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Important Bird Areas - Dolna Koznitsa

Dolna Koznitsa State: Kyustendil
Area: 3994,52 ха
Ownership: state - 16%; municipality - 60%; private - 24%;

Description:
Dolna Koznitsa meadows are located in south-western Bulgaria, between Dupnitsa and Nevestino. It covers a hilly area on the two sides of the Koznishka river – a left tributary of the Struma – and the road connecting the two towns. On the north it reaches the villages of Chifligartsi and Korkina and on the south – Mutrvodol and Blato. The village of Chetirtsi and the beginning of the Skrinsli gorge are located in the site’s south-western part. On the west it is limited by the village of Yamen and the town of Nevestino. The site's territory includes several types of habitats, the biggest share and importance belonging to pastures and meadows overgrown with xerothermal grass communities of Dichantium schaemum, Poa bulbosa and Crysopogon gryllus (Bondev, 1991).

Birds:
Dolna Koznitsa meadows are of global importance for the conservation of the Corncrake Crex crex, which breeds there in numerous population.

Threats:
The area is very sensitive to the human activities related to traditional use of the meadows and pastures. The most serious threats are the haymaking activities, which do not take into account the breeding period of the corncrake as well as the conversion of grasslands into arable land. The changes in the hydrological regime of the area cause negative changes in the humidity of the meadows. Poaching is a common practice in the region, which lead to disturbance and persecution to birds, including Corncrake.

Legal protection:
The area does not have legal protection by the national conservation legislation. In 2005 the area was designated as Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.

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