Deliblato sands

In the south-east part of the Pannonian Plain, i.e. Banat, you can find the largest European continental sands. Its shape is elliptical and extends from south-east to north-west. It was formed during the Glacial Age from the vast layers of silica-carbon sand. During the Holocene epoch, east wind sculpted a distinct dune relief rising between 70 and 200 meters above sea level. Moderate continental climate, absence of surface water courses and sandy soil resulted in unique biocoenoses located in a special vegetation-geographical area called Deliblaticum.

SNR ‘Deliblatska peščara‘, (Deliblato sands) covers nearly 35,000 hectares. A three-level protection regime is established on this area. On national level, it represents a natural asset of special importance falling under protection category I. On the international level its status was verified when it became one of European IBAs.

This unique mosaic of ecosystems contains typical species of flora and fauna, among which many are rare and significant according to international criteria. Rich flora with over 900 species, subspecies and varieties abounds in rarities, relics, endemics and subendemics, such as: Banat paeony, Pančić wormwood, bulrush, dwarf-steppe almond, sandy immortelle and juniper tree – the only autochthonous conifer of the Pannonian Plane. As the last and largest oasis of sand, steppe, forest and marsh vegetation which once dominated the Pannonian Plane, SNR ‘Deliblatska peščara’ is one of the most important centres of biodiversity in Serbia and Europe as well as the most important steppe in our country. This reserve, therefore, represents a unique test-field of science.

Rare fauna in this reserve includes species found in steppe habitats: desert ant, ant-lion, Banat falcon, imperial eagle, steppe gerbil, ground squirrel, mole rat, steppe skunk and others. For some of them Deliblatska peščara (Deliblato Sands) is the only or one of few remaining habitats in Serbia. A distinctive feature of the reserve is permanent wolf population.

This protected natural asset also covers part of the Danube course with marshes and aits. Waters abounding in fish and a number of hatcheries represent an important gathering-point and mass wintering grounds of waterfowl. This is why Deliblatska peščara was designated as an Important Bird Area in 1989 (IBA). It is also the nesting place of many rare species, such as: little egret, yellow heron, ibis and sand-martin. Small cormorant – a highly endangered species in Serbia – has its only safe nesting place here.

The finest part of loess plateau with loess hills and valleys in Banat comprises Zagajačka brda (Zagajačka hills) and Dumača. Border pastures used for preserved tradition of cattle breeding contribute considerably to the values of the reserve.

This area has suffered man’s influence for centuries, especially over the past 185 years of intensive forestry activities which changed considerably the former landscape of the sands. This area therefore represents a unique and inimitable mirror to history, nature and man’s place in it.

Typical villages located on the border part of the reserve have preserved the atmosphere of days gone by and complete the image of this picturesque setting.