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Status of the Gannet Morus bassanus in the Black Sea region (E Bulgaria)

Status of the Gannet Morus bassanus in the Black Sea region (E Bulgaria)

The Gannet Morus bassanus is a rare vagrant species in the Black Sea region (E Bulgaria). There are altogether 9 records of Gannet in Bulgaria over the last 100 years, all on the Black Sea coast. This paper describes the three most recent records. On 29-31 July 2008 6 individuals were observed in the vicinity of St. Constantine and Elena Resort (12 km north of the town of Varna, Varna Region, NE Bulgaria). Gannets were fishing by numerous (typical) dives, accompanied by a flock of Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo and Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michahellis. A review of all the species' records in Bulgaria, as well as the subfossil records in the Black Sea region is given.

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An overview of monitoring for raptors in Bulgaria

Abstract

Since 1990, nature conservation NGOs are the main players in the running of nation-wide research and monitoring schemes for raptors in Bulgaria. Among them, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and Green Balkans are most active, covering the most threatened diurnal raptors in the country. The key species covered by comprehensive monitoring schemes are the Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla, Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus, Black Vulture Aegypius monachus, Saker Falcon Falco cherrug and Red-footed Falcon F. vespertinus. Information on their distribution, numbers, breeding success, productivity, diet, movements etc. is gathered on annual basis. The Buzzard Buteo buteo and Kestrel F. tinnunculus are also regularly monitored at the national level by the Common Bird Monitoring scheme. Distribution of all raptor species has been studied for the purpose of the Atlas of Breeding Birds in Bulgaria. The contemporary satellite telemetry methods revealed important aspects of movements and threats to eagles and vultures from Bulgaria within the country and abroad. Main threats for the raptors in Bulgaria are related to habitat loss, unnatural mortality and disturbance. The main gaps in raptor monitoring in Bulgaria are related to the lack of coverage of most of the diurnal species and owls. There is a strong national and international cooperation in conjunction with the work concerning Imperial Eagle, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures. However, further enhancement of cooperation on other raptor species and issues such as lobbying for implementation of raptor-friendly agricultural practices and enhancement of various economic sectors are needed

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Correspondence Between Legislation and Public Opinion in Bulgaria about Accessto Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)

Abstract

Introduction: This is the first study on the correspondence between the legislation and public opinion in Bulgaria regarding access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

Methods: We carried out a national on-line-based cross-sectional survey in the Bulgarian language from July 2010 until June 2011. Participants were 951 respondents from 18 to 65 years of age who independently completed the anonymous survey. We were interested in: 1) Attitudes about a woman’s age limit for ART, 2) the rate of acceptance of access of single women to ART, 3) the rate of approval of access of lesbian couples to ART, 4) the degree of acceptance of post-mortem assisted reproduction (PAR).

Results: Most of the respondents (54.9%) approved of a woman’s age limit of 43 years. The majority of the respondents (85.4%) supported access of single women to ART, while 45.1% of the participants approved of lesbians using assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Approximately 71.7% of the respondents stated they would permit PAR.

Conclusions: People prefer 43 years as a woman’s age limit for ART. The majority of the respondents accept access of single women to ART, but a two-fold lower percentage considers that lesbians should be allowed to use ART. The majority of the respondents are proponents of PAR.

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Dry Grassland Vegetation in the Transition Zone Between two Biogeographic Regions

Abstract

The geographic position of Bulgaria results in a variety of climatic and biogeographic influences on the country’s vegetation. We aim to describe the plant diversity of dry grasslands distributed in the transitional belt between the south-eastern European and Mediterranean biogeographic regions in SE Bulgaria, and to reveal if there are any obvious differences in soil properties, presence of life forms and chorotypes between syntaxa. The data set consists of 349 releves of vascular plants and bryophytes sampled in different semi-natural herbaceous vegetation types. By applying TWINSPAN, we classified 176 releves of dry grasslands to eight associations and one unranked community. One association and two subassociations are described here for the first time. Data on soil depth, soil moisture, soil pH, humus and total N content, numbers of different life forms and chorotypes were analysed statistically. The dry grasslands in SE Bulgaria were classified into different vegetation classes sharing the same territory: their communities present similarities in species composition and they have similar ratios of hemicryptophytes/therophytes and Euro-Asiatic/Mediterranean species. Dry grassland vegetation occupies mostly shallow and dry soils that vary slightly in pH, humus content and soil moisture between associations.

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The Halophytic Vegetation in South-East Bulgaria and Along the Black Sea Coast

The Halophytic Vegetation in South-East Bulgaria and Along the Black Sea Coast

The paper presents results of a syntaxonomic analysis of the herbaceous phytocoenoses on the salt steppes, meadows and marshes in Southeastern Bulgaria, and along the Southern Black Sea Coast. The halophytic vegetation is distributed mostly in the Tundzha Lowland and the large salt lakes along the Black Sea Coast, where the saline soils occupy large territories. Most syntaxa identified in the paper are well-known and wide-spread in Central and Eastern Europe (Salicornietum prostratae, Suaedetum maritimae, Juncetum maritimae etc.), but there are also some specific vegetation types, which are presented by endemic associations as Petrosimonio brachiatae-Puccinellietum convolutae, Bupleuro tenuissimae-Camphorosmetum monspeliacae. The most widespread one is Diantho pallidiflori-Puccinellietum convolutae. It demonstrates a big variation in the appearance and the dominant structure of the described phytocoenoses. The comparision of the Bulgarian halophytic vegetation with other places in Europe shows its similarities with these vegetation types distributed in the Eastern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe.

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Characteristics of soaring birds' spring migration over inland SE Bulgaria

Characteristics of soaring birds' spring migration over inland SE Bulgaria

We investigated the scale and characteristics of spring migration of soaring birds in Bourgas district, SE Bulgaria during three 5-day periods in March (27th-31st), April (20th-24th) and May (12th-16th) 2008. Simultaneous counts were carried out from six observation points in two separate areas (Karnobat and Sredets), located 24.5 km and 37.3 km inland from the Black Sea coast, respectively. In total, 31,049 soaring birds of at least 27 species were counted, by far the most numerous being the White Stork Ciconia ciconia (23,358 ind.), followed by the Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina (3,112 ind.). In Karnobat area, situated farther from the Black Sea coast, the total number of soaring migrants (21,231) was more than two-fold higher than in Sredets area (9,818). Overall, there was a significant difference in flock size and flight altitude within separate area (i.e. among observation points) as well as between the two observation areas and the three 5-day periods. However, there was a substantial variance in factors significantly affecting the flock size and flight altitude among most numerous individual species. In general, birds passed at much higher altitude above Karnobat area (mean flight altitude 208.3 m ± 6.4) compared to Sredets area (mean flight altitude 130.5 m ± 4.4). In both observation areas, northern direction was the most commonly observed flight direction (46.3% of all recorded flight directions). The highest numbers of soaring migrants passed in the late afternoon, between 15.00 and 18.00 hrs - 11,554 individuals (43.0% of all birds counted). The study confirmed that the front of Western Black Sea migration route, or "Via Pontica" as part of the Mediterranean/Black Sea Flyway in SE Bulgaria, is rather wide, since the magnitude of inland migration in Bourgas district can be compared with that along the Black Sea coast, at least during spring migration. Both observation areas qualify as Important Bird Areas (IBA) of European importance according to the several BirdLife International criteria. We recommend that any new wind farms built should avoid the area of Hisar Hill south of Karnobat and the NW parts of Sredets Municipality.

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The Alliances Arrhenatherion, Cynosurion and Trifolion Medii in Western Bulgaria - Environmental Gradients and Ecological Limitations

The Alliances Arrhenatherion, Cynosurion and Trifolion Medii in Western Bulgaria - Environmental Gradients and Ecological Limitations

The vegetation of mesic grasslands distributed in the central part of Western Bulgaria is studied. A significant number of 533 relevés were made following the Braun-Blanquet approach. Classification and ordination of the vegetation was performed. The vegetation is classified up to alliance level. The result of the classification are four groups which correspond to the alliances Arrhenatherion elatioris, Cynosurion cristati and Trifolion medii. Within Cynosurion alliance two well distinct subgroups are observed, differing in moisture of the substrate - provisionally called "wet" and "dry" Cynosurion. Ellenberg Indicator Values are used for assessment of ecology of the habitats. The pasture/mowing management of the studied vegetation types is commented.

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Saxifrago Ferdinandi-Coburgi-Seslerietum Actarovii - A New Association from the Subalpine Belt of the Slavianka (Orvilos) MTS. (Bulgaria)

Saxifrago Ferdinandi-Coburgi-Seslerietum Actarovii - A New Association from the Subalpine Belt of the Slavianka (Orvilos) MTS. (Bulgaria)

The paper discusses the phytosociological and syntaxonomical position of the dry subalpine grasslands in the Slavianka (Alibutoush, Orvilos) Mts. (South-Western Bulgaria, Northern Greece). A new association Saxifrago ferdinandi-coburgi-Seslerietum actarovii ass. nova has been established as a result of the phytosociological study. It is considered as an endemic vegetation unit from the calcareous subalpine terrains in the Central Balkan Peninsula high mountains (Southwestern Bulgaria, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Northern Greece). The new syntaxon belongs to the alliance Edrajantho-Seslerion Horvat 1949. A comparison with related syntaxa from other calcareous mountains from Northern Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is discussed.

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Bromo Moesiacae-Stipetum Epilosae - a New Association from the Relict Mountain Steppe Vegetation in South-Western Bulgaria

Bromo Moesiacae-Stipetum Epilosae - a New Association from the Relict Mountain Steppe Vegetation in South-Western Bulgaria

A syntaxonomical analysis of the dry grasslands (Festuco-Brometea) in Bosnek karst region, Mt Vitosha (SW Bulgaria) has been carried out. These grasslands are part of the intrazonal vegetation distributed within the belts of xerophilous oak and mesophilous beech forest in the south-western foothills of the mountain. The bedrock is carbonate, the soils are dry and shallow, climate - moderate continental. This vegetation grows mostly on steep slopes, with southern and south-western exposition. Apart from the typical for Festuco-Brometea calcicoles, the studied vegetation is characterized by many endemic (regional and local) species and at the same time includes a lot of Mediterranean species. As a result of the analysis, a new association, Bromo moesiacae-Stipetum epilosae ass. nova, has been established that belongs to the alliance Saturejon montanae. A comparison with related syntaxa from other karst mountains from SW Bulgaria and E Serbia is made, and some conclusions about the origin of the steppe vegetation in that region are drawn.

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