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Important Plant Areas of Bulgaria

Number of IPAs:125
Area of IPAs: 1,721,248 hectares
Number/Area of IPAs in Protected Areas: 74 IPAs

Bulgaria covers 111,000 km2 

tall white-ish grass on green grass shorter grass in Taushan Tepe in Bulgaria

Bulgaria has 125 Important Plant Areas covering 1,721,248 hectares. 74 IPAs are either fully or partly within protected areas and many contain more than one level of protection.


Forest and grassland are the most frequent habitats at IPAs in Bulgaria; they occur on over 70% of sites. Dry grasslands, alpine/sub alpine grasslands, dunes and steppe habitats make up the rest.

Bulgaria covers an area of almost 111,000 km2, with extensive mountain and forest areas of the Rhodope, Rila, Pirin and Stara Planina ranges, and a coastline along the Black Sea. Bulgaria borders Serbia, Republic of North Macedonia, Greece, Turkey and Romania, and has three biogeographic zones, the Alpine, Continental, and Black Sea.

The altitude range is from sea level to 2,925m, the height of Musala peak on Rila Mountain, the highest summit on the Balkan Peninsula. Two thirds of Bulgarian territory is mountainous and forested, with 200 peaks higher than 2000m.


The flora of Bulgaria is of special interest due to its transitional character between the Central European and the Mediterranean biogeographic zones. The flora is especially rich with an incredible 3900 vascular plants, 6000 species of fungi, and 6000 algae. This includes a considerable number of mountain endemics and limited range species. Nearly 190 of Bulgarian’s vascular plants are tertiary and glacial relicts; there are 174 endemic plant species, 100 subspecies, and over 300 Balkan endemics within Bulgaria. The same levels of diversity exist within vegetation and habitat types, 89 of the 232 European habitats of conservation importance are present in Bulgaria.


The greatest threats to Bulgaria’s IPAs are poor forestry practices and development (affecting over 50%) and agricultural intensification (affecting 34%). Half of Bulgaria’s IPAs are associated with agriculture and the maintenance of traditional farming systems on these sites is crucial, as is the need for widespread sustainable forestry practices which is one of the main land uses. Hunting is the third most frequent land use. Many IPAs are used for nature conservation and research, as well as nature tourism.

Relevant publication:

Conserving Important Plant Areas: Investing In The Green Gold Of South-East Europe

Pages 27-36

IPA data

Bulgaria IPA data