25th Ramsar anniversary for Ludas Lake in Serbia

12/04/2002

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Ludas Lake -- 25 years a Ramsar Site

On 27 and 28 March 2002 the public enterprise managing Ludas and Palic lakes in the northern Vojvodina autonomous region of Serbia (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), together with the Palic and Subotica municipal authorities, the Institute for Nature Conservation in Serbia and the Environment Department of the Yugoslav Federal Ministry for Labour, Health and Social Care (the Ramsar Administrative Authority), celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the declaration of this shallow lake in the Pannonian steppe area as a Wetland of International Importance on 28 March 1977 when the (then) Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia joined the Convention on Wetlands. Ludas (pronounced « Ludash ») means lake of the geese, as this partly fresh, partly brackish shallow lake, bordered by extensive reedbeds and temporary wet grasslands, is providing habitat for wintering geese and breeding waterfowl.

During a one-day seminar at the newly built Ecocentre in the nearby 19th century spa and lake resort of Palic, featuring some outstanding Hungaro-Austrian Secession architecture, invited speakers from Serbia, Hungary and Croatia presented their contributions to the themes rehabilitation and restoration of wetlands, nature conservation and the development of small regions, and strategies for the development of the Kires-Ludas region. The Ramsar Bureau, represented by its Regional Coordinator for Europe, expressed its congratulations for the significant anniversary and the many efforts undertaken locally and nationally to conserve and manage this important Ramsar Site in the best possible way. The site has an important potential for nature tourism, as tested by successful youth camps over the last few summers. Integrating nature conservation and local economic development remains a main priority for this country in political and economic transition.

On the second day, a round table discussion in Subotica town hall, famous for its Transsylvanian Secession -style architecture and interiors, debated the importance of regional and local cooperation in nature conservation, prior to the opening of a special exhibit on Ludas lake, its history, ecology and people. A trilingual (Serbian, Hungarian, English), 112-page monograph on Ludas Llake was also published on the occasion of this anniversary.

The Ramar Bureau wishes the local authorities, the managers of the site, and the local NGOs involved in awareness and education activities all the best for their future work. This will also have to include enhancing the water quality of the lake by controlling the intrants. Hopefully much cooperation with neighbouring Hungarian and Croatian Ramsar Site manages of Kiskunsag and Fertö National Parks and Kopacki Rit Nature Park can provide the necessary support and transfer of know-how.

The Eco-Centre in Palic lakeside resort where the seminar took place on 27 March 2002, built recently but inspired by Transsylvanian traditional folk art and architecture (notice the wooden peacock and hens on the roof).

A Secession-style fountain, celebrating Palic and Ludas lakes biodiversity through sculptures of a catfish (not visible on the back), duck and coot (right).

Modern folk art, three water spirits, made of local reed, otherwise locally used for thatching.

A specific composition of lake music was performed during the opening of the exhibit and launch of the Ludas lake monograph in Subotica town hall.

A traditional farmhouse on lake Ludas shore, now transformed in an ethnographical museum and serving as an inn for ecotourists.

One of lake Ludas' park rangers getting ready for a monitoring and surveying boat trip.

-- reported by Tobias Salathé, Ramsar

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