Balkan BioProvince

This BioProvince (as defined by Armen Takhtajan) comprises northern Greece (including the Pindos Mountains), parts of Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia (including the Karawanken and Julian Alps), but not the Adriatic coastal areas of these states. Its northeastern boundary runs mostly along the valley of the River Sava and continues along the Danube River to include most of Bulgaria with the exception of its northeastern steppe regions. In the southeast it extends into European Turkey. Also included is the so-called Pannonic zone named after the old Roman province of Pannonia, which is a western enclave of the steppe region and centred on the Hungarian Plain but also includes southern Romania and northern Bulgaria. In fact, it forms a corridor of lowlands along either side of the Danube River to the northwestern coast of the Black Sea. The central region of the BioProvince largely consists of crystalline and schistose rocks with the core formed by the mountain masses of Rhodope, Belasitza, Perin and Rila. Here Palaeozoic and Mesozoic beds are absent, and the earliest sedimentary deposits are of the Tertiary period, but Cretaceous beds occur along the margins, while the eastern parts of Greece are composed almost entirely of Cretaceous beds. The zone is characterised by its flat relief, dry continental climate and steppe-like vegetation. Formations dominated by trees are mainly confined to the wetter areas adjacent to rivers and in the mountain peripheries. The flora contains at least four endemic genera (Haberlea, Halacsya, Jankaea, Petteria) and hundreds of endemic species. In fact, the flora of Balkans is richer than any other comparable area in Europe. This is partly due to the fact that it is very ancient and contains many Tertiary species that survived the Quaternary Ice Ages. Many of these are relict species or palaeoendemics that had a much wider distribution during the milder Tertiary climate some 20-50 million years ago. Examples include Picea omorica (Omorican or Serbian Spruce), Pinus peuce (Macedonian Pine) and the archaic genera Haberula, Jankaea and Ramonda all of the family Gesneriaceae, which is now almost exclusively tropical and subtropical. The primary plant formations include mixed deciduous forest, montane forest, alpine scrub, alpine meadow and rock vegetation.

The following accounts for this BioProvince have been written or will be written with particular reference to endemic and locally important species. Accounts available are displayed in green or yellow. Those displayed in red are either in the pipeline or awaiting expert contributions.


Major Ecosystems
Endemic Vascular Plant Flora
Bryophyte Flora
Fungus Flora
Lichen Flora
Invertebrate Fauna
Amphibian Fauna
Reptile Fauna
Bird Fauna
Mammal Fauna
Conservation Status