Belene Islands Complex

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Belene Islands Complex

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    18,330 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    43°39'N 25°08'E
  • Transboundary Site: 
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


Belene Islands Complex. 24/09/02; Pleven; 18,330 ha; 43°40'00''N 025°11'00''E; Natura 2000 (SPA, SAC), Managed Reserve, Nature Park. The Ramsar Site has been extended by 11,432 ha with the inclusion of additional islands and agricultural lands on the Danube river banks. The Site is formed by a complex of one big island (Belene) and nine smaller islands, characterized by freshwater marshes, seasonally-flooded riverine forests, and agricultural and semi-natural land cut by drainage channels. It is exceptionally biodiverse and hosts several rare species of plants including white waterlily Nymphaea alba and water shamrock Marsilea quadrifolia, as well as globally threatened species of birds such as the Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus, great bustard Otis tarda and aquatic warbler Acrocephalus paludicola. The Site is also important for mammals, amphibians and fish. It plays an important role in flood mitigation and sediment trapping. The main threats are related to drainage projects for navigation purposes and habitat degradation caused by the abundant population of wild boar. Part of Belene island has been utilized as a prison since 1948. Other human activities include agriculture, farming and small-scale timber harvesting. Large-scale wetland restoration projects have been successfully completed, a visitor’s centre has been built and a new management plan for the Site has been approved and implemented. Ramsar Site no. 1226. Most recent RIS information: 2014.
Transboundary designation: 
Together with Suhaia Ramsar Site (No. 2066) in Romania, Belene Islands Complex is part of the "Suhaia - Belene Islands Complex" Transboundary Ramsar Site established in April 2013.

Administrative region: 
Veliko Tarnovo and Pleven

  • National legal designation: 
    • Managed reserve - Belenski Marshes
    • Nature Park - Persina
  • Last publication date: 


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