SPA Most Arda
Most Arda Special Protection Area (BG0002071)
Most Arda Special Protection Area (SPA) is located in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains and covers a section of the Arda River valley – between Studen Kladenec and Ivaylovgrad Dams. The area includes the river course between Rabovo village and the town of Madzharovo along with the wooded mountain slopes and the rock masses of Iranov Ridge.
Landscape and biodiversity
Most of the area is occupied by broadleaf dry-tolerant forests, arable land, grass and bush communities mixed with Mediterranean flora like prickly juniper, white thorn and white jasmine. Among the animals here can be observed: southern crested newt, agile frog, five-streaked and Erhard’s wall lizards, green whip snake, Hermann’s and spur-thighed tortoises, roe deer, beech marten, forest dormouse, wild cat, red fox, bat species et al.
Out of the 142 bird species here 31 are included in the Bulgarian Red List, and 65 have conservation significance on a European level. Most Arda Area is an important site for the conservation of southern, cold-sensitive species: black-eared wheatear, olive-tree warbler, masked shrike et al.
This SPA is very important for the conservation of vultures. It is one of the few sites in Bulgaria with global significance for the conservation of the cinereous and Egyptian vultures.
Photo: Kaloyan Hristov
Most Arda SPA is highly dependent on human activity. The decline in traditional animal husbandry, as well as that in the numbers of big wild animals, limits the natural food sources for the vultures. Poaching, fires, poisoning, unprotected electricity networks and illegal logging also threaten wildlife in the area. In recent years pasture ploughing and investment plans for gold mining and wind parks are becoming significant threats.
At present 11% of the area are protected by law under the Protected Areas Act. There are three protected areas and two natural wonders on the territory of the SPA; their aim is the protection of rock formations and typical landscape. In 2005 the area is declared Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.