Serbia: Campaign for the Protection of Zvezdara Forest in Belgrade

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Today (11/09/09) we are pleased to have had a communication from Dr. Miroslav Demajo (biologist) who is undertaking a campaign regarding forest park Zvezdara close to the centre of Belgrade.  The information below is a direct copy of the message sent to us by Miroslav, who also has a web site allocated to this campaign; it can be viewed at:  http://zvezdarskasuma.blogspot.com

So we will repeat the information below sent by Miroslav, which provides an excellent description of another attempt by officials to take back parkland / forest which contains a huge birdlife presence with over five species of owls alone !

If anyone wishes to make contact with Miroslav regarding this campaign, his telephone number and contact address is provided at the end of his article.

Further information about this campaign and what you can do to help (petition etc) will be posted on SAV as soon as we have the information.

SAV

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Protection of Zvezdara Forest in Belgrade

belgrade forest

As You are engaged in the protection of Stara Planina, I am free to communicate with You concerning the forest park Zvezdara (the name comes from word “star” because of the Astronomical Observatory).close to the centre of Belgrade.

The forest covers about 137 hectars. On the top is the Astronomy Observatory built in the 1930s. After the II World War, volunteers planted the forest. For years, illegal building has been taking place and now the City officials want to take 2 hectars for the adjacent hospital, some more for a church and other construction.

Big_Refractor_dome

A group of citizens established a group concerning the saving of this park. In the last 2 weeks we collected about 3000 signatures from citizens for our petition.

The fact is that the hospital itself has enough space for additional construction within its enclosure and doctors with whom we were in contact said it is not necessary to expand the hospital outside its existing site. The Church has a temple already closeby.

We contacted officials and have sent protest letters to many Institutions.

All this is actually based on the existing corruption related to construction sites etc. and forest land is very tempting and cheap. The forest is very healthy, rich in birds. About 5 species of owls live here also. The forest helps keep erosion away and not to mention its importance in keeping good air and milder climate in summer.

Belgrade does not have many places like this and it is a unique space for recreration.

We have a site unfortunately in Serbian with some English texts http://zvezdarskasuma.blogspot.com

Our battle continues and soon the Belgrade Parliament will try to implement the destructive plan. I must say that many people are angry for this and see corruption as the main culprit.

woodland

As an attachment You will see a picture of the Forest from Google Earth and the already constructions which slowly intrude. We want to stop all further activities.

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The Astronomy Observatory is also threatened because of light pollution.

We would appreciate any support possible as You have done for Stara Planina. It is a similar problem all connected to land abuse.

Sincerely and many thanks for what You have already done and are doing,

Dr. Miroslav Demajo (biologist)

Tel . 381-11-2418237

Čingrijina 11/apt.10

11160 Belgrade

Serbia