SPA Kotlenska planina
Kotlenska Planina Special Protection Area (BG0002029)
Photo: Dobromir Dobrev
Kotlenska Mountain is located in the central part of eastern Balkan Mountain. Its boundaries are Ticha River to the north – up to Ticha Dam, Stara River to the west, Luda Kamchia River to the south and the Varbishki pass to the east.
Landscape and biodiversity
Highly rugged terrain. Clearly defined steep ridges run from the main ridge of the mountain toward the Ticha and Luda Kamchiya valleys. About two thirds of the mountain are covered with broadleaf forests, and the rest is occupied by open land used for pasture and agriculture. In the higher parts there are limestone and Karst formations. Animals: spotted salamander, adder, lesser spotted eagle, hazel grouse, semi-collared flycatcher, wolf, red fox, badger et al.
On Kotlenska Mountain there are 182 bird species; 51 are included in the Bulgarian Red List, and 81 have conservation significance on a European level.
The area is important on a European level for the conservation and protection of rare and threatened habitats, plants and animals. It has a global significance as a nesting site for the corn crake. Kotlenska Mountain is located in the westernmost margin of the Black Sea migratory route Via Pontica, and over 3000 birds of prey fly over it annually. The area is important for the conservation of the globally threatened Egyptian vulture.
The region is relatively rarely populated, mostly in its margins and along the river valleys. The main livelihood here is the forestry and the agriculture.
The habitats in Kotlenska Mountain are sensitive to human activities related to forest management and meadow and pasture maintenance. Tourism and settlements are localized to a great extent and do not have an extensive influence on the area as a whole. Among the problems are poaching, mountaineering, delta- and para- gliding.
There are 24 sites under protection in Kotlenska Mountain, which comprise just 1.3% of its area. They are aimed at the conservation of typical landscape, ancestral beech forests, rare birds of prey and unique Karst landscape. In 1997 the area was declared Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.