Štrbac site gains importance for local people
WWF along with Public Enterprise "Vojvodinašume", who manage the reseve, have focused on the revitalisation of the Štrbac area since January 2011. The aim is to preserve species of local importance through restoring their habitats, and to preserve natural water springs as well as improve ecotourism opportunities in the reserve as a whole.
„Everything we planned so far has been accomplished“, said Đorđe Šimunovački, Assistant Director for Forestry and Hunting in the Public Enterprise "Vojvodinašume". “As a first step we mechanically removed shrubs and took them outside the borders of the reserve as required by our nature conservation laws“.
Štrbac restoration works are part of a wider initiative to restore wetlands along the Danube River and more specifically in the Mura-Drava-Danube area. Project work is focused on the restoration of wet meadows and shallow ponds in the area of Štrbac in the Special Nature Reserve Gornje Podunavlje in Serbia, as well as of fishponds in Kopački Rit Nature Park in Croatia.
As part of the press trip, the journalists had the chance to experience the remarkable nature, plant and animal life of the area, and to realise the importance this reserve has for local people.
"Wetlands are hotspots of biodiversity and provide many benefits and services, including flood protection, drinking water, nutrient removal, tourism and recreation, fish and fowl“, said Duška Dimović, WWF Programme Manager for Serbia. „Our work focuses especially on the Lower and Middle sections of the Danube and its major tributaries, where there are many floodplains and wetlands still remaining. Here we have the greatest potential for restoration as well".
Special Nature Reserve Gornje Podunavlje is part of the Transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve „Mura-Drava-Danube”. In July 2012 the Hungarian-Croatian part of the reserve was designated by UNESCO. Once Serbia, Austria and Slovenia join in, the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve will span five countries.
The project is being carried out in cooperation with the Public Enterprise "Vojvodinašume", and with the support of the Provincial Secretariat for Urban planning, Construction and Environment, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province and The Coca-Cola Company, a long-standing WWF partner in wetland restoration.