past but currently, grazing is very limited and the area has many signs of natural succession.  There are also several wild streams, such as the Ozirnyi, Bilyi, Skopeshchyk and Keveliv Streams.

The area contains a large genetic reservoir on which many species depend and can be associated with this wide spectrum of habitats. Parts of Chornohora Wilderness are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 1 130 ha Chornohora Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in spring 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness

Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a large potential to expand Chornohora Wilderness to the size of approx. 15 000 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
  • Wilderness: Chornohora Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Size of the protected area: 57 880 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 1 130 ha (with a potential for enlargement to 16 992 ha)
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit: 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Large area of old-growth beech and mixed forest with wild rivers and rare fragments of subalpine and alpine habitats, favourable habitat for wolf, bear and many other rare species
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 20 000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 2 000

Biodiversity

The Chornohora Wilderness is a large area with old-growth beech and mixed beech-spruce-fir forests. It is an area of great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity which depends on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. It contains representatives of flora and fauna typical for old-growth Carpathian beech and mixed forests, tree line and subalpine meadows. Tree line and subalpine meadows were used in the past for intensive grazing. The striking and impressive features of this area are the big trees; broken tree stems covered with a variety of fungi and fragments of wild undamaged tree line. The area has a permanent small population of brown bears, wolves and lynxes. Typical bird dwellers in the area are the black stork and eagle-owl.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Chornohora Wilderness can be accessed using several marked trails. The most popular trail goes along the northern border following the ridge between Carpathian Biosphere Reserve and Carpathian National Nature Park. This trail is intensively used as it leads to the highest point of the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine – Hoverla (2 061 m) and gives the possibility to continue to Petros (2 020 m).

Chornohora Wilderness is located approx. 210 km from Uzhhorod and approx. 90 km from Ivano Frankivsk. The starting point for hikers is usually Rachiv town or Kvasy village. The marked trails provide a unique experience in Chornohora Wilderness leading through primeval beech and mixed forest, tree line and pass through traditionally used alpine meadows (poloniny).

Contact details

  • Chornohora Wilderness – Candidate
  • Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
  • Address street: Krasne Pleso Street, 77,
  • Postal code city: 90600, Rakhiv, Ukraine
  • Phone: +380 3132 22193
  • Website: www.cbr.nature.org.ua/main.htm

 

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Bonarivske wetland Wilderness

Bonarivske wetland Wilderness

Bondarivske wetland Wilderness Candidate

February 22021

Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness – Candidate

The 1 300 ha Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness Candidate is embedded into the Mizhrichynskyy Regional Landscape Park, Ukraine.  The park is situated between the Dnieper and Desna rivers.

Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness is a massive wetland of the great hydrological, geomorphological and landscape importance. The unique landscapes also includes taiga-type moss swamps and floodplains. This area hosts a number of rare animal and plant species.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 1 300 ha Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness was the subject to the Wilderness Pre-Audit in June 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2021.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Mizhrichynskyy Regional Landscape Park
  • Wilderness: Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness Candidate
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Size of the protected area: 78 753,95 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 1 300 ha (two parcels of 500 ha and 800 ha)
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit: 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Large wetland between Dnieper and Desna rivers. The area includes several lakes and fragments of natural forests, favourable habitat for wolf, lynx, elk, beaver, grey crane and black grouse
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: 20 000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: To be verified

Biodiversity

Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness has a scattered islands of pine forests, glacial sand dunes and impassable marshes located between the Dnieper and Desna rivers. It contains representatives of flora and fauna typical for undisturbed wetlands. It is home to two packs of wolves, lynx, eagles, and populations of approximately 130 , 30 black grouse six pairs of grey cranes and ten beavers.

The area is adjacent to the Chernobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve and provides an important habitat for migrating species. In 1950, people were removed from this area, for military purposes. The Ministry of Defence controls access to the area for military operations. There has been no public fishing or hunting since the 1980’s. Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness is split by a concrete road that is used rarely by local forest and park managers and militaries.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Mizhrichynskyy Regional Landscape Park is well known and frequently visited tourism destination. Proximity to Kiev makes this one of Ukraine’s most popular Regional Landscape Park. The park offers a wide spectrum of experiences. Access to the Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness is restricted by the Ministry of Defence, but guided tours to the vicinity of Bondarivske Wetland are offered by a local organisation.

Contact details

  • Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness – Candidate
  • Mizhrichynskyy Regional Landscape Park
  • Address: Otrochi village, Kozeletsky district
  • Postal code city: Chernihiv region, Ukraine
  • Phone: + 380 67 327 06 26
  • Website: http://dniprodesna.org.ua
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Milka WILDIsland Candidate

Milka WILDIsland – Candidate is embedded in Persina Nature Park. The Strict Nature Reserve Milka Island was established in 1948 at the total area of 39 ha and used to be a solitary reserve in the middle of Danube for many years. Together with the nearby Kitka Island, strictly protected since 1981, both islands are located within the boundaries of Persina Nature Park.

Persina Nature Park is the only Bulgarian nature park situated along the Bulgarian part of Danube river. The designation of this protected area aims at the conservation and restoration of Danube wetlands and islands. Milka and Kitka Islands are two strictly protected islands that are valuable for their unique floodplain forests under strict protection for several decades.

European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System

Milka WILDIsland was subject to Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard.  After the finalisation of the Quick-Audit for Milka WILDIsland, there is further potential to carry out the Quick-Audit of Kitka Island as well. In this case both islands could become important members of the European Wilderness Network.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Persina Nature Park
  • Wilderness: Milka WILDIsland – Candidate
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area: 21 762 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 39 ha (with potential for enlargement – Kitka Islands, 28 ha)
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit: 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: It is a small but extremely unique island of great international importance. Its value lies in its characteristic vegetation of rare, unmanaged broadleaf forest and the habitat of the white-tailed eagle, and many other birds, such as terns, herons and cormorants.
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: To be verified
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: To be verified

Biodiversity

Milka WILDIsland is located in the Danube River and is accessible only by boat. The island is entirely covered by natural riverine forest, consisting mainly of willow, poplar and elm. Forest formation is directly related to the river’s water regime. The high-water level heavily impacts particularly the spring vegetation. The riparian vegetation also consists of wild vine, hops and rare liana species. The island provides a good habitat for rare plant species, such as the yellow water rose and swamp ragweed.

Milka WILDIsland is an important bird breeding area for a number of aquatic bird species, such as cormorants and black-necked grebe. Moreover, it is a rare but characteristic habitat of the white-tailed eagle. There is also a rich diversity of mammals including black ferrets and river otters. Many amphibians and reptiles also inhabit the area, like the Balkan spadefoot and the water snake.

Tourism

The Milka WILDIsland is not accessible to visitors, however, a number of islands in the vicinity, such as Persin Island, Shturetsa Island or Magaretsa Island provide a very unique experience. Persina Nature Park contains many bike and foot trails outside the Wilderness that enable visitors to discover the Danube river, forest and wetland ecosystems. There are designated routes for birdwatchers, hikers and bikers. A scenic route between the islands on boat or canoe provide the perfect combination of rowing and observing floodplain forests with characteristic birds. A special rare experience is observation of the white-tailed eagle – the symbol of the Persina Nature Park, which has a nesting place in this island complex. Additionally, there are many interesting cultural and historical sights in the surroundings.

Contact details

  • Milka WILDIsland
  • Persina Nature Park
  • Address: Persina str. 5
  • Postal code city:  5930 Belene, Bulgaria
  • Phone:  +359 65832684
  • Website: www.persina.bg
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Persinski blata Wilderness Candidate

Persinski blata Wilderness is situated inside of Persinski blata Reserve which is embedded in Persina Nature Park. The size of this Wilderness – Candidate is 1 450 ha. The 3 852 ha Persinski blata Reserve was created in 1981 with the objective to conserve a typical example of Danube marshes and its wildlife. The area consists of 4 separated but ecologically linked marshes and lakes. The reserve hosts large, mixed colonies of herons, spoonbills, cormorants and pelicans in the Bulgarian Danube basin.

The area of Persinski blata Wilderness was heavily drained during the soviet era but between 2002-2008, the first ever Bulgarian wetland restoration project was implemented here and the natural water regime was restored. However, due to Iron gate dam on the Danube River and constant fluctuation of the water level, 3 small water gates are still sporadically used to regulate the water inflow on the restored wetland.

European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System

The 1 450 ha Persinski blata Wilderness was subject to Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. There is a potential after the Quick-Audit to expand Persinski blata Wilderness to a size of approx. 3 500 ha and dramatically increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Persina Nature Park
  • Wilderness: Persinski blata Wilderness – Candidate
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area: 21 762 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 1 450 ha (with potential for enlargement to 3 600 ha)
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit: 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: It is a wetland of great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity which depends on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics.
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: To be verified
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: To be verified

Biodiversity

Persinski blata Reserve is a wetland of great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity that depends on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. The area is a very favourable habitat for birds. Colonies of many different bird species live here, including terns, herons, cormorants, gulls, wild ducks and geese. The area is particularly important as a safe nesting spot for extremely threatened species such as the Dalmatian pelican. Furthermore, black storks gather here in autumn and the mute swan nests here in summer. Additionally, there are also many rare and threatened plant species in the area, such as water chestnut, yellow floating-heart or frogbit.

Tourism

Persina Nature Park and particularly Persinski blata Reserve offers many touristic opportunities. The park can be explored on foot, by bike, boat or with a kayak. It is a very important area for birds, as a huge diversity of birds that depend on water and wetlands live there.

Persinski blata Reserve has limited accessibility due to a currently operating prison on the Persin island territory. Due to specific conditions, there must be an accompanying guide appointed by the park administration. Therefore, also the accessibility of the Wilderness is strictly regulated. The best opportunity to experience Wilderness is on a bird watching trail across the Persin island that gives visitors a window into Wilderness. Additionally, there is also a lot of interesting cultural and historical heritage nearby Persina Nature Park.

Contact details

  • Persinski blata Wilderness – Candidate
  • Persina Nature Park
  • Address: Persina str. 5
  • Postal code city:  5930 Belene, Bulgaria
  • Phone: +359 65 832 684
  • Website: www.persina.bg

 

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Bonarivske wetland Wilderness

Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness Candidate

Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness Candidate

February 22021

Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness Candidate

Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness is embedded in Vitosha Nature Park. The Bistrishko Branishte Strict Reserve was established in 1934 and has the total area of 1 061 ha. Bistrishko Branishte is located on the north-eastern slope of Vitosha Nature Park in the vicinity of Sofia. The highest point in the reserve is 2 286 m above sea level and the lowest is 1 430 m above sea level.

Over 50% of the territory of Bistrishko Branishte Strict Reserve is covered by predominantly 100 to 120 years old spruce forest. The rest constitutes of meadows, rock formations and several stone rivers in the sub-alpine zone.

The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water through its Sofia Regional Environmental Inspectorate.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 500 ha Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. There is a potential after finalising the Quick-Audit to expand Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness to the size ca 1 000 ha and increase Wilderness Quality Standard.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Vitosha Nature Park
  • Wilderness: Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness – Candidate
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area: 27 079 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 500 ha (with potential for enlargement to 1 000 ha)
  • First Pre-Audit: 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: The area preserves old spruce forests, sub-alpine grass communities, unique rock formations and stone rivers. The habitat is ideal for populations of wolf and brown bear.
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 1 000 000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: 6 000

Biodiversity

Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness hosts a great biodiversity which includes a large number of endemic and relict species. There are hundreds of species of algae, close to 200 species of lichens and more than 500 mushroom species. Some of the most remarkable plant species present in the Wilderness are the globe flower, anemone and yellow gentian.

The Balkan endemics to be found here are the crocus and fairy flower among others. The Wilderness provides refuge to many animal species of European importance. Among them are the wolf, wild cat, brown bear and the pine marten, as well as the nutcracker, goldcrest, siskin, and some species of woodpeckers.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

 Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness attracts many tourists from Sofia and the adjacent villages. Visitors are encouraged to stay on marked trails and enjoy the extensive well-marked trail network for hiking and skiing. Vitosha Nature Park is also a place for practicing various extreme sports, such as alpinism, delta-gliding, para-gliding and mountain biking. These can be officially done outside of Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness.

Currently the Vitosha Nature Park puts a great emphasis on education in ecological awareness, therefore various educative programs are part of the park’s management plan.

Contact details

  • Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness – Candidate
  • Vitosha Nature Park
  • Address: Bulevard “Knyaginya Maria Luiza” 22,
  • Postal code city: 1000, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Phone: +359 02 856 51 52
  • Website: www.park-vitosha.org
More Information»
Bonarivske wetland Wilderness

Torfeno Branishte Wilderness Candidate

Torfeno Branishte Wilderness Candidate

February 22021

Torfeno Branishte Wilderness

Torfeno Branishte Wilderness is embedded in Vitosha Nature Park. The Torfeno Branishte Strict Reserve was established in 1935 with the aim of preserving 783 ha of the well-protected turf communities in the subalpine zone of Vitosha mountain. The strict conservation regime prohibits all management activities within the territory.

Torfeno Branishte Strict Reserve is the largest high-mountain peat complex in Bulgaria with hundreds of moss and algae species. The turf surface is up to 2 m thick, increasing annually by approx. 1 mm.

The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water through its Sofia Regional Environmental Inspectorate.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 350 ha Torfeno Branishte Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a big potential to expand Torfeno Branishte Wilderness to the size ca 700 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Vitosha Nature Park
  • Wilderness: Torfeno Branishte Wilderness – Candidate
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area 27 079 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness 350 ha (with potential for enlargement to 780 ha)
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness The area is a unique example of high-mountain peat formation, including endemic, rare and endangered species.
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area approx. 1 000 000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness 24 000

Biodiversity

The peat complex of the Torfeno Branishte Wilderness lies on the northern slope of Vitosha mountain comprising the parts of Big Plateau and the Kapaklivets Plateau between the peaks of Cherni Vrah (2 290 m) and Ushite (1 906 m).

Over 300 species of moss and 500 species of algae occur in the peat reserve and several Balkan endemics can also be observed. There are also two insectivorous plants – Balkanian butterwort and common sundew, moreover, the unique globe flower, also known as Vitosha tulip can be observed. For avian representatives this zone is an important trophic base, especially for some representatives of falcons, which hunt on the ground.

The sub-Alpine zone is an important habitat for the endemic Balkan subspecies of the Balkan horned lark and the subspecies of alpine accentor.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

 The access of tourists to Torfeno Branishte Wilderness is only allowed on marked trails. Vitosha Nature Park, however, is the most visited protected area in Bulgaria with over 2.5 million visitors every year. Currently the overall length of paths and trails the park’s visitors can follow is over 300 km.

The tourist trails are well-marked with different colours according to the trails. In the open plateaus of Vitosha, metal poles signalise the way to go, thus supporting orientation during the winter months.

Contact details

  • Torfeno Branishte Wilderness – Candidate
  • Vitosha Nature Park
  • Address: Bulevard “Knyaginya Maria Luiza” 22,
  • Postal code city: 1000, Sofia
  • Phone: +359 02 856 51 52
  • Website: www.park-vitosha.org/
More Information»
Chervenata stena Wilderness Candidate

Chervenata stena Wilderness Candidate

Chervenata stena Wilderness Candidate

February 22021

Chervenata Stena Wilderness Candidate

The Chervenata Stena Strict Nature Reserve was created in 1962 and is embedded into the Chervenata Stena Biosphere Reserve since 2017. The area is situated in the Rhodope Mountains, about 30 km south of Plovdiv and is one of the most biodiverse areas in Europe characterized by wide variety of landscape and an immense variety of plant and animal species.

Chervenata Stena Strict Nature Reserve is part of a karstic marble massif, characterized by steep slopes and deep ravines. The area represents an outstanding example of undisturbed old Sub-Mediterranean forest of black pine and silver fir and fragments of relict hornbeam.

The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water, through its Regional Inspectorate in Plovdiv.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 1 200 ha Chervenata Stena Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a large potential to expand Chervenata Stena Wilderness to the size ca 3 000 ha and in this way increase the Wilderness Quality Standard.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park
  • Wilderness: Chervenata Stena Wilderness – Candidate
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area: 65 409 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 1 200 ha (with potential for enlargement to 3 000 ha)
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit: 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: Large area of an outstanding example of undisturbed old Sub-Mediterranean forest with wide spectrum of habitat diversity.
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: To be verified
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: To be verified

Biodiversity

The Chervenata Stena Wilderness is an area with several decade-long protection of a wide spectrum of habitats. It is an area of great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity that depends on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. The area is not populated and the majority of historical human impact has been significantly self-restored. This leads to an abundance of plant and animal life. The area contains representatives of flora and fauna typical for this part of Rhodope Mountains with many relicts and paleoendemic species including large yellow lady’s slipper, spurge laurel daphne, common lilac and many more. Brown bear, wolf, red fox, wild boar, chamois and many more rare and protected animals are also found here.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

From a touristic point of view, a part of Wilderness can be explored on foot following several marked trails (three are crossing the northern part of the Strict Nature Reserve and proposed Wilderness). These trails offer a variety of interesting activities like hiking, wildlife watching and rare plants sightings and exploring unique rock formations. There is a variety of interesting activities in the vicinity of the Wilderness within the territory Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park. The best way to explore the Wilderness is with a mountain guide that is passionate and knowledgeable about the area.

Contact details

  • Chervenata Stena Wilderness – Candidate
  • Chervenata Stena Biosphere Reserve
  • Address: Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water, blv. Marica 122
  • Postal code city: 4000, Plovdiv
  • Phone: +359 32 623 873
  • Website: www.protectedplanet.net/chervenata-Stena-strict-nature-reserve
More Information»
Bonarivske wetland Wilderness

Mantaritza WILDForest Candidate

Mantaritza WILDForest Candidate

February 22021

Mantaritza WILDForest Candidate

Mantaritza Strict Nature Reserve was created in 1968 with an aim to protect an outstanding example of old forest in the Western Rhodope mountains. The reserve protects an area of mixed forests that has been without any human impact since the reserve was established.

A unique feature of this reserve are the pristine broadleaf and conifer forests with very natural structure and a lot of deadwood. The area provides an important habitat for a number of flora and fauna species, particularly for western capercaillie.

The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water, through its Regional Inspectorate in Pasardzik.

European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System

The 400 ha Mantaritza WILDForest was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick Audit there is a large potential to expand Mantaritza WILDForest to the size of 1 070 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Mantaritza Strict Nature Reserve
  • Wilderness: Mantaritza WILDForest – Candidate
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area: 1 070 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 400 ha (with the potential for enlargement to 1070 ha)
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit: 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: A large area of an outstanding example of broadleaf and conifer forests with very natural structure
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: To be verified
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: To be verified

Biodiversity

Mantaritza WILDForest is mainly composed of three dominant tree species: spruce, beech and silver fir. Almost the entire area of the WILDForest is covered by old forest, unmanaged already for several decades. The WILDForest has very natural structure and its ongoing dynamic processes, such as spontaneous forest recovery, are very visible.  The area can be considered as one of the best representative examples of this type of forest habitat in entire Bulgaria.

Mantaritza WILDForest is a very important area also for its rich diversity of fauna. Brown bear and wolf are present here, together with badger, wild cat and pine marten. Besides that, there are red deer and roe deer, as well as wild boar. Mantaritza WILDForest is also home to several rare bird species, such as various species of hawks or woodpeckers, for example the three-toed woodpecker, as well as pygmy owl, hazel grouse, black woodpecker and European crested tit.

Tourism

There is a nice officially marked tourist trail going through the western part of the Mantaritza WILDForest. The trail is passing Mantaritza WILDForest in the length about 3 km and the time needed is 1,5 hours. The trail is offering a great experience to explore this attractive area, it is well marked and in a good condition.

The nearby town Rakitovo is a well-known mountain village offering various possibilities of outdoor recreation such as hiking, biking and birdwatching. Not far from Rakitovo is the famous cave Lepenitsa.  The whole area is attractive tourist destination.

Contact details

  • Mantaritza WILDForest – Candidate
  • Mantaritza Strict Nature Reserve
  • Address: Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water, Gurko Str. 3
  • Postal code city: 4400 Pazardzhik, Bulgaria
  • Phone: +359 34 441 963
  • Webite: www.protectedplanet.net/mantaritza-strict-nature-reserve
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Kongura Wilderness Candidate

Kongura Wilderness Candidate

Kongura Wilderness Candidate

April 282020

Kongura Wilderness Candidate

The Kongura Strict Nature Reserve was created in 1988 and is embedded into the Belasitsa Nature Park. The Reserve is situated in the Belasitsa Mountains, about 45 km south of Blagoevgrad and is one of the most biodiverse area in Bulgaria.

Kongura Strict Nature Reserve protects an extensive area of old beech and sweet chestnut forests. In the past, the tree line was reduced by grazing and logging. However, due to the absence of these activities in the last years, the tree line is in the process of spontaneous restoration.

The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water, through its Regional Inspectorate in Blagoevgrad.

European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System

The 450 ha Kongura Wilderness was subject to pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a large potential to expand Kongura Wilderness to the size of approx. 1 300 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Belasitsa Nature Park
  • Wilderness: Kongura Wilderness – Candidate
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area: 11 700 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 450 ha (with the potential for enlargement to 1 300 ha)
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit: 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: The area preserves old beech and sweet chestnut forests, and several endemic species. Populations of wolf and wild cat are present.
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: Approx. 5 000 – 10 000
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: Approx. 100 – 200

Biodiversity

 Biodiversity in the Kongura Wilderness is very large and unique. Most of the identified biotopes represent a unique example of the wild and spontaneously developing ecosystems. Within the territory of  Kongura Wilderness, the forest is covering over 97% of the area and the rest are shrubs and small meadows in the vicinity of the tree line. The most dominant tree is the beech. The chestnut is found in the lower parts, below the beech belt. Shrub and grass ecosystems are predominantly located on the outskirts and higher parts, and are dominated by juniper, hawthorn and rose hip.

About 1 500 plant species have been found in this area, including endemic species of Bulgaria and the Balkans, and a number of species are also listed on IUCN Red List. The area is home to Albanian lily, karst lucerne and many others. The area is also rich in fauna and more that 130 species of birds have been identified in these biomes. The area also hosts wolf, fox and wild cat. Other common mammals are roe deer, wild boar and badger.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

From a touristic point of view, the borders of the Wilderness can be explored on foot following several marked trails. These trails offer a variety of interesting activities such as hiking, wildlife watching, rare plants sightings and also exploration of unique rock formations.

The easiest access to Kongura Wilderness is to follow the forest road/trail along the western boundary. This option offers the opportunity to stay in one of mountain chalets Belasitsa or Kongur. In the recent years, the interest in mountain biking is increasing due to the good network of forest roads. Surrounding the Wilderness, there are opportunities to stay in villages, where local eco-tourism activities are quickly developing.

Contact details

  • Kongura Wilderness – Candidate
  • Belasitsa Nature Park
  • Address: Belasitsa Street 14, Petrich Municipality
  • Postal code city: 2880 Kolarovo, Bulgaria
  • Phone: + 359 74 232 003
  • Website: www.protectedplanet.net/kongura-strict-nature-reserve
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Ali Botush Wilderness Candidate

Ali Botush Wilderness Candidate

Ali Botush Wilderness Candidate

April 282020

Ali Botush Wilderness

The Ali Botush Strict Nature Reserve was created in 1951 in the remote Slavyanka mountain range close to the Greek border. The aim was to protect the largest forests of Bosnian pine in the Balkan Peninsula. Ali Botush Strict Nature Reserve lies in a karstic area at altitudes between 1 140 and 2 212 m. The area is purely a forest reserve and the alpine zone, which has been intensively used in the past, is excluded. Because of this, the south border mainly follows the line between the mountain forest and alpine pastures.

For approx. the last 20 years the area is mostly abandoned and large areas without any signs of grazing provide a great example of spontaneous tree line restoration. This creates an opportunity for potential enlargement and creation of transboundary Wilderness in cooperation with Greece.

European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System

The 1 050 ha Ali Botush Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a large potential to expand Ali Botush Wilderness to the size of approx. 1 638 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.

Wilderness information

  • Protected area: Ali Botush Strict Nature Reserve
  • Wilderness: Ali Botush Wilderness – Candidate
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area: 1 638 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 1 050 ha (with potential for enlargement to 1 638 ha)
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Pre-Audit: 2019
  • Wilderness Uniqueness: The area is home to the largest forests of Bosnian pine in the Balkan Peninsula. Favourable habitat for wolf, bear and many other rare species.
  • Number of visitors per year to the protected area: To be verified
  • Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: To be verified

Biodiversity

Over the last several decades, Ali Botush Wilderness has been protecting a wide spectrum of mountain forest habitats and very rich flora and fauna. A wide variety of habitats are present along an elevation gradient.

The area contains plant species that are found both in Mediterranean evergreen forest biome and simultaneously also in temperate forest biome.

At the lowest elevation, forests are dominated by beech, hornbeam and sweet chestnut. Higher up, there is a coniferous belt with species like black pine and Bulgarian fir, as well as Bosnian pine which is climbing high up to the current tree line.

The area is home to over 1 500 vascular plants and more than 20 Bulgarian endemics species. The area provides a safe refuge for a number of larger mammals such as brown bear, wolf, chamois, roe deer, badger and golden jackal.

 

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Ali Botush Wilderness is located in the remote roadless corner of Slavyanka mountain range. From a touristic point of view, only a part of the Wilderness can be explored on foot following two marked hiking trails leading to the remote and otherwise inaccessible mountains. After passing the Wilderness and reaching the tree line, the trails offer extraordinary panoramic view to the Wilderness and surrounding mountains particularly along the Bulgarian-Greek border. The trails offer a variety of interesting activities like hiking, wildlife watching, rare plants sightings and first and foremost exploration of a unique Bosnian pine forest. Also, there is a good system of information boards at the trailhead offering maps and basic information.

Contact details

  • Ali Botush Wilderness – Candidate
  • Ali Botush Strict Nature Reserve
  • Address: Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water Blagoevgrad, 1 Svoboda Street
  • Postal code city: 2700 Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
  • Phone: +359 73 8831 4012
  • Website: www.protectedplanet.net/ali-botush-strict-nature-reserve
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Thayatal WILDForest

Thayatal WILDForest

Thayatal WILDForest

August 232018

The Thayatal WILDForest is characterised by extraordinary scenery, being home to features such as rocky amphitheatres, cliffs and broadleaf mixed forest. The Thayatal WILDForest is and has been the key element and driving force behind the establishment of the transboundary Wilderness of the Podyjí National Park in Czech Republic and Thayatal National Park in Austria.

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