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Natura 2000 site Studen Kladenets


Surface – 15 995 hectares.

A water reservoir established in the rocky defile of the Arda River, with vertical cliffs, steep banks covered by scant vegetation and the adjacent maintain hills. It is located between the town of Kardzhali and the village of Studen Kladenets. About 2/3 of the mountain slopes surrounding the reservoir are covered by secondary broadleaved mixed forests of Carpinus orientalis, Fraxinus ornus, Quercus frainetto or Quercus dalechampii with Mediterranean elements. Pure forests of Quercus dalechampii or such mixed with Carpinus betulus occur more rarely. At places there are woodlands and shrubs of Carpinus orientalis and Paliurus spina-christi, mixed with Jasminum fruticans, Juniperus oxycedrus and a combination of xerothermal grass formations with Mediterranean elements, for instance Cistus incanus. A considerable part of the area is occupied by rock complexes, single cliffs and stony screes. The region abounds in dispersed open plots, occupied by arable lands or meadows overgrown with xerothermal grass associations, dominated by Dichantium ischaemum, Poa bulbosa, etc.

The Natura 2000 site Studen Kladenets supports 219 bird species. Of the birds occurring there 103 species are of European conservation concern (SPEC), 12 of them being listed in category SPEC 1 as globally threatened, 27 in SPEC 2 and 64 in SPEC 3 as species threatened in Europe. The area is of global importance, as it is a representative biome for the Mediterranean zone. Seven biome-restricted species, typical for the Mediterranean zone, out of 9 established in Bulgaria, occur there: Black-eared Wheatear, Olive-tree Warbler, Sub-alpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Rock Nuthatch, Masked Shrike and Black-headed Bunting. Studen Kladenets reservoir was proposed for inclusion in the National Ecological Network for conservation of the habitats of a complex of 69 bird species listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive and 21 migrating and wintering waterbird species. It was the last place in Bulgaria where the Black Vulture Aegypius monachus bred in Bulgaria. A few colonies of Griffon Vulture breed on the cliff banks of the reservoir. Studen Kladenets is one of the most important areas in the country on a European Union scale for the species mentioned above, as well as for the breeding Black Stork, Egyptian Vulture, Stone Curlew, Eagle Owl, Olive-tree Warbler and Masked Shrike. The area holds a significant on a European scale population of the Blue Rock Thrush

One of the potential threats both to the habitats and to the birds in the area is the development of wind turbine farms.


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