About the Institute

Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia is a professional institution that carries out activities on protection and improvement of the natural heritage of Serbia. The Institute was founded on April 30th 1948 as the Institute for Protection and Scientific Research in Natural Rarities of the People's Republic of Serbia.

The establishment of the Institute occurred upon the adoption of certain legal acts in the field of nature conservation, such as the Law on the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of the Democratic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1945, as well as after a series of discussions, planning and analyses of different ecological problems and general condition of living and non-living nature in Serbia after World War II. The work of professor and academician Siniša Stanković was a particular stimulus to institutional organization in the field of ecology. The activities of the most important institutions in Serbia in the field of nature conservation, such as the Natural History Museum, The Institute of Ecology and Biogeography of the Biological Group at The Faculty of Science, The Faculty of Forestry and others contributed to the establishment of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia.

Shortly after establishing the Institute, the first legal acts on protection were adopted, which regulated complex issues. Following the suggestion made at the Natural History Museum, the reserve "Ostrozub" was protected, primarily due to the presence of stenoendemic and relict species of cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus). The first act on protection was issued at the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia in 1949, which referred to the protection status of waterfalls Velika Ripaljka and Mala Ripaljka on Ozren Mt. This was the way to protect the living and non-living things in nature in this initial period of the application of Law, which expressed the unity and uniqueness of Serbian nature.

In the first years of the Institute`s work, the activities on protection were conducted by a team of three experts. In the years to follow, the Institute was constantly developing as an institution, diverting its activities to the protection of areas too, and not exclusively to the protection of natural rarities, as it was initially determined. By developing its human resources, organizational and infrastructural capacities, the Institute has developed into today's Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia.

The current organization and scope of the Institute`s activities were established on April 1st 2010 by the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, according to which the Institute consisted of the headquarters in Belgrade and the Office in Niš. The unit of the Institute in Novi Sad was transformed into the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province. This Institute is responsible for nature conservation on the territory of Vojvodina Province.

On May 9th, 2018, at the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Belgrade, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia marked 70 years of work and institutional protection of nature in Serbia. In the same year, the Institute marked another significant jubilee - 20 years of work of the Office in Niš, which expanded the organizational network of our country`s natural heritage institutional protection.

The work of the Institute is organized within five Departments, two Sections and one Group, with the Director as the Head of the Institute. The Departments are: the Department of Natural Areas, Landscape Values and Spatial-Planning Documents, the Department of Geodiversity, the Department of Biodiversity, Ecological Networks and Sustainable Development, the Department of Legal Affairs, Human Resources and Administration and the Department of Finance. The multi professional character of the team of Institute`s associates corresponds the diversity of activities performed at the Institute. In 2019 the Institute has 68 employees, of which 57 at the headquarters in Belgrade and 11 at the Office in Niš. Out of total number of employees, 42 possess university degrees.

Besides field research, the projects on biodiversity and geodiversity conservation and other activities on nature protection, there is an information system at the Institute regarding nature protection data, the data base of protected natural areas and the diverse volumes of professional publications in the library which has open access. The Institute also publishes the journal "Nature Conservation", issues other printed and electronic publications and organizes educational programs, promotional activities, etc.

During several decades of the Institute`s work, special attention has always been given to the development of cooperation with international organizations and institutions, scientific and professional institutions, managers of protected areas in other countries, as well as the offices of international conventions, with the aim of exchanging experience and knowledge in the field of nature conservation and application of contemporary international principles and standards within the strategy of nature conservation in Serbia.

The Institute is a member of several major international organizations dealing with conservation: International Union for Conservation of Nature - IUCN, Europarc Federation and the European Association for the Conservation of the Geological Heritage - ProGEO. Much attention is paid to the initiation and development of cooperation with state-owned, professional and other organizations and institutions in Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and the Republic of Srpska within federal Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Institute is also involved in the work of ENCA - The European Nature Conservation Agency Heads Network, UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, UNESCO MaB Program (Man and Biosphere), and has cooperation with PROWILDLIFE organisation from Germany and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The Institute participates in the implementation of ratified international conventions, such as Ramsar Convention, Bern Convention, Bonn Convention, CITES Convention and European Landscape Convention.

Within cooperation with organizations and institutions in other countries, the Institute has participated in the implementation of a series of projects by which Serbian nature is included in a global system of protection, such as the project "Establishment of the Emerald Network in South East Europe" and "Emerald Network in Serbia", "Protection of biodiversity of the Sava river basin floodplains", "European Green Belt", "Dinaric Arc Initiative", as well as the project of establishment of the Biosphere Reserve "Golija-Studenica" in 2001, the first protected area in Serbia within UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program (MaB). The Institute also participated in the process of nominating parts of Serbian National Parks Fruška Gora, Tara and Kopaonik for the enlarged UNESCO List of Natural World Heritage Sites, precisely for the property named "Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe". This property represents a transboundary property of the world natural heritage, currently stretching across 12 European countries. The Institute has also been involved in the activities on the nomination of National Park Đerdap (Iron Gate) for the European and Global Geoparks Network, with the support of Serbian Ministry of Environmental Protection and the UNESCO. In addition, the Institute is actively involved in the work of the MaB SubCommittee.