The Balkans is a “unique ecological and biogeographical phenomenon in Europe” containing numerous plants and animals that exist nowhere else in the world. How did it come to be so species rich? Ivo R. Savic explains for Advances in Arachnology and Developmental Biology the link between South East Europe’s “treasure trove of geo-history”, its plethora of habitats and climate zones, and its luxurious tapestry of flora and fauna. Fascinating.
A thorough 2014 summary of the habitats, protected areas, species and importance of Macedonian biodiversity from the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning is accompanied by explanations of the threats it faces, including details of the poorly designed and badly implemented attempts at mitigation.
Mortality rates for migrating birds are up to six times higher than when they are not moving. Therefore, waterbirds travelling between Europe and Africa need a comprehensive network of wetlands to make their route safer, particularly in the Balkans, which contains important flyways. In PLOS ONE, Merken et al incorporate human disturbance to identify conservation targets aimed at ensuring availability and connectivity for feathered friends when they’re on the road.
Habitat, climate and topographical variation have allowed flora and fauna to survive in the peninsulas of South Europe when the background weather has significantly warmed or cooled during the past several thousands of years. Godfrey M. Hewitt shows how these regions, including the Balkans, form a base from which species colonize northern areas of the continent.