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Pirin National Park

Spread over an area of over 27,000 ha, at an altitude between 1008 and 2914 m in the Pirin Mountains, southwest Bulgaria, the site comprises diverse limestone mountain landscapes with glacial lakes, waterfalls, caves and predominantly coniferous forests. It was added to the World Heritage List in 1983. The extension now covers an area of around 40,000 ha in the Pirin Mountains, and overlaps with the Pirin National Park, except for two areas developed for tourism (skiing). The dominant part of the extension is high mountain territory over 2000m in altitude, and covered mostly by alpine meadows, rocky screes and summits.
The World Heritage property covers an area of around 40,000 ha in the Pirin Mountains, southwest Bulgaria, and overlaps with the undeveloped areas of Pirin National Park. The diverse limestone mountain landscapes of the property include over 70 glacial lakes and a range of glacial landforms, with many waterfalls, rocky screes and caves. Forests are dominated by conifers, and the higher areas harbour alpine meadows below the summits. The property includes a range of endemic and relict species that are representative of the Balkan Pleistocene flora.
The mountain scenery of Pirin National Park is of exceptional beauty. The high mountain peaks and crags contrast with meadows, rivers and waterfalls and provide the opportunity to experience the aesthetics of a Balkan mountain landscape. The ability to experience remoteness and naturalness is an important attribute of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
The principal earth science values of the property relate to its glacial geomorphology, demonstrated through a range of features including cirques, deep valleys and over 70 glacial lakes. The mountains of the property show a variety of forms and have been developed in several different rock types. Functioning natural processes allow for study of the continued evolution of the landforms of the property, and help to understand other upland areas in the region.
The property is a good example of the continuing evolution of flora, as evidenced by a number of endemic and relict species, and the property also protects an example of a functioning ecosystem that is representative of the important natural ecosystems of the Balkan uplands. Pirinís natural coniferous forests include Macedonian Pine and Bosnian Pine, with many old growth trees. In total, there are 1,315 species of vascular plants, about one third of Bulgariaís flora, including 86 Balkan endemics, 17 Bulgarian endemics and 18 local endemics. The fauna of Pirin National Park includes 45 mammal species, including brown bear, wolf and pine marten, and 159 bird species. Pirin is also home to eight species of amphibians, eleven species of reptiles and six fish species.
The presence of limestone rocks, the southerly position of the range and close proximity to the Aegean, coupled with its relative isolation, have made Pirin Mountain an important refuge for many species. Forests in the park are mainly coniferous with endemic Macedonian pine being widespread and forming the timberline in the granite part of the mountain. Endemic Bossnian pine occurs in the highest zone of the karst area. Unique stands of Pinus peuce and Pinus leucodermis , up to 250-300 years old and 30-45 m high, are found in Baiouvi Doupki-Djindjiritsa Reserve. Some individual Pinus leucodermis trees are over 500 years old. Silver fir, Austrian pine, spruce, Scots pine and beech form a mixed coniferous forest type.
The flora of Pirin, comprising as it does many rare species, is of great interest and beauty. One of the most active flora speciation in Bulgaria is situated in the limestone part of the mountain. Pirin has a mixture of central European, Alpine, Balkan mountain and sub-Mediterranean species, but in addition there are about 30 local endemic species.
There is a wide variety of animal species including many endemic species and glacial relicts among the invertebrate fauna. Threatened bird and mammal species include brown bear, grey wolf, pine marten, rock marten, polecat, badger, otter, wild cat, red deer, roe deer, wild boar, Balkan chamois, golden eagle, capercaillie, hazel grouse, eagle owl, black woodpecker and three-toed woodpecker.
Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC


Srebarna Nature Reserve

The Srebarna Nature Reserve is a freshwater lake adjacent to the Danube and extending over 600 ha. It is the breeding ground of almost 100 species of birds, many of which are rare or endangered. Some 80 other bird species migrate and seek refuge there every winter. Among the most interesting bird species are the Dalmatian pelican, great egret, night heron, purple heron, glossy ibis and white spoonbill.
Srebarna Nature Reserve protects a lake and wetland ecosystem of 638ha located near to the village of Srebarna on the west bank of the Danube River.
Srebarna Nature Reserve is an important wetland on the Western Palaearctic bird migratory flyway. It provides nesting grounds for 99 species of birds and seasonal habitat to around 80 species of migratory birds. The property is surrounded by hills which provide a natural boundary and offer an ideal means for observing the waterfowl.
Srebarna Nature Reserve protects an important example of a type of wetland that was widespread in Bulgaria in the past. It shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, which are increasingly threatened. The wetland is an important breeding, staging and wintering site for a large number of birds. Floating reedbed islands and flooded willow woodlands provide important bird breeding areas. In the lake's northern end the reedbeds gradually give way to wet meadows. In the north-western end of the lake and along the Danube there are belts of riverine forest with single old trees of White Willow.
The rich bird life supported by Srebarna Nature Reserve is the basis for its international significance. The property holds populations of birds that are considered critical to species survival. It hosts the only colony of Dalmatian Pelican in Bulgaria, as well as the largest breeding populations of four more globally threatened species: Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, White-tailed Eagle and Corncrake. Srebarna is also of European value importance in supporting Little Bittern Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Purple Heron, Glossy lbis, Spoonbill and Ruddy Shelduck. Three species of terns also occur here. Globally threatened Pygmy Cormorant and Red-breasted Goose winter in the Reserve, and the wintering populations of White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose and Fieldfare are also notable.
In total the property provides critical habitat that supports 173 bird species, 78 species of which are of European conservation concern, and nine being listed as globally threatened.
The Srebarna Nature Reserve is a freshwater lake adjacent to the Danube and extending over 600 ha. It is the breeding ground of almost 100 species of bird, many of which are rare or endangered. Some 80 other bird species migrate and seek refuge there every winter. Among the most interesting bird species are the Dalmatian pelican, great egret, night heron, purple heron, glossy ibis and white spoonbill, white-tailed eagle, little cormorant.
The reserve was set up primarily to protect the rich diversity of wildfowl, the bird species represent half of the Bulgarian avifauna. Species found in Srebarna include mute swan, a variety of geese and ducks, red-necked grebe, two of the three European species of marsh tern, and bearded tit. Otter is occasionally found in the reserve. White-fronted goose, red-breasted goose and blue throat have become established as wintering species.
Some 67 plant species can be found in Srebarna Nature Reserve, including water lily and a number of rare marsh plants. Reeds occupy two-thirds of the reserve and form a thick barrier around the lake. They form reed-mace islands which birds use for nesting.
This freshwater lake is situated on the flood plain of the River Danube, to which it was connected until 1949. The disconnection prevented annual flooding and the level of lake falls 1 m per year. However, the lake was reconnected by canal in 1978 with the Danube to prevent water levels from becoming too low and to restore the lake's fish population.
Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
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