Wetlands of International Importance: Serbia,
Petersko polje. 01/05/06; Stari Vlah and Raka; 3,455 ha; 43°05'N 002°07'E. Situated at about 1150m altitude on the Sjenica-Peter Plateau in southwestern Serbia.The site, which is part of the country's largest karst area, supports an extremely rare example of a specific wet peatbog habitat for this biogeographic region, including non-forested peatlands, permanent rivers, and seasonal freshwater marshes on inorganic soils. The Borotica River and Lake are the most important hydrographic units and form the shape of pastures and natural ecosystems. Due to these conditions the site supports a number of endangered species, such as the plants Fumana bonapartei, Halacsya sendtneri and Orchis tridentata, and also provides habitat and refuge to a number of birds during unfavourable periods, such as during breeding season for the Montagu's harrier Circus pygargus, of which the only nesting place in Serbia is found in this area. The land use of the site is entirely based on traditional cattle breeding, with related pasturing meadow management. The ongoing draining and exploitation of peatbogs poses an important conservation issue for future management. Because of its isolated situation and the economy based on cattle breeding, a culture of Muslims and Christians has developed in the villages over centuries, and many of the traditional local dishes, particularly a wide variety of pies, are much appreciated. Ramsar site no. 1656.