Background

Hunters entrusted with the management of the Slano Kopovo Nature Reserve in Serbia

The Slano Kopovo nature reserve is one of the last preserved salt marshes in Vojvodina, Serbia. Due to the growing endangered status of salty lakes and salty habitats worldwide the Slano Kopovo is a habitat of international importance.

The site also has a rich biodiversity with halophyte saline plants and other endemic vegetation. With 203 bird species and 73 breeding species, Slano Kopovo represents a unique migration and breeding ground recognised under the Ramsar Convention and is especially suitable for cranes, ducks, geese and shorebirds.

This unique ecosystem has been threatened by human activities such as unsustainable land use and water regime disturbance. More specifically, the agricultural use of these lands have brought many negative effects such as destruction of habitats, littering, disturbing hydrological regime, etc.

The deficit of surface and underground water caused by anthropological developments (e.g. the hydro-melioration system Danube-Tisza-Danube - DTD) and climate change is another global issue leading to the disappearance of marshes and impacting the species depending on this habitat.

In order to preserve this area, the local manager of Slano Kopovo and the Hunting Association Novi Becej, in cooperation with the Institute for Nature Conservation carried out a conservation project from 2004 to 2011.

The aim of the project was to purchase 70 hectares of private land in order to complete the protection scheme of a core zone within the 500 hectares of the nature reserve.

The long term objectives were:

  •          to restore the agricultural lands into their original state: meadows, pastures and reed beds; indeed agricultural use of these lands have brought many negative effects;
  •          to restore the water balance in the site through a new canal connected to the Tisza canal, ensuring the survival of the salty lake.

 

At the end of the project, 75 hectares were purchased and included in the reserve allowing for the improvement of the water regime in the core area and contributing to its restoration.

A programme for the conversion of the purchased arable land into pastures and meadows has then started in close cooperation with the Institute for Nature Protection as well as the Province of Vojvodina, leading to very positive effects for the preservation of saline wetlands.

Other outcomes have been very successful:

  •           The support of Eeconet Action Fund for land purchasing has enabled to start a large scale improvement of the water regime and the landownership.
  •           The start of an Environmental Education Programme as well as Environmental Monitoring aiming at having a long term follow-up of the investment.
  •           The image and the management of the site have been strengthened considerably.

Since then, the area is being managed by the local hunter’s association “Novi Becej” in close cooperation with the Institute for Nature Protection and the authorities of the Province of Vojvodina.

For more information, please visit: http://www.eeconet.org/eaf/serbia/slanomain.html