NAME AND TYPE OF PROTECTED NATURAL AREA

Special Nature Reserve "Jerma"

NATIONAL CATEGORY

Protection category Ι – protected area of international, national, that is, of exceptional importance

AREA

6.994 ha 40 a 77 m2

PROTECTION REGIMES

Protection degree I, II and III

MUNICIPALITY

Babušnica, Dimitrovgrad and Pirot

LEGAL PROTECTION IN THE PAST

The area of Jerma has for the first time been protected by the Decision on the protection of the Special Nature Reserve "Jerma" ("Official Gazette of RS", No. 55/2008 of May 27th, 2008)

LEGAL ACT ON PROTECTION

Decree on the designation of the Special Nature Reserve "Jerma", No. 05 110-8903/2014-1 ("Official Gazette of RS", No. 101/2014)

MANAGING ENTITY

PE "Srbijašume"

SHORT DESCRIPTION (THE MAIN NATURAL AND CREATED VALUES)

This protected natural area is located in southeastern Serbia and includes the massifs of Greben and Vlaška mountains, as well as a major part of the Jerma river basin (a tributary of the Nišava river). Special Nature Reserve "Jerma" is a unique complex of valleys and limestone gorges with imposing cliffs over 700 m high, and with numerous caves, pits, karst valleys, sinkholes and hummocks. The entire area is dominated by the 1032 m high Asenovo kale limestone massif.
Jerma is characterised by exceptional floristic and phytocenological diversity, ecosystems and a large number of endemic, endemo-relict, rare and endangered species. Of the 901 plant species recorded so far in this reserve, 77 belong to the group of endemites and sub-endemites (Pulsatilla montana subsp. bulgarica, Centaurea nyssana, Parietaria serbica, Corydalis pirotensis, Parietaria serbica, Eryngium serbicum, etc.).
Among animal species, 110 bird species, 25 mammal species, 11 amphibian and reptile species, 9 species of fish, 181 species of butterflies, 27 species of "true" weevils, 2 species of pseudoscorpios and other invertebrates have been recorded in the protected area. Of particular importance is the presence of a number of rare or endangered protected bird and mammal species. Jerma is also inhabited by 44 bird species of international and 52 species of national importance, some of which are permanent, while others occasionally occur. The most important nesting birds in terms of conservation are the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the long-legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus), the rock partridge (Alectoris graeca), corn crake (Crex Crex), the Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) and others. Among the protected mammals, the most important are endangered species of bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum. R. hipoposideros, Myotis myotis), otters (Lutra lutra) and lynx (Lynx lynx). In the protected area also occur two endemic pseudoscorpios (Roncus sotirovi and Roncus strachor) and two endemic cave invertebrates (Serboilus lucifugus and Hiloniscus sp.), the protection of which is of particular national importance.
A special kind of attractiveness is given to the exceptional landscape diversity and beauty by the pronounced geomorphological forms, numerous speleological sites, but also by the interesting and important hydrographic phenomena and processes. The values of hydrographic-hydrological phenomena are expressed in the diversity of groundwaters and surface waters, karst springs and thermo-mineral waters of specific composition.
Cave Vetrena dupka (with canals about 4000 m long) and karst pit Pešterica (160 m deep) are particularly important speleological sites in this area. In the gorge near the village of Poganovo is a monastery with the church of St. John the Theologian, which was built during the fourteenth century, at the time of the Serbian medieval state.