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Feasibility Study on establishing a transboundary protected area Durmitor - Tara Canyon - Sutjeska

UNEP Vienna ISCC 2009

Prepared under the project Enhancing Transboundary Biodiversity Management in South Eastern Europe in the framework of the Environment and Security Initiative - SEE

UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska

Disclaimer The designation of geographical entities in this study do not imply the expression of any opinion of the United Nations Organisation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) or any other partner of the Environment and Security Initiative concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitations of its frontiers or boundaries. For the purpose of this study the name Kosovo has been used to refer to UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244 and the name Macedonia has been used to refer to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The contents of this document and views expressed in this study are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no condition be regarded as reflecting the position of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Austrian Development Agency, the Canadian International Development Agency, or the Environment and Security Initiative partner organisations.

The partial or total reproduction of the contents is authorized provided the source is fully acknowledged. Citation: Feasibility Study on establishing a transboundary protected area Durmitor - Tara Canyon Sutjeska. UNEP Vienna ISCC, 2009.

This study was prepared in 2009 by UNEP Vienna ISCC with support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Authors: Study concept, selection, analysis and synthesis of information, editorial work, formulation of conclusions and recommendations: Zbigniew Niewiadomski, consultant, UNEP Vienna ISCC; Bosnia and Herzegovina country report / gap and opportunity analysis questionnaire: Vladimir Stupar (Faculty of Forestry, University of Banja Luka); Montenegro country report / gap and opportunity analysis questionnaire: Vasilije Buskovi in cooperation with Zlatko Buli and Natasa Stanisi (Institute for the Protection of Nature, Podgorica).

Cover photo: Mt. Magli (2386 m) located at the state border, the highest peak of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo by courtesy of Sutjeska National Park. Photos by: Zbigniew Niewiadomski, Vladimir Stupar, Sutjeska National Park, national park websites. Maps by: Vladimir Stupar, University of Banja Luka; Institute for the Protection of Nature, Podgorica; Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment of Montenegro; UNEP / DEWA / GRID Europe; Google Earth.

Acknowledgements A special thank you to the many members of the ENVSEC SEE family and friends of the Balkan mountains who contributed throughout the years with passion and dedication to the research and conservation of exceptional natural values of the shared region, and to developing transboundary initiatives for establishment of protected areas in the South Eastern Europe. A particular thank you also to the colleagues and friends who contributed to the preparation of this study by completing country report questionnaires and providing additional information and materials, as well as those who made the field mission to Sutjeska and Durmitor national parks possible, especially Zdravko Radovi and Mirjana Radovi (Sutjeska National Park), Tomo Pajovi (Durmitor National Park), Vasilije Buskovi and Zlatko Buli (Institute for the Protection of Nature).

UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska

Table of Contents
Executive Summary Background to the study 4 6

PART 1. REGIONAL CONTEXT FOR TRANSBOUNDARY COOPERATION 1.1. Local transboundary historical context 1.2. Border context 1.3. Socio-economic context 1.3.1. Demography 1.3.2. Land use, urbanisation and economic development trends 1.3.3. Transport infrastructure 1.3.4. State of the environment of the region, and potential threats 1.3.5. Tourism as the local economy sector depending on natural assets of the region 1.3.6. Sustainable tourism development in the region - conclusions and points for consideration

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PART 2. NATURE AND ITS PROTECTION IN THE REGION OF THE PROPOSED TRANSBOUNDARY PROTECTED AREA 2.1. Legal and administrative framework for protected area designation and management 2.2. Comparison of protected area networks in both neighbouring countries 2.3. Brief overview of the natural values of the region 2.4. Protected areas in the planned transboundary protected area 2.5. Strategic points for consideration - connectivity and continuity of protected area network 2.6. Plans for extension of protected area networks in both neighbouring countries 2.7. Vision for establishment of transnational ecological corridors in the SEE 2.8. Connectivity and continuity of protected area network in the region

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PART 3. TRANSBOUNDARY COOPERATION PRIORITIES, CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES 3.1. Priorities for conservation in the planned transboundary protected area 3.2. Priorities for transboundary cooperation in the planned transboundary protected area identified by protected area administrations 3.3. Opportunities and challenges for transboundary cooperation in the planned transboundary protected area

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Main sources of information

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska/ Executive summary

Executive summary
The region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska located at the state border between Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska and Montenegro encompasses areas of unique landscape and natural values for Europe. The common linking landscape feature of the region is the Tara river canyon, being the deepest river gorge in Europe, surrounded by mountain ranges reaching up to 2522 m above the sea level. This region harbours complex and dynamic mountain ecosystems of high biological diversity, a considerable number of natural habitats as well as numerous endemic, relic, rare and threatened flora and fauna species, including species of the common European importance having their mainstays in habitats crossed by the state border. These unique values should be taken into account when deciding on the future of this region and protecting its natural treasures for the next generations. The importance of the Tara River Canyon is best reflected by the Declaration on the protection of the river Tara adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro, which stated As citizens, we are aware that the Tara is our future and our trademark. One of the major threats to habitats and species populations and main causes of the decline in biological diversity in Europe is the fragmentation and isolation of habitats and the effect this can have on the viability of species populations. The favourable conservation status of different species and natural habitats depends on the size of protected areas. This is why establishing large-scale transboundary protected areas seems to be a solution more acceptable for the South Eastern European countries. Such transboundary protected areas represent a commitment of two or more countries to common management of their frontier regions and shared ecosystems, help to reduce possible tensions and are a symbol of peace with great political visibility. Migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species depends on the existence of ecological corridors linking particular protected areas of different protective categories designated at national level. The continuity and connectivity of habitats in the border areas requires transboundary linkages, ecological corridors which link protected area networks of neighbouring countries. In the light of their expected accession to the European Community in the near future - both involved countries are proceeding with the harmonization of their nature protection standards with the EU. Therefore, the presence of habitats and species listed under relevant Annexes to the Council Directive 92/43/EEC (Habitat Directive) whose protection in the Member States of the European Community requires the designation of special areas of conservation constituting the Natura 2000 network, and bird species listed under Annex I to Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds (Bird Directive) should be a decisive argument for the extension of existing or designation of new protected areas in the border area of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska. As for 2009 there are two protected areas in this region, Durmitor National Park in Montenegro and Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska. In 1980 Durmitor National Park together with the Tara river canyon were inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites (WHS). Durmitor National Park, including a considerable part of the Tara river canyon is simultaneously part of the UNESCO MaB Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve designated in 1976. However, at present both existing national parks function very much like isolated islands, separated by the lower section of the Tara river canyon forming the state border. There is no transboundary ecological corridor linking the two protected areas, while a considerable part of the Tara river canyon designated as the World Heritage Site is exposed to growing development pressures and environmental threats. Therefore, the extension of the territories of Sutjeska and Durmitor National Parks towards the state border is a prerequisite for establishing a transboundary protected area, and for the development of transboundary cooperation on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development of the shared region.

UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska/ Executive summary

According to the valid spatial plans of both neighbouring countries the network of protected areas in the region of the planned transboundary protected area Durmitor-Tara Canyon-Sutjeska shall be extended by enlarging the areas of the two existing national parks (Sutjeska and Durmitor) towards the state border in the lower part of the Tara river canyon, and by designating new protected areas on the side of Montenegro three regional parks Bio-Magli-Volujak, Ljubinja and Sinjavina. In result, the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska could become a transboundary complex of five largescale protected areas together encompassing the total area of some 136476 ha, additionally buffered on the Montenegrin side by the remaining part of the UNESCO MaB Tara River Biosphere Reserve. The above initiative is in line with Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro, declaring it an ecological state. Should regional parks proposed in the Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020 become effective parts of the protected area network of Montenegro the Durmitor-Tara Canyon-Sutjeska region would become part of the northern SEE ecological corridor, a 175-kilometers long continuous tract of protected areas stretching from Bosnia and Herzegovina across Montenegro to Albania and Serbia / Kosovo UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244. The added value and possible benefits for both involved countries deriving from the establishment of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska are that transboundary cooperation in this region would largely facilitate: o achievement of their nature protection and biodiversity conservation objectives, o mitigation of the present threats to environment and nature of the shared region, o promotion and implementation of sustainable development at local and regional level, o establishing a long term transboundary cooperation mechanism serving the local stakeholders. The label of a transboundary protected area of exceptional natural values and sustainable tourism development would definitely increase the tourist attractiveness of the region, facilitate marketing of the regional tourist product abroad, and help to mitigate the adverse effects of the negative stereotypes still common among some Europeans, resulting from the past armed ethnic conflict. The dispersal of the tourist traffic in the whole transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska by developing common regional tourist packages promoting areas not yet explored by visitors could provide for a more equal sharing of increased revenues from tourism, thus improving the overall socioeconomic situation of municipalities on both sides of the state border. The following feasibility study by UNEP-Vienna provides a brief overview on the local transboundary historical context for transboundary cooperation in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region, border context, socio-economic context (including demography, land use, urbanisation, economic development trends and transport infrastructure), describes the state of the environment of the region and potential threats, tourism as the local economy sector depending on natural assets of the region with particular emphasis on sustainable tourism development. The study describes legal and administrative frameworks for protected areas and compares the development of protected area networks in both neighbouring countries, provides a brief overview of the natural values of the region and describes protected areas of the region as well as initiatives aimed at improving the connectivity and continuity of protected area network, plans for extension of protected area networks in both neighbouring countries and the vision for the establishment of transnational ecological corridors in the SEE region. Furthermore the study suggests priorities for biodiversity conservation in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska and other transboundary cooperation priorities identified by protected area administrations. The study concludes with the analysis of different opportunities and challenges for transboundary cooperation in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska.

UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska/ Background

Background to the study


The programme of work on protected areas under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) recommends to strengthen existing and establish new TBPAs (transboundary protected areas) to enhance conservation of biological diversity, implement the ecosystem approach, and improve international cooperation1, and in particular to enter into dialogue to establish, where appropriate, new TBPAs with adjacent Parties and countries, bearing in mind the ecosystem approach and the importance of ecological networks 2. The CBD work programme on mountains calls to establish regional and transboundary collaboration and the establishment of cooperative agreements for mountain ranges, to promote the appreciation and conservation of mountain biological diversity as a means of reducing human conflict, i.e., through peace parks. to promote integrated transboundary cooperation, strategies for sustainable activities on mountain ranges through mutually agreed-upon arrangements by countries concerned. to promote and strengthen regional and transboundary cooperation for research, adaptive management, fair and appropriate allocation of water to ecosystems, and exchange of expertise to improve the conservation and management of mountain biodiversity Europe, and in particular its Balkan region is characterised by many borders that cut across ecosystems and areas of high natural values, often dividing the continent along natural barriers like mountain ranges. Border areas are often the most favoured regions in biodiversity terms, partly as a result of their peripheral location or political factors banning in the past the development of areas adjacent to political borders. However, natural areas shared by neighbouring countries are not only a common treasure, but also a common responsibility. Ecological problems occurring in border areas can not be solved by one country alone, and require transboundary and regional cooperation. Since 2005, UNEP Vienna is coordinating the project entitled Improving regional cooperation for risk management from pollution hotspots as well as the transboundary management of shared natural resources supported by ADA (the Austrian Development Agency) and the Canadian Development Agency (CIDA), as a contribution to the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative. The ENVSEC Initiative founded in 2003 is a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) and the associated North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The ENVSEC programme area in South-Eastern Europe (SEE) includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo - UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244 which have been directly or indirectly involved in the ethnic conflicts that escalated in the past ten and more years in the Balkan region. These war-torn nations, where ethnic tensions still exist, have been also subject to economic crises as a result of their isolation from the global economy and the impacts of the transition from socialist economic policies to free market economies. Simultaneously biodiversity loss was recognised as posing additional security risk in South East Europe, whereas good technical cooperation in the field of natural resource management would contribute to stability and prosperity of the region.

1 2

Goal 1.4. (Transboundary protected areas), CBD programme on protected areas. Action 1.4.1., CBD programme on protected areas.

UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska/ Background

Protecting larger parts of the most important ecosystems and habitats, and in particular viable populations of its wildlife is possible only in large-scale (as for Europe) protected areas of around 100 thousand hectares in size, while smaller areas are rather suitable only for protection of e.g. landscape phenomena or a single threatened plant species. Currently in the ENVSEC-SEE programme area there are only ten national parks exceeding the size of 10 thousand hectares and only one nature park exceeding 100 thousand hectares. Designation of a large-scale new protected area by one country alone is often not feasible, while concerted efforts of two or more partners may result in a spectacular success for biodiversity protection at the regional and European levels. This is why establishing large-scale transboundary protected areas seems to be a solution more acceptable from the point of view of the state budgets of particular countries of the South Eastern Europe. Such areas represent a commitment of two or more countries to common management of their frontier regions and shared ecosystems. Moreover, transboundary protected areas help to reduce possible tensions and are a symbol of peace with great political visibility. Transboundary protected areas (TBPAs) provide for the ecological continuum beyond these virtual political boundaries and a tool for international cooperation. As stressed by the IUCN: Natural systems that straddle political boundaries can be most effectively managed as functional units at the scale of the regional landscape and would therefore benefit from appropriate mechanisms for long-term transboundary co-operation. While the establishment of TBPAs for integrated conservation and development can enhance environmental protection, it can also reinforce political security and provide multiple benefits to local communities and indigenous peoples. The existence of TBPAs and their buffer zones can help reduce tensions, rebuild divided communities, promote freedom of movement and create new opportunities for sustainable development, including low-impact regional tourism. Such areas can also make an important contribution to regional biodiversity conservation programmes, especially where they form part of a coherent ecological network. Neighbouring States, which often have different levels of technical expertise, knowledge, capacity and financial resources, can benefit by combining their respective strengths through transboundary co-operation. 3. This is why one of the aims of the ENVSEC Initiative in SEE is to encourage and facilitate regional cooperation on nature protection issues, with a particular emphasis on supporting transboundary cooperation and establishing new protected areas in border regions, which could also serve as a tool to mitigate current tensions and re-establish friendly neighbour relations between formerly conflicted nations and ethnic groups. UNEP under the ENVSEC initiative promotes raising awareness on the common responsibility for the border regions, thus providing for the greater European integration in nature protection and translating the common European vision into practice. As the first step, a rapid regional assessment of the general state-of-environment, as well as managerial problems experienced by the administrative bodies responsible for the protected areas management was carried out in 2005-2006, based on country-specific reports. The resulting regional report Enhancing Transboundary Biodiversity Management in South Eastern Europe provides an overview of the biological diversity, protected area system, legal and policy framework, existing and planned institutional structures for nature protection, threats to biological diversity, examples of transboundary cooperation as well as socio-economic factors, and recommendations for actions to be taken in particular countries of the region and for the region as a whole. During the first regional ENVSEC-SEE workshop Enhancing Trans-boundary Biodiversity in Mountains of South Eastern Europe organized by UNEP in Podgorica (Montenegro) in June 2006 representatives of the Governments of the region jointly identified eight potential transboundary protected areas:

IUCN Draft Code for Transboundary Protected Areas in Times of Peace and Armed Conflict [in:] Sandwith, T., Shine, C., Hamilton, L. and Sheppard, D. (2001). Transboundary Protected Areas for Peace and Co-operation. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska/ Background

o Durmitor - Sutjeska (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro) o Prokletije / Bjeshkt e Nemuna Mountains (Albania, Montenegro and Serbia/Kosovo4) o Sharr / ar Planina - Deat - Mt. Korab (Albania, FYR Macedonia, Serbia/Kosovo5) o Tara Mountains - Drina Gorge (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia) o West Stara Planina (Bulgaria, Serbia) o Orjen / Snijenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro) o Vlahina / Maleevska / Belasica (Bulgaria, Greece, FYR Macedonia) o Osogovska Planina (Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia). and selected three of them as priority areas in focus, perceived as most urgent from the biodiversity point of view.
Map 1. ENVSEC mountain biodiversity project: potential transboundary protected areas. (Source: UNEP / DEWA / GRID - Europe)

4 5

Kosovo - UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244 Kosovo - UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244

UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska/ Background

One of the three priority areas in focus identified in June 2006 is the proposed Durmitor - Tara Canyon Sutjeska transboundary protected area including Durmitor NP, planned Bio-Magli-Volujak and Ljubinja Regional Parks, and the Tara river canyon (part of which is already bearing international recognition as UNESCO-MaB Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Montenegro, and Sutjeska NP in Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska. On 29th May 2008 in Bonn, at the Big Win for Dinaric Arc high-level event held during the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the representatives of the Governments signed a joint statement recognizing that Trans-boundary cooperation between the Dinaric Arc countries in the implementation of the Programme of Work on Protected Areas, with the aim to create well managed, and ecologically representative protected area network, is the key to safeguard the Dinaric Arc eco-regions exceptional natural and cultural values. Simultaneously, the Governments declared their national priorities in delivering on the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas in the Dinaric Arc. The Government of Montenegro committed itself to examine possibilities for the establishment of transboundary protected areas including Durmitor National Park and Sutjeska National Park (BIH) while the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina committed itself to support the enlargement of Sutjeska National Park and examine possibilities for its transboundary cooperation with Durmitor NP in Montenegro. In June 2009 within the framework of the ENVSEC Initiative UNEP organized the 2nd sub-regional meeting on Transboundary Cooperation of Mountain Protected Areas in South Eastern Europe: Towards the Dinaric Arc and Balkan Network of Mountain Protected Areas with the objectives: - to initiate and enhance exchange of experience gathered under the Alpine and Carpathian Conventions with the stakeholders from the South Eastern European region (SEE); - to support the initiatives of the Governments towards transboundary conservation of biodiversity in the mountain regions of the SEE, and their commitments expressed during the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP9) in May 2008; - to foster partnerships on technical cooperation and capacity building for the stakeholders from the SEE; - to promote, facilitate and encourage the establishment of the sub-regional network of mountain protected areas in the Balkans / Dinaric Arc; - to identify priority actions which shall be undertaken in proposed transboundary areas in SEE; - to facilitate synergies and build on projects and activities of the partners of the ENVSEC and Dinaric Arc Initiative (DAI), e.g. UNDP, UNESCO-BRESCE, UNEP, SNV and the WWF Mediterranean; - to foster working contacts for transboundary and sub-regional cooperation on biodiversity issues in the Balkans / Dinaric Arc. Also in June 2009 UNEP carried out a field mission to Durmitor and Sutjeska National Parks in order to identify common priorities for the future transboundary cooperation; outcomes of this fact-finding mission are incorporated into this study. The objective of this feasibility study on the potential for establishment of a proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor - Tara Canyon - Sutjeska is to: o provide for better understanding of the situation across the border in the Durmitor - Tara Canyon Sutjeska region, and identify possible added values of transboundary cooperation; analyse and evaluate the current status of transboundary initiatives, identify current shortcomings and impediments for cooperation, and recommend actions aimed at facilitating transboundary cooperation; assess the potential for success under the local conditions in the Durmitor - Tara Canyon Sutjeska region; indicate what kind of external support is indispensable for the success of this initiative.

UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska/ Historical Context

PART 1. REGIONAL CONTEXT FOR TRANSBOUNDARY COOPERATION 1.1. Local transboundary historical context
In the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska the history of the nations and ethnic groups inhabiting this particular region did not result in any possible obstacles for the development of their transboundary cooperation nowadays. In the past the region belonged to the Old Herzegovina. People inhabiting both sides of the current state border are of the same ethnicity and history, and always lived together. Their traditions, religion and culture are very similar. It is important to note here that the recent armed ethnic conflict leading to the break down of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) did not considerably affect the territories inside the proposed transboundary protected area. There is no evidence of any possible direct physical damages or adverse impacts to the environment or nature from this past military conflict, like e.g. chemically polluted areas or damaged habitats. The past military conflict did not result in damages to the road infrastructure of the described region, depopulation of the area or abandonment of human settlements or agricultural areas Contrary to some other places within the ENVSEC-SEE programme area, in the proposed transboundary protected area there are no territories remaining non-accessible due to the presence of land mines or unexploded shells. The cultural heritage monuments were also not affected during the civil war time. However, the civil war resulted in immediate decrease of welfare and living standards, due to the overall unstable political situation affecting the economy of almost all former parts of the SFRJ. In result the number of visitors to the area, in particular to Sutjeska National Park in the Republic of Srpska, significantly decreased, leading to deterioration of tourist infrastructure initially designed for mass tourism, e.g. school excursions visiting monuments commemorating the National Liberation Struggle in the times of the Second World War. This is why some buildings originally serving the visitors were either abandoned, or devastated during the civil war times and not refurnished later.

Abandoned Hotel Sutjeska in Tjentite, devastated during the times of the civil war. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

There were no ethnic conflicts across the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska and Montenegro, which could result in e.g. developing negative stereotypes or prejudices resulting in inherent animosity attitudes, which could seriously affect relations between the local populations across the border and impair the possibilities for developing their transboundary cooperation. There are no so called delicate issues resulting from the history of this particular region which would have to be handled with a special attention, as the local population of the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region did not directly suffer from e.g. deportations and re-settlement due to the recent armed ethnic conflict. Places where war crimes and genocide occurred are out of the region described in this study, e.g. the genocide case in Srebrenica which is located some 80 kilometres to the North from the project area.

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UNEP Vienna / ENVSEC: Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor - Tara Canyon - Sutjeska / Border Context

The only effect the recent armed ethnic conflict had on the region is the settlement of people displaced during the civil war time from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Montenegrin communities of Pluine and abljak. The issue of their possible return to their original regions is not a question which could be solved in cooperation focused on biodiversity conservation issues. Thus, there are no potential conflict issues in relations between the local populations across the border in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region to be solved or mitigated in the course of the development of their transboundary cooperation.

1.2. Border context


The state border between Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska and Montenegro in the region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon - Sutjeska was established as the result of a historical long-term process, and dates back to the peace treaty of San Stefano and Berlin Congress in March 1878. The current route of the borderline reflects the outcomes of the census survey carried out in 1953/1954 in the times when both concerned countries were parts of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ). The delineation of the border was regulated by the provisions of the SFRJ Law on the Demarcation of Municipal cadastre units, Districts and Republics of 1953/1954 and its subsequent regulations.
Map 2. Satellite view over the region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska. (Source / state border delineation: Google Earth)

None of the sides objected to the final delineation in 1953/1954, and there were neither remaining unresolved claims to land areas or water bodies on either side of the present state border, nor attempts to change its present route. Later, after the break down of the SFRJ the border of formerly federated Yugoslav republics became the state border between Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska and Montenegro. The authorities responsible for border area control and patrolling are the federal State Border Service of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Montenegro.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska/ Border Context

The state border is delineated following municipal cadastre units of both countries. In several sections within the described region the route of the state border follows natural physical features of the area, like mountain ranges, trigonometric measurement points at mountain tops or watercourses, e.g. Piva and Tara riverbeds. The presence of the state border in this proposed transboundary protected area seems to have no adverse effect on the availability of information on the area, e.g. detailed maps indispensable for e.g. mapping of the habitats in border areas or planning common activities; the access to such information sources on both sides is not restricted by security measures. According to country reports used for this study the state border is not clearly demarcated in the terrain by e.g. border stones or signposts. Physical limits often associated to the presence of the state border in some other regions like e.g. watchtowers, barbed wire entanglements, wire or electric fences, ploughed land stripes, anti-personnel mines do not exist. Hence, the existence of the border does not provide an obstacle to wildlife migrations and has no negative influence on the connectivity and continuity of habitats present on both sides of the border. Furthermore, the presence of the state border does not result in legal obstacles limiting civilian access to the border areas on both sides. The use of the areas adjacent to the state border and the movement of people in the border area is unrestricted, which allows e.g. commercial rafting in the Tara river canyon, forming a considerable section of the state border. This is also why this border is rather a soft one, easy to cross in the afforested mountain terrain (of course except the Tara river canyon section, due to very steep slopes) without being noticed by border police patrols. In result of the above, illegal activities usually associated with the presence of the state border like the movement of contraband are very likely to happen here, especially drugs smuggling. There is no evidence of other activities like cross-border poaching or illegal logging in another country, as the natural resources on both sides are comparable. The only place where the presence of the state border is clearly visible is the epan Polje border control point established in 1992 after the break down of the SFRJ on the road E762 / No 18 from Sarajevo to Niki and Podgorica, connecting communities Foa in the Republic of Srpska and Pluine in Montenegro. The border control point is located eastwards from the confluence of Piva and Tara rivers, marking the beginning of the Drina river.
Map 3. Satellite view of epan Polje border control point location. (Source: Google Earth)

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska/ Border Context

Border police and customs posts in epan Polje are located on both banks of the Tara river, spanned by a narrow bridge with wooden pavement. The border posts buildings do not host any other facilities than those of the border control functions, there are e.g. no restaurants or shops by the road. A row of abandoned kiosks in between the posts, on the Montenegrin southern bank of the Tara river is the evidence that in the past more services might have been available here.

Border control point in epan Polje. Photo: Z. Niewiadomski

The border crossing in epan Polje has an international status. Border controls require only personal identification documents with a photo and vehicle registration licences. Since summer 2008 foreign drivers entering Montenegro are expected to pay ecological annual tax for their vehicles. There is no entry visa regime for the citizens of both neighbouring countries, thus the free movement of people across the state border via the designated border crossing is not limited by obstacles of legal nature. The intensity of cross-border traffic via the epan Polje border control point can be estimated for some 200 to 300 cars per day in the summer tourist season and some 50 cars per day in wintertime. In addition to customs control performed by the national custom administrations of both countries, the phyto-sanitary inspection is provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of Montenegro, which also includes control of the species concerned by the CITES convention, and sanitary inspection in case of epidemic diseases of high importance. However, there are also opinions that more strict control at the border control points could be required for the export of commercially important and protected plant and animal species, which would then require better collaboration of the border control services with biodiversity specialists. As for 2009 epan Polje is the only border crossing point inside the proposed transboundary protected area, in the future another border control point would be established on the planned road linking Pluine in Montenegro with Gacko in the Republic of Srpska, across the village of Stabna and plateaus Ravno and Avtovac, on the southern slopes of Volujak mountain range. To summarise: the state border in the proposed transboundary protected area is to some extent soft and its existence is not a factor which could prevent wildlife migrations across the border or hamper the development of transboundary cooperation, for instance by limiting possibilities for direct and regular contacts between cooperation partners, e.g. protected area managers or the representatives of municipality authorities from both neighbouring countries.

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UNEP Vienna / ENVSEC: Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor - Tara Canyon - Sutjeska / Demography

1.3. Socio-economic context


1.3.1. Demography The proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska includes territories of Foa and Gacko municipalities in the Republic of Srpska / Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and of Mojkovac, Pljevlja, Pluine, avnik and abljak municipalities in Montenegro. Only the seat of municipality authorities of abljak, and the whole territory of this municipality is located entirely within the project area.
Table 1. Municipalities in the transboundary region Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska (Sources: Statistical Office of Montenegro, Municipalities statistic, DGS Bosnia and Herzegovina) area (in km2) 736 1115 367 1346 854 553 445 5416 population decrease 1991 2003 (per cent) 11000 no data 23000 no data 10066 -6.14 39806 -8.63 4272 -18.15 2947 -19.92 4204 -14.20 95295

Municipality Gacko Foa Mojkovac Pljevlja Pluine avnik abljak Total:

forest area (per cent of total) no data no data 49.06 45.39 43.30 19.69 29.27

size in 2003

The demographic situation of the local populations on each side of the state border is very similar, characterised by low size and density of population, negative demographic trends, population ageing, migration to towns paired by rural depopulation. The size of population on the BiH side in the proposed transboundary protected area is estimated for some 1500 people, approx. some 50 inhabit the Tara river valley area. Due to migration of younger people to towns and cities this number is still expected to decrease. Also on the Montenegrin side of the border the ongoing demographic changes are evident; throughout the last 10 years the population size decreased by some 20 per cent. The density of population is around 5 pers. per square kilometre, and the urban population accounts for some one third of the total. The Montenegrin municipalities of Mojkovac, Pljevlja, Pluine, avnik and abljak within the scope of this study are five out of eleven municipalities constituting the northern region of Montenegro, less developed than the other regions of the country. This northern region encompasses as much as 53 per cent of the country territory but is inhabited by only 31.4 per cent of the countrys population, according to official statistics from 2005. The demographic situation of Pluine and abljak, the two Montenegrin municipalities in focus of this study is similar. The municipality of abljak being the natural entrance gate to Durmitor National Park encompasses 28 settlements organized in 12 local communities, including the urban community of abljak. The whole municipality has the population of around 4200 people, out of which 1937 (46 per cent) inhabit the town of abljak, located at the elevation of 1450 m, the highest among all urban settlements in the Balkans. The urban population in abljak is slightly higher than in the town of Pluine, having 1494 inhabitants (data for 2003). It also suffers from the negative demographic trend: between the last two censuses the population size dropped by 16 per cent. The density of population in the area is 9.4 pers. per square kilometer. The main factors identified as reasons for the migration of inhabitants out of the region are the low living standards and insufficient transport infrastructure. This depopulation trend is to some extent mitigated in Pluine and abljak municipalities by the settlement of refugees displaced from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the times of the civil war. Furthermore, due to the fact that Durmitor is the popular holiday destination both in summer (for mountaineering) and winter months (for skiing) this depopulation is to some extent compensated by rapid development of several communities close to the town of abljak, due to intensive construction of both residential and recreational houses.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska/ Demography

The inhabitants of areas on both sides of the state border can be best described as the predominantly rural population with low income, generated mostly by agriculture and tourist services; seriously affected by structural unemployment.
Map 4. Population density in South Eastern Europe. (Source: UNEP / DEWA / GRID - Europe)

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Economic Development

1.3.2. Land use, urbanisation and economic development trends

The land-use and economic development pattern on each side of the state border in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska is very similar. There is almost no industry in this region, except for the thermal power plant and mining activities in Gacko community, and thermal power plant in Pljevlja, both out of the project area. Most of the services are available in the municipal town of Foa, out of the project area. Therefore, local economy on the Republic of Srpska side of the proposed transboundary protected area is based on extensive agriculture including grazing, of predominant importance for subsistence of the local inhabitants. Medicinal plant and berry collection activities supplement the income. Forestry in this part of the study area is not a particularly important sector for the local economy, mostly due to unfavourable topography of the terrain influencing costs of forest harvesting, as well as the existence of the biggest protected area in the Republic of Srpska the Sutjeska National Park. The park administration is in charge for management of a hunting ground much bigger than the national park area, but the income from hunting permits does not compensate game maintenance costs. Since the times of the civil war the number of visitors to the area, in particular to Sutjeska National Park radically decreased, with adverse impact on incomes from tourist services. Apart from Tjentite being the natural gate for visiting Sutjeska National Park tourist services on the side of the Republic of Srpska spontaneously develop mostly around epan Polje, which is the final destination point for rafting tours in the Tara river canyon. This spontaneous development is not always controlled, as the camps on the riverbank are sometimes set up by private entrepreneurs on the plots of land previously expropriated at the times when the construction of a new water reservoir was planned. However, the vast majority of tourist facilities along the Tara river is located on the Montenegrin bank of the river. Thus, the Tara river canyon is not only the border between the two neighbouring countries and the most distinctive landscape linkage for the whole region, but also a shared natural asset of commercial importance, generating income for communities from both sides of the state border. The settlement pattern is very much the same on both sides of the state border. It has to be noted here that there are no settlements (towns or villages) located within the territory of the proposed transboundary protected area which are divided by the state border, or paired by an adjacent settlement across the border. Thus, no present settlement could be perceived as key for the development of the transboundary cooperation, to become e.g. the potential seat for common consultative bodies or location of a common visitor centre. In the period of 1990-1995 when the economies of the former parts of the SFRJ were affected by the unstable political situation the contribution of the northern region of Montenegro to the countrys GDP decreased from former 25.5.per cent to only 18 per cent. Simultaneously, according to the research by the Montenegrin Institute for Strategic Study and Prognosis, in 2003 the poverty rate in the northern region of Montenegro accounted for 19.3 per cent of the local population, thus well above the country average (12.5 per cent). The main economic sectors for the northern region of Montenegro are forestry and timber processing industry, agriculture and tourist services are also important income sources for the inhabitants. Most interesting for this study is the pattern of economic development of the abljak municipality, as the only one entirely located within the project area, with local economy very much dependant on the landscape and natural values and assets of the nearby Durmitor mountain range. In the past the main economic activity of its inhabitants were mostly farming, herding and small-scale timber processing industry. Thus, abljak was a typical mountain rural municipality, which area was used for grazing by sheep and cattle during the summertime.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Economic Development

The rapid development of tourist services basing on the landscape and natural values of Durmitor mountains resulted in the fact that according to official statistics already in 2005 the income from hotels and restaurants in abljak exceeded the income generated by agriculture (24.5 versus 15 per cent).

The town of abljak, seat of Durmitor National Park administration. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

Furthermore, the development of new houses and tourist facilities in both abljak and surrounding rural communities resulted in the growing number of locally registered entities servicing this boosting urbanization process, e.g. construction firms or real estate agencies. The flow of visitors and temporary residents into the area must have also influenced other sectors of the local economy, resulting e.g. in the high number of manufacturing companies registered in abljak. In result the economic structure of the abljak urban community and the entrepreneurship of the local inhabitants (best described by the number of locally registered economic entities) significantly differs from the one in the nearby Pluine community, of a comparable population size (1937 in abljak versus 1494 in Pluine). The table below illustrates these obvious differences in the local economic development pattern between abljak and Pluine communities.
Table 2. Differences in the local economic development pattern of Pluine and abljak communities in Montenegro (as for 31st December 2007). Number of locally registered economic entities Pluine abljak 6 16 7 2 2 1 41 61 1 1 5 7 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 8 5 5 23 8 28 2 18 83 176

Field of economic activities Public administration and social insurance Education Health and social work Other public, social and personal services Finance intermediation Transport, storage and communications Agriculture, forestry and waterpower engineering Fishing Mining and quarrying Electricity, gas and water Real estate activities, renting Construction Manufacturing Wholesale and retail trade, motor vehicles Hotels and restaurants Total

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UNEP Vienna / ENVSEC: Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor - Tara Canyon - Sutjeska / Transport Infrastructure

It is expected that the development and expansion of tourist services sector will further continue in the coming years, in all communities within the scope of this study, but in particular in the abljak municipality and communities where the accommodation and boarding facilities are servicing the Tara canyon rafting companies. Cattle breeding would most probably continue to be the important economic activity, in addition the region has high potential for organic farming.

Mountain pasture in Durmitor National Park. Photo: Z. Niewiadomski

Cattle grazing in Sutjeska National Park. Photo by courtesy of Sutjeska National Park

1.3.3. Transport infrastructure The transport infrastructure in the region is in general not well developed and considered to be insufficient on both sides of the state border, however the road network and road conditions on the Montenegrin side are perceived as better than in the Republic of Srpska. The proposed transboundary protected area is intersected by international road E762 / No 18, connecting Sarajevo and Foa in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) with Pluine, Niki and Podgorica in Montenegro. The road distance from Sarajevo to Foa is 69 kilometers, and to the border crossing epan Polje 87 kilometers. The road distance from Podgorica to Pluine is 122 kilometers and to the border crossing epan Polje 144 kilometers. It should be emphasized here that the description international road indirectly implying a broad transport corridor with intensive traffic from the in Western-European perception may be misleading, as the E762 road section on the BiH side leading to the border crossing in epan Polje is very much a narrow mountain road, former macadam road, recently paved. In the busiest summer season for rafting the traffic intensity can be estimated for some 200 to 300 cars using the epan Polje border control point per day, while the number for winter months would not exceed 50 cars per day. Thus, the existence of this road does not necessarily mean an obstacle to e.g. wildlife migrations. It has to be noted here that the wildlife migration routes and corridors have not yet been adequately researched in this region. Such obstacles to migration of some species could most probably be the natural features and topography of the area the existence of deep Tara and Piva river canyons with extremely steep slopes, and additionally the water reservoir Pivsko Jezero in the Komarnica river valley on the Montenegrin side in the southernmost part of the region.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Transport Infrastructure

Road E762 section in the Piva river valley. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

The other traffic corridor in the proposed transboundary protected area is the road No 20 in the Republic of Srpska which crosses the village of Tjentite and Sutjeska National Park along the Sutjeska river canyon linking Sarajevo and Belgrade with Dubrovnik and the Adriatic coast, simultaneously being the only paved road linking the municipalities of Foa and Gacko. Therefore, traffic on this road is most intensive during the summer holiday season, out of this season the road is rather of local importance.

Road No 20 in Tjentite (left). Damaged local road south of Sutjeska NP (right). Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

The only road connection between Pluine and abljak, the two Montenegrin municipalities in focus of this study, is the narrow mountain road running southwards from the Durmitor National Park, crossing lower mountain passes. This road was recently paved on most of its length and uses several tunnels in the section between the Pivsko Jezero water reservoir and the village of Trsa on the Durmitor plateau.

Road connecting Pluine and abljak municipalities. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Transport Infrastructure

This road is a very scenic one, a tourist attraction itself, famous for breathtaking vistas. However, the accessibility of this road during winter months largely depends on local weather and snow conditions. In fact the town of abljak has much better road connections with Mojkovac, Pljevlja and avnik than with Pluine. There are plans for a new road linking Pluine in Montenegro with Gacko in the Republic of Srpska, across the village of Stabna and plateaus Ravno and Avtovac, in the proximity of southern limits of the planned Bio, Magli, Volujak Regional Park in Montenegro. There are no railways in the region of the proposed transboundary protected area, the nearest railway stations are in Sarajevo, Niki and Mojkovac. The nearest airports are in Sarajevo and Podgorica. The Pivske Jezero water reservoir established in 1975 in the valley of Komarnica and Piva rivers is the waterway of local importance, used by motored tourist boats. Its exceptional landscape beauties attract visitors to the Pluine community, and allow for inclusion of the lake boat tour into tourist packages containing also rafting trips in the Tara river canyon.

Satellite view over Pluine (Source: Google Earth)

Pivske Jezero. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Environment

1.3.4. State of the environment of the region, and potential threats The region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska, on both sides of the state border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro is in fact very homogenous from the natural and environmental point of view. The natural environment of the project area is in general well preserved, mostly due to its peripheral location far from the urban centers, railroads or highways as well as its mountainous character and inaccessibility of some areas. The above factors resulted in the low level of urbanization, industrialization and economic development of the described region. The presence of the two large terrestrial protected areas of both countries, namely national parks Durmitor established in 1952 in Montenegro and Sutjeska established in 1962 in Bosnia and Herzegovina also contributed to the preservation of high biological and landscape diversity of this transboundary region. In general, the level of air pollution is low, with very few air pollution hot spots located out of the territory of the proposed protected area, the thermal coal power plants in Gacko and Pljevlja and the foundry in Niki. Mines which could cause waste and groundwater problems are also located outside the project area, nearby Gacko in the Republic of Srpska, and in Pljevlja (coal) and Niki (red bauxite) on the Montenegrin side. As for the sources of potential water pollution in the past the major threat was the zinc- and leadprocessing factory in Mojkovac located upstream from the Tara river canyon, operating between 1976 and 1991. Factory holding tanks for the storage of wastewater polluted with heavy metals were due to fill in 1985, while the construction of new tanks was not possible. This why the Montenegrin government initially planned to discharge the contents of the tanks into the river, which will then turn the Tara river into the biologically dead sewage channel. Fortunately, this plan was abandoned and the decision on amelioration of the wastewater within the next two years was taken in 2005, depending on the availability of funds. However, according to the Physical Plan of Montenegro until 2020 (developed in 2008) the wastewater flotation problem in Mojkovac has not yet been solved until today. The existing Hydroelectricity Plant (HEP) Piva built in 1975 and its water accumulation (Pivske Jezero reservoir) located in the Piva river valley separating Volujak mountain range in the western part of the described region from the Durmitor plateau in the central part are considered as continuous threat to the environment. Another serious threat to the environment was the hydroelectric dam construction project Buk Bijela on the river Drina (downstream from the Tara canyon, in the municipality of Foa), as a joint venture of both countries, who agreed on sharing the energy to be produced by the Buk Bijela plant. If implemented this project would result in partial flooding of the river valleys of Drina and Tara, including some 18 kilometres long section of the lower part of the Tara canyon. If established, the dam would have threaten the movement of migratory fish, while the flooding by the new water reservoir would have caused significant irreversible changes in ecosystems, resulting in extinction of several endangered species. Preparatory works for the dam construction were already progressing (e.g. in the Foa municipality some settlements located in the river valleys of Drina and Tara were expropriated in order to make space for the planned water reservoir) when the local municipalities from both countries, strongly supported by environmentalists, international organisations and general public strongly opposed to this project. The project became the subject of broad public discussion, involving Parliaments, which is best reflected by the Declaration on the protection of the river Tara adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro which stated that As citizens, we are aware that the Tara is our future and our trademark.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Environment

Map 5. Satellite view over the region of the Piva water reservoir and Tara river canyon. (Source / state border delineation: Google Earth)

Furthermore, due to the fact that the Tara river canyon is part of the World Heritage Site, thus internationally protected by the WHS Convention the project was strongly criticised by e.g. the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. In 2005 a joint mission by UNESCO-WHS and IUCN visited both countries and participated in several official meetings and public forums concerning the Buk Bijela project (e.g. the abljak Round Table). The plan was dropped in 2004 by the Montenegrin government in the face of public and international pressure, however the possible revival of plans to exploit the hydroelectric potential of the river, by building new hydroelectricity plants like e.g. Buk Bijela or Kruevo still remains a potential threat. Another continuous threat to the environment is the generally missing sewage treatment system paired by the underdeveloped and insufficient water supply system. This threat is particularly visible in the dry summer season, when the watercourses of the region carry a much smaller quantity of waters compared to winter months, which results in a much higher concentration of pollutants in rivers and streams of the region during the summer tourist season. Sewage systems are present only in the larger municipality centers, while in other areas untreated sewage is discharged directly into streams, tanks, and septic dumps. The few existing sewage systems often have no capacity to process the additional volume of wastewater generated in the busy tourist seasons, which overflows as untreated sewage. To summarise very few municipalities in the region have more or less efficient waste water processing systems and facilities, while generally missing sewage treatment results in a continuous threat to the environment, in particular in rural areas currently developing new overnight accommodation facilities for tourists. A similar continuous threat to the environment of the whole described region is caused by unsatisfactory collection and treatment of solid waste. The system of solid waste management is based on collection, transportation and disposal of solid waste by public utility companies at municipal level, however in some cases even the efforts undertaken in cooperation by several municipalities are not effective.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Environment

For instance, according to the plan for solid waste management the municipalities of Pljevlja and abljak are supposed to establish and use the common landfill serving for both municipalities, in the absence of other designated dump sites, which would of course result in relatively high costs of waste transportation and potentially cause conflicts concerning the share of landfill maintenance costs. In the meantime several provisional dump sites appeared in some locations, e.g. around the town of abljak. Landfills and dump sites are poorly maintained, with minimal sanitary and hygienic conditions. Effective separation of solid waste is also minimal. Special attention should also be paid to sewage treatment and solid waste management problems in the Tara river canyon, where fragile habitats and their rare fauna are exposed to rapidly growing visitation pressures. It has to be noted here that some part of the Tara canyon constituting the state border still remains out of the borders of existing protected areas (Durmitor NP, Sutjeska NP), which could potentially control the ongoing development of illegal camps serving the rafters, regulate and service the sewage and waste disposal, and provide at least basic facilities to mitigate the adverse effects of the above threats to the Tara river canyon. In result, the current management and local capacities to cope with these challenges do not seem to be adequate. The adverse effects of insufficient sewage treatment and solid waste management are expected to be accelerated by the ongoing urbanisation in areas especially attractive for tourism and recreation, e.g. around the town of abljak, where the rapid development of residential and recreational houses aimed to accommodate the growing number of tourists follows a rather chaotic pattern, and is not well controlled by the current land-use and physical planning. Last, but not least, the architectural design of newly built accommodations is not always respecting local or regional traditional architectural patterns, and is not harmonised with the landscape.
Map 6. Satellite view over the community of abljak, with rapidly developing new settlements around the town. (Source: Google Earth)

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Environment

Recreational infrastructure development in the municipality of abljak. Photos: Z.Niewiadomski

A serious threat to environment related to the tourist pressure on the most visited parts of the region is the soil erosion (in particular in areas around the town of abljak where ski slopes, ski-lifts and similar accompanying infrastructure are developed at the limits of Durmitor national park). Excessive soil erosion caused by other factors than tourism has also been recorded in the western part of the municipality of Pluine, thus in the close proximity of the planned Bio, Magli, Volujak Regional Park. Another conflict issue is the spatial design of technical linear infrastructure development (e.g. construction of new roads and electricity power lines) sometimes resulting in fragmentation of ecosystems and often having large impact on the landscape. Illegal felling and forest harvesting not paired by re-afforestation could also be perceived as common potential threats to the ecosystems and their continuity in some parts of the described transboundary region. The sound evidence of changes ongoing in forest habitats resulting from forest exploitation is the gradual disappearance of indicator bird species, especially those which require larger undisturbed forest complexes, which presence was recorded in the past, but is no longer confirmed by current researches. It is estimated that some 40 bird species disappeared in the described region throughout the last 15 to 20 years. Finally, the ongoing rural depopulation and resulting abandonment of areas previously used for agricultural activities, e.g. grazing, influences the proportion between afforested and open areas, thus affecting the living conditions for wildlife of the region.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Tourism

1.3.5. Tourism as the local economy sector depending on natural assets of the region Tourism development in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska requires special attention in this study, as the sector of the local economy based on, and benefiting from the present landscape, natural and recreational values of the area, as the main tourist attractions bringing a considerable number of domestic and foreign visitors to the region. However, not all parts of this region are equally developed for tourism, thus some of them become gradually overcrowded by visitor traffic, beginning to threaten their landscape and natural values. Simultaneously, the tourist potential of some other areas is still unused. The most visited areas are Durmitor National Park and Tara river canyon in Montenegro, in the central part of the described region, and to a much lesser extent the Sutjeska National Park in the Republic of Srpska, in the western part of the region. Other areas of tourist development potential, like the mountain ranges of Volujak, Treskavac or Ljubinja are still waiting to be discovered by visitors.

Tourism in Durmitor mountains Durmitor National Park of the truly Alpine landscape, with 48 mountain peaks over 2000 metres, including Mt. Bobotov kuk (2522 m), one of the highest peaks of Montenegro, and encompassing some part of the Tara river canyon offers excellent opportunities for mountain hiking, climbing, downhill skiing, canoeing and rafting. The globally recognised international designations of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the Tara River Basin UNESCO MaB Biosphere Reserve provide for the easy recognition of this area abroad, which facilitates marketing of the local tourist services. The rapidly developing town of abljak is Montenegros prime ski resort, and the natural entrance gate to the national park attracting climbers and mountaineers, while the neighbouring communities are popular for fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking and rafting.

Durmitor National Park view from abljak. Photo: Z. Niewiadomski

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Tourism

The number of visitors to Durmitor National Park is constantly growing, from 12364 in 2004 to 40748 in 2007 and 41932 in 2008. However, it has to be noted that the above numbers always refer only to nine months each year (from January until September) and solely to the national park area, while a considerable number of those who come to abljak for skiing and other forms of winter recreation do not enter the national park. Moreover, there are only 4 fee collecting points manned by park rangers and located at the most popular entrance gates to the national park, while some additional number of visitors enter the park area in other locations. Therefore, the estimation of some 50000 people per year visiting Durmitor National Park would probably give a more accurate picture. Approximately one fourth of park visitors are foreign citizens. According to statistics from 2004 the vast majority (92 per cent) of visitors to Durmitor National Park stay overnight in abljak, while only the remaining 8 per cent arrive in the park area from Pluine and avnik. The park offers 60 kilometers of marked trails, maintained and renovated in cooperation between the national park administration and mountaineers clubs. Some of the trails in the most visited parts of the park are equipped with informational and interpretative boards. Visitor management in the national park includes entrance fee collecting, as for 2009 the entrance fee is 2. The national park also contributes to search and rescue activities, national park rangers are members of the mountain rescue service (gorska sluzba spasanja), six remaining members are provided by the municipality of abljak. In general Durmitor National Park has good cooperation with local municipalities (including also Foa in the Republic of Srpska) and local tourist organizations and offices, including the recently established Pluine Tourist Organisation. Park facilities include a visitor centre in abljak, the restaurant at Crno Jezero lake, motels Radovan Luka and Suica, plus three mountain shelters, a hut, a refuge and a bivouac; camping is permitted near each. Only the mountain hut remains under park management while several other overnight accommodation and catering facilities owned by the national park are rented to private entrepreneurs, and bring a considerable portion of income to the park budget, in particular the National Restaurant. The current visitor center of Durmitor National Park in abljak is provisionally arranged in the small building of the national park headquarters, thus would rather not be in a position to accommodate the whole group of passengers of a single tourist bus. The visitor center hosts a small exhibition on the geology, flora and wildlife, and a small souvenir shop.

Durmitor National Park headquarters and visitor center in abljak (left) and part of its exhibition (right). Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

It has to be noted that both the souvenir shop at the visitor centre and another one located in the National Restaurant at Crno Jezero lake offer local traditional handicraft products, purchased by Durmitor NP during the 15-day long exhibition of cottage industry organised in 2007 by the five municipalities of this northernmost region of Montenegro (Mojkovac, Pljevlja, Pluine, avnik and abljak).

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Tourism

Gusli traditional instrument in Durmitor area. Miniatures purchased by Durmitor NP at the exhibition of cottage industry are available as souvenirs at the park visitor centre. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

It is highly recommended that similar regional exhibitions and fairs are organised in the future, better marketed, and possibly including also the participants from the municipality of Foa in the Republic of Srpska. Only by generating tourist demand for these traditional local products and handicrafts the old skills and knowledge can be preserved, otherwise such rare skill would not be passed to younger generations and could soon become extinct. Due to the location of the park headquarters by the most popular walking route from the centre of the town of abljak towards the Crno Jezero lake this small exhibition is visited by the still growing number of tourists, e.g. only 796 visitors in 2005 but already 1870 people in 2007. As much as 40 per cent of visitors to the centre were foreign citizens, which leads to the assumption that foreign tourist are used to acquiring firsthand detailed information on the visited area from the park-owned visitor centre rather than from hotel personnel or guidebooks. This is why, according to the interview with Mr. Tomo Pajovi, Durmitor NP Director (carried out during the field mission) there are plans for moving the exhibition from the old provisional visitor centre to a more convenient location for the new visitor centre, to be set up at the popular walking trail surrounding Crno Jezero lake nearby the National Restaurant; this plan requires the renovation of the former fisherman station building.

Information board in Durmitor National Park (left) and location proposed for the new park visitor centre (right). Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Tourism

There are also plans for equipping the trails in Durmitor NP with additional information and interpretative boards describing e.g. rare plant species or natural phenomena, as well as for improved road and trail marking. The areas of Durmitor NP and Tara river canyon are well mapped, but guidebooks or detailed maps of other parts of the region are not available; the same relates to the common map of the whole transboundary Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region.

Tourism in the Tara river canyon Rafting, canoeing and kayaking tourism in the Tara river canyon is of particular importance, as the significant source of income for both Durmitor National Park, the municipalities of abljak and Pluine, and for numerous entrepreneurs and inhabitants of the whole region. In particular rafting generates considerable incomes, as this activity attracts a rapidly growing number of visitors. For instance the number of people who rafted down the Tara river inside the national park (statistics for the other sections of the Tara canyon are not available) was 3799 in 2005, 4180 in 2006 and as many as 7070 in 2007, which means that the number of visitors using rafting tours increased by 87 per cent over only two years.

Rafting in the Tara river canyon. Photos: Durmitor website

The vast majority of organised rafting tours on the Tara river begin in the very few convenient starting points having easy access to the Tara river bank, e.g. in ljivansko (located on the road between abljak and Mojkovac), in urevia Tara (nearby the bridge over the Tara river on the road between and Pljevlja), in Radovan Luka (nearby the motel and camp owned by Durmitor National Park), and Brtanovica (Grab camp with bungalows, accessible for 4WD vehicles), while the ending point is usually epan Polje (restaurant and a complex of bungalows) located at the confluence of Tara and Piva rivers. The distance between ljivansko and epan Polje along the Tara watercourse is 90 kilometres, which requires approx. 8 to 10 hours of rafting, thus such tours are usually planned for 2 days with overnight stops in Radovan Luka. Rafting packages are usually priced between 60 and 170, depending on the number of days and standard of overnight accommodation. Few tour operators offer packages including also a visit in Sutjeska National Park, focusing on Peruica primeval forests, in addition to the regular Tara rafting tour. Some of the local tour operators, e.g. Monte Raft based in Pluine, offer recreational packages combining one day rafting tours in the Tara river canyon with motored passenger boat one day long tours on the Pivske Jezero lake in Pluine municipality, with overnight accommodation in the Etno selo (ethnic village) in Brezna, a complex of bungalows located further to the south over the former Komarnica river valley. The revenues from rafting business are shared between the local tour operators and local municipalities, and additionally by the national park administration in cases when rafting tours are organised on the section of the canyon included into Durmitor National Park. In order to limit the impact on the canyon during the summer holiday months and promote rafting in other months Durmitor NP differentiates the fee level, and the off-season fee (rafting tax) is usually only 70 per cent of the high season fee level, applied for July and August.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Tourism

Table 3. Per cent share of different sources of income in Durmitor National Park in 2005 and 2006 Source of income Restaurant and accommodation rental Rafting tax Timber products Fees (incl. camping and parking) Souvenirs Fishing and angling permits Total 2005 40.6 33.9 14.6 5.7 3.3 1.9 100.0 2006 44.3 27.1 13.3 9.0 3.9 2.4 100.0

The national park share in the income from rafting in 2007 was accounted for as much as 153744 (thus almost 28.6 percent of all national park incomes), and constituted a large part (over 27 per cent) of its total operational budget.

Tourism in Sutjeska National Park National Park Sutjeska (NPS) is the oldest national park in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in the southeastern part of the country at the state border with Montenegro. The national park area currently covers 17250 ha, encompassing the easternmost part of the Zelengora mountain range, Vuevo mountain range and the nothwestern part of Volujak mountain range stretching across the state border with Montenegro, separated by the canyon of the Sutjeska river. The highest peak of the Zelengora mountain range within NPS borders is Brego (2015 m), while the highest peak of Volujak mountain ridge on the BiH/NPS side is iroka Toila (2297 m). The highest peak of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Mt. Maglic (2386 m) located directly at the border between both neighbouring countries, thus also in Sutjeska National Park.

Landscape of Sutjeska National Park. Photo by courtesy of Sutjeska National Park

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Other tourist attractions of Sutjeska National Park are eight mountain glacial ponds (the most famous is Donje Bare lake in the Zelengora mountain range with views over the mountain peaks on the state border), the Peruica primeval forest (1492 ha), harbouring also the 75 metres high Skakavac waterfall, and monuments commemorating the National Liberation Struggle in the times of the Second World War.

Skakavac waterfall. Photos: V. Stupar (left), by courtesy of Sutjeska National Park (right)

In addition to the area of Sutjeska National Park the NPS administration is also responsible for the game management in the state-owned hunting ground encompassing 53700 ha (thus over 3 times bigger than the national park itself). The national park and its facilities are open all year round with some limitations for access during winter. Sutjeska National Park offers excellent opportunities for mountain hiking and climbing in the Zelengora and Volujak mountain ranges, as well as fishing or hunting in the above mentioned special hunting ground. Another tourist activity is the 4WD vehicles tour event periodically organised (e.g. in September 2002 or August 2003) in the Zelengora part of the national park area, however this particular form of park area visitation is not necessarily matching the SNP conservation objectives.

Monument commemorating the National Liberation Terrain vehicle tour in Zelengora mountain range. Struggle in Sutjeska. Photo: Z. Niewiadomski Photo by courtesy of Sutjeska National Park

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Tourist infrastructure of Sutjeska National Park concentrates in the village of Tjentite by the main road No 20 being the only paved road linking the municipalities of Foa and Gacko, which crosses the national park area along the Sutjeska river canyon, linking Sarajevo and Belgrade with Dubrovnik and the Adriatic coast. The road distance from Sarajevo to Tjentite is 100 kilometers, and from Tjentite to Dubrovnik 142 kilometers. Due to the above many tourist cross the national park area on their way towards the Adriatic coast during the summer holiday season.

Map 7. Satellite view over Tjentite in Sutjeska National Park (Source: Google Earth)

In the past the national park was a popular destination for mass tourism, e.g. school excursions visiting sites commemorating the partisan battles in Sutjeska during the Second World War. As already mentioned, the effects of the civil war on welfare and living standards of the former SFRJ citizens resulted in a significant decrease in the number of visitors to Sutjeska National Park. After the civil war times the number of visitors to Sutjeska National Park dropped to some 14000 visitors per year, and some 7000 tourists stay overnight in park-owned accommodations. The majority of visitors come from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, however the share of foreign (e.g. Dutch) tourist is significant. Some of the visitors are brought to the area by tour operators in organised groups, but the vast majority arrive individually. Sutjeska National Park offers guided tours to the Peruica primeval forest and other locations in the park. The national park area is free to visit by the tourists on their own, except for the Peruica forest where only small groups accompanied by NPS ranger are admitted. Tourist guides are employed by SNP, often seasonally, and require training, in particular foreign languages courses.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Tourism

View from the tourist trail in Sutjeska (left) and a tourist group on guided tour in Peruica primeval forest (right). Photos by courtesy of Sutjeska NP.

Some of the tourist trails inside the national park are marked. Organised bigger tourist groups are expected to inform the NPS headquarters on their presence in order to be admitted to the park. Sutjeska National Park has the system of entrance fees, however there is only one entrance fee collection point in the whole area, on the road towards Peruica primeval forest, entrance fees also collected by park rangers in the park area. The park facilities in Tjentite include recently renovated and modernised Hotel Mladost (currently the only hotel operating in the whole area) with some 164 beds in comfortable rooms and apartments, restaurant and caf, and a small conference room.

Hotel Mladost and campsite in Tjentite, Sutjeska National Park. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

The SNP camp located at the Sutjeska river nearby Hotel Mladost contains the camping ground bungalows providing additional 185 beds with basic conveniences, however almost all bungalows require intensive renovation works, except for the one recently modernised and furnished. Across the Sutjeska river the SNP administration runs the Jezero Restaurant located at the small artificial pond (Jezero na Tjentitu), offering opportunities for swimming, and thus supplementing the nearby sport and recreational grounds complex, accessed by visitors to the national park with no additional charge. There are also plans for establishing an outdoor botanical exhibit and arboretum (Botanika Bata Tjentite) in the Sutjeska valley south of Tjentite, gathering tree and plant species characteristic for the national park area. Apart from the Hotel Mladost, nearby camp and sport centre in Tjentite the national park owns and operates four recently renovated mountain huts in Zelengora mountain range. Each mountain hut offers 4 beds in 2 double rooms and is equipped with kitchen and toilet. These cottages are under the supervision of park rangers.

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The decrease in the number of visitors since the times of the civil war lead to the deterioration of several objects from among park-owned tourist infrastructure, which was initially designed for mass tourism. This is why some buildings originally serving the visitors were either abandoned, or devastated during the civil war times and not refurnished later, like the former Hotel Sutjeska in Tjentite (built by SNP in 1982-1983) or the building hosting the club caf, discotheque and summer cinema showroom before the civil war times. The ruins of this building located near the SNP camp and Hotel Mladost, as well as another abandoned building nearby the Sutjeska partisan monument bring back the memories of the recent armed ethnic conflict in the Balkans, and illustrate damages to infrastructure caused by the civil war in many other regions of the former SFRJ.

SNP tourist facilities in Tjentite, destroyed and devastated in the times of the civil war. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

Available information and promotional materials on Sutjeska National Park include only one small brochure (bilingual, including English) and one video material, both provided to visitors free of charge. Some postcards are also on sale, available at the Hotel Mladost reception. However, guidebooks or maps on Sutjeska or any other parts of the region are not available; the same relates to the common map of the whole transboundary Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region. It has to be noted with concern that the Sutjeska National Park area is not particularly well mapped, neither for e.g. habitat management purposes nor for the tourism. In result of the above no detailed maps of SNP area are available to visitors, neither in a printed form to be taken for the tour into the mountains nor on currently existing information boards.

An urgent priority for Sutjeska National Park administration is the development of tourist maps for visitors, more detailed than those on existing information boards. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

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Another current shortcoming seriously impairing the visitor management in Sutjeska National Park is the complete absence of a visitor centre. Information on the park or the above mentioned promotional materials can only be obtained at the reception of the park-owned Hotel Mladost or directly at the SNP headquarters in Tjentite. The small building of the current SNP headquarters is old, lacking modern equipment and requiring urgent renovation and modernisation efforts. Therefore, the SNP headquarters which currently does not provide for adequate working conditions for the park staff would never have the capacity to play the role of the visitor centre for Sutjeska National Park or the even bigger region of the BiH part of the proposed transboundary protected area. The town of Foa has also no visitor centre for the municipality, but employs some staff at the local Tourist Office in Foa, often cooperating with the park administration. Thus, according to interviews carried out during the field mission, there are plans for adopting one of the devastated old buildings owned by the SNP administration, which could potentially serve as the future visitor centre for the national park, e.g. the ruined building of the former restaurant located in the close vicinity of Hotel Mladost.

Sutjeska National Park headquarters in Tjentite (left) and the building which could potentially be adapted for SNP visitor centre (right). Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

Taking into account the present state, design and size of the building depicted above it would probably be better to consider a possibility of setting up the future visitor centre for Sutjeska National Park in a newly built, more suitable and specially designed building, with the adequate capacity to host e.g. tourist information point, exhibits on the geology and natural features of the park area, its flora and fauna, history and cultural heritage of the region, a souvenir shop selling local products (traditional handicrafts and food products) and guidebooks and tourist maps of the transboundary region, as well as some basic indoor facilities for environmental education programmes, a small meeting room, toilets, etc. However, the financial condition of the SNP may prevent such future developments, no matter how important are such like the still missing visitor centre for the proper park management. The national park operates as the Public Enterprise and is currently not subsidised from the central state budget. Implementation of the conservation measures prescribed in the management plan is currently also based on park own incomes (recently prepared national legal acts could provide for state funding for some conservation measures, but it is not yet the case in 2009). Additionally, the low income from hunting permits does not compensate the costs of managing game species in the extensive state-owned hunting ground for which SNP administration is responsible, e.g. the costs of distributing animal fodder during winter in the mountainous area which is over 3 times bigger in size than the national park area. Last, but not least, the SNP administration receives no part of revenues from rafting. Therefore, the park operational budget largely depends on the relatively limited income from tourism, namely revenues generated by the hotel and restaurants, entrance fees and revenues from guided tours. These revenues are to some extent supplemented by the income from forestry operations and sale of timber products. But due to the obvious seasonality of tourist revenues the park budget is not stable throughout the whole year, which results in frequent financial problems e.g. during winter, and would rather never provide adequate financial reserves for any new bigger investments in the park area, despite different cost-cutting measures applied by the SNP administration.

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UNEP Vienna / ENVSEC: Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor - Tara Canyon - Sutjeska / Sustainable Tourism

1.3.6. Sustainable tourism development in the region - conclusions and points for consideration The tourist services sector is probably the most promising development opportunity for the local economy, the source of income of growing importance providing employment chances for the local inhabitants, and a factor which can mitigate or prevent the current alarming rural depopulation trends, and limit the ongoing migration of younger people to towns and cities. Revenues from tourism support the operation and finance conservation measures undertaken in protected areas of the region, therefore the protected area administrations are also dependant on revenues from visitor services. However, it is important to emphasise that the exceptional landscape and nature values of this region are not eternal and granted forever, and their maintenance depends on the careful spatial planning providing for the wise and sustainable use of natural resources, and their protection. In case tourism develops in an uncontrolled and unsustainable way it can also lead to e.g. the nonreversible changes of the pristine landscapes, degradation of fragile mountain habitats, loss of biodiversity, increased problems of water supplies, waste and sewage management, increased traffic on mountain roads and trails etc. Should the above mentioned unique landscape, natural and recreational values of the region significantly deteriorate in result of uncontrolled development and urbanization the present high tourist attractiveness would immediately decrease, and a large part of current visitors to the area may decide to chose other holiday destinations, where adverse effects of human economy on landscape and nature are either none or better prevented, providing for better quality of recreation. The mountains of this region are indeed highly attractive to e.g. climbers or skiers but there are in fact many other mountain ranges in Europe providing similar recreation opportunities, often paired by other attractions, e.g. historical towns, museums, spas, conference and wellness centers, and much better developed tourist, ski-lift and road infrastructure, like for instance in the Alps. Similarly, no matter that the Tara river canyon is indeed unique for Europe there are many more places (also in several neighbouring Balkan countries) located in the similar flying distance from the major European cities, offering easier access from the airport than e.g. abljak, which harbour similar landscapes and provide similar opportunities for whitewater rafting.

Above: examples of two areas famous in Europe for rafting activities Tara canyon on the state border in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor-Tara Canyon-Sutjeska (left) and Dunajec gorge on the state border in Pieniny Mountains, the first European transboundary protected area, established in 1932 (right). Photos: national park websites

Thus, foreign tourists do need a strong incentive to chose Durmitor, Sutjeska or the Tara river canyon as their holiday destination, instead of traveling either to other mountain locations in Europe, or simply visiting the picturesque Montenegrin coast of the Adriatic Sea.

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In other words should these natural values be gone, a considerable number of current customers, in particular the foreign ones, could simply disappear forever. With the decreasing number of visitors the local entrepreneurs in tourist services sector could simultaneously lose a corresponding part of their current incomes, and chances for further development and employment in the future. Simultaneously, protected areas of the region, operating on both sides of the state border as the Public Enterprises almost non-supported from the central state budgets of the countries concerned, could lose much of their current operational capacities, with possible fatal results for nature conservation. Thus, the future and sustainability of the tourist business in the whole region is to a large extent dependant on the cooperation of nature conservation authorities and protected are administrations with local municipality authorities and the tourism sector, on the maintenance, conservation and if need be also restoration of its natural assets as the main source of tourist attractiveness currently bringing visitors to the Tara river canyon or Durmitor and Sutjeska mountain national parks. Secondly, the so called quality of wildlife experience automatically decreases with the growing number of visitors to pristine locations. For the time being the psychological visitor carrying capacity of the existing protected areas in the region is most probably sufficient for the current number of visitors. Compared to the size of existing protected areas of this region the number of visitors is still not high, compared to some other protected areas of Europe. For instance, the approximate number of some 50000 tourists visiting Durmitor National Park per year compared to the 60 kilometers of marked trails in the park is not yet alerting, taking into account that a considerable percentage of these visitors limit their stay in the national park only to the short visit onshore of the Crno Jezero lake (easily accessible from abljak for all age groups of visitors) and admiring park panoramas from the National Restaurant by the lake; much smaller amount of the visitors to the national park are real mountaineers and climbers.

Crno Jezero lake, a tourist hot-spot in Durmitor National Park. Photo: Z. Niewiadomski

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Similarly, the rafting tours in the Tara river canyon are organized on the 90-kilometres long section of the river valley (the considerable part of the canyon is included in the national park). The number of some 7000 people per year use this section and are recorded by the Durmitor National Park statistics. The vast majority of tours is organised during the two summer holiday season months, July and August. Therefore, the average number of park visitors present in the canyon per day in 2007 was around 100 people, thus the canyon may not yet seem to be overcrowded by rafting visitors, touring across the rapids of Tara in much smaller groups, and leaving the tour starting points at different time, thus having no other groups in sight. Of course, the real situation may often be different than the above, as the number of visitors coming for rafting tours on the Tara river or hiking in Durmitor mountains must be much higher during weekend days than during other, working days of the week. Secondly, taking into account that there are very few available camps along the course of the Tara river canyon even if the visitors leave the tour starting point in e.g. ljivansko in a small group, they would most probably meet the vast majority of other groups rafting on Tara on this particular day at the overnight stop, e.g. in Radovan Luka, and the big part of them would stay overnight in this place together with another one or two hundred of other guests also attracted by the opportunity to enjoy the wilderness of the Tara canyon. It is easy to predict that simultaneously with the growing number of beds in newly built accommodations and hotels in the region, e.g. in the town of abljak, the competition between the local entrepreneurs in tourism business will significantly increase, and the number of visitors to the Tara river canyon or the Durmitor National Park would also increase, e.g. double (like the number of rafters on Tara only in two year time, between 2005 and 2007) or even triplicate, compared to the current situation. Twice or thrice higher number of visitors in currently pristine and silent locations would of course have much bigger adverse impact on the fragile ecosystems and habitats than today. Moreover, the quality of wildlife experience would automatically decrease, e.g. in case when people enjoying the wilderness adventure of their lifetime when rafting in the Tara river canyon would see tens of other rafts and hundreds of other people all around. In fact, this may already be the case when, after the whole day spent in the wilderness of the canyon, the visitors stay overnight in camps together with e.g. a hundred of other rafters. Such potential threat to the wild, unspoiled and pristine marketing image of the Tara river canyon is already a sad reality in many other national parks in numerous European countries. In particular in such must-see sites like easily accessible viewpoints, glaciers or mountain ponds, where several hundreds or sometimes thousands of visitors have to wait in line in order to be able to touch the ice or stick their finger into the mountain lake, and to visit the toilet. The decrease of the visitor experience quality would immediately result in the disappearance of the group of visitors, mostly foreign, representing the top income segment of the tourist market, who would then never return to the region. This could lead to problems for e.g. several more exclusive hotels of higher standard of accommodation targeted at this segment of customers, most often bringing much higher revenues for the tour operators and accommodation facility owners than the domestic customers. Thus, the important question could be how much is too much ?. Assuming that the local entrepreneurs in the rafting business would like to maintain or even raise the current prices for their services in the near future they simply have to keep their offer exclusive, also in terms of the number of visitors admitted to the canyon. Such arguments are usually much more convincing for the local private entrepreneurs and tour operators than the sophisticated scientific arguments, like e.g. the requirements for conservation of the biological diversity of the area. Of course, the higher number of tourists accommodated in the region and admitted to visit the national park would increase incomes for the municipalities, park administrations and local inhabitants. But simultaneously the facility maintenance, trail repair or waste removal costs will grow, while damages to habitats exposed to growing tourism pressures may often be irreversible, no matter how big part of income from tourism could be spent on habitat restoration measures.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Sustainable Tourism

How could this region cope with a potentially growing number of visitors in order to prevent the decrease of the quality of visitor experience and simultaneously limit adverse impacts of visitor traffic on the natural values of the region? There are at least four recommended solutions, which can be applied simultaneously. 1. Extending the length of the tourist season in the region by diversifying the regional tourist offer, resulting also in higher rate of bed occupation in accommodations and limiting the adverse effects of the current seasonality of revenues for local entrepreneurs and inhabitants. This measure would require the development of other tourist activity fields complementary to the currently prevailing traditional uses, e.g. rafting tours. Nature-based tourism, hiking or climbing, mountain biking, or even active & extreme sports and recreational activities can also be performed in other seasons than the strict summer holiday high season. 2. Dispersal of the tourist traffic in the whole transboundary region by developing the common transboundary tourist package including visits and tourist activities on both sides of the state border. For example, tourists attracted to the region by the opportunity of rafting in the Tara river canyon could also visit protected areas located on the opposite side of the state border, which would then result in higher demand for e.g. overnight accommodation services (in particular on the Republic of Srpska side) and organized tours, to be guided by transboundary tourist guides having proper knowledge of tourist interest sites in both neighbouring countries. Application of this solution could also provide for a more equal sharing of benefits and revenues from tourism by inhabitants of different national parts of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska, resulting in a more harmonized development of services and facilities in the whole transboundary region. 3. Dispersal of the tourist traffic in the whole transboundary region by developing tourist offer and facilities in areas either extensively used for tourism at present, or not yet explored by visitors, which could also provide for a more equal sharing of benefits and revenues from tourism by inhabitants of different communities in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska. As for today the tourist traffic cumulates in three must-see areas of a much larger region, namely the Tara river canyon and the two existing national parks. Therefore, tourist services rapidly develop only in the central part of the whole transboundary region encompassing the Durmitor mountain range and the most visited part of the Tara river canyon. The western part of the region is used for tourism only inside Sutjeska National Park, while it remains rather unexplored on the Montenegrin side of the border. Last but not least, the whole northern part of this transboundary region located across the Tara canyon seems to be completely off the tourist tracks. It is obvious that many other areas of the region, like e.g. the areas of proposed three regional parks on the Montenegrin side (Bio-Magli-Volujak, Ljubinja and Sinjavina) have high potential for tourist activities development. Of course, it does not mean that these areas should try to follow the development pattern of e.g. the abljak municipality. For instance, the conditions for downhill skiing in the mountain range of Ljubinja stretching across the state border in the southeast of the Foa municipality in the Republic of Srpska and westwards from Pljevlja in Montenegro are different than those of the Durmitor area. Thus, establishing similar skiing resorts in Ljubinja range, trying to compete with existing winter centers like abljak would probably never be feasible. But presumably Ljubinja has areas suitable for the development of other forms of recreation, like e.g. mountain biking. Similarly, trekking, hiking or climbing in the mountain range of Volujak in the western part of the region can not be much less attractive than in Durmitor mountains.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Sustainable Tourism

To summarise tourist development of the other areas in the region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska should rather try to benefit from differences, and build on their specific assets, than try to compete with, and copy the pattern of tourist services already available e.g. in Durmitor mountains or the Tara canyon. 4. Keeping visitors busy in areas less important for nature and landscape conservation, e.g. buffer zones of existing protected areas. Tourists who could be attracted to spend few hours in e.g. markets promoting local products and handicrafts, or well-developed park visitor centers would later never have enough time to get into the most vulnerable areas on the same day.

One of the strategic goals of the Tourism Development Strategy of Montenegro until 2020 is to develop a specific unique selling point of the country, making it a high quality tourist destination of global importance. Only such complex and differentiated regional tourist package, basing on the attractiveness and diversity of landscapes, nature and available tourist activities of all parts of the described region, simultaneously providing for safekeeping of those natural assets could provide for the specific unique selling point of the regional tourist offer of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska. The label of a transboundary protected area of exceptional natural values and sustainable tourism development would definitely increase the tourist attractiveness of the region, facilitate marketing of the regional tourist product abroad, and help to mitigate the adverse effects of the negative stereotypes still common among some Europeans, resulting from the past armed ethnic conflict.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Legal and administrative framework

PART 2. NATURE AND ITS PROTECTION IN THE REGION OF THE PROPOSED TRANSBOUNDARY PROTECTED AREA 2.1. Legal and administrative framework for protected area designation and management
In the times of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) numerous symposiums and congresses focused on biodiversity conservation issues, and resulted in so-called long-term projections for nature protection in the whole region, and recommendations for designation of new protected areas. Many of these recommendations were consequently translated into different planning documents (e.g. physical plans, sector strategies and policies) but very few of them were later implemented. Institutes for nature protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Montenegro were actively involved in establishment of new protected areas mostly in the period of 1960s 1980s. Since 1990s, the times of the civil war and armed ethnic conflicts in the Balkans, the progress in establishing new protected areas considerably slowed down. Biodiversity conservation has not been the priority for the new independent countries which emerged after the break down of the SFRJ, confronted with many other urgent needs and severe problems, in particular those resulting from the economic crises caused by war damages, several years of isolation from the global economy, and ongoing transition from socialist economic policies to free market economies. Once the political and economic situation became more stable - the climate for nature conservation became more favourable. However, in some regions of the South Eastern Europe the ethnic tensions are still an obstacle for sub-regional and transboundary cooperation on biodiversity conservation issues. Luckily, this is not the case in the region of the planned transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska. Furthermore, the national legislation of the countries of the South Eastern Europe related to nature conservation is currently being harmonized with the EU nature protection standards, in the light of their expected accession to the European Community in the near future. Last but not least, the Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro declares the country as an ecological state, and consequently the designation of several new protected areas is planned under the Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020 developed in 2008, including three new regional parks in the region of the planned transboundary protected area, as well as the significant extension of the area of Durmitor National Park. Similarly, the Spatial plan of Republic of Srpska until 2015 provides e.g. for the designation of some 15 to 20 per cent of the RS territory as protected areas of different legal and protective management categories; as well as for the extension of the area of Sutjeska National Park. Current legislation related to nature conservation issues in both countries is already quite similar and compatible, and will become even more compatible with the full incorporation of acquis communautaire. On the other hand the institutional framework for nature conservation in both concerned countries remains relatively complicated, as the competencies of different Ministries and institutions are sometimes overlapping. In the Republic of Srpska the main authority responsible for nature protection is the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republic of Srpska. However, national parks report also to the Ministry of Education and Culture, and to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. In addition to the above, the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Republic of Srpska plays the leading role in developing proposals for the designation of new protected areas. Furthermore, a special consultative and coordinative body is mandated to facilitate communication on environmental issues on the federal level, namely with the Federal Ministry of Physical Planning and Environment and the Council for the Environment reporting to the Parliament and Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The most important and relevant legal acts are the Law on National Parks and the Law on Nature Protection of the Republic of Srpska. In Montenegro the main authorities with competencies related to environment and nature conservation are the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Legal and administrative framework

The Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environmental Protection is the key environmental authority in the Republic of Montenegro, responsible for the implementation of the Law on Environment and its subsequent regulations. The competencies of this Ministry include the system of environmental protection, air, noise and vibration, radiation and hazardous substances, nature conservation and protected areas management, waste management, inspection and enforcement, and international cooperation. As for spring 2009 the Ministry of Tourism and Environment was responsible for nature protection, including establishment of Natura 2000 network, environmental protection and tourism development in Montenegro. The responsibilities of this ministry included drafting and implementation of strategic documents, plans and programs in the area of environmental protection, sustainable development and sustainable use of natural resources; protection of nature and conservation of biodiversity; protection of national parks and protected natural resources; protection of unprotected wild animal species (with the exception of game species), marine and river organisms; defining environmental protection standards; rehabilitation programs in environmental protection; drafting laws, secondary legislation acts and other regulations; monitoring and enforcement of regulations from respective areas, as well as international contracts and agreements; implementation of activities in the process of approximation and joining the European Union; monitoring of the process of harmonization of the legal system in the area of environmental protection and sustainable development with the legal system of the European Union; cooperation with nongovernmental organizations; international cooperation; preparation and enforcement of international bilateral contracts and agreements; and administrative supervision from the area of environmental protection. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management is responsible for forestry, agriculture and fishery, water resources exploitation, protection and use. Thus, its range of responsibilities includes management of natural resources, including protected areas, protected plant and animal species, forests management, fishing and hunting, as well as control on collection and trade of wild plant species classified as 'forest but non-timber products'. The Ministry is tasked with preparation of legal acts, policies and plans for the management of forest resources, and for their implementation. According to the draft National Forest and Forest Land Administration Policy developed in 2008 as part of approximation of the national legislation to the EU standards the principles related to environmental, economic and social functions of the forests include ecological sustainability and the ecosystem approach towards forest management. This strategy aims, inter alia, at integration of national and international environment protection objectives into forest management practice, improvement of conditions for wild fauna in forest ecosystems and increase in the number of game and protected species. The Forest Management Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, established on the basis of the Law on Forests of 2000 (Sl. list Republike Crne Gore No 55/00) governs the activities of fifteen Forest Management Services, located in municipalities. Forests in Montenegro cover some 620872 ha (44.95 per cent of the country area), where state-owned forests constitute 67.25 per cent of the total. According to the Law on Forests the state forest administration is mandated to manage state-owned forest but also to supervise planning and protection of private forests. The responsibilities of the forest administration include conservation of natural values of the forests as well as prevention and elimination of harmful impacts of biotic and abiotic factors, which could put those values at risk. The Public Enterprise National Parks of Montenegro (PENPM) established by the Law on National Parks (1991) and based in Podgorica with the total staff of 126 people is the coordinative and support structure for all national parks of Montenegro (as for 2009 - Biogradska Gora, Durmitor, Lovcen and Skadarsko Jezero), responsible for park management and enforcement of protective regimes. The PENPM is partly selffinancing and partly supported by state budget grants designated for nature protection. The Institute for the Protection of Nature based in Podgorica with the staff of 22 people plays the leading role in developing proposals for the designation of new protected areas, being mandated to prepare Studies for protection (Studije zatite) and provide expertise in the course of legal procedures for establishing protected natural assets or revisions of their status (articles 53 and 56 of the Law on Nature Protection of 2008). The Institute is authorized to assess the state and conditions of the habitats for the Natura 2000 network (article 30), maintain and update the register of protected natural assets, develop the Red Lists of species, and carry out risk assessment on nature (article 87). The Institute is also in charge for the biodiversity monitoring programme launched in 2001.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Legal and administrative framework

Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency of Montenegro is currently in the process of establishment. Once it becomes operational, its responsibilities would include issuing environmental permits, inspection and law enforcement concerning activities regulated by the environmental legislation, collecting and processing data received from environmental monitoring, establishing environmental databases, dissemination of information and facilitating the public access to the information on environment and reporting on the state of the environment to the Government and international organisations. Last, but not least, local self-governments would have to play the leading role in developing proposals for the designation, planning and managing the planned regional (nature) parks. It has to emphasised here that the regional nature park is a new legal category of protected areas in the Republic of Montenegro, and no experience on their governance of functioning has been gathered so far. As for the planning procedures and documents at the national level the most important on the side of the Republic of Montenegro are: Physical Plans of Montenegro (1986, 1991, 1997, 2008) which always include proposals for extending the protected area network. The current Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020 developed in 2008 proposes the designation of Prokletije National Park (21000 ha), Bio-Magli-Volujak Regional Park (7200 ha); Ljubinja Regional Park (7800 ha); Sinjavina Regional Park (42400 ha); Komovi Regional Park (21000 ha) as well as the territorial extension of Durmitor National Park in the way providing for its ecological connectivity with Bio-Magli-Volujak Regional Park and Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Hercegovina / Republic of Srpska. Physical Plans of Special Purposes for National Parks, which define general biodiversity conservation measures, functional zonation and directions for management of key natural assets in each of the national parks. The Physical Plans of Special Purposes for National Parks are subject to periodic revision after each 10 years. Current plans for Biogradska Gora, Lovcen and Durmitor were prepared in 1997, and in 2000 for Skadarsko Jezero. Management Plans for National Parks, including those developed for the period of five years, which translate the directions provided in Physical Plans of Special Purposes for National Parks into planning management activities and biodiversity conservation measures in each national park, and resulting annual operational management plans, which take into account available financial resources and reflecting the budgetary situation of each national park. These documents are prepared by the Public Enterprise National Parks of Montenegro and approved by the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environmental Protection. The current 5-year management plan for Durmitor National Park was prepared in 2004/2005 for the period between 2005 and 2010, which implies that the new 5-year management plan is due to be developed soon. In case the area of Durmitor National Park is extended, as proposed in the Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020 this new 5-year management plan should be developed for a bigger territory than the current national park area. Other relevant planning documents at the national level in Montenegro are the strategies, action plans and self assessments concerning, or related to nature and biodiversity conservation, as follows: Biodiversity Strategy and resulting Action Plan, which are currently finalised, for the review by the Steering Committee and later adoption by the Government. This work has been undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and UNDP, with the financial support of the World Bank GEF. Previous experiences on development of similar strategies for biodiversity conservation include preparation of SAP BIO Report developed in 2004 as a Preparatory Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (however only for the Mediterranean region of Montenegro). Moreover, the first national report to the CBD Convention is currently in preparation, which allows for synergies and harmonisation of different strategic planning documents. National Country Self Assessment, undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and UNDP, with the financial support of the World Bank GEF, where the national assessment of conditions for implementation of biodiversity-related conventions was one of three main thematic fields in focus.

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National Strategy for Sustainable Development, prepared and adopted in a participatory process between 2005 and 2007 in cooperation with the National Council for Sustainable Development supported by UNDP and UNEP. According to this Strategy protected areas should reach the coverage of 10 per cent of the national territory of Montenegro, and the priority areas include proposed Prokletije National Park and two proposed Regional Parks: Bio, Magli, Volujak and Komovi. Finally, due to the fact that forest areas encompass a significant part of both existing and planned protected areas in Montenegro, as well as the legal mandate for the forestry administration (Forest Districts and Forest Management Units) to play the role of a managing body for protected areas (e.g. regional parks) proclaimed in forest areas planning documents related to forest management are highly relevant, and provide additional source of information for planning the proposed new protected areas. According to the Law on Forests (2000), forest management is based on the following planning documents: Basic Forest Management Programme (Opta osnova gazdovanja umama) developed for the period of ten years and adopted by the Government. This Programme describes the current state of both state-owned and private forests; directives, goals and objectives of their management, including measures for implementation; purposes and functions of certain parts of forest, management plans which need to be implemented; financial and economic analyses, and maps of Forest Districts. Special Forest Management Programme (Posebne osnove gazdovanja umama) prepared for each Forest Management Unit for the period of ten years, adopted by the Directorate for Forest Management and later approved by the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environmental Protection. Programme for afforestation of barren mountainous terrains (Program poumljavanja goleti) developed for the period of ten years and adopted by the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environmental Protection. This Programme describes the state of barren mountainous terrains and other devastated and degradation areas which need to be afforested, areas threatened by e.g. erosion and avalanches, the state of their nature; prescribes methods and techniques for measures to be undertaken in these areas, and defines required financial resources. Forest Management Programme (Program gazdovanja umama) developed for the period of ten years for private forests and adopted by the Directorate for Forest Management. Such Programmes must be harmonised with the Basic Forest Management Programme, and their scope may include one or more plots of privately owned forests. The contents of such Programmes includes the description of the current state of forests, data on the owners and relevant administrative units, forestry management measures applied, and prescription of measures to be undertaken. Annual Operational Plan (Izvodjaki projekat), developed for the state-owned forests, harmonised with the Basic Forest Management Programme and Special Forest Management Programme. The annual operational plan is adopted by the Directorate for Forest, and contains detailed prescriptions for all forest management measures to be applied in a particular location, and defines the timeframe for their implementation.

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2.2. Comparison of protected area networks in both neighbouring countries


Both involved countries are Parties to e.g. the CBD and the World Heritage Convention, and are signatories to multilateral environmental agreements like the Convention on Co-operation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the River Danube (DRPC). Furthermore, in the light of their expected accession to the European Community in the near future - both countries are proceeding with the harmonization of their nature protection standards with the EU. The new national laws aim to ensure the compliance of the national legislation with Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, and Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds. After becoming the Member States of the European Community both countries would have to identify, propose and establish a network of Special Protected Areas and proposed Special Areas of Conservation that will form part of the Natura 2000 network. The Republic of Montenegro, declared by Article 1 of its Constitution as an ecological state, has already completed the process of identifying sites relevant for the Emerald network, and prepares for the development of Natura 2000 network. In July 2008 the Parliament of Montenegro adopted a new Law on Nature Protection, ensuring the compliance with the EU legislation in this respect. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) identified sites relevant for the Emerald network, and further committed itself to develop the list and GIS database of natural habitat types in BIH, to support the process of preparation of Red Lists of species in the Republic of Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to initiate the process of evaluation of threatened species in BIH territory, under the criteria provided in the Annex III to the Habitats Directive, with the goal of recognizing the appropriate Natura 2000 sites, and to develop a national legal act on habitat types. However, as for 2009, there is still a significant disparity between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro in terms of the size of territories legally designated as protected areas in both countries, and resulting disparity in the share of protected areas in the territories of both above countries.
Table 4. Share of protected areas in territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro in 2009. Country land surface (km2) 51129 protected areas (km2) 505.67 PA share in country area (per cent) 0.99

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Montenegro

13812

1087.50

7.87

Montenegro with the total country territory 3.7 times smaller than the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared over two times bigger territory as protected. In result, the per cent share of protected areas in the total terrestrial territory of Montenegro (7.87 per cent) is currently almost eight times higher than in the terrestrial territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina (less than 0.99 per cent). Thus, taking into account differences of the size of both countries - the spatial density ratio of the protected area network in Montenegro is in 2009 over 29 (!) times higher than in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In fact, the above disparity was even bigger prior to designation of the national park Una in May 2008 in the Una-Sana canton, the first national park of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and third one in the country, encompassing over 39 per cent of areas currently protected in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Last, but not least, these disparities may soon become even stronger in the light of planned designation of numerous new protected areas in Montenegro, if not paired by similar efforts on the side of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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As for 2009 the protected area network of Bosnia and Herzegovina encompasses almost 50567 ha, and includes 3 national parks Kozara (3375 ha), Sutjeska (17250 ha) and Una (19'800 ha); 2 nature parks Blidinje and Hutovo Blato (the only Ramsar site designated in Bosnia and Herzegovina), 5 strict nature reserves, 3 managed nature reserves, 29 special reserves (6 geological, 22 botanical and 1 ornithological), 16 nature landscape reserves, and a large number of natural monuments and 7 memorial nature monuments. It has to be noted that the above protected area categories are sometimes overlapping, as e.g. the Strict Nature Reserve Peruica is located within the borders of Sutjeska National Park. The current protected area system of Montenegro as for 2009 encompasses some 108750 ha, and includes 4 national parks Biogradska Gora (5400 ha), Durmitor (33895 ha), Lovcen (6400 ha) and Skadar Lake (40000 ha), 43 natural monuments (7733 ha in total), 4 areas of exceptional natural values (322.5 ha in total), as well as the Kotor-Risan Bay (15000 ha) protected by the municipal law. Durmitor National Park is part of the UNESCO-MaB Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve (182889 ha, designated in 1976) and together with the Tara river canyon was in 1980 inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites (WHS). Kotor-Risan Bay was designated as the WHS already in 1979, while the National Park Biogradska Gora has been nominated for inclusion on this list. The Skadar Lake national park was in 1995 included on the List of Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar list).

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2.3. Brief overview of the natural values of the region


The proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska is part of the Balkan Highlands biogeographical province, located near the watershed between Mediterranean and Danube basin drainages. The area harbours mountain scenery of limestone massifs carved by glaciers and deeply dissected by rivers, spectacular mountain ranges exceeding 2500 metres as well as river canyons and underground streams, including the Tara river canyon being the deepest gorge in Europe. The Tara river canyon is 80 kilometres long and up to 1300 metres deep, which makes it a famous tourist destination comparable to the Grand Canyon of Colorado in the USA. Other natural features of the region are the dense pine forests and numerous mountain lakes and ponds.
Map 8. Satellite view over the region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska (Source: Google Earth)

For the purposes of this study the region can be divided into three smaller sub-regions, basing on the topography of the area: western, central and northern parts.

The western part of the region encompasses four distinctive mountain ranges and ridges, intersected by deep river valleys and canyons of Sutjeska and Vrbnica. Zelengora mountain range is located entirely in the Republic of Srpska, with the highest peak of Lelija (2032 m). Volujak mountain range stretches across the state border between Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska and Montenegro, with the highest peaks of iroka Toila (2297 m) on the BiH side and Vlasulja (2337 m) on the Montenegrin side. The mountain ridge located exactly at the state border to the north from Volujak is Mt. Magli (2386 m), the highest peak of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The mountain ridge stretching between Volujak and the Piva river valley is Bio, with the highest peak of Veliki Vitao (2396 m), the highest peak of this western part, which also harbours numerous mountain glacial ponds, the deepest (897 m) cave in Montenegro and the Peruica primeval forest. The natural border of the western part separating it from the other sub-regions are the canyons and river valleys of Komarnica, Piva and Drina rivers.

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Map 9. Satellite view over the western part Zelengora and Volujak mountain ranges (Source: Google Earth)

Map 10. Satellite view over the western part Zelengora and Volujak mountain ranges (Source / state border delineation: Google Earth)

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The central part of the region encompasses Durmitor mountain range, Durmitor plateau, the adjacent Treskavac mountain ridge, and the Tara river canyon constituting the natural northern border of this subregion. The highest mountain summit of this part is Mt. Bobotov kuk (2522 m), one of the highest peaks of Montenegro. In the Durmitor mountain range there are 48 peaks exceeding 2000 metres elevation, and 18 glacial lakes. This is the most visited part of the proposed transboundary protected area, where the main tourist attractions are mountaineering in Durmitor and rafting activities in the Tara river canyon during the summer tourist season and skiing in winter. This part is also known for its picturesque churches (e.g. in abljak and Krs) and monasteries (Pivski, Bijela, Podmalinsko and Dobrilovina).
Map 11. Satellite view over the central part Durmitor plateau and mountain range (Source: Google Earth)

Mountain landscapes of Durmitor. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

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The northern part of the region across the Tara river canyon encompasses the Ljubinja mountain ridge stretching across the state border between Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska and Montenegro. The major part of this mountain ridge is located in Montenegro, as well as the mountain peaks towering over the Tara canyon Mt. Obzir (1869 m) and Mt. Buletina (1838 m).
Map 12. Satellite view over the northern part - Ljubinja mountain ridge (Source / state border delineation: Google Earth)

Vegetation zones of the proposed transboundary protected area range from deciduous valley forests, Mediterranean coniferous forests, sub-alpine Fagetum subalpinum and Pinetum mughi forests, subalpine heath and peat bogs to alpine meadows. The dominant species include Scots pine Pinus sylvestris, red pine Pinus resinosa, dwarf mountain pine Pinus mugo, silver fir Abies alba, Norway spruce Picea excelsa, beech Fagus sylvatica, common birch Betula alba, common juniper Juniperus communis and Bosnian pine Pinus heldreichii / leucodermis. Remains of the regions virgin forests are preserved on both sides of the state border, including Peruica primeval forest with beech trees over 60 metres high, protected in Sutjeska National Park, and one of the last virgin forests of black pine Pinus nigra ssp. illyrica in Europe, protected in Durmitor National Park. Due to limited accessibility the vast majority of the Tara river canyon remains in its primeval shape and harbours a large diversity of habitats and flora. Due to the geographical location, altitudinal range, and the influence of both Mediterranean and continental climate the species and ecosystem diversity of the region is among the highest in Europe. The Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region harbours not only exceptional landscape values but also a wide range of endemic, relic, rare, protected and other important flora and fauna species.

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Peruica primeval forest. Photo: V. Stupar

The research on floral diversity of the region provides for the estimation of the presence of some 2600 vascular plant species, including approx. 122 endemic species out of which several have their range limited to smaller areas within this region, e.g. 6 taxa specific solely to the Durmitor mountain range. Rare and endemic flora species include e.g. Carum velenovskyi, Daphne malyiana, Edraianthus glisicii, Edraianthus sutjeskae, Gentiana levicalix, Oxytropis dinarica, Plantago durmitorea, Saxifraga prenja, Silene graminea, Trifolium durmitoreum, Valeriana braun-blanquetii, Verbascum durmitoreum and Viola zoysii. The fauna of the proposed transboundary protected area is composed of approximately 300 species, which includes a high number of invertebrates, with many relic and endemic species. Mammals of the region include the brown bear Ursus arctos, wolf Canis lupus, lynx Lynx lynx, wild cat Felis silvestris, otter Lutra lutra, wild boar Sus scrofa, and the Balkan sub-species of chamois Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica. The number of bird species nesting in the region varies, depending on the source of information, between 130 (Birdlife International, 2005) and 172 (NGO Centre for Protection and Research of Birds of Montenegro). Important bird species include the golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos, imperial eagle Aquila heliaca, rock partridge Alectoris graeca, short-toed eagle Circaetus gallicus, peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus, black grouse Lyrurus tetrix, honey buzzard Pernis apivorus, western capercaillie Tetrao urogallus and hazel grouse Tetrastes bonasia. The rivers and lakes of this region contain a large number of salmonidae fish including Danube salmon Hucho hucho, river trout Salmo trutta morpha fario, brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis and European grayling Thymalus thymalus. To summarise the region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska encompasses areas of unique landscape for Europe, with outstanding values such as the Tara river canyon and neighbouring mountain ranges up to 2522 m. Furthermore, this region represents a wide range of important natural values e.g. complex and dynamic mountain ecosystems of high biological diversity including numerous endemic, relic and rare flora and fauna species as well as habitats of European importance of exceptionally high conservation values. These unique values should be taken into account when deciding on the future of this region and protecting its natural treasures for the next generations.

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2.4. Protected areas in the planned transboundary protected area


As for 2009 in the area of the planned transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska there are only two protected areas, designated accordingly to the national legislation of either Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska or Montenegro. These are Durmitor National Park in Montenegro and Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska.

Durmitor National Park Durmitor National Park (IUCN management category II) is the largest terrestrial national park and protected area of Montenegro, established in 1952 (Sl. list Republike Crne Gore No 14/1952), currently with the area of 33895 ha, located in the northwest of the country near the state border with Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska. The national park encompasses the Durmitor mountain range with the highest peak of Bobotov kuk (2522 m), and part of the Durmitor plateau. Additionally, a significant part of the Tara river canyon designated in 1977 (by the Decree 1/12/1977 of the Republic Institute of Nature Conservation) as a Nature Reserve and Nature Monument was included into the national park area in 1978. The national park borders changed again in 1997, due to modification of the Spatial Plan for the Special Purpose Area of the Durmitor National Park carried out by the former Ministry of Environmental Protection and Urban Planning. The resulting correction of national park boundaries excluded several settlements (Moticki Gaj, Poscenski kraj and Razvrsje located in the outskirts of the town of abljak, which were already present and inhabited at the time of park proclamation) from the national park area, and provided for ecological compensation by including other areas (e.g. Nevidie canyon) under the national park management. In 2005 another area of some 40 ha was excluded from the national park borders and management, with the objective to mitigate similar conflicts arising from the rapid urbanization and spatial expansion of abljak. In 1980 Durmitor National Park together with the Tara river canyon were inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites (WHS) under Natural Criteria vii, viii and x, as: containing superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance; being outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features; containing the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Durmitor National Park is operating within the framework of the Public Enterprise National Parks of Montenegro (PENPM), based in Podgorica, which provides coordination and support for all four national parks of Montenegro. The PENPM headquarters employs specialists in different fields relevant for national park operations, e.g. specialists on flora, fauna, forest protection, historical and cultural heritage, and promotion of tourist services. The seat of Durmitor National Park administration is located in the outskirts of the town of abljak. The legal basis for national park designation in Montenegro is the Law on National Parks (1991, amended in 1992 and 1994), defining e.g. objectives, planning principles, land use and management rights, and sources of financing. The detailed description of Durmitor National Park boundaries is provided in Article 10 of this legal act, however these boundaries are not clearly marked in the field.

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Following the provisions of the Law on National Parks the management of the national park is based on the 5-year management plan (the current one prepared in 2004/2005 has the validity period 2005-2010, which means that a new plan is due to be prepared soon) and resulting annual operational plans, as well as on the Physical Plan of Special Purpose for Durmitor National Park (the current one was prepared in 1997) defining general directions for management of natural assets and prescribing biodiversity conservation measures to be implemented in the park area. These plans are also linked with planning documents adopted at central level (e.g. the Physical Plan of Montenegro) and municipal level (e.g. municipal urban plans). The draft national park management plan prepared in 2004 proposed extension of the park area towards the state border with Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska, with the objective to protect the lower section of the Tara river canyon as well as to include ten existing nature reserves and natural monuments located in the vicinity of current park borders. Such extension has not yet taken place. The management plan sets up the goals for biodiversity conservation while the physical plan defines the corresponding functional zoning system of the park area. According to the Physical Plan from 1997 (adopted for the area of 34000 ha) the territory within the boundaries of Durmitor National Park is divided into three zones: strict protection zone of 3400 ha (10 per cent of the total), special protection zone of 25400 ha (74.7 per cent) and liberal protection / multiple use zone of 5200 ha (15.3 per cent). Following the terminology used in Article 54 of the recently adopted new Law on Nature Conservation of 22nd August 2008 these will be the zones of the three different protective levels: strict protection zone (protective level I - stroga zatita), active protection zone (level II - aktivna zatita) and sustainable use zone (level III - odrivo korienje); in addition to the above this new legal act provides also for the designation of a protective belt (zatitni pojas) in a protected area. It has to be noted here that the inner boundaries of protective zones inside Durmitor National Park are not clearly marked in the field, which often results in conflicts related to e.g. fuel timber logging by local inhabitants beyond the zone designed for multiple / sustainable use.

Mountain landscape of Durmitor National Park. Photo: Z. Niewiadomski

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Nature reserves established in Durmitor National Park include forest reserves of Mlinski Potok stream (10 ha), Crna Poda (15.91 ha) and Crno Jezero lake basin (270 ha). Other nature reserves inside the national park are the Tara River Canyon (3000 ha) including 40 ha of one of the last virgin forests of black pine Pinus nigra ssp. illyrica in Europe, krko Jezero lake and Suia river valley (2500 ha) reserve being the important mainstay of wildlife species, and Barno Jezero lake with adjacent peat bog (5 ha) located at the altitude of 1450 m. Current biodiversity conservation and management challenges in Durmitor National Park are related to the needs for: o providing adequate protection level of the whole Tara river canyon, including also its section at the state border (currently outside the national park boundaries) threatened by the effects of uncontrolled development rafting tourism business, e.g. illegal campsites along this river section where sewage and waste management are not regulated; forming a broader protective zone (zatitni pojas) around the national park area, including e.g. the canyons of Komarnica and Nevidie or some areas in the avnik municipality; effective law enforcement and patrolling, with the objective to prevent illegal activities such as logging or hunting in the protected zones, poaching; illegal construction activities in the park and surrounding areas, as well as surveillance of the visitor traffic preventing visitation to strictly protected reserves (e.g. Mlinski Potok); adaptation of the former fisherman station building at Crno Jezero lake for the new Durmitor National Park visitor center; equipping the trails with additional information and interpretative boards, and improvement of road and trail marking; capacity building for field staff, by providing additional professional training, and technical equipment adequate for mountain and winter field conditions, in particular vehicles, uniforms and field clothing; upgrading and development of park-owned tourist facilities, revenues for which could improve the financial standing of the currently self-financing national park, determining its capacity to implement biodiversity conservation measures prescribed in the management plan, or invest in non-profit activities like e.g. staff training or nature interpretation / environmental education programmes.

As for 2009 Durmitor National Park has 15 administrative staff (including secretarial, accountancy and visitor center maintenance staff) and 25 rangers in the field, employed on permanent contract basis. In the past the national park also contracted up to 10 seasonal workers in tourist services. It has to be noted here, that taking into account the current size of the park area (33895 ha), its remoteness, wilderness and mountainous configuration of the terrain the current number of 25 field rangers responsible for patrolling the area but also occupied with managing the visitor traffic should be estimated as insufficient, thus the effective law enforcement is currently impaired. According to the interview with Mr. Tomo Pajovi, Durmitor NP Director, carried out during the field mission in case of territorial extension of the national park area the number of rangers shall be raised with the objective to provide for more effective law enforcement in the enlarged park area.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Protected Areas

Durmitor National Park, including a considerable part of the Tara river canyon is simultaneously part of the UNESCO MaB Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve designated in 1976 on the area of 182889 ha, and UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) designated in 1980.
Map 13. Satellite view over Durmitor National Park and the Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve area (Source: Google Earth)

However, it has to be emphasised here that both above designations do not equally imply the legal conservation status of a designated area. The WHS status awarded to the Tara river canyon and Durmitor National Park can be considered as a kind of international protective status, following the provisions of the WHS Convention. Therefore the commitment of Montenegro at the Party to this Convention to maintain the values and the integrity of this site results from the obligations of the international law. This is why the WHS status was a sound argument against the development of the Buk Bijela hydropower plant and water reservoir, which would threaten and destroy the natural values, due to which the area was inscribed onto the WHS list. The status of the UNESCO MaB Biosphere Reserve does not provide for any kind of legal protective status in addition to those provided by the national legislation in this respect. Biosphere reserves are established with the objective to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere. The world-wide network of biosphere reserves is considered as a tool for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation is among the objectives and functions of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. But the core zone/s of a biosphere reserve have to be legally constituted by the legislation in a particular country, which is the prerequisite for the nomination. Furthermore, legal protection of areas is not a requirement for other functional zones of a Biosphere Reserve, neither for the buffer zone/s surrounding or contiguous to the core area/s nor for the outer transition area, serving for harmonisation of landscape and biodiversity protection with the human economic activities.

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Last but not least, there is no requirement for a clear delineation of the external boundaries of this outer transition area of a biosphere reserve, as the positive effects of its presence should not be spatially limited. To summarise only the core area/s or zone/s of a biosphere reserve are the protected areas, but legally designated accordingly to the national legislation. Thus, the designation of UNESCO MaB Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve could not result in granting the protective legal status to any other areas than already protected by the national legislation. Therefore, the statement that internationally protected nature areas cover 237,899 ha or 17.2% of the territory of Montenegro on page 93 of the Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020 where the Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve area largely contributes to the above numbers is not exactly correct, due to the above mentioned difference between the WHS and BR statuses. However, should all biosphere reserve functions be properly implemented in all three zones the application of the biosphere reserve concept in the Tara river basin could significantly support and strengthen nature conservation in legally protected areas, like Durmitor National Park. Furthermore, the proper functioning of the Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve is the prerequisite for establishing the previously mentioned northern SEE ecological corridor, by linking Durmitor National Park and other areas of the proposed transboundary protected area with Biogradska Gora National Park and further to the southeast with the planned Komovi Regional Park at the state border with Albania, and further to the planned transboundary protected area including the planned Prokletije National Park in Montenegro and protected areas in Albania and Serbia / Kosovo UNMIK. The Tara River Basin BR includes the territories of the Durmitor and Biogradska Gora National Parks, while the transition area extends up to the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the UNESCO database the Biosphere Reserves area of the total size of 182889 ha is divided into the core areas of 19300 ha (including 256 ha of aquatic habitats), buffer zone/s of 24938 ha (incl. 59 ha aquatic), and transition areas of 138651 ha (incl. 699 ha aquatic). Therefore, the core areas encompass 10.55 per cent of the total BR area, buffer zone/s 13.64 per cent and transition areas 75.81 per cent of the Reserve.
Map 14. Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve (Source: UNESCO)

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Habitats in the Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve include alpine forests, alpine rivers and lakes, alpine and subalpine heath, transition mires, bogs and screes. As for 1991 the population size inside the Biosphere Reserve area accounted for some 23800 people. The predominant economic activities of the local population were agriculture, cattle breeding and grazing. The joint UNESCO and IUCN mission to the area in 2005 noted the absence of a specific management body designated for the entire Biosphere Reserve, which could provide for integration of spatial planning for the entire Tara River Basin. Furthermore, the mission was concerned by the missing evidence of the specific implementation activities related to the main Biosphere Reserve functions (monitoring, research, environmental education). The mission report concluded that the potential of the Biosphere Reserves main functions (protection, logistic support and local sustainable development) are currently not sufficiently well explored, and that the Biosphere Reserve functions are not fully implemented in the transition zone. The mission recommended that a proper coordinating body should be designated, and sustainable land use practices should be extended to the entire Biosphere Reserve. For the purposes of this study the most important conclusion of this joint UNESCO IUCN mission were the recommendations concerning: o enhancing collaboration between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, o protection of the mountain range along the border of the River Tara, o coordination of activities on both banks of the Tara River Canyon, o identifying potential ecological corridors, o forming a large transboundary protected area, with a large buffer zone of the World Heritage site. The joint UNESCO IUCN mission also encouraged the relevant authorities of both countries to further explore the potential for transboundary cooperation by extending the existing protected areas within a larger Transboundary Biosphere Reserve. During CBD COP9 in May 2008 the Ministry of Tourism and Environment of Montenegro committed itself to continue to work towards establishment of basic functions of the Tara River Biosphere Reserve.

Tara river canyon. Photo: Durmitor website

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Sutjeska National Park Sutjeska National Park (IUCN management category II) is the oldest national park in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the largest protected area of Republic of Srpska (prior to the designation of Una NP in 2008 Sutjeska NP was the largest protected area also of Bosnia and Herzegovina), designated on 9th February 1962, currently with the area of 17250 ha, located in the south-eastern part of the country at the state border with Montenegro.
Map 15. Satellite view over Sutjeska National Park (Source / state border delineation: Google Earth)

The national park area encompasses the easternmost part of the Zelengora mountain range, Vuevo mountain range and the nothwestern part of Volujak mountain range stretching across the state border with Montenegro, separated by the canyon of the Sutjeska river. The highest peak in Sutjeska National Park (NPS) is Mt. Maglic (2386 m) located directly at the border with Montenegro, being the highest peak of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The most important NPS natural assets are the primeval forest of Peruica and mountain habitats, with their endemic flora species and abundant wildlife. Forests constitute some 66 percent of the NPS area. The national park has the land management rights over the whole park area, including some 30 per cent of the park area which is privately owned. In addition to the park area the NPS administration is also responsible for the game management in the state-owned hunting ground encompassing 53700 ha. The area of the current Peruica strict forest reserve was excluded from the forestry management on 17th May 1952, as the forestry object necessary for scientific research, with the original area of 1234 ha. Later, on the 3rd June 1954 this area was extended by 200 ha to reach the size of 1434 ha and proclaimed as nature reserve under national protection. It has to be noted that the area of the Peruica primeval forest varies depending on the source of information, e.g. some sources describe the size of this area as 1492 or even 1450 hectares, while the national park website currently defines the territory of Peruica forest as 1391 ha.

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Other nature reserves in Sutjeska National Park are: Volujak reserve encompassing several peaks (Studenac, Vlasulja, Badanj) of this mountain range, established with the purpose to protect high mountain vegetation; strict nature reserve Peruica-Priboj protecting the remaining part of the Peruica forest and providing for the buffer zone for the Peruica primeval forest; strict nature reserve Vratar- Jabuke Stijene protecting geomorphological and geological features as well as forest and vegetation on rocky slopes; strict nature reserve Javorak-Ljubin Grob protecting the upper forest limit and adjacent mountain meadows of Zelengora range.

The legal basis for national park designation and operations are the Law on National Parks and the Law on Nature Protection of the Republic of Srpska. Sutjeska National Park reports to the Government of the Republic of Srpska, in particular to the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology responsible for nature protection and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. Pursuant to the provisions of the Law on National Parks of the Republic of Srpska national parks have the legal status of a public enterprise. The seat of park administration is located in Tjentite. The current management plan of Sutjeska National Park, approved by the NPS Board, has the validity period 2003-2012. The preparation of the current 10-year management plan was financed by the World Bank, while the resulting operational annual plans are prepared at park administrations expense. Biodiversity conservation measures prescribed by the management plan for the park area are to be carried out at the expense of the Public Enterprise National Park Sutjeska, currently not subsidised from the central state budget (state subsidies for conservation measures are anticipated under the currently prepared new legal act). Therefore, implementation of such measures largely depends on the NPS financial situation. The park incomes from the sale of timber products are limited, thus the park operations are largely dependant on revenues from visitor services. Furthermore, the costs of managing game species in the extensive stateowned hunting ground for which the SNP administration is responsible (e.g. the costs of distributing animal fodder during winter in the mountainous area 3 times bigger than the national park) are not compensated by the income from issuing hunting permits. Last, but not least, the SNP administration receives no part of revenues from rafting, which is an important source of funding for Durmitor National Park. In result, also due to the seasonality of tourist revenues the park budget is not stable throughout the year, while salaries in the park are below the average for Bosnia and Herzegovina, or the salaries available in forest administration. The above makes attracting a highly qualified personnel less possible, in result the range of specialists in the park is much more limited than e.g. in the administration of the Forest Enterprise Magli-Foa, and includes only one forestry engineer, one biologist and one geographer. As for 2009 Sutjeska National Park has the staff of 86 people employed on permanent contract basis, in different park departments (sectors). The largest park sector is nature protection department, other are forestry, administration, presentation and tourism sectors. In summer some additional 20 seasonal workers are employed in tourist services and fire monitoring. Limited park incomes prevent larger investments in the renovation and further development of park visitor facilities, while the revenues from tourist services form an important part of park budget. Currently Sutjeska National Park has no visitor center, and some part of park accommodation infrastructure which was either destroyed or heavily devastated during the times of the civil war remains abandoned until today. In result the tourist potential of the area is not used, and park incomes remain limited, which is an obstacle not only for developing park visitor infrastructure but also for implementation of biodiversity conservation measures prescribed in the management plan. In addition to the above the area of Sutjeska National Park is not particularly well mapped, neither for habitat management purposes nor for tourism. However the situation with the non-availability of cartographic materials may change, due to the biodiversity research project recently launched by the Agricultural Institute of Republic of Srpska from Banja Luka, which includes GIS database development for the park.

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Contrary to the situation in Durmitor National Park in Montenegro Sutjeska National Park area located peripherally from the municipal town of Foa or any other bigger settlements is not, and will rather never be threatened by the urban sprawl like in the case of abljak. Therefore, Sutjeska would probably avoid similar challenges and threats resulting from rapid urbanisation, like growing needs for technical linear infrastructure development, sewage treatment and solid waste management for new or expanded settlements. As for today the park area is not exposed to intensive visitation or recreational houses development pressures. Due to effective law enforcement by Sutjeska National Park administration threats like illegal felling and forest harvesting or poaching does not seem to be occurring in the park area.

Sutjeska National Park, view over the Volujak mountain ridge from Tjentite. Photo: Z. Niewiadomski

However, the current situation in the close vicinity of Sutjeska National Park is less favourable for biodiversity conservation. There are common opinions that forest management practice in surrounding areas is not always following forest management plans which could provide for sustainability of this sector of economy in the region of the proposed transboundary protected area. Therefore, inclusion of some forestry areas along the Tara river canyon, currently under the management of the Forest Enterprise Magli-Foa, into the area of Sutjeska National Park could prevent further degradation of forest ecosystems and enhance the ecological integrity of the Tara river canyon, designated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Secondly, it has to be emphasised here that the rapid and uncontrolled development of rafting business poses another direct threat on the nature of the Tara river canyon and may soon become an obstacle for establishing the transboundary ecological corridor in this region. The watercourse of the Drina river is only some 2 to 3 kilometres away from the current national park area, while the confluence of Tara and Piva rivers and the rafting hot-spot in epan Polje is only some 5 to 6 kilometres away from the boundaries of Sutjeska National Park. As for today the ongoing development of illegal camps along the river banks serving the rafters, and resulting problems with e.g. sewage and waste disposal as well as disturbance of wildlife are threatening the Tara river canyon, shared by both neighbouring countries.

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Landscape of Sutjeska National Park. Photo: by courtesy of Sutjeska National Park

As already emphasised, Sutjeska National Park protecting numerous fauna species of European and global importance currently functions very much as an isolated island, not yet spatially connected to any other protected area present in the region. Most probably the national park area would never be linked via ecological corridors allowing e.g. wildlife migrations with any other large-scale protected area in the Republic of Srpska. Thus, the connectivity and continuity of wildlife habitats protected in Sutjeska National Park largely depend on the potential for establishing transboundary ecological corridors linking this protected area with protected areas in Montenegro, and thus including Sutjeska National Park into the possible northern ecological SEE corridor stretching from the border areas of the Republic of Srpska across Montenegro to Albania and Serbia / Kosovo UNMIK. But, the development of this important linking ecological corridor mainly depends on the spatial planning concepts for the Drina river valley and the for the right bank of the lower section of the Tara river canyon, on the side of the Republic of Srpska. Thus, the common protection of the mountain range along the state border and coordination of activities on both banks of the Tara River Canyon recommended by the joint UNESCO IUCN mission largely depends on the planned extension of Sutjeska National Park. In order to meet the above objectives - such spatial extension has to include the BiH side of the Tara river canyon into Sutjeska National Park area, which would then allow for transboundary cooperation with the Montenegrin authorities and implementing concerted actions on both sides, aimed at mitigation of the current threats to the biological stability and prevention of the further degradation of the natural environment in the canyon, designated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cooperation with local authorities of Pluine municipality as responsible for the planned Bio- MagliVolujak regional park in Montenegro is also a prerequisite for maintenance of ecological corridors connecting Sutjeska National Park with other natural areas of this region.

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Considering the above, the current biodiversity conservation and management challenges in Sutjeska National Park are related to the needs for: o improvement of the connectivity of wildlife habitats by establishing ecological corridors with protected areas in Montenegro, in particular in the Tara river canyon area designated as the World Heritage Site; mitigating adverse effects of unsustainable forestry practices on the forest ecosystems along the Tara river canyon, by including part of the forest areas managed by the Forest Enterprise Magli-Foa, into the area of Sutjeska National Park providing adequate protection for the BiH side of the lower 18-kilometres long section of the Tara river canyon constituting the state border, e.g. by regulating the development of campsites as well as providing sewage and waste management facilities and services; development of the GIS database for improved planning of habitat and species conservation measures; providing facilities and technical equipment necessary for protection and surveillance of the park area, e.g. terrain vehicles and rangers field equipment, fire-suppressing equipment and vehicles, supplementing the current network of fire observation towers, as well as vehicles for waste collection and transportation of animal fodder in the managed state-owned vast hunting ground; development of a visitor center for Sutjeska National Park; renovation, modernization, refurnishing and equipping the building of NPS administration headquarters in Tjentite, with the objective to provide adequate working conditions for the park staff; renovation and refurnishing of park-owned tourist accommodation infrastructure, in particular the facilities destroyed during the times of the civil war, which could then improve the financial standing of the currently self-financing national park, determining its capacity to implement biodiversity conservation measures prescribed in the management plan, or invest in non-profit activities like e.g. staff training or nature interpretation / environmental education programmes; equipping the marked tourist trails with information and interpretative boards, as well as rainshelters; development and publication of a tourist map of the park area; development and publication of informative and promotional materials, e.g. guidebooks on Sutjeska National Park and the larger transboundary area; capacity building for field staff, by providing additional professional training, as well as foreign language courses for park staff and seasonally employed tourist guides.

o o

o o

o o o

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2.5. Strategic points for consideration - connectivity and continuity of protected area network
One of the major threats to habitats and species populations and main causes of the decline in biological diversity in Europe is the fragmentation and isolation of habitats and the effect this can have on the viability of species populations. Fragmentation is the breaking-up of continuous tracts of ecosystems creating barriers to migration or dispersal of organisms and reducing the size of homogenous areas. Fragmentation may be induced by human activities (e.g. road infrastructure) or by natural processes. The negative effects of habitats fragmentation can be mitigated by establishing ecological networks: the fragmentation of habitats can be counteracted by creating buffer zones to protect the surviving natural areas, and connecting these core areas by stepping stones and corridors, which allow species to migrate or disperse. Numerous conventions and initiatives emphasise the importance of ecological networks for biodiversity conservation, e.g. the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy, the Alpine and Carpathian Conventions, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the European Community Biodiversity Strategy (1998) and the EC Habitats Directive, or the IUCN Countdown 2010 initiative. The Pan-European Ecological Network (PEEN) is an important implementation tool of the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy. As declared during the 3rd Conference of Ministers An Environment for Europe in Sofia, on 25 October 1995: The Pan-European Ecological Network will contribute to achieving the main goals of the Strategy by ensuring that a full range of ecosystems, habitats, species and their genetic diversity, and landscapes of European importance are conserved; habitats are large enough to place species in a favourable conservation status; there are sufficient opportunities for the dispersal and migration. The favourable conservation status of different species and natural habitats depends on the size of protected areas. Migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species depends on the existence of ecological corridors linking particular protected areas of different protective categories designated at national level. The continuity and connectivity of habitats in the border areas requires transboundary linkages, corridors which link protected area networks of neighbouring countries. The Habitat Directive in Article 3.3 aims at maintaining and establishing spatial linkages between the Natura 2000 sites: Where they consider it necessary, Member States shall endeavour to improve the ecological coherence of Natura 2000 by maintaining, and where appropriate developing, features of the landscape which are of major importance for wild fauna and flora, as referred to in Article 10. Article 10. of the Habitat Directive states that: Member States shall endeavour, where they consider it necessary, in their land-use planning and development policies and, in particular, with a view to improving the ecological coherence af the Natura 2000 network, to encourage the management of features of the landscape which are of major importance for wild fauna and flora. Such features are those which, by virtue of their linear and continuous structure (such as rivers with their banks or the traditional systems for marking field boundaries) or their function as stepping stones (such as ponds or small woods), are essential for the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species.

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2.6. Plans for extension of protected area networks in both neighbouring countries
Responding to the threat of fragmentation and isolation of habitats both neighbouring countries are planning significant extension of their protected area networks. In addition to the ongoing preparations for establishing the Natura 2000 network the governments of both countries committed to enlarge their protected area networks and establish new protected areas. During the CBD COP9 in Bonn (May 2008) the government representatives presented the national priorities of their countries in implementation of the CBD work programme of work on protected areas and explicitly formulated commitments of their countries concerning several areas important for biodiversity conservation. According to the statements made during CBD COP9 the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with the Ministry of Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of the Republic of Srpska, will continue to work towards establishing new protected areas, e.g. national park Bjelasnica Igman, nature park Jahorina, and protected areas in Prenj Cabulja - Cvrsnica - Vran area. Existing national parks Kozara and Sutjeska are to be enlarged, and the institutional capacities of protected area administrations are to be strengthened. The most update spatial plan for the Republic of Srpska proposes designation of some 15 to 20 per cent of the RS territory as protected areas, of different legal and protective management categories. According to the most recent proposals developed by the scientists the area of Sutjeska National Park (currently 17250 ha ) shall be extended by some 8331 ha (including some 3500 hectares of the Tara river canyon) to reach the size of some 25581 ha, which will again make Sutjeska the largest protected area not only in the Republic of Srpska but in the whole country. During CBD COP9 the representative of the Government of Montenegro stated that the Ministry of Tourism and Environment of Montenegro will continue to work towards establishment of the national park in Prokletije Mountains, and several marine protected areas (islands Katici, Stari Ulcinj and Platamuni). It is also important to note here the initiatives, envisaged in the Physical Plan of Montenegro (1997) towards supplementing the protected area network of Montenegro by the designation of several regional parks in the mountains, namely: Bio-Magli-Volujak Mts. (7200 ha), Komovi Mts. (21000), Ljubinja Mts. (7800 ha), Rumija Mts. (12200 ha), Mt. Sinjajevina and aranci (42400 ha), and Turjak and Hajla Mts. (14600 ha). Furthermore, the above mentioned Plan proposes the extension of the Durmitor National Park by some 20000 ha towards the state border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the Physical Plan of Montenegro (2000) there are also plans for the designation of another new national park in Montenegro - Orjen Mts. National Park (19000 ha) in the Orjen mountain range (1895 m) stretching across the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska, located close to Snijenica (1234 m) mountain range and the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. Should these plans and initiatives be successfully implemented - a number of new protected areas of different national protective categories would be designated in regions much less attractive for urban or industrial development than the central region of Montenegro.

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Map 16. Planned protected area network of Montenegro. (Source: Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment of Montenegro)

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2.7. Vision for establishment of transnational ecological corridors in the SEE


Should the planned national and regional parks mentioned above become effective parts of the protected area network of Montenegro a continuous tract of areas protected by national legislation, supplemented by areas included into the Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve, would provide for an ecological corridor and landscape linkage across the whole country, spanning areas located at the state border with Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska with those located at the border with Albania and Serbia / Kosovo - UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244, where new protected areas are also planned, including transboundary ones. In result, this northern ecological corridor could stretch from Sutjeska National Park in the Republic of Srpska, through Durmitor National Park (both above national parks to be extended in order to include the state border section of the Tara river canyon), Ljubinja and Sinjavina Regional Parks, Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve and Biogradska Gora National Park to Komovi Regional Park located at the state border with Albania, where the planned extension of already existing national parks would then provide for ecological connectivity with the new Prokletije National Park in Montenegro and its planned counterpart on the side of Serbia / Kosovo - UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244, and potentially also with another recently proposed Visitor and Zeletin Regional Park in Montenegro. The above potential 175-kilometers long ecological corridor could therefore link protected areas of the four countries of the South Eastern Europe - Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska, Montenegro, Albania and Serbia / Kosovo - UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244. A similar, almost non-interrupted tract of protected areas would stretch in the southern region of Montenegro, including the planned Orjen Mts. National Park, the Kotor-Risan Bay World Heritage Site, the Skadar Lake National Park / Ramsar site and Rumija Regional Park. Such a southern ecological corridor could therefore link the southeasternmost regions of Croatia as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska, across the territory of Montenegro with Albania, where transboundary protected area of Skadar Lake would provide for the continuity of protected areas. In other words implementation of the above mentioned plans and initiatives could largely contribute to the development of Natura 2000 network in Montenegro, provide for the establishment of ecological corridors stretching across Montenegro and linking its protected areas with the protected area network of other SEE countries, and for ecological coherence in border areas. The above would largely contribute to fulfilment of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro, declaring it an ecological state. But, taking into account the objectives of this study most important should be the fact that during CBD COP9 in May 2008 the Government of Montenegro committed itself to examine possibilities for the establishment of a transboundary protected area including Durmitor National Park in Montenegro and Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina committed itself to support the enlargement of Sutjeska National Park and examine possibilities for its transboundary cooperation with Durmitor NP in Montenegro. In addition to the above, the Ministry of Tourism and Environment of Montenegro committed itself to continue to work towards establishment of basic functions of the Tara River Biosphere Reserve, remaining also within the scope of the proposed transboundary protected area.

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2.8. Connectivity and continuity of protected area network in the region


During CBD COP9 in May 2008 the Government of Montenegro committed itself to examine possibilities for the establishment of a transboundary protected area including Durmitor National Park and Sutjeska National Park (BiH) while the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina committed itself to support the enlargement of Sutjeska National Park, and examine possibilities for its transboundary cooperation with Durmitor NP in Montenegro. According to the valid spatial plans of both neighbouring countries the network of protected areas in the region of the planned transboundary protected area Durmitor-Tara Canyon-Sutjeska shall be extended by enlarging the areas of the two existing national parks (Sutjeska and Durmitor) towards the state border in the lower part of the Tara river canyon, and by designating new protected areas on the side of Montenegro regional parks Bio-Magli-Volujak, Ljubinja and Sinjavina. The above plans, if implemented, would then provide for granting the similar protective status to border territories on both sides of the state border, thus enhancing the integrity of the World Heritage Site, protection and connectivity of landscapes and habitats in both countries, as well as the vision for establishing the transnational northern SEE ecological corridor.

Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska Beginning the analysis from the western region of the planned transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska it has to be emphasized here that currently the existing Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska functions very much as an isolated island, not yet spatially connected to any other protected area present in the region. As for 2009 the proposed spatial design of the future Natura 2000 network in Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska is not yet available for the purposes of this study. However, most probably Sutjeska National Park would have no direct linkages via ecological corridors with other large-scale protected areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the other hand - Sutjeska National Park is adjacent to the state border with Montenegro, where the designation a new regional park Bio-Magli-Volujak is planned in the near future. Secondly, both neighbouring countries consider the extension of their protected areas (Sutjeska National Park and Durmitor National Park) towards the state border in the lower section of the Tara river canyon, in order to mitigate current threats to the biological diversity and prevent the further degradation of the natural environment in the canyon, designated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Therefore, most probably the future protection of natural values of Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska largely depends on its possible ecological connectivity with protected areas located across the state border with Montenegro, in particular Durmitor National Park and planned regional park Bio-Magli-Volujak. Transboundary cooperation in this respect would allow to include Sutjeska National Park into a much larger transboundary protected area, and connect it to the possible northern ecological SEE corridor stretching across Montenegro to Albania and Serbia / Kosovo - UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244. According to the provisions of the Law on Nature Protection of Republic of Srpska the procedure for the putting an area under protection commences with the submission of a request for the designation, addressed by a legal or physical entity to the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology. Such proposal should be supported by scientific expertise justifying the need for protection of this particular area, elaborated by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Republic of Srpska, and other relevant eligible institutions. Basing on the review of submitted materials and recommendations the Government undertakes the decision, and in case the decision is positive prepares the legal designation act.

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The proposal for incorporation of the BiH side of the Tara river canyon and the remaining part of Vuevo area into the existing national park with the objective to promote establishment of a transboundary protected area dates back to 2003, when the current 10-year management plan for Sutjeska National Park was endorsed. The detailed proposal for the national park area extension was submitted to the Government of the Republic of Srpska. In 2004 the Government commended this idea, stating that such extension is acceptable and fully compatible with the interest or Republic of Srpska. Following this correspondence, in 2004 the Government of the Republic of Srpska endorsed an Action Plan of National Park Sutjeska, where inclusion of the Tara river canyon into the national park area was considered as the most urgent priority. Also in 2004, the Forestry Enterprise Magli-Foa(local forest management unit of the Public Forestry Enterprise Srpske ume) objected to the above plans, by delivering an explicit disagreement note. The justification for the disagreement based on the argumentation that the planned national park extension would mean the withdrawal of the land management rights to some 7000 ha of forest areas, where treestands contain 1323763 cubic metres of timber, currently under the management of the Forestry Enterprise. In 2005 Sutjeska National Park requested the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Republic of Srpska to prepare the feasibility study for the national park extension. In 2006 National Park Sutjeska submitted an official request concerning the planned park extension to the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republic of Srpska.
Map 17. Planned extension of Sutjeska National Park (Map by Vladimir Stupar, umarski Fakultet / Faculty of Forestry, University of Banja Luka)

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The Spatial plan of Republic of Srpska until 2015 developed in 2007 provided for the designation of some 15 to 20 per cent of the RS territory as protected areas, which includes the extension of the area of Sutjeska National Park. Also in 2007, in response to the request by Sutjeska National Park, the Ministry appointed the above mentioned Institute to carry out preparatory studies for park extension. The Institute contracted the Forestry Faculty of the University of Banja Luka for developing the Feasibility Study for Enlargement of the National Park Sutjeska by inclusion of the Tara Canyon, and the necessary field research was due to be finalised in 2008. However, due to unstable funding the field research was carried out only in 2007 and solely in the Vuevo area. Outcomes of this work are made available in the Assessment of Biodiversity and the State of Forest Ecosystems of the Mountain Vuevo, completed in December 2007. The field research in the Tara river canyon planned for 2008 has not been undertaken.

Mt. Maglic (2386 m) view from Vuevo area. Photo: V. Stupar

According to preliminary planning documents the proposal for extension of the area of Sutjeska National Park (currently 17250 ha ) shall be extended by additional 8331 ha (including some 3500 hectares of the Tara river canyon) to reach the size of some 25581 ha. Should the above planned extension of Sutjeska National Park area be implemented afforested areas would constitute some 62 per cent of the enlarged national park on the side of Republic of Srpska, pastures and other agricultural areas would account for some 36 per cent, and settlements for some 2 per cent of the total. As for the land ownership within the present borders of Sutjeska National Park the land managed by the park authority includes some 30 per cent of private land. In the area currently planned for incorporation into the national park the share of privately-owned land is even smaller (approx. 16 per cent) while the remaining 84 percent, managed by the Forestry Enterprise Magli-Foa, is state owned.

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The Spatial Plan of Republic of Srpska until 2015 provides for the division of these 8331 ha to be added into Sutjeska National Park area among the two functional zones: the strictly protected core zone of some 600 ha and the active protection zone encompassing the remaining 7731 ha (which includes these 7000 ha of forests managed at present by the Forestry Enterprise Magli-Foa). However, due to the fact that the field research in the Tara river canyon planned for 2008 has not yet been undertaken, while the above spatial plan was developed in 2007 the above given division shall be perceived as provisional, resulting mostly from presumptions based on the literature (mainly those available from the times of the SFRJ), and not on recent scientific field research and thorough spatial analysis of the Tara river canyon area, proposed for inclusion into the national park. It should also be noted here, that according to some of the scientific sources, the current functional zonation pattern of the current Sutjeska National Park area may not necessarily be adequate for the purposes of biodiversity protection, and may require revision and improvement, most probably by further extending the strictly protected zones also within the current boundaries of the national park.

Montenegro Continuing the analysis of the current situation concerning the connectivity and continuity of protected area network in the western region it should be emphasized that as for June 2009 there are no legally designated protected areas on the Montenegrin side in this part of the planned transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska, encompassing the Volujak mountain ridge stretching across the state border, the mountain massif of Mt. Magli located exactly at the state border with Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska, and the Bio mountain range.

Map 18. Satellite view over the area of planned Bio-Magli-Volujak Regional Park (Source / state border delineation: Google Earth)

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The above border area of Montenegro is directly adjacent to Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska, and separated from the Durmitor Plateau by the deep canyon of the Piva River, partially flooded by the Pivske Jezero water reservoir.

Piva Canyon (left) and Bio mountain range (right). Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

This area is well known for its abundant and diverse natural features, including numerous geomorphological, geological, speleological and hydrological phenomena, as well as for its well preserved high mountain ecosystems and rich biological diversity encompassing a high number of endemic, relic, and rare species. The region of Bio, Magli and Volujak can be best described as and area of high mountain landscape of exceptional beauties and esthetic values as well as rich biodiversity, determining its importance for nature protection and high potential for the development of nature-oriented tourism. The landscape of this border area is very diverse and complex, including numerous mountain peaks reaching over 2000 m above the sea level, mountain post-glacial cirques and ponds, caves, canyons and river valleys. The highest peak in this region is Veliki Vitao (2396 m) in Bio mountain range, while Mt. Magli (2386 m) located exactly at the state border is the highest peak of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The highest peak of the Volujak mountain range is Vlasulja (2337 m), other mountain peaks over 2000 m in the area of the proposed regional park are Studenac (2.294), Gladite (2.237) and Vrsta (2.321).

View over the Bio mountain range from the Durmitor Plateau. Photo: Z. Niewiadomski

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The post-glacial cirques (e.g. Urdeni dolovi, tavljan, Vlasulja, Korito, Previja, Rupine, Studenac, Tiholjica), mountain ponds commonly called mountain eyes (e.g. Trnovako, Veliko Stabanjsko and Malo Stabanjsko lakes) and caves (including the deepest cave in Montenegro, 897 m) contribute to the high landscape values of this border region, not yet explored by mass tourism.

Lake Trnovako in Volujak mountain range, proposed Bio-Magli-Volujak Regional Park. Photo: V. Stupar

Due to its high mountain character and topography of the area limiting its accessibility, absence of human settlements inside the mountain massif, limited and extensive economic use, scarce road infrastructure and the fact that the area is not intersected by any larger road or transport corridor this region is very much a wildlife sanctuary, not yet fully researched.

The current Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020 developed in 2008, the National Strategy for Sustainable Development of Montenegro and Action Plan for 2009 2014, as well as the physical plan of Pluine municipality propose the designation of Bio-Magli-Volujak Regional Park (7200 ha) in the way providing for its ecological connectivity with Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Hercegovina / Republic of Srpska. However, in terms of connectivity and continuity of protected area network, the Bio-Magli-Volujak Regional Park would not be spatially connected to any other protected area in Montenegro, unless the extension of Durmitor National Park area provides for including this regional park into the possible northern ecological SEE corridor stretching across Montenegro to Albania and Serbia / Kosovo - UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244.

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There are very few villages in the region of Bio, Magli and Volujak, all outside the area proposed for the planned regional park, either concentrating on the southern and south-eastern slopes of the Bio mountain range (Stabna, Sedlan, Miloevici, Budanj and Brijevo) or in the broad river valley to the East from Mt. Magli (Mratinje). The area proposed for protection in the Bio-Magli-Volujak Regional Park is mainly state owned (approx. 90 per cent) and includes state owned forests encompassing some 20 per cent of the area, managed by the Public Enterprise Crna Gora ume. As for 2009 the proposal for a management plan providing for the functional zonation of the park area has not yet been developed. Furthermore, according to the national legislation of Montenegro the designation of the planned BioMagli-Volujak Regional Park would require the active involvement and contribution by the Municipality of Pluine and its Secretariat for physical planning and environmental protection in cooperation with the relevant local Forest Management Services unit of the Public Enterprise Crna Gora ume. The recently adopted Law on Nature Conservation of 2008 (Zakon o zatiti prirode, published in Sl. list Crne Gore" No 51/08) delegates most of the duties related to the regional parks to the local self-government (jedinica lokalne samouprave), including the obligation to prepare and submit the proposal for conservation of the area (studije zatite, article 56) and the proposed management plan (plan upravljanja, article 65) for the area of a regional park. These duties result from the fact that according to article 55 - it is the local self-government to proclaim the designation of the regional park or nature park, after obtaining the consent of the Ministry responsible for nature conservation and of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. Resulting from the above, pursuant to article 111, financing nature conservation measures in a protected area designated by the local self-government is the duty of the local self-government. Last, but not least, according to article 62 in case the protected area is established in a forest area the forest authorities (organ uprave nadlean za ume) are mandated to play the role of a managing body for this area. Resulting from the above planning and management of the future regional parks or nature parks proclaimed by the local self-governments would require cooperation and coordination between the municipal Secretariats for physical planning and environmental protection, which are responsible for management of protected natural assets in each municipality (but have no established direct management authorities) and the local Forest Management Service unit. Furthermore, in case when the regional or nature park encompasses territories of more that just one municipality its functioning would depend on the coordination of activities between several municipal Secretariats and several Forest Management Services units. However, the above described situation concerning the management and funding for regional and nature parks may change with their inclusion into the Natura 2000 network, which will then grant them the status of internationally important areas, in the understanding of Article 35 of the Law on Nature Conservation. Consequently, funds for conservation activities would have to be provided by the State Budget, following provisions of Article 111 ("Sredstva za zatitu prirode obezbjenuju se iz budeta Crne Gore za zatitu prirodnih dobara od meunarodnog i dravnog znaaja"), no matter that the authority originally proclaiming the 'regional park' was the local self-government.

As for June 2009 in the central region of the planned transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska the only legally designated protected area is Durmitor National Park. In terms of connectivity and continuity of protected area network Durmitor National Park currently functions very much as an isolated island (like Sutjeska National Park), not yet spatially connected to any other protected area present in the region. The most update and elaborate proposal for the extension of Durmitor National Park area by some 20000 ha towards the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina was developed for the purposes of the Physical Plan of Montenegro until 2020 (developed in 2008). This proposal provides for establishing a spatial linkage of the extended Durmitor National Park territory with the planned regional parks Bio-Magli-Volujak and Ljubinja in Montenegro, and with the BiH side of the lower section of the Tara river canyon (proposed on the BiH side as the territory to be included into the extended Sutjeska National Park).

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The plans for the extension of Durmitor National Park territory (from the current size of 33895 ha by some additional 20000 ha) are also given in the National Strategy for Sustainable Development and Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2009 2014, and confirmed in the Physical Plan of Special Purpose for NP Durmitor as well as Physical Plans of the municipalities of Pluine and abljak.

Mountain landscapes of Durmitor National Park. Photos: Z. Niewiadomski

The current 5-year management plan for Durmitor National Park was prepared in 2004/2005 for the period between 2005 and 2010, which implies that the new 5-year management plan is due to be developed soon. In case the area of Durmitor National Park is extended, as proposed in the Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020 for obvious reasons this new 5-year management plan should be developed for a much bigger territory than the current national park area, thus the cost of plan preparation would definitely be higher than in the past, due to the necessity of carrying out nature inventories and assessments for the new areas.

Furthermore, the current Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020 proposes the designation of Sinjavina Regional Park (42400 ha), to be directly adjacent to Durmitor National Park from the South. Taking into account the provision of the national legislation of Montenegro the designation of the planned Sinjavina Regional Park would require the active involvement, contribution and cooperation between the Secretariats for physical planning and environmental protection of the two neighbouring municipalities - avnik and abljak, and relevant local Forest Management Services unit of the Public Enterprise Crna Gora ume.

The northern region of the planned transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska encompasses the Ljubinja mountain ridge stretching across the state border northwards from Durmitor National Park and the Tara river canyon. The major part of this mountain ridge is located in Montenegro, as well as mountain peaks towering over the Tara canyon Mt. Obzir (1869 m) and Mt. Buletina (1838 m). As for June 2009 there are no legally designated protected areas in this region, neither in Republic of Srpska nor on the Montenegrin side. However, the current Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020 proposes the designation of Ljubinja Regional Park (7800 ha) on the northern side of the Tara river canyon. In the case of the planned Regional Park Ljubinja the relevant municipal Secretariat and forest authorities would be those of the Pljevlja Municipality.

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Map 19. Planned extension of protected area network in Montenegro, in the region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska (Source: Institute for the Protection of Nature, Podgorica)

Conclusions on the connectivity and continuity of protected area network in the region The above described planned spatial extension of the two national parks in both involved countries, as envisaged in the valid physical plans of the two countries would not only provide for establishing a transboundary linking corridor along the lower section of the Tara river canyon (which would then allow the protection of the whole Tara river canyon and provide for the integrity of the World Heritage Site), but also for establishing the currently missing spatial linkage between areas protected on both sides of the state border, and between the western and central regions of the planned transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska. Furthermore, the planned designation of the three new protected areas, pursuant to the Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020, would contribute to the establishment of the northern ecological corridor, linking this particular region with the tract of protected areas stretching across Montenegro to Albania and Serbia / Kosovo - UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244, and constituting the possible northern ecological SEE corridor. In result, the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska could become a transboundary complex of five large-scale protected areas - two enlarged national parks (Durmitor and Sujeska) and three newly established regional parks (Bio-Magli-Volujak, Ljubinja, and Sinjavina), together encompassing the total area of some 136476 ha, additionally buffered on the Montenegrin side by the remaining part of the UNESCO MaB Tara River Biosphere Reserve.

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It should be emphasised here that protected areas are centres of high biological and landscape diversity concentration, thus important reservoirs of the genetic material. Protected areas are in fact banks where the highest natural and biodiversity values are saved and kept for the future generations. Each nation retains the full right to decide on the current and future land use of the countrys territory, also on the designation of protected area or, if need be, on the later withdrawal of its protective status, either in a situation when its natural values significantly deteriorate or in the case when the use of its natural resources is perceived as an absolute necessity for the benefit of the whole nation. However, such strategic decision on safekeeping national treasures, to be independently undertaken by each Government, has to be taken in the proper time, as ongoing degradation of biological diversity values is most often irreversible. For example, a protected forest currently excluded from commercial use can later be harvested or turned into a residential area, but the recovery of its former biodiversity values would then become impossible. Therefore, the disagreement by the local Forestry Enterprise Magli-Foa on the extension of the area of Sutjeska National Park should not become decisive, and prevent the Government of the Republic of Srpska from implementation of the Spatial Plan of Republic of Srpska until 2015, or the Action Plan of National Park Sutjeska endorsed in 2004 by the Government, where inclusion of the Tara river canyon into the national park area was considered as the most urgent priority.

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PART 3. TRANSBOUNDARY COOPERATION PRIORITIES, CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES 3.1. Priorities for conservation in the planned transboundary protected area
One of the main purposes for establishing a transboundary protected area is to facilitate protection and sustainable use of its natural and landscape values in the eco-regional scale, perceived as one coherent natural unit. Harmonisation or coordination of nature and landscape management practices on each side of the border instead of managing natural and landscape values of several smaller protected areas in a conflicting or non-compatible mode is one of the major added values of establishing a transboundary protected area. A similar approach has been applied for the mountain range of the Carpathians, under the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians of 22 May 2003 (Kyiv, Ukraine). The 2nd meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP2) to the Carpathian Convention adopted the first thematic Protocol to the Framework Convention - the Protocol on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological and Landscape Diversity (Bucharest, 2009) already signed by all Carpathian countries, currently awaiting ratification. Pursuant to Article 16 of this Protocol each Party to the Carpathian Convention shall harmonise and coordinate measures, undertaken in its border area with the neighbouring Party, in particular in transboundary protected areas. Furthermore, the Parties shall cooperate within existing transboundary protected areas and harmonise the management objectives and measures applied and, if need be, encourage the expansion of existing transboundary protected areas or creation of new transboundary protected areas. In a case where the natural habitat of the endangered species is located on both sides of the state border between the Parties, they shall cooperate on ensuring the conservation and, as may be necessary, recovery of those species and their natural habitats. Ideally, resulting from harmonised or coordinated management practices in a transboundary protected area, protection of natural habitats located across or close to the state border should be enhanced, the migration of species across the state border should become uninhibited, continuation of natural evolutionary processes across the state border should be ensured, and common threats to nature and transboundary environmental hazards jointly identified and controlled. Therefore, partners of transboundary cooperation in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska should jointly identify habitats, plant associations, species, landscapes and other values, protection of which would greatly benefit from enhanced transboundary cooperation in this particular region. Once such targets are agreed upon, the joint identification and assessment of present threats, and of possible common activities with the objective to mitigate and/or control such threats would then allow for the joint identification of common priorities for transboundary cooperation on biodiversity protection in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region.

It should be emphasised here that both involved countries are not yet the Member States of the European Community. But in the light of their expected accession to the European Community in the near future both countries are proceeding with the harmonization of their nature protection standards with the EU. Therefore, the identification of priorities for transboundary cooperation on biodiversity protection in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region should already take into account the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the Habitat Directive) and the Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds, which would therefore prepare protected areas of this region for the future implementation of the Natura 2000 concept in both countries.

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Target habitats As both involved countries are Contracting Parties6 to the Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats of 19 September 1979 (the Bern Convention) during the research and mapping of habitats in the region the EMERALD approach was initially used.
Table 5. Important EMERALD habitats in the area of DurmitorNational Park and planned Bio-MagliVolujak Regional Park (source: EMERALD data base, Institute for the Protection of Nature, Podgorica)

34.3 35.115 36.4384 37.25 41.1. 41.194 41.1C4 41.2C 41.462 41.463 41.7. 41.8. 42.243 42.5C 42.62. 42.621 42.715 44.123 44.215 44.3. 54.12 54.236. 54.4262 54.51 54.5321 54.54 54.58 65

Dense perennial grasslands and middle European steppes Illyrian mat-grass swards Montenegrine [Oxytropis] grasslands Transitional tall herb humid meadows Beech forests South Dinaric Beech forests Illyrian subalpine beech forests Southeastern European oak hornbeam forests Moesian ravine and slope forests Illyrian ravine forests Termophilous and Supra-Mediterranean Oak wood Mixed termophilous forests Montenegrine spruce forests Southeastern European Scots pine forests Western Balkan black pine forests Dinaro Pelagonian Pinus nigra forests South Dinaric White barked pine forests Balkan riverine willow scrub Montenegrine grey alder galleries Middle European Stream Ash Alder woods Hard water spring mires Dinaric Cartnation Tawny sedge fens Dinaric Black Star sedge acidic fens Slender sedge swards Basicline sphagnum bottle sedge quarking mires Mud sedge swards Sphagnum and cottonsedge rafts Caves

It should be emphasized here that neither updated nor common databases and maps of habitats and species distribution for the whole transboundary region are available so far. Thus, developing such databases in cooperation by both involved countries remains the task for the near future. Following the Habitat Directive approach the rare or unique natural habitats are those which either are in danger of disappearance in their natural range, or have a small natural range following their regression or by reason of their intrinsically restricted area, or present outstanding examples of typical characteristics of this particular region, taking into account the uneven distribution of such habitats throughout this particular bio-geographic region. According to the University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Forestry the target habitats in the region, from among those listed under Annex I to the Habitat Directive, could be as follows:

On 1st March 2009 Bosnia and Herzegovina became the 48th Contracting Party to the Bern Convention.

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Table 6. Proposed target habitats for conservation in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska (by University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Forestry) The code corresponds to the NATURA 2000 code, and the asterisk "*" indicates priority habitat types.

3220 3240 4060 4070 5130 6110 6170 6210 6230 6430 8120 8160 8210 8240 9110 9130 9150 9160 9170 9180 9410 95A0

Alpine rivers and the herbaceous vegetation along their banks Alpine rivers and their ligneous vegetation with Salix elaeagnos Alpine and Boreal heaths * Bushes with Pinus mugo and Rhododendron hirsutum (Mugo-Rhododendretum hirsuti) Juniperus communis formations on heaths or calcareous grasslands * Rupicolous calcareous or basophilic grasslands of the Alysso-Sedion albi Alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites) * Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe) Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels Calcareous and calcshist screes of the montane to alpine levels (Thlaspietea rotundifolii) * Medio-European calcareous scree of hill and montane levels Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation * Limestone pavements Luzulo-Fagetum beech forests Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests Medio-European limestone beech forests of the Cephalanthero-Fagion Sub-Atlantic and medio-European oak or oak-hornbeam forests of the Carpinion betuli Galio-Carpinetum oak-hornbeam forests * Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines Acidophilous Picea forests of the montane to alpine levels (Vaccinio-Piceetea) High oro-Mediterranean pine forests

The proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska encompasses a large diversity of natural habitats, including those of the European Community interest, whose conservation pursuant to the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the Habitat Directive) requires the designation of special areas of conservation in the Member States of the European Community. Almost all above listed habitats of Community importance (except habitats: 8210 Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation and 8240 Limestone pavements) are present in the border area and divided by the state border and thus shared by both countries. Therefore, those habitats would greatly benefit from transboundary cooperation on conservation issues in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska. Target plant associations and species According to the Institute for the Protection of Nature in Podgorica the proposed target shared plant associations which conservation could become subject of transboundary cooperation in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska are as follows: o o o o o o o o o Edraiantho-Dapnaetum malyanae Edraiantho-Potentilletum clusianeae Euphorbio-Valerianetum bertiscae Nardetum subalpinum montenegrinum Pinetum mughi montenegrinum Pinetum nigrae Pinetum silvestris montenegrinum Saxifrageto-Papaveretum kerneri Seslerio-Ostrietum carpinifoliae.

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The above list of plant associations does not include all associations present in the region, and the identification of priority target ones shall be subject to further consultations between partners from both countries concerned, in the course of their transboundary cooperation. According to the University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Forestry and the Institute for the Protection of Nature in Podgorica threatened or endemic plant species present in habitats crossed by the state border in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska, which could become target species for common conservation activities are as follows:
Table 7. Tentative list of proposed threatened or endemic target plant species for conservation in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska. HD Annex II indicates species listed under Annex II to Council Directive 92/43 EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora

Scientific name Adenophora lilifolia (L.) Ledeb. ex A. DC. (V) Anemone baldensis Aquilegia kitaibelii Schott (E) Arnica montana L. Asplenium septentrionale Aster alpinus Aubretia croatica Cerastium dinaricum G. Beck et Szysz. (V) Cypripedium calceolus L. (E) Dactylorhisa cordigera Daphne cneorum Daphne malyiana Edraianthus glisicii Edraianthus sutjeskae Erica carnea Eryngium alpinum L. (V) Gentiana lutea L Geum molle Hesperis dinarica Iris reichenbachii var. bosniaca Leontopodium alpinum Lilium bosniacum Oxyria digyna Pinus heldreichii Scilla litardierei Breistr. (V) Silene acaulis Taxus baccata Teucrium arduinii Thlaspi jankae A. Kern. (R) Trollius europaeus Verbascum durmitoreum

English name lily-leaf lady bells Mt. Baldo windrose mountain arnica northern spleenwort Alpine aster Croatian aubrieta yellow ladies slipper heart-flowered marsh-orchid rose daphne Mediterranean heath Alpine Sea Holly bitterwort edelweiss Alpine mountainsorrel Bosnian pine moss campion common yew globe flower Durmitor mullein

Remarks HD Annex II HD Annex II

HD Annex II HD Annex II

endemic for Sutjeska canyon HD Annex II Balkan endemic Balkan endemic

HD Annex II

HD Annex II

Of course, the above table neither includes all threatened and endemic plant species present and requiring protective measures in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska nor shall be perceived as the ultimate list of target plant species. The decision on selecting target plant species for common conservation projects shall again be subject to further consultations between partners from both countries concerned, in the course of their transboundary cooperation.

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Target fungi species According to the Institute for the Protection of Nature in Podgorica a number of globally important fungi species would benefit from transboundary cooperation between both concerned countries on their conservation. Those species include: o o o o o o o o o o o o Amanita caesarea Astraeus hygrometricus Boletus appendiculatus Boletus satanas Catatathelasma imperiale Hericium clathroides Hygrocybe punicea Hygrophorus marzuolus Hygrophorus pudarius Ischnoderma benzoinum Mutinus caninus Vollvariella bombycina

Target fauna species Based on the research by the University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Forestry and the Institute for the Protection of Nature in Podgorica - the tentative list of fauna species which have their mainstays in habitats crossed by the state border in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska proposed as targets for common conservation activities is as follows:
Table 8. Tentative list of proposed target fauna species for conservation in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska, present in habitats crossed by the state border. o o o HD Annex II indicates species listed under Annex II to Council Directive 92/43 EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora the asterisk "*" indicates priority species from those listed under Annex II to Council Directive 92/43 EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora BD Annex I indicates species listed under Annex I to Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds

Group Mammals

Scientific name Barbastella barbastellus Canis lupus Capreolus capreolus Lutra lutra Lynx lynx Miniopterus schreibersi Myotis bechsteini Myotis capaccinii Myotis emarginatus Myotis myotis Rhinolophus blasii Rhinolophus euryale Rhinolophus ferrumequinum Rhinolophus hipposideros Rhinolophus mehelyi Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica Ursus arctos Vulpes vulpes

English name common barbastelle wolf roe deer river otter lynx long-winged bat Bechsteins bat long-fingered bat Goeffreys bat large mouse-eared bat Blasiuss horseshoe bat Mediterranean horseshoe bat greater horseshoe bat lesser horseshoe bat Mehely's horseshoe bat chamois (Balkan ssp.) brown bear red fox

Remarks HD Annex II * HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II * HD Annex II -

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Reptiles

Emys orbicularis Vipera ursinii Amphibians Bombina bombina Bombina variegata Triturus cristatus carnifex Fish Hucho hucho Salmo marmoratus Salmo trutta m. fario Birds Alectoris graeca Coturnix coturnix Tetrao urogallus Tetrastes bonasia Perdix perdix Invertebrates Callimorpha quadripunctaria Carabus hampei Carabus variolosus Cerambyx cerdo Eriogaster catax Euphydryas aurinia Graphoderus bilineatus Hypodryas maturna Leptidea morsei Lucanus cervus Lycaena dispar Morimus funereus Nymphalis vaualbum Osmoderma eremita Papilio machaon Papilio podalirius Parnassius Apollo Rosalia alpina

swamp turtle Orsinis viper fire-bellied toad yellow-bellied toad Italian crested newt Danube salmon marble trout river trout rock partridge common quail western capercaillie hazel grouse grey partridge great capricorn beetle stag beetle swallowtail scarce swallowtail Apollo butterfly -

HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II BD Annex I BD Annex I * HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II HD Annex II * HD Annex II * HD Annex II

* HD Annex II

Again, the above table neither includes all important fauna species in need for protective measures in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska nor shall be perceived as the ultimate list of target fauna species. The decision on selecting target fauna species for common conservation projects shall again be subject to further consultations between partners from both countries concerned, in the course of their transboundary cooperation. As pointed out above - neither updated nor common databases and maps of habitats and species distribution for the whole transboundary region are available so far. Therefore, updating, development, harmonization and maintenance of biodiversity-related databases, and development of the common database/s for the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska, in consultation and cooperation between both involved countries seems to be the most urgent task. This would require gathering and compilation of scientific data, national inventories and maps concerning rare or endangered natural and seminatural habitat types, as well as plant communities and species, including endemic flora and fauna species native to the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region. In result of the above cooperation - areas significant for biological and landscape diversity of the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region, in particular those encompassing endangered natural and semi-natural habitat types as well as mainstays, priority connecting corridors and migratory routes of endangered migratory species should be delineated, and threats to their ecological functions assessed. Only based on the analysis of such information the cooperation priorities for their future cooperation on biodiversity conservation issues can jointly be decided. This would later allow to develop common projects on e.g. coordinated protection of rare habitats and restoration of natural linkages across the state borders (ecological corridors) for migratory species, exchange of specimens of animal or plant species, establishing common exsitu seed/gene banks and/or nurseries of rare and threatened species.

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European context
According to the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora the presence of natural habitat types listed in Annex I and habitats of the species listed in Annex II is the criterion for the designation of special areas of conservation constituting the Natura 2000 network. According to the Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds Member States shall take the requisite measures to preserve, maintain or reestablish a sufficient diversity and area of habitats for bird species, while according to Article 4 the species mentioned in Annex I shall be the subject of special conservation measures concerning their habitat in order to ensure their survival and reproduction in their area of distribution. Pursuant to Article 3 concerning the preservation, maintenance and reestablishment of biotopes and habitats for birds - creation of protected areas is the first among all measures recommended by this Directive. Thus, when deciding on the spatial plans for the border territories, the relevant authorities of both involved countries should take into account that: the region of the proposed transboundary protected area harbours a considerable number of natural habitats shared by both concerned countries as well as numerous threatened or endemic flora and fauna species having their mainstays in habitats crossed by the state border; these habitats and species would greatly benefit from transboundary cooperation between both concerned countries on their conservation; these habitats and species include those listed under relevant Annexes to the Habitat and Birds Directives, also priority species and habitat types; such habitat types, animal and plant species of Community interest require the designation of special areas of conservation in the Member States of the European Community.

Therefore, the presence of habitats and species listed under relevant Annexes to the Council Directive 92/43/EEC (Habitat Directive) whose protection in the Member States of the European Community requires the designation of special areas of conservation, and bird species listed under Annex I to Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds which require special conservation measures concerning their habitats could become a sound argument for the extension of existing or designation of new protected areas in the border area of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska.

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3.2. Priorities for transboundary cooperation in the planned transboundary protected area identified by protected area administrations
There is a wide range of potential joint activities, which can become the subject of transboundary cooperation between protected areas, local authorities and non-governmental organisations on each side of the state border. The potential for implementation of such joint activities depends to great extent on local conditions and identified common needs in a particular region. As soon as both the legal and administrative frameworks for transboundary cooperation are in place, relevant partners, stakeholders and professional are involved, and potential funding sources are either made available or at least identified - the next important step is to decide on the priorities for cooperation which will later allow implementation of the first joint transboundary projects. Priority actions which shall be undertaken in proposed transboundary areas in South Eastern Europe were one of the topics of the 2nd sub-regional meeting on Transboundary Cooperation of Mountain Protected Areas in South Eastern Europe: Towards the Dinaric Arc and Balkan Network of Mountain Protected Areas organized in June 2009 within the framework of the ENVSEC Initiative by UNEP, and financed by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). The meeting was held at Hotel Crna Gora in Podgorica, Montenegro, organised by UNEP through the Vienna Office, in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Protection of Montenegro, the Institute for Nature Protection in Podgorica and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (BRESCE). The meeting brought together 59 participants, mainly from the SEE region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo - UN administered territory under UN Security Council resolution 1244, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, but also from Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia and UK. The issue of priorities for common actions transboundary cooperation was addressed during the above meeting by organising a special workshop (Workshop 1: Priorities for common actions in transboundary areas in focus), where representatives of Sutjeska National Park administration were present. Sutjeska National Park representatives suggested the following priorities for the future common activities in the proposed transboundary protected area (TBPA) Durmitor - Tara Canyon Sutjeska: enhancing legal protection of the entire area of the proposed TBPA and joint/transboundary activities for the protection of the Tara river canyon ecosystems, common identification of negative impacts or threats to nature and environment of the TBPA region, cooperation on the development of harmonised management plans and action plans for particular protected areas, and the common action plan for the entire area of the proposed TBPA, cooperation on defining, designing and delineation of the harmonised spatial functional zonation of the proposed TBPA, including protection zones, beginning from highly protected zone to the zone of tourist activities, also including buffer zone, and their precise delineation with the use of the GIS (Geographic Information System), cooperation on identifying and establishing ecological corridors and migratory routes for wildlife species, cooperation in research and collection of data on common biodiversity in accordance with unified methodology, which will allow development of update common nature inventories and/or databases for the proposed TBPA; exchange of data and information related to natural and cultural resources, exchange of ideas on tourism management in order to promote sustainable tourism development in the region of the proposed TBPA,

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preparation of the common sustainable tourism development strategy for the region of the proposed TBPA, including the development of the common tourist products and packages (e.g. mountaineering plus rafting activities), establishing a common visitor centre for the proposed TBPA (by the epan Polje border crossing), and networking for visitor and tourist information centres within the entire transboundary region, development of sustainable tourist infrastructure for visitors to protected areas, and enhancing common visitor infrastructure standards and design, preparation and publication of joint promotional materials for entire TBPA, promotion and marketing of the local agricultural and handicraft products, training and education of tourist and mountain guides who would work on entire TBPA, education of local people and raising their awareness and consciousness on environment / nature protection issues, and need for protection of the entire transboundary region, preparation of common projects to ensure financial means for implementation of joint activities (e.g. research, conservation measures, visitor infrastructure development, education, promotion), preparation of a memorandum on cooperation to be signed by both sides / parks, or institutions on higher level e.g. relevant Ministries of Republic of Srpska and Republic of Montenegro.

Immediately after the meeting in Podgorica a fact finding field mission to Sutjeska and Durmitor National Parks was carried out by UNEP. According to interviews with the Directors of both involved national parks, carried out during the field mission, the most urgent common priorities from among those suggested during the workshop are as follows: o o o o developing common projects for protection of the Tara river canyon area, establishing a common tourist information centre in epan Polje, publishing common promotional materials and a common map for visitors, developing a common sustainable tourism development strategy, paired by development of visitor infrastructure in protected areas, developing common tourist products and packages (e.g. mountaineering plus rafting activities).

For obvious reasons, the common protection of natural values of the Tara river canyon area which should become decisive for establishment of the transboundary protected area is on top of this priority list, as the Tara river canyon constitutes the potential spatial linkage for both parks, and a transboundary ecological corridor of common conservation importance for both protected areas. This priority is well in line with the recommendations of the joint UNESCO and IUCN mission carried out to this area in 2005, concerning enhancing collaboration between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, integration of spatial planning for the entire Tara River Basin, identifying potential ecological corridors, protection of the mountain range along the border of the River Tara and coordination of activities on both banks of the Tara River Canyon, as well as forming a large transboundary protected area, with a large buffer zone of the World Heritage site.

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It should be emphasized here that extension of the territories of Sutjeska and Durmitor National Parks towards the state border in the lower, not yet protected section of the Tara river canyon is not only of fundamental importance for mitigating current threats to the biological diversity and preventing the further degradation of the natural environment in the canyon (thus enhancing the integrity of the World Heritage Site), but also for improving the ecological connectivity and continuity of protected area network in this region to a large extent determining the successful protection of natural values of Sutjeska National Park, and its inclusion into the possible northern ecological SEE corridor stretching across Montenegro. Last, but not least, providing for this spatial link between Sutjeska and Durmitor National Parks should also be perceived as a prerequisite for developing transboundary cooperation on biodiversity conservation issues between both involved protected areas. Some of the potential benefits of transboundary cooperation are crucial for nature and landscape conservation of the transboundary protected area, therefore much more motivating nature conservationists and scientists, who better understand the need for a coordinated approach in an eco-regional scale than the local inhabitants. Other potential benefits, in particular those for sustainable local economic development, could be more appealing and attractive for the local communities, thus potentially raising local support for establishing a transboundary protected area, perceived as a tool for improving the life standards and well-being of the area inhabitants. This is why other priorities emphasised by the Directors of Sutjeska and Durmitor National Parks were targeted at joint development of sustainable tourism in this transboundary region, providing the most convincing and tangible benefits for the local communities, thus potentially best motivating local municipalities to become involved in transboundary cooperation. Thus, the second common priority - establishing a common tourist information centre in epan Polje, should most probably be implemented in close cooperation between both protected area authorities and the local municipalities concerned the neighbouring municipalities of Foa in the Republic of Srpska / Bosnia and Herzegovina and Pluine in Montenegro, with the involvement and support of the other five municipalities of this transboundary region (Gacko, Mojkovac, Pljevlja, avnik and abljak), which should also be interested in broader promotion of their tourist attractiveness and potential. The functions of such common visitor centre could largely facilitate achievement of several priority objectives of transboundary cooperation mentioned during the workshop, like e.g. raising awareness on the need for protection of the entire transboundary region, joint promotion of the tourist potential of the shared region and its municipalities, promotion of the local agricultural and handicraft products, or networking for visitor and tourist information centres within the entire transboundary region. Such a common tourist information centre for the whole proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska could provide information on e.g. tourist attractions and activities in particular areas of this transboundary region, available overnight accommodation and tourist services in different municipalities of the two neighbouring countries (using promotional materials of the local tourist offices, organizations, and tourist services providers). Furthermore, a common tourist information centre could also host exhibits on the natural, historical and cultural values of the common transboundary region, and a shop selling souvenirs and local products (e.g. traditional handicrafts and food products), guidebooks and tourist maps of the transboundary region, as well as different kind of tourist and outdoor equipment. There is probably no need for planning a regional restaurant serving regional food specialties, due to the near proximity of a restaurant visited by the rafters, located nearby the confluence of Tara and Piva rivers.

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The border crossing in epan Polje seems to be the best possible location for such common tourist information centre, to be located right by the state border at the only transnational transport corridor intersecting the proposed transboundary protected area (road E762 / No 18 from Sarajevo to Podgorica), also due to the fact that there are no settlements in the whole region either divided by the state border or paired by an adjacent settlement across the border which could be another potential other location for such common centre. Last, but not least - epan Polje is the final destination point for rafting tours organized on the Tara river, currently the only common tourist trail running along the state border. Most probably such common tourist information centre in epan Polje could replace the row of abandoned kiosks in between the border control posts, on the Montenegrin southern bank of the Tara river. Such location of the centre between the border control posts would allow the personnel of the centre, recruiting from inhabitants of Foa and Pluine municipalities, to get to their workplace from both sides without passing through the border control of the neighbouring country, thus without formally entering its territory.

Border control point in epan Polje. Photo: V. Stupar

The common tourist information centre could largely contribute to the increased incomes of the local tourist services and accommodation providers as well as of the local farmers, traditional food producers and craftsmen. Furthermore, its operation would result in providing new employment opportunities, both in the information centre itself and in businesses which would expand due to cooperation with the common Information Centre of the Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor - Tara Canyon Sutjeska. But the most important benefit of establishing such common centre would be its role for: enhancing the common identity of this transboundary region; promoting transboundary cooperation on protection of its common natural and cultural values; facilitating cooperation by municipalities, protected areas and local stakeholders from both involved countries; promoting transboundary tourist packages including visits and tourist activities on both sides of the state border; dispersal of the tourist traffic in the whole transboundary region, providing for a more equal sharing of benefits and revenues from tourism by inhabitants of different communities in the proposed transboundary protected area on both sides of the state border.

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The third urgent priority publishing common promotional materials and a common map for visitors results from the fact that e.g. a detailed map of the whole transboundary Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region is non-available, same as guidebooks or other informational and promotional materials on the whole region. Only the Durmitor NP and Tara river canyon are well mapped, while detailed maps of other municipalities or regions of high tourist attractiveness (like e.g. Sutjeska National Park or the area of the planned Bio-Magli-Volujak Regional Park) are non-available. The need for developing a common sustainable tourism development strategy, paired by development of visitor infrastructure in protected areas is again obvious, taking into account the current threats to environment and nature of the region resulting from the current rapid development of mass tourism in the most pristine natural areas like the Tara river canyon. Protected areas would be those most interested in mitigating the adverse effects of the above threats to the Tara river canyon, by e.g. regulating and servicing the sewage and waste disposal, and preventing further development of illegal camps in the canyon by improving standards of their own accommodations in less valuable locations. Secondly, the present visitor infrastructure (e.g. trails and visitor centers) in protected areas is not yet adequately developed to match the growing visitation and tourist pressure. For instance, the current provisional small visitor centre of Durmitor National Park should urgently be replaced by a new bigger visitor centre by the Crno Jezero lake, while Sutjeska National Park has at present no visitor centre. Developing common tourist products and packages including visits and various tourist activities in different regions on both sides of the state border would directly result from the implementation of the common sustainable tourism development strategy, and allow for the dispersal of the tourist traffic in the whole transboundary region. In result, such common tourist packages prepared in cooperation by tourist services providers from different municipalities of the two neighbouring countries could provide for a more equal sharing of benefits and revenues from tourism by inhabitants of different national parts of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska, resulting in a more harmonized and compatible development of services and facilities in the whole transboundary region.

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3.3. Opportunities and challenges for transboundary cooperation in the planned transboundary protected area
The most important asset and opportunity for developing transboundary cooperation in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region is the presence of legally designated protected areas (Sutjeska and Durmitor National Parks) on each side of the state border. However, at present these protected areas are not adjacent to each other, and no spatial linkage between both national parks exists, while a considerable part of the Tara river canyon remaining beyond the borders of protected areas is exposed to growing development pressures. Therefore, the extension of the territories of Sutjeska and Durmitor National Parks towards the state border is a prerequisite for establishing a transboundary protected area and development of transboundary cooperation on biodiversity conservation issues between both involved protected areas. Secondly, planned designation of new protected areas in Montenegro, in particular the Bio-Magli-Volujak Regional Park adjacent to Sutjeska National Park located across the state border, and to the extended territory of Durmitor National Park is fundamental for enhancing the connectivity and continuity of protected area network in the region. Designation of Ljubinja Regional Park at the state border could potentially foster transboundary cooperation in the northern part of the region and provide for some kind of a buffer zone for Durmitor National Park northwards from the national park territory, while the designation of the planned Sinjavina Regional Park in Montenegro would provide for some kind of a buffer zone for Durmitor National Park southwards from the national park territory and enhance biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in this part of the Tara River Basin Biosphere Reserve. In result, the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska could become a transboundary complex of five large-scale protected areas - two enlarged national parks (Durmitor and Sujeska) and three newly established regional parks (Bio-Magli-Volujak, Ljubinja, and Sinjavina), together encompassing the total area of some 136476 ha, additionally buffered on the Montenegrin side by the remaining part of the UNESCO MaB Tara River Biosphere Reserve. This transboundary protected area would then become an important section of the possible northern ecological SEE corridor. The possible benefits deriving from the establishment of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska for both involved countries are that transboundary cooperation in this region would largely facilitate the achievement of their nature protection and biodiversity conservation objectives, mitigating present environmental threats, promoting and implementing sustainable development at local and regional level, and establishing a long term transboundary cooperation mechanism which could serve the broad range of local stakeholders. Moreover, transboundary cooperation in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska could additionally provide for a more equal distribution of the revenues from tourism, thus improving the overall socio-economic situation of municipalities on both sides of the state border.

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3.3.1. Opportunities
The achievement of the above vision for the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region could largely be facilitated by numerous similarities between the two involved countries, as well as favourable historical transboundary context, and the fact that the presence of the state border can not be seen as an obstacle neither for nature conservation of the region nor for developing transboundary cooperation. The demographic situation of the local populations, settlement pattern, land-use and economic development pattern, the socio-economic situation and welfare of inhabitants on each side of the state border in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska is very similar. Resulting from the above, the economic needs of the local inhabitants and development challenges for local communities are mostly similar between different national parts of the proposed transboundary protected area. However, it should be noted here that not all parts of this region are equally developed for tourism, thus some of them become gradually overcrowded by visitor traffic, while the other areas remain unexplored. As already emphasised in Part 1 of this study - the history of nations and ethnic groups inhabiting this particular region did not result in any possible obstacles for the development of their transboundary cooperation. People inhabiting both sides of the state border are of the same ethnicity and history, and have similar customs, traditions, religion and culture. This is best illustrated by traditional meetings, fairs and social events, gathering inhabitants from both sides of the current state border (e.g. local fair in Trsi in Durmitor region which is gathering inhabitants of the whole Tara river basin, events held during national and religious holidays in Sutjeska National Park and Piva Monastery, different festivals and sport competitions, or events like Tara with no borders or the Meetings of mountaineers for Vidovdan on the mountain Volujak), which reflect the feeling of the common regional identity and thus could largely facilitate raising the awareness of the local populations on the need for common protection of the shared natural and cultural values of the common transboundary region. Moreover, Montenegrin, Serbian and Bosnian languages are mutually understandable, so that no language barriers could impair the transboundary cooperation in the proposed transboundary protected area between stakeholders from different countries. Further in terms of the common regional identity - the common distinctive natural and landscape phenomenon of the region, easily recognizable both by the local populations on both sides of the state border as well as internationally is the Tara River Canyon, which can be perceived as a spatial linkage or the connecting geographical feature, but could also become a key unifying element of the common regional identity, used in common promotional publications and e.g. the joint logo of the proposed transboundary protected area. The importance of the Tara River Canyon is best reflected by the Declaration on the protection of the river Tara adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro, which stated that As citizens, we are aware that the Tara is our future and our trademark. Last, but not least, the Tara river canyon is not only the border between the two neighbouring countries and the most distinctive landscape linkage for the whole region, but also a shared natural asset of commercial importance, generating income for communities from both sides of the state border. There were no ethnic conflicts across the border in this particular region, which could have adverse impacts on environment, nature or cultural heritage of the area; there are also no potential conflict issues in relations between the local populations across the border, which could impair transboundary cooperation. Therefore, the overall historical transboundary context in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon - Sutjeska can be evaluated as favourable for developing transboundary cooperation. The state border between Bosnia and Herzegovina / Republic of Srpska and Montenegro in the region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon - Sutjeska was established in result of a historical long-term process. There were neither remaining unresolved claims to land areas or water bodies on either side of the present state border, nor attempts to change its present route.

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The presence of the state border in this proposed transboundary protected area seems to have no adverse effect on the availability of information on the area, e.g. detailed maps for mapping the habitats in border areas or planning common activities, and the access to such information sources on both sides is not restricted by security measures. The existence of the border does not provide an obstacle to wildlife migrations and has no negative influence on the connectivity and continuity of habitats present on both sides of the border. Furthermore, the presence of the state border does not result in legal obstacles limiting civilian access to the border areas on both sides. The use of the areas adjacent to the state border and the movement of people in the border area is unrestricted. Last, but not least, the existence of the state border does not limit possibilities for direct contacts between cooperation partners, e.g. protected area managers or the representatives of municipality authorities from both neighbouring countries. Therefore, the overall border context in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon - Sutjeska should also be evaluated as favourable for developing transboundary cooperation. The region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska, on both sides of the state border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro is in fact very homogenous from the natural and environmental point of view. Furthermore, areas proposed for nature protection are predominantly state-owned, which would largely facilitate the designation of new protected areas or extension of existing national parks in this region. The objectives of protected area management, research methods and existing inventories and databases on the environment and natural resources, and legislation on nature protection are to a large extent compatible in both countries. There are no particular disparities in the current state of knowledge on the environment and natural resources of the proposed transboundary protected area, due to the fact that available documentation, e.g. professional literature is equally covering territories on both sides of the state border. The methodologies for data collection and management are either the same or very similar on each side of the state border, resulting from the past collaboration of scientific institutions in the times of the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ). At that time researches on the environment and natural resources of the proposed transboundary protected area were carried out regardless of the former republic borders, and the region was perceived as a biogeographically coherent area. In result, several joint nature research activities carried out in the times of the SFRJ (e.g. the project Vegetation map of Yugoslavia) involved scientific institutions from both Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. These initiatives were undertaken by the former republic institutions, such as the Country Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Natural Science Faculty in Sarajevo, Montenegro Institute for the Protection of Nature in Podgorica, ANUBIH (Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina), CANU (Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts). The researches were carried out on both side of the current state border, in particular on botany, vegetation, plant ecology and zoology (incl. game species). The existence of the SFRJ provided also for easy exchange of expertise and mobility of specialists and researchers. For instance, Prof. Dr Radomir Lakui (specialist on vegetation) was born in Montenegro but lived and worked in Sarajevo, and the mountain region (south-eastern Dinaric Mountains) of the proposed transboundary protected area was the main field of his research activities, which he and his co-workers conducted since 1960s, and continued after the delineation resulting from the break down of the SFRJ. Scientific institutes involved in research on the natural values of the region of the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska continue informal scientific collaboration until today. At present, the ongoing approximation of national legislation on nature protection to the EU legislation and standards largely facilitates the use of the same methodological approaches. Therefore, scientific and technical terminologies that are in use in both countries are to a large extent similar and compatible. The only historical difference could possibly be that the scientific institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina were traditionally perceived as having broader expertise and higher capacities in the field of natural sciences than their counterparts in Montenegro.

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Partners in the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska have some previous experiences from cooperation on protecting the shared natural values of the common region, e.g. jointly campaigned against the proposed hydropower project Buk Bijela which could threaten the values for which Durmitor NP has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as well as affect existing settlements, cultural heritage objects and local economy. Since then, protected area managers, scientists and inhabitants of neighbouring communities maintain strong informal relationships and working contacts across the border. Moreover, the relevant Ministries of both involved countries gathered some experience in transboundary cooperation, either in the times of the SFRJ (e.g. in the Joint Water Commission of SFR Yugoslavia and Albania) or more recently, e.g. under the common transboundary project Lake Skadar - Shkoder Integrated Ecosystem Management with Albania on the protection of the Skadar Lake, which included signature of bilateral Memorandums of Understanding. The aim of the above mentioned project is to establish institutional and legal premises for protection and sustainable development of this ecosystem in Montenegro and Albania and to strengthen capacities for management of protected areas in both countries. Additional activities within the scope of this project are the construction of wastewaters treatment plant in Vranjina and remediation of the hazardous waste from the aluminum plant. The total support by the World Bank (acting as the implementing agency) accounts for USD 4.55 million (USD 2.56 million for Montenegro). Both involved countries are Parties to e.g. the CBD and the World Heritage Convention, and are signatories to multilateral environmental agreements like the Convention on Co-operation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the River Danube (DRPC). Within the frame of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Cross Border Cooperation Programme (IPA CBC) the Forum for cross border cooperation between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina was established. The common long-term vision for protection and sustainable development of the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region is reflected in numerous valid spatial planning documents in both involved countries, e.g. the Spatial Plan of Republic of Srpska until 2015, the Spatial Plan of Montenegro until 2020, the National Strategy for Sustainable Development and Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2009-2014 for Montenegro, the Physical Plan of Special Purpose for NP Durmitor as well as physical plans of the local municipalities. Thus, such long-term vision providing a specific reference to the protection of common natural and cultural values, and linking it to the socio-economic well-being of local communities was officially communicated to local stakeholders on each side of the state border. The authors of the country reports used for this study share the feeling that authorities, institutions and organisations in both countries concerned have been equally involved in development of the initiative for establishing a common transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska, and equally support this initiative.

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3.3.2. Challenges
First of all, it should be emphasized that as for June 2009 the connectivity and continuity of the protected area network in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region is still an open question, as the extension of the territories of Sutjeska and Durmitor National Parks towards the state border in the lower, not yet protected section of the Tara river canyon is planned in both countries concerned, but not yet implemented. Such territorial extensions of both existing national parks requires the political decision at the level of Governments, and allocating sufficient budgetary resources for developing new management plans for these protected areas. Only by including the remaining part of the Tara river canyon into protected areas on both sides of the state border would provide a chance to establish a transboundary ecological corridor linking both national parks, thus creating a transboundary protected area, as an indispensable incentive and prerequisite for the development of transboundary cooperation on biodiversity conservation issues of the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region between both countries and their involved protected areas. Similarly, the designation of new protected areas in Montenegro, in particular those located at the state border with Bosnia and Herzegovina (regional parks Bio-Magli-Volujak and Ljubinja) and therefore important for developing transboundary cooperation and improving the ecological connectivity and continuity of the whole transboundary region is planned, but not yet implemented. Furthermore, the designation of the planned Bio-Magli-Volujak Regional Park and other planned regional parks would require the active involvement and contribution of relevant municipalities (e.g. in case of the Bio-Magli-Volujak regional park - the Municipality of Pluine and its Secretariat for physical planning and environmental protection) in cooperation with the relevant local Forest Management Services units of the Public Enterprise Crna Gora ume. Taking into account limited staff, professional and financial capacities of the local municipalities the success with establishing regional parks and making them operational would largely depend on the possible support by the central Government and external funding sources. Such support would probably be substantial in the planning phase, when the proposal for conservation of the area (studije zatite) and the proposed management plan (plan upravljanja) for the area of a regional park required by the national legislation of Montenegro are to be prepared, for later submission to the Government. Taking into account the possible different timing of planning activities on both sides of the state borer, the potential for developing an integrated management plan for the whole transboundary protected area is limited. However, the development of harmonized management plans is possible, subject to consultations between relevant authorities and scientific institutions of both countries concerned. The above relates to the need for developing a harmonised spatial design and internal functional zonation of the proposed transboundary protected area on both sides of the state border. As for June 2009 only the current zonation of both national parks is known. However, in the light of the planned extension of their territories the current zonation pattern in Sutjeska and Durmitor National Parks should rather be perceived as provisional, and requiring revision and improvements in the course of the future planning activities, on the basis of the most update scientific studies and recent field researches. Most protected areas as well as UNESCO biosphere reserves implement zonation pattern fulfilling nature and landscape conservation, and sustainable development objectives. The most important natural and landscape values are maintained in the strictly protected core zone where human interventions or influence on natural processes are limited. Such core zones are usually surrounded and linked by areas (buffer zones/areas) remaining under partial protection regime allowing management aimed at e.g. improving the current state of ecosystems and/or habitats, and preventing negative outside pressures on the core zone. Furthermore, in case of biosphere reserves a transition zone /area of cooperation is established outside the legally protected area, with the aim to harmonise sustainable development of the adjacent areas with protection of nature in the inner two zones.

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In a case of a transboundary protected area particular protected areas directly adjoining each other across the state border should be designed in a way allowing harmonised, compatible and complementary functional zonation. Preferably, both countries should implement the same or compatible functional zonation pattern, which means that each functional zone on one side of the state border should have its equivalent zone across the state border. Furthermore, the core zones on each side of the state border should include all areas and habitats significant for maintaining biological and landscape diversity of the region (e.g. target natural habitats, priority connecting corridors in border areas, key mainstays and migratory routes of target animal species). Functional zones should later be precisely delineated with the use of the GIS (Geographic Information System) tools, and at least the core zones should be clearly signposted in the terrain. The necessary transboundary complementarity of the zonation pattern in a transboundary protected area means that the zonation on each side of the state border should provide for the ecological coherence of border areas, and grant similar protective status to areas located on both sides of the state border, with the objective to prevent the situation when e.g. a strict nature reserve designated on one side of the state border is directly adjacent to areas intensively exploited or developed across the border. Such harmonised spatial design and internal functional zonation of the proposed transboundary protected area should duly take into account e.g. the landownership issues, the existing settlement network and development priorities of the municipalities on both sides of the state border, but also the conservation requirements for adjacent areas across the state border, the routes of the priority ecological transboundary connecting corridors (e.g. wildlife migration corridors) in the border areas. It should be recalled here that the priority ecological transboundary connecting corridors, e.g. wildlife migration corridors in the border areas of the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region are not yet adequately researched, clearly identified and delineated. Due to the fact that the proposed TBPA shall include either new protected areas (regional parks BioMagli-Volujak, Sinjavina and Ljubinja), and additional areas including the lower section of the Tara river canyon to be incorporated to existing protected areas (Durmitor and Sutjeska National Parks) developing the harmonised and compatible zonation pattern for the whole transboundary protected area in consultations between both involved countries remains one of the most challenging tasks for the near future. This task can be even more challenging due to the absence of common nature inventories or databases available for the whole region, including the territory of the proposed transboundary protected area. Moreover, the sources of scientific information on natural values of several areas is limited mainly to literature from the times of the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (e.g. the Bulletin of the Country Museum Sarajevo, Bulletin of the Institute for Biological Researches Sarajevo, Bulletin of the Republic Institute for the Protection of Nature Montenegro), thus containing not always updated information. Furthermore, scientific researches in the times of the SFRJ were usually focusing on specific areas, species or habitats, and even at the times of the SFRJ no common database compiling available data and research results concerning this region was not available. Last, but not least, the area of the Tara river canyon is hardly accessible, and any kind of field research there can be compared to performing extreme sports. However, there is still much information available, which could be used for developing common nature inventories. Thus, neither updated nor common databases and maps of habitats and species distribution for the whole transboundary region are currently available. Therefore, updating, development, harmonization and maintenance of biodiversity-related databases in country, and development of the common database/s for the proposed transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska, in consultation and cooperation between both involved countries seems to be the most urgent task. This would require gathering and compilation of scientific data, national inventories and maps concerning rare or endangered natural and seminatural habitat types, as well as plant communities and species, including endemic flora and fauna species native to the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region.

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In result of the above cooperation - areas significant for biological and landscape diversity of the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region, in particular those encompassing endangered natural and semi-natural habitat types as well as mainstays, priority connecting corridors and migratory routes of endangered migratory species should be delineated, and threats to their ecological functions assessed. Only based on the analysis of such information the spatial design and internal functional zonation pattern for the whole proposed transboundary protected area can be properly elaborated. According to country experts this would require launching scientific research projects, particularly those important for the biodiversity of existing and planned protected areas (e.g. baseline research for establishing inventories of important taxonomic groups in the area, biodiversity mapping of important species and habitats, preparation of regional Red List/s of rare, endemic, threatened or endangered species). Another serious obstacle to intensifying transboundary cooperation in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region is the absence of official agreements on transboundary cooperation between both states that consider the proposed transboundary protected area. There are also no official initiatives or cooperative agreements between local authorities and self-governments from both sides of the border concerning the proposed transboundary protected area. As for today, the transboundary cooperation as well as the exchange of data and information between partners is mainly based on good working contacts and strong voluntary informal collaborative relationships, in particular between the municipality of Foa in Republic of Srpska with the neighbouring municipality of Pluine and National Park Durmitor in Montenegro. This currently informal collaboration is the best proof of the shared common vision for the region and need for transboundary cooperation between the local municipalities and protected area administrations. Furthermore, such informal relationships are based on the initiative and consensus of all involved local partners, respect local arrangements and conditions, are flexible depending on the current common priorities, require less bureaucracy and no reporting, can better provide for local community involvement, may easily involve a wide range of partners including local non-governmental organisations. It is true that friendly relations between partners across the borders may result in successful cooperation, even with little or no political and financial support of Governments. However, such informal relationships are not legally enforceable, are often affected by personnel changes (e.g. election of the new municipality mayor or nomination of a new park director, less committed to transboundary cooperation), do not provide for adequate track record (e.g. no minutes of meetings), and not always result in the support from the side of the central Governments. This is why the success in transboundary cooperation requires both formal and informal cooperative agreements. Formal agreements provide complex interdisciplinary approach to conservation and sustainable development, are legally enforceable, can prescribe the period of agreement requiring re-commitment or renegotiation, can involve governmental administrations and agencies, increase empowerment of protected area administrations and staff, are less affected by personnel changes, provide for regular reporting and evaluation of the cooperation progress, provide for continuity of cooperation, can provide adequate funding from central budget for e.g. meetings, travel and communication, staff, joint activities and research, as well as encourage agreements on the local level. Last, but not least, formal agreements are indispensable as the legal basis for receiving official institutional and financial support as well as for official recognition of a particular TBPA by international organisations, e.g. UNESCO- MaB Programme or the Europarc Federation. On the other hand - even an 'official high-level agreement' will not initiate successful transboundary cooperation alone, unless clear and feasible priorities and tasks for cooperation are identified by the partners and agreed, relevant consultative or governing structures established, and adequately budgeted.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Opportunities and challenges

As for 2009 the transboundary cooperation in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region cannot be legally based on any regional convention or a bilateral agreement / protocol on cooperation signed between the two countries concerned, signed either at the governmental or at the ministerial level. There are also no legal agreements between nature conservation authorities, administrations of protected areas, scientific institutions or local municipal administrations of the region. A possible bilateral agreement on transboundary cooperation in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region could either become an annex to the currently proposed bilateral intergovernmental agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, or be a separate document, adopted at different level. Preferably such agreement should clearly state the common vision, priorities and fields of work for cooperation in the proposed transboundary protected area, allocate duties and responsibilities among different cooperation partners, delegate powers and designate authorities mandated to coordinate transboundary cooperation, authorise allocation of the part of the state budget funding for common transboundary activities. As suggested by the authors of the country reports used for this study - such agreement could also provide a legal basis for the possible establishment of a common inter-state (international) ecological research centre, and a joint body coordinating transboundary cooperation (commission, committee), which at the early stages of transboundary cooperation could be a precondition for its successful planning and implementation. As expressed by local experts: setting up of a transboundary cooperation body is a precondition and unavoidable step for further joint activities on the protection of species, habitats and ecosystems in the proposed transboundary protected area. The implementation of such possible agreement should involve the key partners for the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region, in particular the Municipalities of Foa, Gacko, Mojkovac, Pljevlja, Pluine, avnik and abljak, and their Secretariat for physical planning and environmental protection; the administrations of protected areas (Durmitor and Sutjeska National Parks), relevant local Forest Management Services units of the Public Enterprise Crna Gora ume, the Public Enterprise National Parks of Montenegro (PENPM), the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Republic of Srpska, the Institute for the Protection of Nature in Podgorica, and relevant Ministries of both countries. Maintaining direct personal working contacts between different partners would be substantial for developing the future transboundary cooperation. As for today, these contacts are more or less regularly maintained, and not restricted by e.g. the presence of the state border. However, probably due to the fact that cooperation has so far been developed on informal basis these meetings, evaluated by their participants as very useful, have not been properly recorded and documented, thus no written record of such meetings (e.g. minutes, decisions, joint statements or declarations) are available (except for the meetings held at the occasion of the joint UNESCO and IUCN mission). The lack of such records impairs the possibility of recalling the outcomes of particular common meetings, or making such outcomes available to other partners. Thus, documenting the ongoing cooperation to e.g. the Governments and/or potential donors is currently not possible. Furthermore, these meetings have so far been focused on exchange of information, and not yet with the objective to consult, plan and evaluate common transboundary activities, or activities which influence the border areas in the proposed transboundary protected area. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the future meetings in transboundary cooperation in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region are properly documented in a written form. Due to the fact that the cooperation and meetings have so far been informal the cooperation partners had to cover related expenses (e.g. costs of travel, accommodation and communication) from their regular operational budgets. An official agreement on cooperation could help to properly justify such expenses, or even generate some support from the central budget for the meeting costs, which would then enhance the frequency (and possibly also the regularity) of meetings gathering different partners from both sides of the state border, influencing the intensity and efficiency of direct personal working contacts.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Opportunities and challenges

As already mentioned, the transboundary cooperation would largely be facilitated by establishment and designation of a special common coordinating body for transboundary cooperation in the Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska region, as an official forum for consultations between both countries. Such common body should have clearly defined range of competencies, tasks, rules of procedure allowing fair and balanced decision making between all partners, operational modalities and adequate operational budget to finance its meetings and work. A similar common body was established in the framework of the transboundary project of Montenegro and Albania concerning the protection of the Skadar Lake, based on the Memorandum of Understanding between responsible Ministries from both countries, later approved by respective Governments. In the case of a transboundary protected area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska the relevant Ministries would be those responsible for environment and foreign affairs of Bosnia and Hercegovina, Montenegro and Republic of Srpska. Different institutional, operational and technical capacities (e.g. imbalance in the number of staff, in degree of professionalism and expertise) between the partners may cause serious obstacles for developing transboundary cooperation, and result in need for mutual assistance and support in implementing agreed management objectives. Therefore, the capacities of different local partners for transboundary cooperation (including Municipal Secretariats for physical planning and environmental protection, Forestry Management Units and National Parks) should be assessed and enhanced, in order to cumulate currently available resources and upgrade the professional skills and expertise possessed by the staff members of different institutions and authorities. Resources necessary for developing transboundary cooperation would include e.g. premises (offices, libraries, conference and meeting rooms), personnel (professional and administrative staff), equipment (e.g. computers, cameras, vehicles, or scientific and professional equipment). It has to be emphasised here that local partners on both sides of the state border have little or even no experience in common fundraising, while most probably the future capacity building projects, trainings and exchanges for personnel of protected areas and local municipalities would be dependent on available external financial assistance. Similarly, not all local partners on both sides of the state border have the previous experience in implementing and managing e.g. foreign assistance projects (such as the Municipality of abljak from the US AID project on community revitalisation, or Durmitor National Park from the UNDP project on design and production of information boards). Last, but not least, foreign language skills (e.g. the knowledge of English or German) necessary for developing an application to foreign sources are scarce in the region. But it has to be emphasised that transboundary co-operation can not be developed in long-term only on the 'project basis', as the 'project deadline' may simultaneously become the 'co-operation deadline' and the continuity of cooperation could then be seriously threatened. Therefore providing a stabile source/s of funding for at least the core activities in transboundary cooperation is indispensable. The example of fundraising activities for the transboundary project on the protection of the Skadar Lake showed that transboundary cooperation cannot solely rely on international donors and initiatives, therefore national sources are perceived as a more sustainable long-term solution. Potentially, regional environmental trust funds supporting transboundary cooperation in the region of Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska could be perceived as a future solution, with the involvement and support of e.g. companies benefiting from the natural resources of the region, such as hydro power plants, water supply companies or tourist operators. Furthermore, joint actions will hardly be possible without allocating staff members as cooperation contacts and focal points, with the responsibility to facilitate transboundary cooperation from each co-operating side, of relevant capacities and skills to work together, or if appropriate - without designating transboundary cooperation programme coordinator/s for the whole transboundary protected area, or for each of its constituent national parts.

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UNEP Vienna / Transboundary Protected Area Durmitor Tara Canyon Sutjeska / Connectivity in TBPA

Main sources of information:


1. Assessment of biodiversity and the state of forest ecosystems of the Mountain Vuevo. Faculty of Forestry, University of Banja Luka, 2007. 2. Baseline Study on Protection of Natural Environment and Landscapes for the General Physical Plan of the Municipality Pluine, Republic of Montenegro, Podgorica, 1987. 3. BirdLife International, BirdLife IBA Factsheet, 2005. 4. Buli, Z., Buskovi, V., Stanisi, N. Montenegro country report for UNEP Vienna on the feasibility of establishing a transboundary protected area. Institute for the Protection of Nature, Podgorica, 2009. 5. Brief on the work of the Ministry in the Department for Environmental Protection. Government of Montenegro - Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Podgorica, 2008. 6. Cerovi, B. Durmitor i Kanjon Tare Vodi, Beograd, 2003. 7. Dimovic, D. Situation Analysis for Durmitor National Park (Montenegro). Report for the WWF Mediterranean Programme, 2009. 8. Durmitor Area - Integral Development. Centre for Development of Durmitor Area, Zabljak, 2002. 9. Environmental Impact Assessment Study: Impacts analysis of the Hydro power plant (HPP) Buk Bijela and HPP Srbinje, Civil Engineering corp. Hidroinzenjering, Belgrade, March 2000. 10. IPA CBC (cross-border programme) Bosnia and Herzegovina Montenegro, 2007 2013. Bosnia and Herzegovina Directorate for European Integration, and Republic of Montenegro Secretariat for European Integration, 2007. 11. IUCN. World Heritage Nomination IUCN Technical Evaluation: Durmitor National Park (Serbia & Montenegro) Minor Modification of Boundaries. IUCN, Switzerland, 2005. 12. Management Plan for Durmitor National Park 2005-2010. 13. Niewiadomski, Z. (Ed.). Enhancing Transboundary Biodiversity Management in South Eastern Europe. Report prepared under the Environment and Security Initiative. UNEP Vienna, 2006. 14. Physical Plan for Special Area National Park Sutjeska, Sarajevo, 1986. 15. Physical Plan of Montenegro (1986, 1991, 1997, 2008) 16. Physical Plan of the Republic of Srpska (2007). 17. Physical Plan of Special Purpose for Durmitor National Park (1997). 18. Stupar, V. Bosnia and Herzegovina country report for UNEP Vienna on the feasibility of establishing a transboundary protected area. Faculty of Forestry, University of Banja Luka, 2008. 19. UNEP / WCMC factsheet Durmitor National Park. 20. UNESCO-IUCN Report of the International Mission to Durmitor National Park and Tara River Basin, Serbia & Montenegro and to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mission Report, Paris, 2005. 21. World Heritage Committee. State of Conservation of World Heritage Properties in Europe SECTION II. Montenegro. Durmitor National Park. UNESCO, Paris, 2005. 22. Wojterski, T. National Parks of Yugoslavia, Pozna, 1971. 23. Zakon o zatiti prirode (Law on Nature Conservation). Sl. list Crne Gore No 51/08.

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