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Biodiversity and Protected areas of Kosovo

Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park

Located strategically in Southeastern Europe, Kosovo receives species from Europe and Eurasia. Forests are widespread in Kosovo and cover at least 39% of the region. Phytogeographically, it straddles the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. In addition, it falls within the Balkan mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. Kosovo’s biodiversity is conserved in two national parks, eleven nature reserves and one hundred three other protected areas. Both the Prokletije National Park and Šar Mountains National Park are the most important regions of vegetation and biodiversity inside Kosovo.

The flora encompasses more than 1,800 species of vascular plant species, but the actual number is estimated to be higher than 2,500 species. The diversity is the result of the complex interaction of geology and hydrology creating a wide variety of habitat conditions for flora growth. Although, Kosovo represents only 2.3% of the entire surface area of the Balkans, in terms of vegetation it has 25% of the Balkan flora and about 18% of the European flora. The fauna is composed of a wide range of species. 14 The mountainous west and southeast provide a great habitat for several rare or endangered species including brown bears, lynxes, wild cats, wolves, foxes, wild goats, roebucks and deers. A total of 255 species of birds have been recorded, with raptors such as the golden eagle, eastern imperial eagle and lesser kestrel living principally in the mountains of Kosovo.

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