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Number of IPAs: 49
IPA Area: 18% of country’s territory
IPA biographical zones: Alpine, Continental
Republic of Macedonia covers 26, 000 km2
The Republic of North Macedonia has 42 Important Plant Areas, covering almost 18% of the country’s territory. It covers an area of almost 26,000 km² with mountain terrain in the west and east, and lowland habitats in the centre. It borders Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Kosovo and Serbia.
It contains two biogeographic zones, the Alpine and the Continental. The biogeographic division used within the country is of a finer scale and includes sub-mediterranean and pontic steppes. The valleys located deep in the continental part have a strong Mediterranean influence.
Forest (woodland) and grassland are the most frequent habitats, occurring on 85% and 67% of IPAs respectively. Where these habitats occur they are often the dominant vegetation types, especially on the 18 mountainous IPAs.
The country has comparatively a very high level of local and Balkan endemic species, and relict species in the mountains, forests and “steppes” of the lowlands. 3.6% of the vascular flora is endemic including two endemic bryophyte species and 114 endemic vascular plant species. The percentage of near endemic (Balkan endemic) species is considerably greater. Many species reach the borders of their range in the country and the diversity of plant communities is also high.
Twelve IPAs are cross border IPAs with neighbouring countries and only 14 of these are protected at national level. Conservation measures within those IPAs in national parks include measures for forests, but rarely for plant species. Although the Republic of North Macedonia has ratified almost all conventions for biodiversity protection, the conservation status of plants and habitats is not favourable.
Forestry and stock based agriculture is the predominant land use within Macedonian IPAs.
Poor forestry practices threaten 69% of sites, mostly at high threat intensity. Wetlands are also particularly threatened and a third of IPAs suffer from water mismanagement, notably from dams and hydropower units. Development is a concern at over 50% of sites – predominantly tourist development.
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