European Rewilding Network

Dragoman Marsh Karst Complex Restoration Project

Dragoman marsh karst complex in Bulgaria.
Balkani Wildlife Society

The Dragoman Marsh Karst Complex is the only one of its kind in Bulgaria and one of the few on the Balkan Peninsula. The complex consists of limestone hills with depressions between them where wetlands are formed. The very rich biodiversity of the area has suffered from human activities and restoration works are necessary.

Project: Dragoman Marsh Karst Complex Restoration Project
Region: Situated along the 20 km long Chepan Mountain ridge, Bulgaria.
Type of protection: 1 protected area, 2 NATURA 2000 sites, Ramsar site, Important Bird Area, Important Butterfly Area.
Habitat types: Marshes, wet meadows, arid pastures, cliffs and oak forests.
Keystone species: Dragoman Marsh karst complex is one of the most important areas for Bulgarian wild fauna and has a significant biodiversity and conservation value. From a conservation point of view 75 bird species are listed in Annex I of the Bird Directive, 17 in the Bulgarian Red List, 17 in the IUCN Red List and 108 species in the Bulgarian Red Data Book. There are 43 mammal species recorded up to now in the proposed area. Eight species are from the IUCN redlist and 17 Annex 2 of the Habitat Directive.The entire area is an Important Butterfly Area and up to now 243 butterfly species have been found.
Fauna (mega) species present: Wild boar (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Type of project: Pilot projects focusing on supporting key wildlife species being present in more natural densities, showing their role in the ecosystem, Projects based on a stewardship anchored in respect for land, water, and all living things, with a management striving to support natural processes and utilize nature’s own mechanism, Re-introductions / re-stockings of locally extinct or rare key wildlife species, or breeding of such species with the goal to release them into the wild, Successful agreements with water management entities about changing water management methods to allow for natural processes
Aim and vision: To restore natural wetlands, grasslands and forest ecosystems of the area with their characteristic species.
Create a model area for wetland and grassland conservation, restoration and education, playing an important role for ensuring sustainable livelihood, good water quality, wastewater cleaning and potable water to the people from 4 municipalities.
Uniqueness of the project: The area contains the last conserved karst marshes in Bulgaria and one of the few on the Balkan Peninsula. The vast wet grasslands are unique because of their natural flooding regime and the relict flora. The complex shelters vast diversity of plants and animal species characteristic and rare for the region.
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Recreational activities, Research
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Habitats are restored with key plant and animal species being reintroduced. Two new protected areas and one Natura 2000 site are declared, with approved management plans. wastewater treatment plant of Dragoman constructed and eutrophication solved. Local people are involved in and support conservation activities. Nature based tourism is developed in the area together with production and sales of sustainable products.
Results so far: Pump station removed from Dragoman Marsh. Water level at Aldomirovtsi Marsh stable after sinkhole problems solved. Ongoing monitoring of species of the entire Ramsar site and plants reintroduction. Bird-ringing at the Dragoman marsh. Reed removal from the Dragoman marsh and technology for producing pellets. After drainage of the Dragoman marsh, several plants disappeared from the Bulgarian flora. Two of them, Aldrovanda vesuculosa and Caldesia parnassifolia are in process of reintroduction. Due to improved conditions of the marsh, Aldrovanda vesiculosa is now developing successfully in its natural habitat. The white water lily is also successfully reintroduced after its extinction from the marsh. Afforestation with local tree species -Quercus pubescens, Quercus robur and Salix sp.- annually organized with participation of local people. Information plates at the Dragoman marsh designating fishing spots, litter bins for visitors and information tablets installed presenting key species in the marsh. Tourist infrastructure constructed and education events organized every year.
Inspirational value: Various possibilities to work with species and habitats give the opportunity to introduce best practices from Europe in Bulgaria and to share good examples to other sites in the country. Also, the area is a perfect place to share experience - it is close to the capital and has the only wetland conservation centre in Bulgaria.
Experience you would like to share: Reintroduction of plants and fish species, water management practices, involvement of local community.
Experience you would like to gain: Wetland restoration techniques, grassland management, reintroduction of mammals and birds, reed management and usage.
Map
Country
Bulgaria
Start year
2003
Size (ha)
14967
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic
Natural process
Flooding
Flagship species
Other
Dragoman Marsh Karst Complex Restoration Project
Dragoman marsh karst complex in Bulgaria.
Balkani Wildlife Society

The Dragoman Marsh Karst Complex is the only one of its kind in Bulgaria and one of the few on the Balkan Peninsula. The complex consists of limestone hills with depressions between them where wetlands are formed. The very rich biodiversity of the area has suffered from human activities and restoration works are necessary.

Map
Country
Bulgaria
Start year
2003
Size (ha)
14967
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic
Natural process
Flooding
Flagship species
Other
Specification
Project: Dragoman Marsh Karst Complex Restoration Project
Region: Situated along the 20 km long Chepan Mountain ridge, Bulgaria.
Type of protection: 1 protected area, 2 NATURA 2000 sites, Ramsar site, Important Bird Area, Important Butterfly Area.
Habitat types: Marshes, wet meadows, arid pastures, cliffs and oak forests.
Keystone species: Dragoman Marsh karst complex is one of the most important areas for Bulgarian wild fauna and has a significant biodiversity and conservation value. From a conservation point of view 75 bird species are listed in Annex I of the Bird Directive, 17 in the Bulgarian Red List, 17 in the IUCN Red List and 108 species in the Bulgarian Red Data Book. There are 43 mammal species recorded up to now in the proposed area. Eight species are from the IUCN redlist and 17 Annex 2 of the Habitat Directive.The entire area is an Important Butterfly Area and up to now 243 butterfly species have been found.
Fauna (mega) species present: Wild boar (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Description
Type of project: Pilot projects focusing on supporting key wildlife species being present in more natural densities, showing their role in the ecosystem, Projects based on a stewardship anchored in respect for land, water, and all living things, with a management striving to support natural processes and utilize nature’s own mechanism, Re-introductions / re-stockings of locally extinct or rare key wildlife species, or breeding of such species with the goal to release them into the wild, Successful agreements with water management entities about changing water management methods to allow for natural processes
Aim and vision: To restore natural wetlands, grasslands and forest ecosystems of the area with their characteristic species.
Create a model area for wetland and grassland conservation, restoration and education, playing an important role for ensuring sustainable livelihood, good water quality, wastewater cleaning and potable water to the people from 4 municipalities.
Uniqueness of the project: The area contains the last conserved karst marshes in Bulgaria and one of the few on the Balkan Peninsula. The vast wet grasslands are unique because of their natural flooding regime and the relict flora. The complex shelters vast diversity of plants and animal species characteristic and rare for the region.
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Recreational activities, Research
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Habitats are restored with key plant and animal species being reintroduced. Two new protected areas and one Natura 2000 site are declared, with approved management plans. wastewater treatment plant of Dragoman constructed and eutrophication solved. Local people are involved in and support conservation activities. Nature based tourism is developed in the area together with production and sales of sustainable products.
Results so far: Pump station removed from Dragoman Marsh. Water level at Aldomirovtsi Marsh stable after sinkhole problems solved. Ongoing monitoring of species of the entire Ramsar site and plants reintroduction. Bird-ringing at the Dragoman marsh. Reed removal from the Dragoman marsh and technology for producing pellets. After drainage of the Dragoman marsh, several plants disappeared from the Bulgarian flora. Two of them, Aldrovanda vesuculosa and Caldesia parnassifolia are in process of reintroduction. Due to improved conditions of the marsh, Aldrovanda vesiculosa is now developing successfully in its natural habitat. The white water lily is also successfully reintroduced after its extinction from the marsh. Afforestation with local tree species -Quercus pubescens, Quercus robur and Salix sp.- annually organized with participation of local people. Information plates at the Dragoman marsh designating fishing spots, litter bins for visitors and information tablets installed presenting key species in the marsh. Tourist infrastructure constructed and education events organized every year.
Exchange
Inspirational value: Various possibilities to work with species and habitats give the opportunity to introduce best practices from Europe in Bulgaria and to share good examples to other sites in the country. Also, the area is a perfect place to share experience - it is close to the capital and has the only wetland conservation centre in Bulgaria.
Experience you would like to share: Reintroduction of plants and fish species, water management practices, involvement of local community.
Experience you would like to gain: Wetland restoration techniques, grassland management, reintroduction of mammals and birds, reed management and usage.
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