Kotel Mountain

Natural treasure in the heart of Bulgaria

© Gunther Willinger
© Gunther Willinger

Kotel Mountain is situated in the eastern part of the Balkan mountain range which stretches across Bulgaria from West to East. The landscape which forms a mosaic of woods, meadows and grazing land is the home of rare plants such as a variety of orchids and rarities such as the Eastern Imperial Eagle, Saker Falcon, and European Ground Squirrel. Wolves, Egyptian Vulture and Golden Eagle still find an ideal habitat here.

Hanging by a thread

But there is great danger that the landscape which has developed here in Kotel Mountain will soon be a thing of the past. Since the great political changes of the nineties people and particularly the young have been attracted to the big cities. In addition, as a result of national and European subsidy policies the grazing grounds with their diversity of species have been ploughed to become arable farmland. Over and above this roads, wind parks and uncontrolled felling are threatening to destroy the variegated character of the landscape with its oak and beech woods, wet meadows and streams.

With convincing model projects EuroNatur and its partners in the region are showing what potential a near-natural form of management of Kotel Mountain has to offer to man and nature. The goal is to find as many imitators as possible.

What actions are EuroNatur and its partners in Kotel Mountain taking?

  • Leasing or buying land to keep up open areas for Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon through mowing or extensive grazing.  The land around the Ardachlaka Nature Reserve is strategically particularly important.
  • Carrying out an accurate mapping of plant and animal species on land adjoining the Ardachlaka Nature Reserve. The goal here is to create the basis for an extension of the already existing nature reserve.
  • Reviving the tradition of transhumance in Bulgaria with old breeds of farm animals with the aid of model projects. Transhumance is a seasonal movement of people with their livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. This not only makes a valuable contribution to the maintenance of diversity of species but also offers local people a source of income in harmony with nature.
  • Supporting local organic farming.


What we have so far been able to achieve – a selection of important successes

  • We have been able to buy or lease numerous plots of land. This is now being grazed or kept as open grassland by mowing.
  • Near the little town of Kotel EuroNatur partner FWFF is running an organic farm which among other things keeps a flock of 400 Karakachan Sheep. These sheep are keeping the farm's grazing as open land successfully contributing to maintaining the natural habitat of the Salker Falcon and Co. 
  • Young shepherds are also trained on this organic farm – a first and important step to reestablishing transhumance as an integral part of local farming.
  • In 2009 through the generosity of a private donor the FWFF (Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna) was enabled to buy an old cattle farm in the Kotel Mountain to set up grazing with an old Bulgarian breed, Grey Cattle.
  • With financial support from EuroNatur the FWFF has in addition been able to buy two further sheep farms and repair them so as to set up organic farming here too.


Partner: Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna (FWFF)

Sponsors: Eeconet Action Fund, EuroNatur sponsors and donors

 

Back to top of page

Do you want to help?

Donation

Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.

News

Construction works on the Jiu hydroelectric power plant still going on

It is scandalous: The romanian appeals court declared the building permission of the Jiu hydroelectric plant several times, lately in December....

Hydroelectric power station on the River Jiu halted for the time being

Encouraging news for the Romanian River Jiu: the building permit has been declared null and void by the courts. As a result the Jiu may continue to...

Study proves: Small power plants, big damage

European-financed small hydropower plants damaging pristine Balkan landscapes

Second part of the documentary series "Out of Control" reveals further intrigues

Destruction of old-growth forests in Romania: logging devastates parts of Semenic National Park, too ++ EuroNatur and Agent Green: unacceptable...

Mavrovo-Nationalpark: Demand for a halt to construction of hydroelectric power plants

Bern Convention: Macedonian government requested to halt construction of hydropower plants in national park

The Variety of Nature in Focus

Photo Competition “Europe’s Natural Treasures” starts

Investigation Video: Primeval Forest Destruction in Romania’s National Parks

EuroNatur and Agent Green: This is currently Europe’s biggest environmental drama!

Ray of hope for Balkan Lynx

The Balkan Lynx has to be strictly protected as a distinct subspecies of the Eurasian Lynx. This decision has been adopted unanimously at the meeting...

Albanian industrial confederation demands halt of dam plans at Vjosa River

In Albanian society, the opposition against the projected building development of the Vjosa River is receiving further support. In an open letter to...

Hydropower Tsunami on Balkans

New hydropower report: Dam tsunami on Balkans is speeding up ++ 2.800 hydropower projects planned, 187 under construction ++ more than 1.000 of them...

#GivingTuesday: Join in and save the ancient forests!

The countdown has started: On the 28th of November is #GivingTuesday. On this day the initiative of this name will call on people all over the world...

White Storks go online

The network of European Stork villages now has its own website. Visitors to the site www.storkvillages.net can find out about this charismatic bird,...

Network for the conservation of the threatened Karst Poljes

There was lively participation in the concluding international workshop for the preservation of the Karst Poljes in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Fifty two...

New blood for lynxes on the Balkans

Three lynxes caught by camera trap in Albania and Macedonia

German Environmental Prize awarded to Hubert Weiger

He is one of the trailblazers of the European Green Belt. Yesterday, Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger received the German Environmental Prize in Braunschweig....

By using our services, you agree that we use cookies. Data protection