Ecoregions Delineation for the Territory of Serbia

 Momir Paunović1, Bojana Tubić1, Margareta Kračun1, Vanja Marković1, Vladica Simić2, Katarina Zorić1, Ana Atanacković1

 

1 University of Belgrade, Institute for Biological Research "Sinisa Stankovic", 142 Despota Stefana Boulevard, Belgrade, Serbia, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

2 University of Kragujevac, Faculty of Science, Institute of Biology and Ecology

 

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to more precisely define the borders of ecoregions shared on the territory of Serbia, in regard to the original concept provided by Illies (1978) and accepted by the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD 2000). The borders of Illies's ecoregions are defined rather coarsely and could not be used as a basis for water typology. According to data on the macroinvertebrate communities, as well as based on general natural characteristics of the area and selected bio-geographical works, the territory of Serbia is a part of 5 ecoregions: ecoregion 5 – Dinaric Western Balkan; ecoregion 6 – Hellenic Western Balkan; ecoregion 7 – Eastern Balkan; ecoregion 10 – Carpathian; and 11 – Pannonian Lowland. Four of these ecoregions (5, 6, 7, and 11) comprise wide areas within the country, while ecoregion 10 comprises only a restricted area in Northeast Serbia. Although ecoregion 10 is restricted to a narrow area, the influence of the Carpathians is evident in Northeast Serbia. A detailed discussion on the position of ecoregion boundaries is provided in the paper.

Keywords: ecoregion borders, macroinvertebrate communities, spatial distribution, bio-geography, Serbia

 

 

Introduction

The ecoregion concept defined by Illies (1978) and accepted by the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000), is frequently used as the basis for stream typologies. Illies (1978) defined 25 European ecoregions (ER) and provided the map and description of ecoregion boundaries.

The ecoregional approach is a widely used basis for spatial classification of waters, according to areas that represent entities in regard to distribution of aquatic biota. However, the borders of Illies's ecoregions are defined rather coarsely. The aim of this study is to more precisely set up the ecoregion boundaries shared by Serbia according to the concept proposed by Illies (1978). Namely, the bordering zones of ecoregions shared on the territory of the country are situated along the course of the area's largest rivers.

Thus, the left and right tributaries of rivers such as the Danube, Sava, Velika and Južna Morava belong to different ecoregions, according to Illies (1978), which is not supported by biogeographical discussions (Matvejev and Puncer, 1989; Lopatin and Matvejev, 1995; Stevanović, 1995) on the recent and historical distribution of the biota. Therefore, our attempt was to use the data on aquatic macroinvertebrates to more precisely define these ecoregion boundaries.

The territory of Serbia is subdivided into 5 ecoregions, according to Illies (1978) (Figure 1): ecoregion 5 – Dinaric Western Balkan; ecoregion 6 – Helenic Western Balkan; ecoregion 7 – Eastern Balkan; ecoregion 10 – Carpathians; and 11 – Panonnian Lowland. Four of these ecoregions (5, 6, 7, and 11) include wide areas within the country, while No. 10 comprises only a restricted area in Northeast Serbia. Although, ecoregion 10 is restricted to a narrow area, the influence of the Carpathians is evident in the Northeast Serbia. Also, the influence of Southern areas is apparent, especially in East Serbia.