SPA Studen kladenec
Studen Kladenec Special Protection Area (BG0002013)
Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
Studen Kladenets Special Protection Area (SPA) is located in southern Bulgaria (Eastern Rhodopes) and includes Studen Kladenets Dam, built in a rock gorge with steep cliffs and slopes on the course of Arda River.
Landscape and biodiversity
The slopes surrounding the dam are covered with mixed broadleaf forests of oak and hornbeam, bushes of Christ’s thorn, white jasmine, prickly juniper and a variety of grass communities. A considerable part of the area is occupied by rock complexes. The animals here include: Balkan glass-snake, Aesculapian snake, Hermann’s and spur-thighed tortoises, black-eared wheatear, Sardinian warbler, black stork, wolf, beech marten, wild boar, fallow deer et al.
There are 219 bird species established in the region; 59 of them are included in the Bulgarian Red List, and 103 have conservation significance on a European level.
Photo: Rollin Verlinde
Studen Kladenets has a global significance as a representative site of the Mediterranean biome, and it is also one of the most important areas for the conservation of the cinereous, griffon and Egyptian vultures, the Eurasian stone curlew and the eagle owl.
The main occupation of the local people is traditional (extensive) animal husbandry, agriculture, and forestry.
As in most southern, dryer areas, forest fires are a major threat here. The depopulation of the region leads to a decline in the numbers of livestock and to an overgrowing of pastures. Illegal logging, poaching, poisoning, unprotected electricity poles, disturbance by extreme sports activities and investment plans pose a threat to the biodiversity in the region.
At present 14% of the area of Studen Kladenets is protected as a reserve, and there are three protected areas. Valchi Dol Reserve aims at the conservation and protection of the griffon vulture colony, together with other rare and endangered bird species, typical for the Eastern Rhodopes. In 1989 the area is declared Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.