balkanway TOUR GUIDES

Serbia Nature: Landscape and Wildlife

Unique nature, consisting of almost 3.000 different species of plants and animals, has made Serbia one of the world's centers of biological diversity.
Landscape
Serbia has a very diverse landscape which results in a rich natural environment. There are mountains, plains, forests, including five National parks, rivers and springs, lakes and wetlands, caves, gorges and canyons.

Mountains

Much of the Serbia's landscape seems like an endless string of hills and mountains that are spreading in all directions. the Morava valley divides these mountains into two different mountain areas - the western and the eastern. Almost all western Serbia mountains (Tara, Kopaonik, Shar Planina, Zlatar, Zlatibor, Golija and Prokletije are the most significant ones) belong to the Dinaric Alps, are generally higher and have damper and colder climate. Forests of spruce and pine, broadleaved beech forests are the most common type of vegetation. The eastern Serbian mountains (Stara Planina, Suva Planina and Homolje - the most significant ones) are much warmer, sunnier and drier with more like Mediterranean type of climate and vegetation. Lower altitudes are filled with oak forestsand higher altitudes with mesic beech forests.

Plains

Grassland, agricultural land, floodplains, canals, swamps are all typical of Serbian plains. The largest among them is the Pannonian plain in Vojvodina - northern Serbia. This area is almost entirely turned into agricultural land with mostly intensive farming. The main crops are: cereals, corn, sugar beet and soya been. Two isolated mountains (once islands in the former Pannonian Sea, millions years ago) Fruska Gora and Vrsachke Planine are standing out from the flat area. Climate in the plain is continental with hot summers and cold winters. Serbia has a sand plain called Deliblatska pescara or The Deliblato Sands. It is the largest sandy terrain in Europe, once part of a vast prehistoric desert, having originated from the withdrawal of the Pannonian Sea.

Forests

Until the end of the 17th c, 90% of Serbia was covered in lush natural forests of oak and beech. The central Serbian province - Shumadija was entirely covered by the deep woods in 19th century. Most of the forests have been turned into rich agricultural land over the past two centuries. Today, forest cover only 25% of Serbia's territory and the most of it are mountains. The most common tree species are beech, oak, poplars, spruce, Scots and Austrian pine. Many of Serbia's national parks hold rare tree species, such as: southern nettle tree and wild walnut population (Djerdap National park), Serbian spruce (Tara National park), Macedonian pines and oaks (Shar Planina) and Turkish hazel.

Rivers and Springs

The longest river entirely in Serbia is Morava. Its valley is the most heavily populated area in Serbia and with very rich soil excellent for farming.Through Serbia flow many other rivers including second largest in Europe - Danube, Sava, Tamis, Tisa, Drina, West and South Morava, White Drim and Ibar. The most of mountain streams are impeccably clean. These include Drina, Uvac, Milesevka, Pek. Most of the Serbia's fish species are rare in the rest of Europe endemic or endangered. There are over thousand warm and cold mineral water springs in Serbia with more than 400 premium quality drinking water springs. Fascinating springs such as Krupaj and Mlava in the Eastern Serbia, are visited by many tourists around the world each year.

Lakes & Wetlands

This area is not very reach in lakes since it has dry and hot climate. The largest lakes are artificial created by the dams. One of the most interesting lakes is Vlasinsko Lake close to the Surdulica town. Its floating islands with unique flora are attracting many tourists from the region each year. The most significat lakes: Obedska & Carska bara, The Zastavica swamp - it has a rich bird and fish population it is the place where rare European mud minnow still can be found, the Ludasko lake - important nesting place for more than 200 bird spieces.

Caves, Gorges & Canyons

Caves and gorges are the part of very rich karst elements of Serbian rocky limestone landscape. Some of the caves such Resava, Rajkova, Lazareva became tourist attractions. You may see the most fantastic karst shapes, including various stone gates or prerasts, such as Vratna gates. Gorges and canyons are typical of all mountain rivers: Drina, Ibar, Uvac, West Morava. The best know is certainly Djerdap gorge or the Iron Gates.The canyons of Drina, Uvac and Milesevka are protected as habitats of Serbian spruce, eagles and other endangered species.

Wildlife

The large number of animal species find in Serbia was included in the world atlases of nature rarities.
Griffon vulture
Listed as "vulnerable" to extinction by the World Conservation Union
Serbian forests and national parks make a good habitat for wildlife. Some wild animals, common in Serbia are endangered and very rare in other countries. The wolf thrieves in great numbers in Serbia, while it is extinct in most other European countries. In almost all national parks you can find brown bear, with the biggest population in Tara.The lynx population is in areas of special protection (Djerdap gorge). Wild horses can be found in Suva Planina. Griffon vulture's habitats in Uvac gorge and Tresnjica gorge. They are under legal protection from hunting. Jackals, wild boar, roe deer and rabbit are common in all parts of Serbia.

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