Ramsar Areas

The Ramsar Convention (The Convention on Wetlands) refers to the conservation of wetlands of international importance, especially as waterfowl habitats. It was named after the Iranian city of Ramsar where it was adopted on February 2, 1971, and ratified by the SFR Yugoslavia in 1977 (Decree on the Ratification of the Convention on wetlands of international importance, especially as waterfowl habitats, "Official Gazette of SFRY No. 9/1977). To date, 2341 Ramsar areas, including 18 cross-border areas, with a total area of 252 489.973 ha have been designated in the territory of the 170 states, signatories of the Ramsar Convention. More information on the Ramsar Convention is available at https://www.ramsar.org/about-the-ramsar-convention и https://rsis.ramsar.org/.

The Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia has established a preliminary list of 68 potential Ramsar areas in Serbia. So far, 10 areas of international importance have been designated, covering a total area of 63.919 ha. Đerdap National Park has been in the process of nominating and gaining Ramsar status since 2013.

Ramsar areas in Serbia: https://www.ramsar.org/wetland/serbia
Tabela Ramsarska podrucja

Ramsar areas in Serbia

Karta RAMSARska podrucja
National Park "Đerdap" - Ramsar area in the nomination process

The boundaries of the proposed Ramsar Area "Đerdap" include the "Đerdap" National Park and the Internationally Important Bird Area (IBA) "Mala Vrbica", which is outside the boundaries of the National Park.

Major part of the wetland habitats are located in the upstream part of the Park and are the result of rising water levels upstream of the dam and of constant flooding of the surrounding areas. The Danube with the Đerdap gorge represents the migratory path of many migratory bird species, and the Mala Vrbica site stands out because of its importance, which is why it is included in the List of Internationally Important Bird Areas (IBAs), areas defined within world-wide programs of the BirdLife International.

The Đerdap gorge is the largest and oldest penetrating river gorge in Europe, connecting the water basins of the west and east. It belongs to rare areas on our continent due to the large number of geological, paleontological, geomorphological, climatic, edaphic, floristic, phytocoenological, phytogeographical and faunistic characteristics, as well as cultural-historical and archeological phenomena. The Đerdap area is characterized by great complexity, differentiation and diversity of forest and shrub vegetation. The presence of 57 forest communities has been determined, of which as many as 40 communities have relict character.

A total of 1013 taxa of vascular flora have been recorded, accounting for just over a quarter of the entire Serbia's flora. The diversity of all faunal groups is remarkable. The mammal fauna consists of over 50 species, of which the rich bat fauna is particularly significant. About 23 species of amphibians and reptiles occur here, and the rich and diverse fauna of fish, most of which live in Lake Đerdap and the Danube, includes as many as 61 species. Of the insect fauna, the best researched is the butterfly fauna, which accounts for over 100 species, which is why the Đerdap is classified as Prime Butterfly Area (PBA). Among the wildlife, the richest is the bird fauna, which is represented by about 170 species, 110 of which are nesting birds. Due to the diversity of the ornithofauna and the presence of rare, threatened and species important for protection, the area of the Đerdap National Park is included in the List of Important Birds Areas (IBAs).

Ramsar area "Vlasina"

Vlasina was first designated as the Landscape of Outstanding Features in 2006 as a protected area of I (first) category of exceptional importance, while it has been on the list of Ramsar areas since 2007. The diversity and specificity of the Vlasina area biotope caused the great diversity of flora, vegetation, fauna and ecosystems, which are characterized by a high degree of representativeness, autochthony and authenticity of natural characteristics. The area is home to many protected wildlife species and natural-history phenomena of floating peat islands with highly specialized biocenoses.

The importance of this area from the aspect of nature conservation is a high degree of biodiversity and the presence of wild species of importance for conservation, so it has been included in the internationally Important Plant Areas (IPAs), as well as in the internationally Important Bird Areas (IBAs), whereas a part of the area is within the Prime Butterfly Area (PBA).

One of the most important reasons for the protection of Vlasina Lake is its rich wildlife. The fauna of the Vlasina area, despite endured changes through centuries of anthropogenic influences, contains significant elements of rare and endangered species. Among the 12 species of amphibians and 12 species of reptiles, the Vlasina area is of particular importance since three species of newts occur there in the same habitat: the smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris), the alpine newt (Ichthyosauria alpestris) and the southern crested newt (Triturus karelinii), which is considered extremely rare. The abundance of ornithofauna with 140 recorded bird species is one of the core values of the protected area. Particularly valuable is the ornithofauna of mires, wetlands and wet meadows, as well as numerous migratory bird species that use the large water surface of the lake for rest and feeding in late autumn and during winter. Of particular importance is the presence of globally endangered bird species, such as the ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca) and northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus). To date, 28 species of mammal fauna have been recorded in the Vlasina area, including rare and endangered European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) and otter (Lutra lutra), which are considered globally endangered, as well as European water vole (Arvicola terrestris), a species endangered at the national level.

The vascular flora of the Vlasina area consists of 956 taxa, while 219 plant taxa represent the flora of the Vlasina mires, excluding mosses. The flora of the mires is characterized by the presence of characteristic peat plants such as the purple marshlocks (Potentilla palustris), moor birch (Betula pubescens) and round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia). Vlasina mires are formed of a large number of peat bog associations, and of key importance for their formation is peat moss from the order Sphagnum.

Ramsar area "Peštersko polje" (Pešter plateau)

Pešter plateau was designated as a Special Nature Reserve in 2015, which is a protected area of the first (first) category of international and national, that is, exceptional importance. It has been included in the list of Ramsar areas since 2006. Special Nature Reserve "Peštersko polje" is a specific mosaic of well-conserved habitat types, mostly within wet and aquatic ecosystems, as well as surrounding dry, rocky and semi-natural habitats. The main types of aquatic and wetland habitats are non-forest mires, permanent river flows and seasonal freshwater marshes with inorganic soils. Recent vegetation is represented by pasture and meadow vegetation, which is why the whole area receives the characteristics of the so-called mountain steppe. The forest vegetation on Pešter is nowadays extremely degraded and reduced to smaller enclaves, which is directly conditioned by anthropogenic factors, since man has been present in these areas for centuries developing extensive livestock farming. However, there are indications that in the pre-agrarian epoch the Pešter plateau has been characterized by vast coniferous and mixed forests.

Investigations into the flora of Pešter plateau revealed the presence of 364 taxa of vascular plants, of which 14 are endemic to the Balkan Peninsula, 37 are rare and endangered plant taxa, whereas a specific trait of this area are plant species that are the representatives of the steppe flora, such as European feather grass (Stipa pennata), while Scorzonera purpurea is a steppe relic, which has been discovered for the first time in Serbia and in the Balkan Peninsula precisely in this area. Among the faunistic groups, a great diversity of 28 species of dragonflies (Odonata) has been recorded, which is almost a half of the dragonfly species that have so far been known in Serbia. The freshwater molluscs fauna accounts for as much as 10 species, of which 7 are new to Serbian fauna, while the freshwater snail fauna accounts for 15 species, 3 of which are new to Serbian fauna, and the species Bythinella pesterica is new to science as a stenoendemite of the Pešter plateau. The bird fauna diversity consists of more than 120 so far recorded, mostly nesting species, and the Pešter plateau is an important resting place on the migratory route of numerous migratory bird species. The breeding population of white storks (Ciconia ciconia), accounting for 10 pairs in the Pešter plateau, or up to 20 in the wider area, breeds at high altitudes over 1000 m, and is a rarity on a European scale. In Pešter often occur griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus), the largest breeding colony of which in Serbia is located in the canyon of the Uvac River, located about 30 km north of Pešter plateau. The reason for griffon vulture occurrence is the fact that the Pešter area, where extensive livestock farming is present, is a favorable source of food for them.

In accordance with its natural values, this area has been designated as the Internationally and Nationally Important Bird Area (IBA), the Internationally Important Plant Area (IPA), and the Prime Butterfly Area (PBA).

About the other 8 Ramsar areas in Serbia (Upper Danube Region, Kovilj-Petrovaradin marshes, Labudovo okno, Ludaš Lake, Obed pond, Slano Kopovo, Stari Begej - Carska bara and Zasavica), which are located in the territory of AP Vojvodina, you may find more information at: http://www.pzzp.rs/rs/sr/zastita-prirode/podrucja-od-medunarodnog-znacaja/podrucja-sa-medunarodnom-zastitom.html.