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FOURTH NATIONAL REPORT TO THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

2010


THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA

MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND SPATIAL PLANNING


TABLE OF CONTENTS





    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

4










1

OVERVIEW OF BIODIVERSITY, STATUS, TRENDS AND THREATS

7













1.1 Types of diversity

8




1.2 Species diversity

9




1.2.1 Endangered species

12




1.3 Ecosystem diversity

12




1.3.1 Forest area

15




1.4 Genetic Diversity

17




1.4.1 Agrobiodiversity

17




1.4.2 Other genetic resources

20




1.5 Threats to biodiversity

21




1.5.1 Climate Change Impact

23




1.5.2 Land change

25




1.5.3 Main threats to terrestrial and freshwater habitats

27




1.6 Main sectors pressures on biodiversity

30




1.6.1 Agriculture

30




1.6.2 Forestry

31




1.6.3 Fishery

32




1.6.4 Hunting

33










2

CURRENT STATUS OF NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN

34













2.1 Overview of programs, national biodiversity related strategies and action plans

35




2.2 National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans

37




2.2.1 Action Plans

38




2.3 Progress in Legislation and Policy

39




2.3.1 International Treaties and Activities

39




2.3.2 National Legislation in the Field of Nature Conservation

40




2.3.3 Biodiversity Related Legislation and Programmes

40




2.4 Conservation of habitat and ecosystem diversity

41




2.4.1 Protected areas

41




2.4.2 Ecological Networks and Internationally Important Areas

42




2.5 Protection of species

46




2.5.1. Red Books of Plants and Animals

47




2.6 Monitoring, Reintroduction Programmes, In situ and Ex situ conservation

47




2.7 Genetic resources management

50




2.8 Landscape conservation

50




2.9 Obstacles in Environment and Nature Conservation

52










3

SECTORAL AND INTER-SECTORAL INTEGRATION OF BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION

54













3.1 Environmental protection and EU integration 

54




3.2 Legal and institutional framework for environmental management

54




3.2.1 Funding Systems in Environment Protection

54




3.3 Integrating biodiversity conservation into relevant sectors

55




3.3.1 National legislation

55




3.4 Environmental protection in national strategic documents

56




3.5 Sectors in protection of environment and biodiversity

57




3.5.1 Agriculture

58




3.5.2 Forestry

62




3.5.3 Fishery

68




3.5.4 Hunting

69




3.5.5 Water resources Management

70




3.5.6 Energy

71




3.5.7 Mining and Industry

73




3.5.8 Tourism

75




3.5.9 Traffic

76










4

PROGRESS TOWARDS THE 2010 TARGETS AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STRATEGIC PLAN

78













4.1. Two successful stories as the best examples of the implementation of the CBD Targets

78




4.2 Progress towards the 2010 target of the CBD

81




APPENDIX I. INFORMATION CONCERNING THE REPORTING PARTY AND PREPARATION OF

NATIONAL REPORT

APP.I.1. Information Concerning the Reporting Party



APPENDIX II. A Draft of National Biodiversity Indicators

    APP.II.1.Indicators List used for the Report



APPENDIX III. References


Executive Summary
Serbia has been a Party to the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) since 2001. It is also a Party to other UN Conventions, and a member of the Council of Europe. As a Party to the CBD, Serbia is required to contribute to the achievement of the Convention’s three objectives at a national level. These three objectives which underpin the principles of sustainable development are: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources (Article 1 of CBD Convention text). Serbia has made several efforts, especially in the last decade, in order to protect the natural heritage that it is bestowed with. Such efforts also positively contribute to achieving the CBD’s objectives at a national level as further expounded of this report.
Production and gross domestic product drop during 1990ies (market break down, economic sanctions, impoverishment of population, high unemployment rate etc.) has significantly reduced capabilities for investment in environmental protection. Due to political and economical circumstances, these issues were neglected, but lately, Serbia is dedicated to reach the standards of the EU in terms of Biodiversity conservation and nature protection. Serbia has made a significant progress in protecting biodiversity through legislative and institutional framework, as well as by making some concrete steps in this respect.
System of financing environmental protection in the Republic of Serbia is decentralised and counts on dedicated funds, own resources, and budget resources. Other sources of financing include municipal budgets, industrial financial resources, public enterprises financial resources, and foreign financial aid. General characteristics of the system of financing environmental protection are the insufficiency of dedicated funds and decentralisation of financing sources, particularly from the private sector, as well as the lack of application of financial instruments such as long-term loans, securities, partnership between public and private sector, or investment in stocks.
Proportional investment of dedicated funds for environmental protection related to the realised gross domestic product (%) in 2001 and 2008 was 0.3%. Other countries in transition assign around 2% of GDP for environmental protection. The Fund for Environmental Protection was established in 2005, in keeping with the Law on Environmental Protection, for the purpose of securing financial resources for stimulation of environmental protection and improvement in the Republic of Serbia. The budget funds of the autonomous province and local governments are imposed. The most active donors and international financial institutions that provide financing of environmental protection include: the EU, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and bilateral donors.
Although Serbia ratified Convention on Biological Diversity in 2001, from 2001 to 2010, significant changes have taken place in the field of nature protection in the Republic of Serbia. It can be argued that almost all the most important global and regional conventions ratified by Serbia in the last 10 years.
After ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity, within a rather short period Serbia ratified most of the significant global and regional environmental conventions, adopting a new set of laws in the field of environmental and nature protection. Moreover, sub-regional and bilateral cooperation exists with several countries with the aim to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Significant positive changes have happened over the past several years in the area of harmonization of development policy and biodiversity protection. The Republic of Serbia has been implementing several international and regional conventions and agreements relevant to environmental protection field and biodiversity conservation.
Since the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is a new document there is no overview available of the progress made in the implementation of priority activities so far. The specific actions have already been taken and several operational objectives of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan are therefore already being implemented.
The following information provides a summary of the progress.


  • Convention on Biological Diversity has entered into force.

  • A number of environmental conventions on global, European and regional levels have been signed.

  • Several key laws in the area of environmental protection and sustainable development have been promulgated, which have all been harmonized with the appropriate EU directives

  • The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan have been drafted and are currently pending adoption.

  • Preparation for the mapping out of the National Strategy of Sustainable Utilization of Natural Resources and Goods has started.

  • The Law on Environmental Protection for the first time in our country predicted wider use of economic instruments in the area of environmental policy and sustainable development. One of the instruments is the establishment of the Fund for Environmental Protection.

  • Preparation of new Law on GMO is in progress and introduction of the procedure of Biosafety Clearing-House mechanism has started.

  • Institutional and organizational adjustments have been done, such as foundation of the Environmental Protection Agency

  • CORINE Land Cover 2000 has been developed in Serbia

  • Creating the terms for accessing to Natura 2000/Emerald Network,

  • Important areas of bird species diversity (IBA) have been identified for the purpose of implementing the Council Directive 79/409/ЕЕC, the Convention on Wetlands, the Bern and Bonn Conventions.

The main characteristic of the institutional framework today is a much better situation compared to 2004 when the first set of four EU Environmental Laws was adopted. Diversification and overlapping of duties and responsibilities within government institutions is still evident, although to a lesser degree. Significant positive changes have happened over the past several years in the area of harmonization of development policy and biodiversity protection. The new legal framework on environmental protection was introduced into the Republic of Serbia by a set of laws from 2004 (Law in Environmental Protection, Law on Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment, Law on Environmental Impact Assessment, and Law on Integrated Prevention and Control of Pollution), and it was significantly improved in 2009 by adopting the second set of laws (16) related to environmental protection which represent a major progression in coordination of regulations related to environmental protection with EU directives. Besides laws within the competence of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, laws and regulations issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Management also regulate activities in scope of biodiversity protection, particularly of use of forest, hunting, fishing and genetic resources for food and agriculture (Law on Food Safety, Law on Agriculture and Rural Development, Law on Animal Husbandry, Law on Protection of Rights of Plant Sort Cultivators, Law on Genetically Modified Organisms – all issued in 2009, as well as Law on Forest (2010) and Law on Hunting (2010).


Nature conservation is not a priority for the government as yet, although there are several great achievements in the implementation of nature legislation and policy documents. Also, the traditional obstacle is the economic pressure and the fact that nature conservation is mostly seen as a restrictive issue. Insufficient incorporation of biodiversity issues into sectoral strategies and programmes can be considered as another important obstacle and even if sometimes it has been incorporated, in reality it has been given low priority or has remained just as a declarative issue. According to the Spatial Plan of Serbia from 1996, it was envisaged that the special nature values should reach 10% of the total land area of the Republic by 2010. However, until present some 5.86% of the territory enjoys the status of protected area.
Main obstacles in Nature Conservation are:


  • Insufficient implementation of the environmental and nature protection legislation

  • Serbia has not as yet accessed to the International Agreement on Pan European Strategy for Biological and Landscape Diversity Conservation.

  • There are no scientifically proven data as yet (national flora, national vegetation, and national fauna) on the life existing in the territory of Serbia.

  • Lack of an integral Information system and the system of indicators for biodiversity monitoring

  • An inadequate spatial planning system and inefficient implementation of the spatial planning and urbanization system

  • Lack of efficient inter-sectoral cooperation in the field of protection of biodiversity and lack of integration of biodiversity protection in sectoral development policies

  • Insufficient staff in protected areas and municipalities, which would perform the activities related to the CBD requirements. Those problems are less represented at scientific institutions’ level.

  • Inefficient system and mechanisms for management of national parks, Ramsar areas, biosphere reserves, and other protected areas

  • Inadequate management of forest ecosystems and protected areas

  • Lack of adequate economic and financial instruments for nature protection and management of protected areas

One of the key challenges for Serbia is how to reconcile conservation and environmental considerations with economic development and economic interests and to achieve the real implementation of biodiversity principles in sectoral policies.



1. Overview of biodiversity, status, trends and threats
Serbia’s status as one of centers of biodiversity in Europe is to a high degree determined by its geological age, geomorphology, climate conditions and, in particular, by its role as refuge for a number of species during the glacial periods. Thus the Balkans and Pannonian regions of the country harbor numerous endemic-relic floral elements from previous geological ages. The data presented in “Biodiversity of Yugoslavia” (Stevanović and Vasić, 1995) have not been updated, although some information is available about certain taxa and ecosystems in the published literature, manuscripts or government databases.
Richness, diversity and endemic traits of Serbian flora are conditioned by great number of factors which acted globally in the area of Balkan Peninsula. Serbia hosts 39% of Europe's vascular plant species, 40% of Europe’s bryophyte flora, 51% of its fish fauna, 49% of reptiles and amphibians fauna, 74% of its bird fauna and 67% of all mammal species. Furthermore the country offers a resting place for many migratory species, including endangered ones. The total number of all species that live in Serbia represents 43.3% of all existing species in Europe
According to recent research, in the area of Balkans, the presence of 2600 endemic plant species is evident. Serbian territory represents the important center of endemic flora diversity of Balkan Peninsula. 287 species and subspecies of Balkans endemic taxa, which represent 8.06% of Serbian flora, are registered on Serbian territory and local endemics - 1.5% or 59 species. The number of Balkans endemic taxa is increasing in the direction from lowland regions of Vojvodina towards mountain to high-mountain areas. The basic type of endemism in Serbia is high-mountain endemism, which is also the case in the whole territory of Balkan Peninsula. The centers of endemic flora diversity are primarily, the high mountains Sar-planina, Prokletije, Koritnik ,Pastrik, Kopaonik, Stara planina and Suva planina. Whereas the lowland region of Serbia (Vojvodina) is dominated by agricultural landscape, the ramains of natural grasslands provide habitats for endemic species of Pannonian biogeographical region.


Figure 1.1: Number of endemic taxa (species and subspecies) in UTM network (50x50 km) on Balkan Peninsula
Having in mind that a lot of wildlife and plants found their habitat in this area during glaciations period in northern Europe, it is not surprising that Serbia has numerous relic species diversity as well.



    1. Types of diversity

Serbia is characterized by high genetic, species and ecosystem diversity.


Highland and mountain regions of Serbia, as a part of Balkan Peninsula, are one of the sub-centers of six European biodiversity centers. In addition, considering the wealth of its flora, Serbia is potentially one of the global centers of plant diversity.

Figure 1.2: Floristic richness in Serbia


Serbian flora comprises 3662 taxa at the level of species and subspecies, which lists Serbia among European countries with greatest floral diversity and the density of flora per unit area. These taxa are classified under 141 families and 766 genera. The richness and diversity of flora is especially distinguished in high-mountain regions of Serbia (above all on Kopaonik and Sar planina) and in canyon valleys and gorges (the canyon of Lazareva reka, Rugovo and the gorge of Sicevo or Sicevacka gorge). More than 1,300 plant communities have been described in Serbia.
The following biomes are found in Serbia: steppe (in the north of Vojvodina), deciduous forests (in the majority of lowland and central mountain regions), and taigas and tundra characteristic for northern Holarctica regions (found in high mountains). Serbia has a heterogeneous flora and fauna, which includes species that are widespread in distribution, as well as regional and local endemic species.

(See the picture above.)


The high biodiversity of Serbia is additionally influenced by the diverse climate vegetation zones, including a large number of extrazonal, intrazonal and azonal ecosystems, such as wetlands, peatlands, salty lands, and sands. During the ice age, the territory of nowadays Serbia provided numerous refugia (parts of a species’ range less influenced by climate change) for a number of species. As a result, the region is inhabited by many relic and endemic-relic species.
Genetic resources in Serbia are very rich and include a large number of autochthonous sorts and races of cultivated plant and animal species as well as microorganisms. Serbia is also rich in plant and animal genetic resources in agriculture as well, which are either maintained by traditional agricultural systems or in ex situ conditions.
1.2. Species diversity

Species diversity in Serbia is not well researched or documented, as evidenced by the review of data concerning the number of species within the five kingdoms of living species (Monera – prokaryotic organisms, Protista – includes all algae, protozoa, as well as water and slime moulds, Fungi – fungi, Plantae – plants and Animalia – animals):




  • There are no precise data on the number of prokaryotic species, i.e. species that belong to the Monera kingdom; 220 species of cyanobacteria, which belong to this kingdom, are listed for the territory of Serbia and Montenegro.

  • Diversity in Serbia of the most heterogeneous kingdom, Protista, is largely unknown. Limited information is available concerning the diversity of freshwater algae (1,400 species) and Rhizopoda – amoebas with shells (236 species). However, data on other protozoa groups is not available, nor are there data on water or slime moulds.

  • Also, there are no precise data on the number of Fungi kingdom. Although reports indicate that between 3,000 and 6,000 species of macromycetes exist in Serbia, only 625 have been described. According to the most recent data, 586 species of lichens are distributed in Serbia.

  • There are 3662 vascular species and subspecies in Serbia. These taxa are grouped in 141 families and 766 genera, which puts Serbia into a group of European countries with highest floristic diversity per area unit. According to the recent data, 400 species of moss are distributed in Serbia.

  • Data on species diversity within the Animalia kingdom in Serbia is known for roundworms (Nematodes) – 139 species, Anostraca, Notostraca and Conchostraca – 18 species, Amphipoda – 33 species, fish (Osteichthyes) – 110 species, amphibians (Amphibia) – 23 species, reptiles (Reptilia) – 25 species, birds (Aves) – 360 species and mammals (Mammalia) –100 species.

Table 1.1: Number of registered species in Europe and Serbia.(source “Biodiversity of Yugoslavia” Stevanović and Vasić, 1995 and SEPA)





Number of species in Europe

Number of Species in Serbia (inc. subs.)

Mamalia

250

100

Aves

700

360

Reptilia

150

25

Amphibia

70

23

Pisces

500

110

Invertebrates

90000

12000

Fungi

8000

625

Algae

~16000

1000

Lichens

1500

586

Bryophyta

1687

400

Spermatophyta and Pteridophyta




3662

According to available data, approximately 44,200 taxa (species and sub-species) have been officially registered in Serbia. Taking into account that many groups of organisms have not been adequately researched, experts assume that approximately 60,000 taxa may occur in Serbia.

Data indicate the presence of relatively high level of mammal diversity in Serbia. The mammal fauna preference for deciduous forests has been established as well as their preference for open and semi- open habitat, but in lower range.

BOX 1.1.

Case study- The population dynamics of the specified bird and butterfly species of woodland and farmland habitats

The indicator results are based on monitoring the population dynamics of the specified bird and butterfly species of woodland and farmland habitats in the period 1990-2003. The population dynamics of 43 bird species which are on the list of this indicator was monitored. All butterfly species (51 species) belong to the category of rare and threatened species in Serbia. Within this indicator, the monitoring also included the trend of the change of woodland and farmland habitat areas.
The greatest number of bird and butterfly species had stable populations in the study period. A significant phenomenon is the trend of increasing population density of a number of species (10 % butterfly and 19 % bird). About a third of the monitored bird and butterfly species had a decreasing population density.
The area of woodland habitats increased approximately by 3 %, while the area of farmland habitats was reduced approximately by 2 %.


Trends in birds and butterfly population in Serbia (1990-2003).




The analysis of the trend of bird populations on woodland and farmland habitats shows that the greatest number of species had stable populations (23). The trend of population increase occurred in both habitat types, but the population increase of farmland birds was greater. The trend of bird population decrease was present in both groups, but this trend was more emphasised for farmland birds (8 species) compared to the population of woodland, park and garden birds (4 species). For two species, the trend could not be determined, because the density of their populations fluctuated during the study period.



During the period 1980-2003 the woodland area increased. This trend, by all means, affected the population density of woodland, park and garden birds, so the greatest number of species had stable populations. The trend of farmland area change shows that this area decreased during the above mentioned period. Compared to woodland, park and garden birds, a lower number of farmland bird species had a stable population, but the intensity of population change was higher. In addition to a greater number of farmland bird species with a tendency of population decrease, several species significantly increased their density.
Based on the presented results, it can be concluded that woodland, park and garden birds had more stable populations compared to farmland birds, which can be related to the trend of habitat changes.

In the group of rare and threatened butterfly species, the monitoring results show that the greatest number of species (59 %) had a stable population in the analysed period. There was a decrease in population density in about a third of the monitored butterfly species. This phenomenon is especially characteristic of the species which inhabit both habitat types (woodland + farmland). This heterogeneous group also had the lowest number of species with stable populations.
The population density increased in only 5 butterfly species (10 %). Based on the change in habitat area, it is not possible to establish a clear correlation between the change of area and the population trend. It should be taken into account that and numerous factors disturb the habitats and have an adverse effect on the density of these populations. In addition, the population dynamics of the species is largely determined by the natural biological cycles. Butterflies have characteristic multiple annual cycles, with significant natural oscillations of the populations, specific for each species.



      1. Endangered species

The Red List of endangered species is the most comprehensive world inventory of plants and animals protection status. Using a range of established criteria, the Red List assesses risk of extinction for species and sub-species.

Serbia developed its first Red List in 1999 and it pertained to extinct and critically endangered plant species – The Red List of Serbian Flora 1 – Extinct and Critically Endangered Taxa. It contains 171 plant taxa (species and sub-species), which makes up about 5% of the total flora in Serbia. Out of that number, 4 taxa have been irreversibly lost from the world gene stock because they were endemic in Serbia and could only be found here; 46 taxa have been exterminated in Serbia, but they still can be found in neighbouring areas or in ex situ conditions (botanic gardens); 121 species are highly endangered, with high probability to disappear from our region in the near future or the world if they are not given appropriate attention.


Table 1.2: Threatened species according IUCN and SRBIUCN status





Number of species

IUCN

SRB IUCN

Mammals

100

11

8

Aves

360

11

117

Reptilians

25

3

13

Amphibians

23

0

14

Pisces

110

12

12

Insects*




8

79

The second Red Book was published in 2003 and it pertains to Serbian butterflies Lepidoptera: Hesperioidea and Papilionoidea. This book contains the analysis of 57 species of butterflies that make up 34% of the butterfly fauna in Serbia. Besides the extinct Fenton’s Wood White (Leptidea morsei), the most endangered ones include Alpine Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus andromedae), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Eastern Dappled White (Euchloe ausonia), Almond-eyed Ringlet and Yellow-spotted Ringlet (Erebia alberganus and Erebia manto), Apollo (Parnassius Apollo), Danube Clouded Yellow (Colias myrmidone), Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia) and Purple Emperor (Apatura iris), False Heath Fritillary (Melitaea diamina) and Lesser Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis ino).




    1. Ecosystem diversity

We can find almost all characteristic terrestrial biomes of Europe within the territory of Serbia, which include four of twelve terrestrial biomes of the world:

  • Zonobiome of deciduous (broadleaf) forests. In Serbia, this zonobiome is mostly found in the form of oak and beech forests;

  • Steppe zonobiome – with muckland as zonal soil and steppe (in Serbia mostly with forest-steppe) vegetation;

  • Zonobiome (orobiome) of conifer boreal forests – in mountain climate of western, south-west and south-east parts of Serbia;

  • Zonobiome (orobiome) of highland “tundra” – in Alpine climate of Serbian highlands.

There is a range of cross and mutual impacts between these zonobiomes that occur due to geographic, petrographic and orographic characteristics of Serbian territory. A large majority of Serbia is of a highland nature, characterized by a low level of economic development, low population density and explicit depopulation processes. The specific bio-geographic position and natural features of the area, historical florogenesis and faunogenesis processes, as well as socio-economic phenomena and processes, have played important roles in the evolution of a rich biological diversity and the current relative ecological intactness of the region.


Serbian ecosystem diversity may primarily be observed through vegetation diversity and specificities, i.e. plant communities, which is the basic structural and productional component of all land ecosystems. Natural potential vegetation map of Serbia presents an “ecosystem mosaic” composed of forests, shrubs, meadows, swamps, marshes and lakes. The territory of Serbia is characterized by a diversity of habitats, hence diversity of biocenose, which makes this area a significant European centre of ecosystem diversity.
Basic types of zonal ecosystems in Serbia are:


  • Ecosystems of thermopile sub-Mediterranean deciduous forests of Oriental Hornbeam and Hop hornbeam forests (Ostyo-Carpinion orientalis);

  • Ecosystems of mesophile deciduous forests of Sessile Oak, Hornbeam and Beech (clusters of Carpinion betuli and Fagion moesiacum);

  • Ecosystems of thermopile deciduous oak forests of central and eastern parts of Balkan Peninsula (Quercion frainetto);

  • Ecosystems of thermopile deciduous forests in forest-steppe area of north-east parts of Serbia (Aceri tatarici-Quercion);

  • Ecosystems of xerophile steppes (Festucion rupicolae)

  • Ecosystems of hygrophile lowland Pedunculate Oak forests (Alno-Quercion roboris)

  • Ecosystems of frigophile conifer forests of boreal type (Vaccinio-Piceion);

  • Ecosystems of frigophile conifer forests of Balkan endemorelict pines (clusters of Pinion peucis and Pinion heldreichii);

  • Ecosystem sub-Alpine shrubs vegetation (Pinion mugo and Vaccinion uliginosi);

  • Ecosystems of Alpine mountain glades, pastures and rocky habitats (classes of Festuco-Seslerietea and Juncetea trifidii)



Distribution of Vegetation Classes in Serbia

Diversity and specificity of Serbian ecosystems may be observed through an overview of basic vegetation types:




  1. Forests and shrubs (i.e. woody) vegetation

  • Forests: broadleaf deciduous forests; mixed deciduous – conifer forests; conifer forests;

  • Shrubs: broadleaf deciduous shrubs vegetation;

  • Conifer shrubs vegetation; mixed shrubs-herbaceous type of vegetation.

  1. Herbaceous vegetation

  • Land herbaceous vegetation: meadows, pastures and continental rocky habitats; continental rocks, sands and halophytic habitats; highland glades, rock creeps, screes and seams; rocks and cliffs; highland snow deposits and other similar places;

  • Aquatics herbaceous vegetation;

  • Anthropo-dependant and anthropo-conditioned forms of herbaceous vegetation.

It has been registered 1200 vegetation communities and 500 sub-associations classified in 59 vegetation classes in Serbia. Great number of these communities is of endemic-relic character, especially those that can be found in gorges, canyons, peat bogs and high-mountain areas.


Serbian ecosystems are characterized by the presence of endemic and relic plant associations. The majority of associations with endemic characteristics are found within rocky areas, mountain glades and rock creeps. The following ecosystems are also significant for biological diversity protection: thermopile serpentine stone grounds, Pannonian salty grounds, mountain peatland, high greenery, mountain mezophile meadows, which include a large number of endemic species. Particular values of Serbian ecosystems are forests and shrub communities with endemic woody plants. The following forests are particularly important: spruce forests (Piceion omorikae), Fritillaria gracilis (Pinion heldreichii), Pinus peuce (Pinion peucis), Greek maple (Aceretum heldreichii, Aceri-Fagetum type), polidominating forests with Pancicev acer (Acer intermedium) and hazelnut seedlings (Fago-Corylenion colurnae), lilac shrubland (Syringion) and others.
Most important local and regional centers of ecosystem diversity in Serbia are primarily the following mountains: Kopaonik, Tara, Sar planina, Prokletije, Stara planina, Suva planina and others. It is also necessary to mention important refuge areas, such as canyons and gorges: Djerdapska gorge, Sicevacka gorge, Drina canyon, as well as river valley of Pcinja in southern Serbia and other areas with large numbers of endemic, relic and endemic-relic plant communities. Specific centers of ecosystem diversity, located in Vojvodina must be stressed here, with their continental sand, steppe and halophytic communities, which are found only in a few areas: Deliblato and Suboticko-Horgoska sands (Deliblatska and Subotičko-Horgoška peščara), “mosaic” salty grounds in Banat and Backa.

1.3.1. Forest area
The lowest parts of Serbia, primarily the Pannonian Basin and valeys along major rivers of Danube basin are characterised by fragments of more or less well preserved forests which belong to alliance of Salicion albae and Populion albae (forests of poplar and willow). Here are included flood Pannonian forests with the domination of poplars, willows, common oak and ash. Oak forests in other regions of Serbia are formed of various oak species present on the Serbian territory. Those various oak species are classified as two complex-the complex of xerothermophile cerris and other type of forests and the complex of xeromesophile petraea, cerris and hornbeam type of forests. Beech forests are spread on almost the half of entire forest grown areas in Serbia and they spread above oak forest storey in hill and mountain parts of country. Those are mesophile forest communities in mountain belt, at the height of 500 to 1000 metres. Mountain beech forests at higher altitudes change into mixed-type communities of beech and fir. Spruce forests are spread in mountain, that is in high-mountain areas, along with sub-alpine beech. The highest sub-alpine forest vegetation storey is the habitat of special sorts of conifer, Mountain Pine, Bosnian Pine and Macedonian Pine.

Broadleaf forest are in majority of 2 068 418 ha or 91,27% of forests (29,66% country territory), mixed-type forests follow with its 116 118 ha or 5,12% of forests (1,5% territory) and finally coniferous forests with 81 797 ha or 3,61% of forests (1,05% territory).


Mountain meadows and pastures spread on inter-forest surfaces (hill and hill-mountain areas) or above forest zone in high mountains.

Figure 1.3: Forest types in Serbia.

According to CORINE Land Cover for 2006, forest area in Serbia is about 2 880 000 ha or 32% of territory.

Figure 1.4: Broadleaf, coniferous and mixed forests in Serbia. *CLC 2006.


In comparison with year 1953, forest area in Central Serbia and Vojvodina Province increased by about 1 000 000 ha or by 75%. Numbers of factors like increase in habitants, industrialization, intensive agriculture, wars, crises, etc influenced the decrease of forest area in past 200 years. The lowest level of forest area was in the period 1885-1953, which was the period of major wars waged in Serbia but also the period of most intensive industrialization. Forest area per capita in Central Serbia in 2006 is 0.42 m3, which is more than in 1938 (0.32 m3) but still the less than in 1905 (0.56 m3).


Figure 1.5: Forest area changes in Serbia (without Kosovo and Metohija).
Forested landscape is to a certain degree different category from forest land. Forest landscape include all types of forest land according to CORINE Land Cover (broadleaf, coniferous and mixed forests), but also the part of mixed forest-shrubs vegetation (about 50 %) and mixed forest agricultural land (about 33 %).Those partially fragmented forests are not consistent in an ecosystem sense, but they have an important imission capacity and at the same time can give landscape the richness of habitat.



    1. Genetic Diversity

Genetic stock in the Republic of Serbia is very rich and it contains the great number of sorts and species of autochthonous populations of native plants and animals. The program of agrobiodiversity conservation which assumes ex-situ program of conservation of living and frozen plant and animal samples, germs, plant parts in the culture of tissues etc., has actively been conducted in Serbia over the last decade. (This is also the program of establishing the national bank of genes, in cooperation with scientific and expert institutions in the area of agriculture, as well as the in-situ program of conservation of rare or under threat of extinction living samples of plants and animals).
In Serbia, there are over 1200 sorts of agricultural plants: ca. 80 annual and perennial, over 740 cereals, over 170 industrial plants, over 70 sorts of forage crops, over 120 vegetable sorts, over 40 fruit sorts, over 50 grape vine sorts and 6 sorts of horticultural and medicinal plants.
In Serbia over 700 species of medicinal plants are known, out of which some 400 are officially registered and 280 are the subject of trade. One hundred and fifty two plant species are legally protected from use and trade and these species are the subject of collecting control. In the forest sector, 282 species of trees and shrubs are of economical importance. In addition, it should be noted that there is a large potential of plants (ca. 180 melliferous species) and ecosystems for honey production and as habitats for pollinators that are used in agriculture.


1.4.1 Agrobiodiversity
Based on the data contained in the Draft Programme of Rural Development (2008-2013), significant presence of more than 44 autochthonous and exotic breeds of domestic animals has been noted in Serbia (7 breeds of horse, 1 breed of donkey, 8 breeds of cows, 3 breeds of goats, 5 breeds of sheep, 18 breeds of pigs and several breeds of poultry). Between 400 and 500 of agricultural husbandries and associations own endangered species. The FAO information system for domestic animals diversity (DAD-IS) contains information about the presence of more than 100 breeds and sorts of domestic animals on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.
The following autochthonous breeds of domestic animals have survived in Serbia: podolac cow; busha; domestic ox; domestic mountain horse; nonius, domestic Balkan donkey, mangulica, moravka, resavka, pramenka (svrljiska, sjenicka, pirotska, karakacanski, krivovirski, bardoka, baljusa, vlaska vitoroga, lipska sheep), cigaya (cokanski type), domestic Balkan goat, domestic chicken (Sombor kaporka, naked-neck chicken, Svrljig chicken, Eastern-Serbian chicken), domestic turkey, domestic guineafowl, domestic goose (status of Sombor goose, Novi Pazar goose and Podunvska goose is unknown), domestic duck. Autochthonous sort of bee, Apis melifera carnica, is also important with its varieties, which is one of most valuable sorts of honeybees in the world, according to its characteristics.

Species

Race

Sort

Population size 2003

Population size 2009

Number of locations

Trend

Horse

Domestic mountain horse




25

61

5



Nonius




50

71

6



Donkey

Balkan donkey




no data

53

5



Cow

Busha




100

290

9



Podolac




150

228

3



Ox

Domestic ox




150

48

5



Pig

Mangulica




350

402

9



Moravka




100

56

4



Resavka




30

19

2



Sheep

Pramenka

Krivovirski

350

261

2



Pirotski

500

-

-



Lipski

100

204

2



Metohijski (bardoka)

no data

55

2



Karakacanski (kucovlaški)

35

43

3



Vlasko vitorogi




250

3



Cigaya

Cokanski

550

400

3



Goat

Balkan




no data

210

3



Chicken

(black) Svrljig




300









Sombor kaporka




300

227

2



Naked-necked




500

704

3



Table 1.3: Autochthonous breeds and sorts of domestic animals included in the Program of allocation and use of incentives

for conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources in 2008


* These are official data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, but the number of some breeds and sorts is higher in reality; however, these heads have not been reported to the Ministry

Great number of cultures grown in Serbia has its wild types which grow wild in natural eco-systems.


The presence of 122 wild fruit species classified in 23 families and 38 genera within natural and primarilly forest eco-systems, has been stated in Serbia. In autochthonous Serbian flora there are progenitor species of apples (Malus silvestris, Malus florentina and Malus dasyphyla), pears (Pirus communis, Pirus amygdaliformis), plums (Prunus cerasifera, Prunus spinosa), sweet cherries (Prunus avium), cherries (Prunus fruticosa), wallnuts (Juglans regia), some sorts of almond (Prunus amygdalis), nuts (Corylus avellana), chestnut (Castanea sativa), raspberries (Rubus ideus), gooseberries (Rubes glossularia), red currant (Ribes petraeum, Ribes multiflorum), strawberries (Fragaria vesca, Fragaria viridis, Fragaria moschata) and others. It is a realistic assumption that the territory of Serbia is the primary genetic center of the greatest number of fruit sorts cultivated nowadays, the indicator of which being their major presence in natural and primarilly forest ecosystems.
Among domesticated members of Canidae family, Sharplaninac or Illyrian Shepherd Dog represents the autochthonous breed with exceptional qualities concerning courage and shepherd instinct. Serbian Tricolour Hound and Posavaz Hound are also important autochthonous breeds, their characteristic being very well developed hunting instinct.
The genetic stock of autochthonous microorganism types is of special importace and of unmeasurable potential for application in medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, food industry and other industry sectors.

      1. Other genetic resources

In addition to cultivated plant types, overall agrobiodiversity of Serbia also includes wild plant species that represent important components of food production and agriculture (forage crops, medical and aromatic herbs, decorative plants, honey plants, wild fruit). Various agro-ecosystems (arable farms, orchards, vineyards, meadows, pastures, brink and ruderal habitats) and components thereof, including weed flora and vegetation also contribute to overall agrobiodiversity of Serbia.


The diversity of species that dwell in natural fields (meadows and pastures) has not been well studied or estimated, but number of species within the described 273 plant associations has been estimated at more than 1,000. Total number of medical and aromatic plant species of our flora is about 700, out of which 420 have officially been registered. 280 of these are traded as commodities. Honey plants are primarily found in meadow, forest and agro-ecosystems, and their number in our country has been estimated at approximately 1,800. In most general sense, flora of agrobiodiversity includes weed and ruderal plants as agro-ecosystem components. The studies conducted to date on weed flora diversity in Serbia reveal that the number of weed species represents 28% of the total flora (more than 1,000 species).
Within forest genetic resources, in addition to the natural rarities, great importance is given to wild fruit species. Eighty-eight species of wild fruit have been identified within the natural forest associations of Serbia, 12 of which are endangered species.
Among genetic resources of medical and aromatic herbs, greatest importance is given to genetic diversity of commercially important species (chamomile, mint, sage, hypericum, yarrow, oregano, bearberry, valerian, plantain, primula, etc.), as well as to sorts of limited areals and to those that are for some reason endangered. Looking at the genetic resources of medical and aromatic herbs and the need for their conservation, coordinated monitoring activity, which would look into the status of their populations, has not been implemented for a long time, while general conservation strategy at national and international levels have not been developed yet. This is one of the main reasons for the recommendation related to establishment of ECPGR Working Group for Medical and Aromatic Herbs (1999).

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