Sinjajevina is identified as EMERALD site, Important Plant Areas (IPA) and potential NATURA 2000 area. It is part of the UNESCO protected Tara Biosphere Reserve and that are bordered by one and two World Heritage Sites.
According to the National Biodiversity Strategy with Action Plan 2016-2020 it should be declared as nature park before the end of 2020.Of the 1300 plant species in Sinjajevina, 56 species are endemic to the Balkan Peninsula, 40 species have national conservation status, while two taxa are in annexes of the EU Habitats Directive and one at the Berne Convention. Out of 43 mammal species, 15 species are protected by law in Montenegro, 24 species are present on the annexes of the Bern Convention, 16 species on the EU Habitats Directive annexes, 14 species of bats are present on the Eurobats; 85 bird species have been identified, however, it is likely that another 77 species can be registered on this mountain. Of the above stated and expected bird species (161 species in total), 141 species are protected by national law, while 77 species have some international protection status, e.g. they are on the EU Birds Directive annexes. Due to the presence of birds’ species from Annex I of the Birds Directive, the open area of Sinajevina has been identified as potential SPA (Special Protection Area). All identified species of reptiles and amphibians (7 species of amphibians and 12 species of reptiles) are protected by national law, some of them have also international protection. 10 habitat types from the EU Habitats Directive have been identified at Sinjajevina. That is why Sinjajevina is identified as the EMERALD area, Important Plant Areas (IPA) and potentially NATURA 2000 area, and as well as Nature Park on the national level.
The entire area of Sinajevina is characterized by a great diversity of species and habitats important from the aspect of protection at national and / or international level, but the following could be considered to be among the most important species:
Out of 43 mammal species, 15 species are protected by law in Montenegro, 24 species are present on the annexes of the Bern Convention, 16 species on the EU Habitats Directive annexes, 14 species of bats are present in the Eurobats Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats.
The main ornithological value of the Sinjajevina Mountain are vast expansions of the rocky areas with sparse grasslands. 85 bird species have been identified in the Study of protection and establishment of nature protected area on Sinjajevina. However, it is likely that another 77 species can be registered on this mountain. Of the above stated and expected bird species (161 species in total), 141 species are protected by national law, while 77 species have some international protection status, e.g. they are on the EU Birds Directive – Annex I. Due to the presence of bird species from Annex I of the Birds Directive, the open area of Sinjajevina and some surrounding old-growth forests have been identified as potential SPA (Special Protection Area). For bird species of open rocky areas, namely rock partridge (Alectoris graeca), tawny pipit (Anthus campestris), horned lark (Eremophila alpestris), and common rock thrush (Monticola saxatilis), Sinjajevina is the most important potential SPA in Montenegro. Sinjajevina is also the hunting ground of 5 to 10 pairs of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) that nest in the surrounding canyons of Bukovica and Tara Rivers, few pairs of short-toed snake eagles (Circaetus gallicus) and European honey buzzards (Pernis apivorus). Sightings of some 15 individual large flocks of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) feeding on domestic animals’carrion have been reported. The few boreal forests at the edge of the plateau are inhabited by capercaillies (Tetrao urogallus) and other boreal species and rare moors host a small population of corncrake (Crex crex).
Reptiles and Amphibians
The arid habitats are ideal for many reptile species. There are several lakes, streams and springs that are habitats of amphibians (Bombina variegata) and some threatened insects. All identified species of reptiles and amphibians (7 species of amphibians and 12 species of reptiles) are protected by national law, some of them have also international protection.
Vipera ursinii macrops (Balkan Meadows Viper, the Karst Viper) is aBalkan endemic subspecies that inhabits high mountain grasslands of the Dinaric Arc, present in alpine areas of Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia and northern Albania. There are unconfirmed reports from Slovenia. May also have reached western Bulgaria, where it is now considered to be extinct. In addition to the subspecies The Meadow Viper (Vipera ursinii) is the smallest European viper that has fragmented and isolated distribution through Europe with five subspecies currently recognised. The species is considered Vulnerable worldwide according to the IUCN Red List. It is listed in the Habitats Directive – Annex II and IV. The species is present in open grassland habitats in Sinjajevina and is distributed over the whole plateau. Being the largest open grassland in the country and one of the largest in the Balkans, for sure Sinjajevina is one of the most important or the most important site in the Balkans for this species.
Bombina variegata scabra (yellow-bellied toad) is a Balkan endemic subspecies, present in Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Serbia. The species is found on puddles and lakes in Sinjajevina. Bombina variegata is listed in the Habitat Directive – Annex II and IV and protected by national law.
Dinarolacerta mosorensis (Mosor rock lizard) is a species endemic to the Balkan peninsula assessed as Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Found on Sinjajevina in 2018.
Of the 1300 plant species in Sinjajevina, 56 species are endemic to the Balkan Peninsula, 40 species have national conservation status, while two taxa are in annexes of the EU Habitats Directive and one at the Bern Convention.
1. Daphne malyana is an endemic of the southeastern Dinarides, the area of which extends to the territories of Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovina. The species inhabits crevices of limestone rocks, mainlywith southern exposure. In Montenegro, its classic site is in the Piva Canyon and a number of localities where it was once recorded were flooded when the dam was built and Lake Piva was formed. There is onlyone other known site in the Piva canyon, and subpopulations in Montenegro are recorded: in the canyon of Tara (Dobrilovina), Donja Lukavica, Maglić in the border zone with Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Sinjajevina (Babinzub). The population on Babinzub (Sinjajevina) has about 10 individuals, but it grows in the inaccessible areas and there were not anthropogenic threats until now. The species has been assessed as IUCN VU (vulnerable) category at the regional level (Petrovic& al., 2008). Species is protected by national law.
2. Gentianella laevicalyx is Montenegrin endemic species. Species does not have many subpopulations in Montenegro. One small population is recorded in Sinjajevina (Babjizub). Species is protected by national law.
3. Gentiana lutea subsp. symphyandra is a medicinal plant that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries with decline in the number of subpopulations in Montenegro and their size. Species is protected under national law and listed in Annex V of the Habitats Directive. It inhabits meadows and pastures in the alpine zone, rarely found in areas with shrubs, ranging from 800 to 1500 (2000) m above sea level. There used to be significantly more subpopulations in Montenegro than now and they were more numerous than today. The regional IUCN category is vulnerable (VU -vulnerable) (Petrovic& al., 2008). There are several subpopulations in Sinjajevina, numbering from 5 to 30 individuals.
4. Bupleurum longifolium: in addition to the listed species, which have national protection status, a species was found in Sinjajevina (Jelje locality), which is very rare in Montenegro but is not protected by law. The species except for Sinjajevina (Vuksanovic, 2003: 26), is
cited only for Durmitor (Barno Lake) (Bosniak, 1935).
5. Eryngium alpinum, a species from Annex II of the Habitat Directive, inhabits rocky pastures and open shrubs, in the altitude range from about 1500 to 2000 m above sea level. In Montenegro, it is recorded in a significant number of localities. There is a large population in
Đevojačka voda (southeastern slopes of Babi zub) area, which is rated as one of the top 5 in Montenegro. That’s one of the reasons the area was designated as an Important Plant Area (Petrovic, 2009). Species is protected by national law.
Different number of habitat types from the EU Habitats Directive – Annex I have been identified at Sinjajevina in different studies, but more research is needed. Sinjajevina is quite arid and the natural habitats according to Annex I that dominate are: 6170 – Alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands, 8120 – Calcareous and calcshist screes of the montane to alpine levels and 8210 – Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation.
The Emerald Site was proposed for 7 habitat types (according to the classification of Palaearctic habitats):
– 41.1 Beech forests (corresponding probably to Habitats Directive code 9150)
– 41.7 Oak forests (91MO)
– 41.8 Silver lime woods (91Z0)
– 42.62 Western Balkanic Pinus nigra forests (9530)
– 42.7 High oro-Mediterranean pine forests (95A0)
– 44.1 Riparian willow formations (91E0)
– 44.5 Southern alder and birch galleries (91E0)
Sources of information
- Rubinić, B., Sackl, P. & Gramatikov, M. (2019): Conserving of wild birds in Montenegro.The first inventory of potential Special Protection Areas in Montenegro. AAM Consulting. Budapest xiii +328 pp.
- Standard Data Form of Sinjavina (Babji zub i Gradiste) Emerald site ME000000R, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Physical Planning, 2015
- Study of protection and establishment of nature protected area on Sinjajevina, Agency for Nature and Environmental Protection of Montenegro, Podgorica, 2018.
- National biodiversity strategy with the action plan for the period 2016-2020, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Podgorica, 2015
Sinjajevina.org is born from a group of scientists, NGOs, farmers, politicians and ordinary citizens that, in favor of the protection of Sinjajevina, wish to provide as much information as possible, for the public recognition of Sinjajevina’s heritage and the current major crisis it is undergoing.