|Town/Region||Zdrelo, Vratna, Miljkovacka Klisura, Crni Rzav, Beli Rzav, Veliki Rzav, Gorge of Lim, Svrljiska Klisura, Vlaski Dol|
|Date||22 Mar 2012|
Limestone gorges in W and E Serbia are very important habitats for numerous plant and animal species. Small numbers of these sites are protected under national legislation as nature reserves or are recognized as sites of international importance (IPAs, PBAs, and IBAs). The majorities of gorges are not explored and stay hidden from scientific community and general public. Therefore, it is of greatest importance to gather quantitative and qualitative data on habitats and species distribution, numbers and trends, as well as possible conservation threats. Several large gorges and river ecosystems in Serbia have been devastated in past by hydropower plant construction. It is well documented that this caused serious changes of sensitive ecosystems, biodiversity loss and uncontrolled infrastructural development. In the ever-growing demand for energy and resources Serbian Government and large companies nowadays target gorges and natural river flows as potential sites for energy production. The numerous planned new hydropower plants would severely impact these intact habitats with very high conservation value.
Nature conservation NGOs and independent experts in Serbia have a major role in collecting, processing and presenting relevant scientific data to governmental and EU institutions, various stakeholders and general public. NGO data often very much differs from official governmental data which indicates lack of interest of state institutions for efficient nature conservation, misuse of existing data and high level of influence by political and business sectors. This project aims at providing a reliable information base to exclude ecologically valuable habitats from harmful infrastructural developments, such as hydropower plant construction. This will be done by surveying into detail 10 unexplored gorges in W and E Serbia, data publication and media campaign. All of these activities will greatly contribute to raising ecological awareness of the general public, especially of local communities. This will play a key part of the conservation of limestone gorges in Serbia. By informing and working together with the local communities we will help them to realize the importance of limestone gorges in Serbia and the ecosystem services that they can provide. We are sure that we will gain their support in the preservation of these sensitive habitats. That will enable us to counteract more efficiently the planned construction of hydro-power dams and the ever growing demand for energy and resources in Serbia that threatens the survival of these sites.
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