Geoheritage of Serbia
The protection and conservation of Serbian geoheritage represent the significant part of the contemporary concept of nature conservation. The term geoheritage includes natural areas with dominant geological, geomorphological, pedological and archeological characteristics.
Geoheritage of Serbia has been protected since the establishment of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, which was confirmed by the Decrees on protection of natural geoheritage sites, passed in the 50’s of the 20th century (Velika and Mala Ripaljka, Prebreza, Resavska Cave). At that time, there were individual initiatives of the respectable experts in this field, whereas the systematical selection of geoheritage sites, their evaluation and proposals for protection, began in the mid - 90’s, when the distinguished experts in all geo-disciplines also took part. During multi-decade work, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia developed the network of protected sites all over of the Serbian territory, thus making geo-heritage inextricably bound to all natural values.
A new step forward in this field was made by establishing international associations dealing with identification and presentation of geo-heritage sites, such as European Association for the Conservation of Geological Heritage (ProGeo), which member is Serbia too. By establishing the National Council of Geological Heritage (former National Council of Serbia, in 1995, and then National Council of Serbia and Montenegro, in 2002), the unique policies of geoheritage protection were created in Serbia.
National Council of Geological Heritage, at the initiative of ProGeo, became in charge of these activities organization and formed 16 working groups for each geoheritage category, obliged to draft the Inventory of Serbian Geoheritage Sites and the lists of geoheritage sites of priority for conservation, determined according to the Inventory.
The Inventory of Serbian geoheritage sites includes approximately 650 geological, paleontological, geomorphological, speleological and neotectonic sites. The Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia has so far protected approximately 80 geoheritage sites, mostly those of speleological character. In cooperation with National Council of Geological Heritage, the Faculty of Mining and Geology, the Faculty of Geography and other institutions dealing with Earth researches, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia established a network of cooperation, promotion and popularization of Serbian geological heritage. At the time when Serbia presided the Working Group of ProGeo for South East Europe (ProGEO WG1) in 2004, the second international scientific conference on geological heritage of Serbia was organized, which was of great scientific and professional importance for determining the state of geological heritage in Serbia. Within promotional activities to raise public awareness on the values of geological heritage sites, study trips (GEO-trips), excursions, an international students’ camp, educational geo-trail in the National Park "Tara" and other similar activities were organized.
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