Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park consists of core, buffer and transition zones and fully meets the requirements of the Seville Strategy and the Statuary Framework for biosphere reserves.
The core zone is the existing Chervenata Stena Reserve, declared in 1962.
The buffer zone of Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park is the protected zone BG 0002073 “Dobrostan” – part of the European ecological network NATURA 2000.
The transition zone of the Biosphere Park comprises the rest of the entire territory of the municipality of Assenovgrad, which surrounds the buffer zone.
None of the Biosphere Park zones shall be a subject to any additional restrictions and norms beyond those regulated by national law.
IN THE BIOSPHERE PARK, THERE ARE NO ADDITIONAL PROHIBITIONS ON HUNTING, FISHING, WOOD HARVESTING AND ANY OTHER WAYS OF LAND USE. LAND OWNERSHIP IS NOT CHANGED.
The provisions of the existing national legislation related to the territory planning and environmental protection shall be applied for the site of the biosphere park.
The Core Zone of Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park
The core zone is the existing Chervenata Stena Reserve, announced in 1962. At present the area of the Chervenata Stena is 3.043,53 decares. The core zone is situated on the territory of two municipalities in Plovdiv region – in the lands of Bachkovo, Dobrostan and Oreshets villages, Assenovgrad municipality and in the lands of Borovo village, Laki municipality.
Until 1998 the reserve was managed and protected by SFS – Assenovgrad and Kormisosh SFS – Laki, under the control of the Regional Inspectorates of Environment and Water – Plovdiv and RIEW – Smolyan respectively. When the Protected Areas Act entered into force at the end of 1998, the territory of the Reserve is declared to be solely state property and is managed and safeguarded by the Ministry of Environment and Water, respectively RIEW-Plovdiv and RIEW-Smolyan.
The core zone of the Chervenata Stena biosphere park is situated in the Central Rhodopes. Its territory covers the valleys of the Sushitsa and Chepelare rivers, the Dobrostan hill and the high, steep cliffs of the Chervenata Stena peak, which is 1.500 m high. It is featured by a variety of surface reliefs and sharp differences in altitude. The area around the Sushitsa River is the most difficult part to access the reserve . A steep and rocky slopes have been formed along it, reaching a height of up to 800 m. It is also one of the richest in caves region in Bulgaria – Dobrostan pearl, Topchika, Yamata and Hralupata.
The Chervenata Stena Reserve was declared according to the national legislation with the purpose of preserveing the complexity of natural beauties and the richness of floristic species, many of which are rare relicts, paleo – and neoendemites for the country and the Balkan Peninsula.
The Chervenata Stena Reserve, which is the core zone of the Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park, is strictly protected under national law. It fully meets the requirements of the Seville Strategy and provides long-term conservation of landscapes, ecosystems and species. The core zone is a “specimen” of natural ecosystems including characteristic and / or remarkable wild plant and animal species and their habitats. The territory is managed with the aim of: preserving the natural ecosystems, scientific and educational activities and / or ecological monitoring, conservation of genetic resources, preservation of natural habitats and of populations of protected rare, endemic and relict species, developing of a network of representative for Bulgaria and Europe ecosystems and threatened habitats. Human interference and impact on it, other than environmentally friendly research, monitoring and environmental education, are not allowed.
Statutory Regulations of Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park (core zone of Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park)
Within the Reserve, all activities are prohibited, except for: its safeguarding, scientific researches, passing of visitors along marked trails, collection of seed material, wild plants and animals for scientific purposes or for their restoration elsewhere; fire suppression and sanitation in forests damaged by natural disasters and calamities. The visits in the Reserve for scientific purposes and the collection of seed material are authorized by the Minister of Environment and Water.
In the area of the reserve, it is forbidden to mow, prune and damage the trees, as well as the breaking or eradication of plants or parts thereof. It is forbidden to pursue wildlife or disturb their natural life, catching or killing them, as well as harvesting or damaging their eggs, nests or lairs, grazing at any time of the year. Fire, hunting and fishing are prohibited.
By an Order of the Minister of Environment and Water, there are designated tourist trails for passing through the territory of the Reserve.
The tourist trails are marked with signs and guideposts. When passing along the designated tourist trails, the following activities are prohibited:
- deviation from the marked trails;
- dirt with household and any other type of waste;
- harvesting, picking-up, cutting, eradicating or otherwise damaging specimens of plant species;
- killing, catching, chasing, disturbing or otherwise damaging specimens of animal species;
- setting up fire and camping.
In accordance with national legislation, the legal status of the Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park core area fully complies with the conservation function of the core area of Biosphere Reserves regulated by the Seville Strategy and contributes to preservation and conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic diversity. Only in the core zone, no economic activities are allowed and no natural resources can be utilized.
The core area of the proposed biosphere park – the existing Chervenata Stena Reserve is an exclusive state property under Art. 8 of the Protected Areas Act and is managed and safeguarded by the Ministry of Environment and Water, respectively by RIEW-Plovdiv and RIEW-Smolyan.
The Buffer Zone of Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park
The buffer zone of the Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park is protected zone BG 0002073 Dobrostan – a part of the European ecological network NATURA 2000. The protected area was designated by Order No. РД-528 / 26.05.2010 of the Minister of Environment and Waters. The area of Assenovgrad municipality, situated within the protected zone, is 25.387,99 ha. The territory of this area is directly adjacent to the core zone (the existing Chervenata Stena Reserve). It has a clearly defined legal status, regime and boundaries and is a natural core zone buffer. Conservation habitats are preserved in its territory and are also habitats of rare animal species, including birds. For this reason, the Dobrostan protected area, comprising the territory of Assenovgrad municipality, is defined as a buffer zone of the biosphere park.
According to the order for declaring the protected area, the following activities are prohibited within its boundaries:
- Plowing of pastures and their conversion into arable land;
- Use of pesticides in pastures and meadows;
- Construction of hydroelectric power plants.
Ownership in this area is various – state, municipal, private and remains as it is so far. Its inclusion as a buffer zone of the park does not change the ownership of the land and does not impose additional prohibitions and restrictions from the existing ones.
Within the boundaries of the Dobrostan Protected Area, which is a buffer zone of the biosphere park, scientific studies of ecosystems, flora and fauna are performed and biodiversity monitoring is carried out. Ecotourism is developed in the area, as there are lots of cultural and historical sites and tourist trails, some of which pass through the core zone also. The buffer zone of the biosphere park – Dobrostan Protected Area is a natural buffer of the core zone and fully complies to the functions of the buffer zones, regulated by the Seville Strategy. The human activities here are organized so as not to interfere with the nature conservation functions of the core zone but rather to help preserve it, they act as a buffer. Scientific research can be conducted here, for example on the management of natural vegetation, arable land, forests, fisheries, with emphasis on high quality production combined with conservation of natural processes and biodiversity. In this area, educational activities, training, recreation, tourism can be carried out. The buffer zone focuses on the sustainable use of natural resources, which benefits mainly the local population.
The Transition Zone of Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park
The transition zone of the biosphere park is the whole remaining territory of Assenovgrad Municipality, surrounding the buffer zone. The area of the transition zone is 37.774,762 ha. All settlements in the municipality are located in this area. Various economic and agricultural activities are being carried out here – livestock farming, agriculture, and other diverse forms of use of natural resources. The transition zone is developed according to the General Plan of the Municipality and no change in the parameters of the Master Plan is required.
Ownership in this area is various – state, municipal, private and remains as it is so far. Its inclusion as a transition zone of the park does not change the ownership of the land and does not impose additional prohibitions and restrictions from the existing ones.
Assenovgrad municipality is responsible for the management of the transition zone, including all settlements in the municipality. The land in this area is managed in accordance with the Territorial Planning Act and the General Master Plan by the Municipality of Assenovgrad. Its inclusion in the biosphere park provides opportunities for attracting future funding and investment for the municipality.
The rich cultural and historical heritage in the buffer and the transition zones of the biosphere park, combined with the unique natural features – habitats and species of conservation significance in the core zone are evidence that the region has great potential. This allows the combination of nature conservation activities with educational programs, cultural and historical projects, folk festivals and local traditions aimed at the local population and visitors. The rich cultural and historical heritage of the region, local traditions and productions fully fits into the concept of biosphere reserves enshrined in the Seville Strategy of 1995.