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Alibotush Biosphere Reserve, Bulgaria

The reserve is situated in Slavyanka Mt. just next to the Bulgarian-Greek border. The bedrock is mostly calcareous. The climate is continental-mediterranean. The reserve comprises three major types of ecosystems – forests, grasslands and lands with no or sparse vegetation (open rocks and steep rocky screes). The forest communities cover most of the reserve and are dominated by Pinus heldreichii, Pinus nigra and Fagus sylvatica. Grassy ecosystems are dominated by the communities of Agrostis capillaris, Dactylis glomerata, Festuca spp., Sesleria spp. and Peridictyon sanctum.

Designation date: 1977


Regional network:  EuroMAB

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 2,339.41 ha

    • Core area(s): 1,638.11 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 701.3
    • Transition zone(s): N/A

    Location: 41°40'N; 23°63'E

    Administrative Authorities

    Rila National Park Directorate – Blagoevgrad
    1, Svoboda St.
    2700 Blagoevgrad

    Tel.: +359 73/88 314 012

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    Ecological Characteristics

    Alibotush Biosphere Reserve belongs to the Balkan Highlands biogeographical province of the Palaeoarctic Realm. Two main biome types are represented – Temperate needle-leaf forests or woodlands and Temperate broad-leaf forests or woodlands, and subpolar deciduous thickets, and to a lesser extent – Temperate grasslands. Most of the territory of the reserve is covered by forests, mostly Pinus heldreichii and P. nigra forests and deciduous forests of Fagus sylvatica.

    Originally, the reserve was declared to protect the unique large-scale forests of Pinus heldreichii and Pinus nigra forests, as well as the exceptionally rich flora and fauna with a great number of local and regional endemics, rare and endangered species.

    Among the rare and protected endemic vascular plants are Rhodope's tulip (Tulipa rhodopea), Long-spur violet (Viola delphinantha), Centaurea parilica, Convolvulus boissieri subsp. suendemannii, Crepis schachtii, Fritillaria drenovskii. The fauna is characteristic of Bulgarian mountain regions and includes wolf (Canis lupus), brown bear (Ursus arctos) and eagles (Aquila spp.).



    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The reserve is situated on the territory of two municipalities – Hadzhidimovo Municipality, especially in the lands of Nova Lovcha and Paril villages, and Sandanski Municipality, in the lands of Goleshovo village.

    The main economic activities include small-scale agriculture and husbandry, hiking tourism, collecting of herbs, mushrooms and wild fruits, etc. However, bearing in mind the very small number of permanent residents in the villages and the average age of people (more than 60 years), the economic activities around the reserve are rather limited, only for the personal needs of the people from the local community. One of the traditional local crafts is blacksmithing which is still practiced nowadays. Tourism in the reserve is very restricted, only hicking tourism along a marked tourist trail.


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    Last updated: May 2019