The northern and southern slopes of the highest, central part of the Stara Planina mountains. The limestone karst topography is outstanding, with ancient forests, pastures, subalpine scrub and grasslands. Deciduous forests (up to 250 years old) of Carpinus, Quercus, Ostrya and Fagus occur in the higher parts of the area, mixed with Pinus and with Abies. Coniferous forests are dominated by Picea and Pinus, and subalpine scrub by Juniperus and Vaccinium. Human activities (outside the strict reserves) include tourism, and cattle-grazing in the high mountain grasslands.
This IBA is important for its alpine-restricted species, including two subspecies that are endemic to the Balkans (Prunella collaris subalpinum and Eremophila alpestris balcanica), and for its large numbers of a wide variety of other breeding species, especially raptors such as Aquila heliaca, A. chrysaetos and Falco cherrug. Significant proportion (³1%) of national population breeding at site: Circaetus gallicus (1-2 pairs), Aquila pomarina (1 pair), Dendrocopos medius (7-8 pairs).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Central Balkan. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/07/2020.