After half a century of absence ornithologists have confirmed the breeding of four pairs of Glossy Ibis in Obedska Bara reserve, IBA and Ramsar site on the left bank of the river Sava in Serbia, as well as the presence of 6-8 pairs of Eurasian Spoonbill, breeding last time in 1992. This is a remarkable result of the habitat restoration of wet meadows and former pastures that started 24 years ago.
In the first half of 20th century meadows and pastures occupied almost 3000 ha of this area. In the meantime, especially after the World War II and the massive land use changes, most of the meadows have been rapidly turned into dense stands of herbaceous, bushy and woody vegetation. Intensity of domestic cattle grazing decreased, and changes in the flooding and silting regime of the river have also contributed to this situation. Restoration actions were carried out on six locations, with the support of more then 220 volunteers from 25 countries, around hundred inhabitants of neighboring villages Obrež and Kupinovo and the management authority of this protected area. Their plan was to increase the extent of wet meadows and pastures to 250 ha (2.5% of protected area) by removing dense stands of bushes and threes, many of them invasive. In 2016 the restored areas cover 200 ha and are now regularly maintained by mowing and mulching, as well as cattle grazing. Many of them are temporarily flooded, becoming favorable feeding sites for Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill and many other waterbirds. A number of organizations, institutions and groups participated in motivating restoration activities, while the organizational structure was led by the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province, Young Researchers of Serbia and Provincial Secretariat for Urban Planning and Environmental Protection.
Marko Tucakov and Dr. Slobodan Puzović