Opening of the Visitor Centre in Stara Planina
Visitor Centre “Vrelo” („Waterspring“) at the Nature Park Stara Planina was opened today on the International Biodiversity Day, in organization of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Public Enterprise “Srbijašume”. At the opening ceremony, the public was appealed to act responsibly as preserved biodiversity contributes to climate regulation, mitigation of the effect of greenhouse gases, maintenance of air quality and droughts and floods control.
“International Biodiversity Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves that it is our responsibility and obligation to conserve the wealth of biological diversity. All living things around us – animals, plants and habitats – touch every area of our lives and help make Serbia a great place to live“, said Jürg Staudenmann, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) adding that Stara Planina is one of the most beautiful parts of Serbia that has so much to offer in intact nature.
At the Centre “Vrelo” information can be obtained on the natural and cultural values of Stara Planina. In addition to exhibits, and educational content at “Vrelo”, there are possibilities to accommodate small groups of visitors. Centre “Vrelo” is located in the weekend settlement Centre Vrelo, 4 km from village Brlog and 30 km from Pirot by local road.
Serbia has a wealth of 464 protected areas and 797 protected plant and animal species, and there are 45 thousand species of flora and fauna on its territory. Protection of rare and endangered species, as well as of their habitats, makes a basis of stopping the decline in Serbia’s biodiversity, as this country has a potential of becoming a global biodiversity centre, with its mountainous regions being one of the six European biodiversity centres. UNDP is currently assisting the preservation of biodiversity in 146 countries through more than 500 projects worth 1.5 billion dollars.
The symbol of by-gone times, the Stara Planina area, stretching partly in Serbia and partly in Bulgaria, is a collection of natural values emerging, forming and disappearing along with development of geological material. Stara Planina Mountain was proclaimed a Nature Park in 1997, as an area of extreme importance from the aspect of plant and animal species and their communities, with presence of traditional forms of living and cultural assets. The Government of the Republic of Serbia has entrusted the management of Nature Park Stara Planina to the Public Enterprise “Srbijašume” (“Serbian Forests“).