Serbia names two new Ramsar sites

29/01/2008


Danube marsh and southeastern Serbian reservoir added to the Ramsar List

The Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia, with the assistance of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, has designated two new Ramsar sites with the effective date of 20 November 2007 -- both nominations were announced at World Wetlands Day celebrations in Novi Sad in February 2007. Gornje Podunavlji (22,480 hectares, 45°45'N 018°57' E) is a marsh complex along the Danube River that is part of a natural unity with the Gemenc and Kopacki Rit Ramsar sites in Hungary and Croatia respectively. Vlasina (3,209 hectares, 42°42'N 022°21'E) comprises, along with the surrounding countryside, the reservoir Vlasinsko, which at the time of its creation in 1949 inundated what was thought to be the largest peat bog in the Balkans and one of the largest in Europe.

Serbia now has 8 Ramsar sites covering a total of 53,714 hectares. Brief descriptions of the sites were prepared by Ramsar's Monica Zavagli based on the Ramsar Information Sheets that accompanied the designations, joined by some photo pages prepared by the Institute, Gornje Podunavlji first, followed by Vlasina.

Gornje Podunavlji. 20/11/2007; Vojvodina; 22,480 ha; 45°45'N 018°57' E. Special Nature Reserve; Important Plant Area; IBA. A marsh complex along 36km of the Danube River, forming a natural unity with the Gemenc and Kopacki Rit Ramsar sites in Hungary and Croatia respectively. The site is a unique mosaic of aquatic, wetland, and terrestrial ecosystems and an important centre of ecosystem, species, and genetic diversity. A large number of rare and nationally or internationally threatened plant species and their communities are supported, as well as vulnerable habitats. This area is the habitat of rare plant species such as winter aconite Eranthis hyemalis, water violet Hottonia palustris, and mare's tail Hippuris vulgaris, an important spawning place and a migratory route of fishes, a nesting place of the white-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicilla and the black stork Ciconia nigra, as well as the habitat of the largest population of the red deer Cervus elaphus in Serbia. Especially rich ethnic and folkloric traditions converge in the area, which is a centre for traditional festivals. Hunting and commercial and sport fishing are well developed, and controled forestry is practiced within the site. The effects of previous drainage and irrigation works present a threat, as do eutrophication and invasive alien species. Ramsar site no. 1737. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Vlasina. 20/11/2007; Serbia; 3,209 ha; 42°42'N 022°21'E. Landscape of Outstanding Features; IBA. Comprises the Vlasinsko reservoir (created in 1949) and surrounding gently rolling hills, jagged shore, wet meadows, peat bogs, and the valley of the River Vlasina, along with two islands and several narrow and elongated peninsulas with many meadows and birch thickets, giving the site a characteristic and unique appearance. The peat island and peat bogs represent one of the most important refuges of the boreal flora in southern Europe in general. The site harbors many rare and threatened vegetal and animal species. More than 125 bird species are recorded, amongst them the endangered corncrake (Crex crex) which nests every year within the site and on sloping meadows of the surrounding mountains, as well as a colony of sand martins (Riparia riparia) with around 300 active nests, unique in this biogeographical region. Prior to creation of the reservoir, the Vlasinsko Blato, or peat bog, was considered the largest peat bog in the Balkans and one of the largest in Europe. There are 1,400 farming households in the area, but the human population is declining as in other mountainous areas of Serbia. Sport fishing and other recreation, as well as tourism, supplement small-scale farming. Ramsar site no. 1738. Most recent RIS information: 2008.


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