1 - Regional Natural History Museum - Plovdiv, 34 Hristo G. Danov Str., Plovdiv, BULGARIA
2 - University of Plovdiv "Paisii Hilendarski", Faculty of Biology, Department of Botany and Methods of Biology Teaching, 24 Tzar Assen Str., Plovdiv, BULGARIA
3 - Medical University of Plovdiv, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, 120 Bratya Bukston Blvd., Plovdiv, BULGARIA
4 - University of Plovdiv "Paisii Hilendarski", Faculty of Biology, MSc in Medical Biology, 24 Tzar Assen Str., Plovdiv, BULGARIA
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract. The object of the study was to investigate the natural habitats in the forest-free zone of Malusha Peak, located on the main watershed ridge of the Shipka part of the Central Balkan Mountain range, part of the protected area (PA) "Bulgarka" BG0000399 and PA "Central Balkan – Buffer" BG0001493. According to the EUNIS classification used for making the analyses, seven types of habitats were described in the studied area, including 5 grasslands, 1 shrubland and 1 rocky. According to Annex 1 of the Bulgarian Biological Diversity Act, Annex 1 of the Directive 92/43/EEC and the Red Book of Bulgaria, Volume 3, five of the habitats have a conservation status, among them 6110* Rupicolous calcareous or basophilic grasslands of Alysso-Sedion albi, being a priority for habitat conservation. The largest part of the studied area (about 95%) is occupied by the habitats E2.33 Balkan mountain hay meadows and E 4.438 Oro-Moesian calciphile stripped grasslands. The habitats Oro-Moesian calciphile stripped grasslands, as well as the H3.2A13 Balkan Range of the calcicolous chasmophyte communities, are characterized by a high degree of naturalness, relic origin and a large number of endemic plant species, which makes them particularly valuable for the studied area.
Key words: Central Balkan, EUNIS, habitats, Malusha, Bulgarka Naturаl park, protected areas.