POST CONGRESS TOUR

July 7-14th 2012

Dear friends,

As you already know, after the Congress in Belgrade, the post congress filed trip will lead us to the wilderness of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. Southern path will go through the south-western part of Macedonia to the Prespa & Ohrid regions in the south of Macedonia. The western route of the field excursion will lead us to Dinaric and Mediterranean region of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


View ECOO2012 POI in a larger map

The main goal of the tour is the inspiration for long-term cooperation between both professional and amateur odonatologists in studying dragonflies that live in some of the most important ecosystems of western and southern Balkans. Your participation will improve the regional databases of dragonfly records as well as increase the knowledge and understanding of the ecology of some species that are rare and/or endangered in Europe (Epallage fatime, Caliaeschna microstigma, Cordulegaster heros, Lindenia tetraphylla).

The post congress filed trip in Macedonia: an overview. The field trip will include one week of exchange of knowledge and fieldwork with colleagues from different parts of Europe as well as with the experienced guides from the region.

Ohrid and Prespa regions are known for their diverse fauna of dragonflies. Most surveys were conducted in 1970/80-ies. Unfortunately, recent degradation of habitats resulted in very few records of some very interesting species (including Leucorrhinia pectoralis). These regions have long been planned to be included in a Biosphere Reserve, and the data you collect during the excursion can greatly contribute to the database of Odonata records. That will be one of the steps towards taking measures that will lead to establishment of stable populations of many species, important not only for Macedonia but for whole of Europe (e.g. Epallage fatime, Cordulegaster heros or Lindenia tetraphylla). The most recent threat is an intention of building small hydro power plants in the region. Decision making process did not include evaluation of data about the dragonfly fauna and the habitats important for their survival. Your involvement in the process of collecting data will help us to prepare better elaborate that will be presented to the Macedonian public.

It is more than certain that all of the participants will have the possibility to see not only the biodiversity in south and south-western parts of Macedonia, but also different cultures, “untouched” wilderness of the Prespa region. A lot of types of traditional food and socializing with the locals are just few of possibilities.

The post congress field trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina: an overview. Current knowledge of Odonata of Bosnia and Herzegovina is poor and many of available data are very old. Only in last several years more detailed investigations started, but many regions of the country are still insufficiently explored. This field trip will be a opportunity to visit and investigate some of these areas.

First part of the field trip in Bosnia and Herzegovina will take us to the mountain region of Dinaric Alps and Sutjeska National Park. Most of mountain lakes of the country are located here and some of them were never explored in the past. Only recently two new species were found in this area, Coenagrion hastulatum and Somatochlora metallica, the species that are rare and restricted only to higher altitudes in the Balkans and south Europe. This region is still insufficiently explored and probably more species are waiting to be discovered. Most of these lakes are scattered in the mountains and accessible only by off-road car and to acess some of them hiking is also necessary.

(http://www.npsutjeska.net/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutjeska_National_Park)

The second region to be visited is the Mediterranean region of Herzegovina and the karst poljes (fields). The Hutovo blato wetland (http://www.hutovo-blato.ba/en/) is one of the most interesting dragonfly areas in this part of the country. The area consists of a complex of marshes and lakes that lie on the alluvial lowlands surrounded by karst hills on the left side of Neretva river, approximately 15 kilometers from the Adriatic sea and under strong influence of the Mediterranean climate. The entire lower valley and delta of the Neretva River from Čapljina and Hutovo blato (B&H) to the river’s mouth (Croatia) comprises the largest and most valuable remnants of the Mediterranean wetlands and is one of the few areas of this kind remaining in Europe. Hutovo Blato is under protected area status as Nature Park from 1995. Park covers area of 7,411 ha and since 2001 it is recognized as RAMSAR site, wetland of international importance. The Park is also on the list of BirdLife International's Important Bird Areas. In Hutovo Blato and the surrounding area many interesting dragonfly species can be found, e.g. Coenagrion ornatum, Ceriagrion tenellum, Caliaeschna microstigma, Cordulegaster heros, Lindenia tetraphylla. In this area we will also have opportunity to visit and explore karst poljes, one of the ecological specificities of this area. The karts poljes are large karst formations characteristic for Dinaric karst from Slovenia to Montenegro, they are large closed depression characterized by a flat floor covered with deposition that allows surface runoff and surrounded by steep mountain slopes. Many of karst poljes are temporarily flooded during the wet season when sinks are not sufficient to drain all the surface water. They are periodical or permanent wetland islands in dry and rocky Dinaric karst of the eastern Adriatic. The majority of karst poljes are situated in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Karst areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina are among the most preserved in Europe but still unprotected and under direct threat by water extraction and unsustainable use of resources.

Participation fees. All registered participants will have an opportunity to attend the tour, which will be organized from 7th to 14th of July 2012 in Macedonia. Organization activities* will be provided free of charge, so the expenses that should be paid by each of the participants will include: accommodation, food and transport charges.

* Organizer will be able to assist you during the process of reservation of accommodation only if you confirm your participation no later than June 15th. Please have in mind, that: we will visit different places, in Ohrid and Struga there are not so many accommodation facilities, especially in July when the tourist season has already started, earlier information on the number of participants is one of the important things, private accommodation should be preceded by making contacts with local people. The same goes for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Accommodation in Macedonia. All participants should be responsible for their accommodation. Organizer will provide assistance in arrangement of accommodation (see previous paragraph) in hotels in Ohrid, Struga and Prespa regions. Prices for person per night are between 20 and 40 EUR depending on selected hotel and usage of single or double room. List of hotels can be found on the following web-pages:

Ohrid & Struga
http://www.ohrid.com.mk/hotels/hotels.asp?ID=387
Prespa
http://www.visitpelagonia.mk/index.php?lang=en

Accommodation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At both locations the accommodation is available in the hotels located in the Parks. The price are app. 30-40 EUR per night.

http://www.bosniatravel.net/sutjeska-national-park/
http://wikimapia.org/11082010/hr/Motel-Karaotok
http://hotelmogorjelo.com/en/about_hotel/karaotok/

Transportation to Macedonia. Participants should be responsible for their transportation from Belgrade (Serbia) to the locations of the entire area of Ohrid – Prespa region (Macedonia) (including places of accommodation during the field trip). Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia are separate states so you will need a passport to cross the borders. Organizer can provide assistance in arrangement of transportation from Belgrade to Bosnia and Herzegovina or Macedonia, if there are interested participants.

Expected transportation charges

Airplane ticket**
Belgrade – Ohrid (approx. 175 EUR - but there are only a few free seats). The participants by themselves should make the reservation.

Bus tickets**
Belgrade - Skopje (about 12 hours trip, 692km) - one way ticket (approx. 25 EUR), return ticket (~40 EUR)
Belgrade - Ohrid (about 15 hours trip, 878km) - one way ticket (approx. 35 EUR), return ticket (~45 EUR)
http://sas.com.mk/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=54
http://www.bas.rs/basweb_eng/redvoznje.aspx?lng=en

Rent a car**
Example: Fiat Panda – 35 EUR per day (http://www.ohrid.com/rent-a-car.html)

** Participants should do the reservations by themselves

Depending on the number of interested participants, a small bus could be rented for transportation from Belgrade to Ohrid (approx. 35 EUR per person) and during the filed trip there is a possibility to use the same small bus (approx. 10 EUR per person + fuel (1l = 1.4 euro)). But this transport can be organized only if we know the number of participants. Therefore the participants should confirm their participation not later than June 15th.

Transportation to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The best way of travel in this area is by car as there is not many bus lines and locations are not close to the airports. The Sutjeska National park is located in east part of Bosnia and Herzegovina near Foča town. The distance from from Belgrade, 365 kilometers, app. 5 hours drive. The distance from Sutjeska to Hutovo Blato Nature Park is 155 kilometers, about 2.5 hours.

Additional informations:
http://www.bosniatravel.net/
http://wikitravel.org/en/Bosnia_and_Herzegovina

Food. De gustibus non est dispitandum. Additionally, the organizer will provide you possibility for using cheaper restaurants and local cuisines. According to the level of interest of the participants, common dinners could be organized.

Registration. Registration forms (MS Word document) can be downloaded from the following links (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia).

Filled forms should be submitted to the organizer through the E-mail addresses:
kitanova@mes.org.mk (Macedonia)
dejan.kulijer@gmail.com (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Important:Registration submitted no later than June 15th will be considered in the process of organization of collective transport from Belgrade to Macedonia, cheaper accommodation etc. After submission of Registration Form, the applicant will receive a Confirmation Note with all relevant data about the registration, data, payment, accommodation etc.