Description

The SPA Dobrostan is located in southern Bulgaria, the Western Rhodopes. The area bears the name of the mountain ridge it covers. Dobrostan is a mid and high-mountain territory with complex ridge relief, cut by numerous river valleys. Most of the territory is occupied by forest habitats, mainly of broad leaved, coniferous and mixed forests.

At the lower altitude the mixed xerothermal forests of Quercus pubescens and Querqus virgiliana with Maple Acer spp., as well as forests of Tilia tomentosa. At higher altitude there are xeromesophyle and mesophyle forestsof Fagus moesiaca, Quercus dalechampii, Carpinus betulus, Ostrya carpinifolia. The spruceforests cover the Prespa pik– the highest part of Dobrostan (about 2,000 m a.s.l.). On the rounded tops and on the slopes, there are open areas of meadows and pastures.

The birds in the protected area

Dobrostan supports 149 bird species, 47 of which are listed in the Red Data Book for Bulgaria. The area provides suitable habitats for 46 species, included in Annex 2 of the Biodiversity Act, which need special conservation measures, of which 37 are listed also in Annex I of the BirdsDirective.

The SPA Dobrostan holds at least 3 to 5 breeding pairs of Lesser Spotted Eagle but there is no target survey of the species status during recent years. At the same time, the large extent of suitable breeding habitats and trophic base is available for the species. In this respect, there is probability to be established a higher number of the LSE breeding pairs within the SPA.

The site one of the most important in the country on a European Union scale for a complex of 12 bird species, as it holds substantial breeding populations of Egyptian Vulture, Golden Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Hazel Grouse, Eagle Owl, European Nightjar and White-backed Woodpecker.

The SPA Dobrostan is one of the most valuable sites on a European level for the Common Kestrel, Scops Owl and Cirl Bunting. It holds representative part of national breeding populations of Black Stork, Long-legged Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Black Woodpecker, SyrianWoodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Woodlark and the Red-backed Shrike.

Threats to the protected area

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Forestry and agriculture activities

The SPA Dobrostan is particularly sensitive to forestry and agriculture activities, but also to water management and tourism. The main threats to forest habitats are the intensive forestry activities in the old broadleaved and coniferous forests, afforestation with non-native species and forest fires.

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Destruction of grassland

The pastures within the forests are subject to plugging and gradual afforestation. The burning and intensive removal of shrubs causes destruction of grassland. Grazing is carried out on the pastures close to the villages. Pastures further away from settlements are not used completely because of the low livestock number. This together with the high level of emigration of people from the region cause abandonment of the land and rapid succession of the grasslands.