Impressions from the Green Belt

Sakar hill land is not only a paradise for birds of prey, it also appeals through its rich cultural landscape and unique biodiversity. EuroNatur's partner Green Balkans now reveals the cultural and ecological highlights of this region in an exhibition.

European ground squirrel
© Gernot Pohl

About twenty years ago, this region along the Turkish border still belonged to the heavily guarded Iron Curtain, the bulkhead between the member countries of the Warsaw Pact on one side and the NATO states on the other side. For nature however, this border location was a blessing in disguise: while in the rest of the country, more and more grassland was converted into farmland for intensive agriculture, the Sakar hill land was spared from this process, hence providing habitat for rare plants and species such as the imperial eagle, which have disappeared elsewhere.  

Today, the Sakar hill land forms part of the Europe-wide nature conservation initiative "Green Belt Europe". The overall aim of this ambitious, large-scale project is to preserve the nature treasures and biodiversity along the former Iron Curtain. Since many years, EuroNatur, coordinator of the subproject "Green Belt Balkans", supports the Bulgarian nature conservation organization Green Balkans to preserve the unique habitat of the imperial eagle and other birds of prey. The exhibition in the visitor center of Matochina, which was acquired with the financial support of EuroNatur, will also show how much we have already achieved in our efforts to protect this region.

 

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