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Bistrishko Branishte Biosphere Reserve, Bulgaria

Bistrishko Branishte is located on the southeastern slope of Mount Vitosha and accommodates centuries-old natural spruce forests. The reserve lies between 1430 and 2282 m a.s.l. The stone and rock formations such as screes, crags and moraines are remarkable and extremely beautiful.

Designation date: 1977


Regional network:  EuroMAB

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 1,061.6 ha

    • Core area(s): 1,061.6 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): N/A
    • Transition zone(s): N/A

    Location: 42°56'N; 23°30'E

    Administrative Authorities

    Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water – Sofia
    136, Tsar Boris III Blvd., floor 10, P.O. box 332
    1618 Sofia

    Tel.: +359 2/940 64 98

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    Ecological Characteristics

    Around 400 species of algae, 200 lichens, 99 mosses and over 500 fungi have been located in the Reserve. Vascular plants are about 450 species, of which 198 medicinal plants and 58 species of conservation concern, including 5 Bulgarian endemic species, 24 Balkan endemics and 19 relict species. 21 of these species are listed in the Red Book of Bulgaria; three of them are in the IUCN list (Acer heldreichii, Campanula transsilvanica, Pinus peuce); one species appears in the Bern Convention list (Lilium jankae); two species are covered by Directive 92/43/EC (Gentiana lutea, Tozzia alpina subsp. carpathica); and 1 species is covered by the CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Nigritella nigra).

    Amphibians and reptiles include Salamandra salamandra, Bombina variegata, Hyla arborea, Lacerta vivipara, Vipera berus etc. All of these species are important from a conservation point of view and subject to a special level of protection. Around 100 bird species have been observed in the reserve. The main bird species are Nucifraga caryocatactes, Garulus glandarius, Loxia curvirosta, Regulus regulus, Picoides major, etc. Large mammals are represented by 3 ungulate and 8 predatory species.


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Tourism in the reserve is very restricted, only hicking tourism, botanical and ornithological tourism along the marked tourist trails. No data about the exact number of visitors but they are thousands. However, tourism is relatively well developed in the adjacent areas especially recreation and skiing.






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    Last updated: May 2019