** UPDATE 29/09/10 **.
SAV have now provided full information, pictures and video footage of the destruction at Stara Planina to Unit E1 of the Directorate General for Environment at the EU. We have been informed that they (DG Environment) will liaise with the DG for EU Enlargement if necessary regarding this issue. DG Enlargement is responsible for new EU states membership, including Serbia.
Today, 29/09, SAV have had written confirmation from the DG Environment that all the information has been received and is now under review.
View the 6 minute video on Stara Planina and its destruction by the government:
Save the animals and plants at Stara Planina !!
SAV is very pleased to be given the opportunity to help our environmental campaigner friends at ‘Association for Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Stara Planina’.
Please visit their site at to see the environmental damage being to this very special eco system region – http://www.staraplanina.rs/
Please look at the following document to obtain full details of the location and what is happening:
Please also visit our (SAV) posts given in the links below to view dozens of photographs on the environmental destruction now taking place – this very day !
Chronology of events on Stara planina:
1997. — Stara planina proclaimed as a Nature Park.
2006. —The Government of Serbia started the first illegal constructions.
2007. —The illegal Master Plan was elaborated for the development of mountain tourism
2007. — The electronic petition was created on http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-staraplaninapetition.
2007. — Attitudes of 61 NGO were publicly presented on http://www.staraplanina.rs and the relevant problems were presented also in the media (newspapers, television and radio).
2008. — During the public insight into the Spatial Plan of the Nature Park Stara Planina, without any argument, the views and suggestions of the NGO sector were neglected, the same procedure being repeated in the case of the document Strategic evaluation on environmental impact. Views of the Institute of nature protection and Srbijašume were also nearly completely neglected.
2008. — Illegal Master plan was adopted allowing the development of ski tourism in the area of protected areas of the Nature park.
2008. — The Director of the Institute for Nature Protection in Belgrade was replaced, her view being totally ignored during the development of the on the Master Plan.
2009. – The Spatial Plan for Nature Park Stara planina has been adopted in a virtually unmodified version in respect to the original. A river was damed about 1.000 meters below Babin zub and from there, via kilometers of pipes going uphill, water for artificial snow is pumped, thus wasting enormous amounts of energy.
2010. — The capturing of water from natural springs and construction of 2 hotels on Jabučko ravnište has started.
And some of the reasons why this illegal action by the government must be presented to the world:
There are 344 moss species on Mt. Stara Planina. Among them are numerous species which are protected by various international and Serbian laws. Species that live on decaying wood and peat meadows are extreamly threatened. Great danger for these species present hydro-geological works because of great changes in the water balance of their habitat.
On Stara Planina live 146 species of butterflies, of which 3 are protected by Bern Convention (Clouded Apollo Parnassius mnemosinae, Mountain Apollo Parnassius apollo, Large Blue Butterfly Maculinea arion), 4 are declared as national rarities by Decree on the Protection of Natural Rarities (Old World Swallowtail Papilio machaon, Clouded Apollo Parnassius mnemosinae, Mountain Apollo Parnassius apollo, Southern Festoon Zerynthia polyxena). By IUCN categorization, among butterflies that live on Stara Planina there are 6 endangered species (Almond-eyed Ringlet Erebia alberganus, Bulgarian Ringlet Erebia orientalis, Lesser Purple Emperor Apatura iris, Poplar Admiral Limentis populi, Zephyr Blue Plebeius pylaon, Old World Swallowtail Papilio machaon), 37 vulnerable and 21 rare species. From the European conservation concern, there are 14 species recorded.
Considering fish fauna of the mountain (26 species), the most important is Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) with the very limited dispersal of its local strain of the unique mtDNA haplotype different from other populations in Serbia, being similar to the Caucasian Brown Trout.
On Stara Planina live 18 species of amphibians and reptiles, of which 10 are protected with Bern Convention (Yellow-bellied Toad Bombina variegata, European Green Toad Pseudepidale (Bufo) viridis, Dice Snake Natrix tessellata, Nose-horned viper Vipera ammodytes, Smooth Snake Coronella austriaca, Aesculapian Snake Zamenis longissimus, Wall Lizard Podarcis muralis, Eastern green lizard Lacerta viridis, Sand Lizard Lacerta agilis and Snake-eyed skink Ablepharus kitaibelii), while 8 are protected with Decree on the Protection of Natural Rarities (Fire Salamander Salamandra salamandra, Yellow-bellied Toad Bombina variegata, Common Toad Bufo bufo, European Green Toad Pseudepidale (Bufo) viridis, Viviparous Lizard Zootoca vivipara, Snakeeyed skink Ablepharus kitaibelii, Aesculapian Snake Zamenis longissimus and Smooth Snake Coronella austriaca). There are only 3 known places in Serbia where Z. vivipara populations are found.
So far, 206 bird species are recorded on Stara Planina. From that number, 140 bird species are protected by Bern Convention, but some of them have already become extinct in the past on Mt. Stara Planina due to human activity (Gypaetus barbatus, Tetrax tetrax, Aegipius monachus, Gyps fulvus, Falco naumanni and Neophron percnopterus). For example, by cutting one road for allterrain vehicles to the mountain peak Babin Zub in 1980’s, three species that were nesting there disappeared (Pyrrhocorax graculus, Falco peregrinus and Aquila chrysaetos). This recorded event provides a sobering warning of the likely implication for nesting birds should such a large development go through.
There are some 60 species of mammals on Stara Planina, among which some are very rare. Such is the case with Snow Vole (Chionomys nivalis), an extremely rare living fossil of Tertiary origin which lives on the highest slopes of the mountain and it is directly threatened by the ski resort.
It is vigorously recommended that an alternative of rural (agro / eco and ethnic) tourism could be
developed and made profitable on a sustainable basis without major habitat destruction. This would require less investment and would benefit and preserve the local community. This kind of tourism would improve the quality of life of local people by enabling them to find additional outlets for their food and craft products and local services. Eco-tourism has been previously recommended by IUCN as the only acceptable kind of tourism development of this region.
Also the World Bank is now working on a project with local communities to improve ecological management of Stara Planina Nature Park (142,000 ha), biodiversity and sustainable natural resource-use incorporated in a major agricultural and rural development program, for example including c.30,000 ha of grasslands under sustainable grazing.
Below are the (SAV) past links to save the region of Stara Planina from environmental destruction:
Today, 27/09/10, we at SAV are now in direct contact with legal departments at the EU to ask for specific information on what can be done next regarding presentation(s) of the destruction shown above to officials within the EU.
We will be posting further updates on the situation as they arise.
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