Network for the conservation of the threatened Karst Poljes

There was lively participation in the concluding international workshop for the preservation of the Karst Poljes in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Fifty two conservationists from seven countries met between the 16th and 18th October in Tomislavgrad in Bosnia to develop effective strategies for the conservation of these extensive plains with their rich species diversity.

View on lake Busko Blato in the southern part of Livanjsko Polje © Stefan Ferger/EuroNatur

Karst poljes are fascinating landscapes. Over the millennia, water has created extensive plains framed by steep cliffs, in which a colourful mosaic of different habitats has evolved. It is above all in Bosnia-Herzegovina that there are still many of these marshland areas which are periodically flooded, amongst them the Livanjsko Polje, one of the most important resting and overwintering sites for wading and wetland birds along the Adriatic Flyway.

Despite its ecological importance and its international protection under the Ramsar Wetlands Convention, the Livanjsko Polje does not enjoy national protection of any kind. At the concluding workshop co-organised by EuroNatur, one of the core demands was indeed the protection of the Karst Poljes at a national level. Moreover, it was emphasised that it is essential to have a conservation management strategy which takes account of the requirements of the local population. Only if the people living in the area are included in the planning process, can its acceptance as a nationally important nature reserve be achieved.

The visions for the future of the Karst Poljes, which members of EuroNatur and their partner organisations formulated at the workshop, will now be forwarded to the decision-makers in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Even after the conclusion of the project, EuroNatur will continue to campaign vigorously for their implementation.

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