01 Oct 2008
The 45,868-hectare Livanjsko Polje, near the town of Livno in Bosnia and Herzegovina, contains an impressive network of surface and underground water bodies including rivers, springs, sinkholes, lakes and oxbow lakes.
It is the largest wetland in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with important populations of rare birds and significant communities including corn crake, Montagu’s harrier, lesser spotted eagles, redshank, snipe and great bittern.
Livanjsko Polje vegetation is a very special mix of northern European grasslands and forest as well as Mediterranean plants, while large areas are covered with oak, ash and alder forest, important to conservation.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina’s karst areas are among the best preserved in Europe but they are still unprotected and some are directly threatened by water extraction and unsustainable use of the resources,” said Francesca Antonelli, Head of the Freshwater programme at WWF Mediterranean.
“The protection of Livanjsko Polje is not only vital for maintaining its unique natural assets but will also make all the difference between short term and perpetual use of the area’s resources to benefit local people.”
Livanjski Sir, the cheese from the site, is its most famous product and a good reason to preserve the temperate grassland. The traditional land use is important as the Dalmatian coast in Croatia receives its drinking water from the upper Cetina basin, with Livanjsko Polje as the key wetland.
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands — signed in 1971 in the city of Ramsar, Iran — is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.