Gornje Podunavlje (the Upper Danube Basin) is along the upper section of the Danube in Vojvodina, in the far northwest of the Bačka district. This sizeable marshland area covers the alluvial plain of the left bank of the Danube for a length of 64 km, from the border with Hungary to Bogojevo.
The terrain is flat or mildly undulating, with meanders, backwaters, old river beds and stands of marshy woodland intersected by ponds, swamps etc.
The Gornje Podunavlje region is an important centre of biological diversity. The plant life here flourishes here under the influence of subterranean and flood waters. Its vegetation comprises 57 herbaceous, forest and bushy plant communities, and over 1000 plant species, including some of the most endangered species in Serbia: water violet, mare´s tail and greater spearwort. The area has well-developed stands of aqueous, swamp, meadow, marshland and alluvial woodland, as well as dry-land woodlands of pedunculate oak, ash and poplar, in whose branches White-tailed Eagles and other birds of prey make their nests.
In spring, the white flowers of watercress bob on the surface of the water and water lilies and lotuses blossom, while in summer most of the surface of the water is covered with the yellow flowers of the fringed water-lily. On higher ground there are reeds, striped rush and sedge - thick, high vegetation which provides excellent refuge for birds and other animals. These areas are bisected by occasional strips of thick, impenetrable undergrowth and old willows whose hollows provide refuge for martens, wildcats, owls and other species. There are 60 species of butterfly, 55 fish, 11 amphibians, 9 reptile species, 230 species of bird and 51 species of mammal. The wider Danube area is an important natural spawning ground for fish such as carp, pike, ide, tench, bream, catfish, perch and others. Because of their rarity and endangered status, 16 fish species are on the Red List and 6 are natural rarities: the European bitterling, Kessler´s gudgeon, European weatherfish, Eurasian ruffe, Zingel balcanicus and the streber (Zingel streber).
With the disappearance of huge tracts of marshland in the Pannonian Plain, the Gornje Podunavlje region remains one of the last nesting and flocking sites for a great number of birds: White-tailed Eagle, Black Stork, Mallard duck, Greylag Goose, several species of heron, gulls, kingfisher and others. Particularly impressive is the colony of herons at Bezdan where, in nesting season, several hundred to several thousand birds congregate. This habitat is also on the migratory routes of many bird species as well as being the largest habitat of the European red deer in Serbia and home to wild boar, the latter both native species. Other animals worth noting are the roe deer, fox, wildcat, beech marten, European pine marten, weasel and - occasionally seen - the otter, a protected rare species in Serbia.
This area is famous for the hunting preserves of Kozara and Apatinski Rit, and for the presence of high-scoring trophy specimens of red deer, roe deer and wild boar. Particularly worthy of note is the trophy deer worth 248.55 points from this area which for a full 25 years reigned supreme at international trophy deer exhibitions.
The Gornje Podunavlje region, due to its proximity to the Danube and the towns of Sombor and Apatin, its natural beauty, and its opportunities for hunting, fishing and other water sports and leisure activities has great potential for the development of a variety of types of sustainable eco-tourism.
INFORMATIONJP "Vojvodinašume" Šumsko gazdinstvo "Sombor" Apatinski put 11, 25000 Sombor tel: +381 (0)25 463-114 , faks 463-115 www.vojvodinasume.rs