Backo Podunavlje becomes the new UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Serbia
Backo Podunavlje reserve is at the north-west of Vojvodina region, and is part of the „Amazon of Europe“, one of the most undisturbed river and wetland regions in the whole Danube river basin. This unique landscape is of precious biological diversity and is home to rare natural habitats such as gravel islands, side-arms and sandy river shores.
„It’s a great pleasure and honor that UNESCO has recognized the exceptional values and potential of Backo Podunavlje. This is the second Biosphere Reserve in Serbia, the first being Golija-Studenica region, which is of great significance to the country, as the „Man and Biosphere“ program not only promotes the concept of sustainable development, but shows it is possible in practice. This announcement will help conserve Serbia’s nature, one of the most diverse in Europe. Backo Podunavlje also boasts a great cultural heritage, a proof of it’s living past as the meeting-point of many nations and cultures in this region,“ stated prof. Dušan Tanasković, Serbian Ambassador to UNESCO.
Within the Backo Podunavlje Biosphere Reserve, which spreads on 176,635 ha in 5 municipalities of Sombor, Apatin, Odzaci, Bac and Backa Palanka, there are four protected areas, including Special nature reserves Gornje Podunavlje and Karadjordjevo.
“Backo Podunavlje Biosphere Reserve has joined a global network of 669 reserves acknowledged by UNESCO, designed with the goal of maintaining nature’s integrity while at the same time promoting local sustainable development. This acceptance of Backo Podunavlje is a very significant step in forming the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve "Mura-Drava-Danube", the first of its kind, spreading across five countries: Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria. WWF for a number of years has collaborated with partners in these five countries on the protection of natural and cultural values of the “Amazon of Europe”, currently under the auspices of the “coop MDD” project financed by the European Union”, said Duška Dimović, WWF country manager in Serbia.
Within the “Amazon of Europe”, thanks to the preserved river dynamic, floodplains, the existence of alluvial forests and numerous wetlands, many protected species of animals and plants have found their home. Among the rarest animals of this region are the white-tailed eagle, black stork, ferruginous duck, wild cats, otters, badgers as well as the largest population of European deer in Serbia.
„The acceptance of Backo Podunavlje on the Biosphere Reserve list is a crucial step in the future of environmental protection and its sustainability in the areas by the Danube and Mostongo in Backa region. I am exceptionally pleased that the nomination prepared by the Regional environment protection office has been positively judged by the delegates of the UNESCO International coordination council of the „Man and Biosphere“ program. The Regional environment protection office has worked closely with WWF and other partners on this nomination over the last five years. Now, there is work to be done on the wise management of the area through cooperation with protected areas managers, users of natural resources, local municipalities and communities in the Biosphere Reserve“, stated dr. Biljana Panjković, director of the Regional environment protection office.