UVAC


UVAC – special nature reserve

Uvac Special Nature Reserve is protected natural asset of great importance, id est Ist category natural asset. It is situated in south-western Serbia in the region of Stari Vlah-Raška high plateau, wedged between Mt.Zlatar massif in the Southwest and Mt. Javor in the Northeast. Uvac Special Nature Reserve occupies the territory of 5525 ha in Nova Varoš Municipality and 2018 ha in Sjenica Municipality, 7543 ha in total. Minimum altitude in the reserve is 760m above sea level, and maximum 1322 m. 

Major morphological feature of the reserve is the Uvac River canyon valley including the valleys of its tributaries. The special value of canyon parts of the river valley are curving meanders. Relative height of meander heads is 100m at places.
The surrounding is characterised by karst surface with numerous karst formations: karst plains, karst depressions, karst sinkholes, rock shelters, caves and potholes. Caves are numerous and vary in size, ranging from rock shelters to  Usak Cave System, the largest known cave system in Serbia (6185 м). Caves are very rich in speleothem deposited by the action of dripping water to form stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies, transparent needles etc.
Uvac Special Nature Reserve is distinguished by the presence of 104 bird species. Most important of all is griffon vulture, one of the two vulture species that are still nesting in Serbia.

Griffon vultures are, at the same time, the greatest attraction in the reserve. Griffon vulture is a vulture species, of an impressive size with a wingspan of 3m at times, which makes him a powerful flier. Its flight has been studied by scientists – aeronautic engineers that used the knowledge on construction of aircrafts. The role it plays in the food chain is unique and makes him irreplaceable. Its is adopted to a diet of dead animals and therefore stops the spread of diseases and contributes to a kind of natural recycling.
Uvac Special Nature Reserve is the only goosander nesting site in Serbia. It is also home for the largest population of this rare bird species in the Balkans.
Besides a rich ornitofauna, there are also some other rare and endangered mammal and other fauna species. 

Clean water in watercourses and accumulations presents an ideal habitat for 11 fish species, and some parts of it are natural reproduction areas of trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, chub ,sneep, barbel….   

Of 219 registered flora taxa, 3 species are of international significance, 3 of them have the Red List status, collection, use and marketing of 25 taxa are subject to control and more than 50 species have therapeutic value.

Variety of intact habitats, presence of endemic, rare and endangered flora and fauna species have special importance in terms of preservation of biodiversity and geodiversity and, by itself in terms of development and promotion of tourism potential of the reserve.

GRIFFON VULTURE - GYPS FULVUS

The basic goal of putting Uvac Special Nature Reserve under protection was preservation, breeding and reproduction of griffon vulture, the largest bird living in Serbia.  

Griffon vulture is a rare species of vulture eagle, of an impressive size and a wingspan of up to 3m. The average weight of a bird ranges between 8 and 9 kilograms, some individuals can weigh 11kg. Towards the end of January and at the beginning of February, the female lays one egg.  Both parents incubate the egg for eight weeks. They are mainly nesting on limestone rocks and do it in groups creating colonies. Isolated couples are very rare. The new born chicken stays in the nest for some four months before the first flight. Vultures become sexually mature after 4 to 5 years.

The role it plays in the food chain is unique and makes it irreplaceable. Its is adopted to a diet of dead animals and therefore stops the spread of diseases and contributes to a kind of “ natural recycling”.
Some twenty years ago this rare species was threatened by extinction. In 1990, in the territory of Uvac lakes there were only 7 individuals. In  1994, Griffon Vulture Birds of Prey protection foundation was founded. In the same year, Manastirina feeding station was opened as well, and from then on, the carrion and slaughterhouse waste have been taken to the station on the regular basis.

More than 50 tons of food is taken to the griffon vulture outdoor restaurant annualy. Due to that, the number of griffon vultures has increased to 67 nesting couples, id est some 300 individuals.

This is how the colony of this unique bird species became the largest one in the Balkans, and among the large ones in Europe.
At this point, it should be emphasised that there were some other species of eagle vultures living in the area of Uvac Special Nature Reserve in the past. Those were the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) and Eurasian Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus), also known as the Black Vulture, Monk Vulture, or the Cinereous Vulture. Uvac region is one of the best environments for reintroduction and/or recolonization of these species. Certain conditions for that have already been created. Namely, terrain vehicles for transport of food have been provided, deep freezing cooler for storage of carrion and slaughterhouse waste has been provided, construction of voliere (a wire cage for temporary accomodation of birds) is agreed.

UVAC LAKES

Uvac originates in Caričina village, at some 1460 meters above the sea level, and empt_engies into the Lim river at around  440 meters above the sea level.

Uvac valley is partly submerged due to construction of  three dams and creation of artificial lakes: Uvačko Lake, Zlatarsko lake and Radoinjsko lake.
Uvac lake was created by building a dam in Akmačići village, at the altitude of 985 meters. The dam is 160 meters long and 110 meters high, length of the lake is 25 kilometers
At 885 meters altitude, in Kokin Brod near Nova Varoš, Uvac was held back by another barrier that  is 83 meters high and 1.264 meters long. The lake is 27 kilometers long.
The third lake, situated in the lowest part of the river course is Radoinjsko lake, at the 805 meters altitude. The dam is 40 meters high and 150 meters long. Wedged between steep limestone banks, the lake is 11 km long.
Water from accumulated lakes is mainly used for production of electricity and water supply. Uvac Special nature reserve is a high quality natural resource with the capacity of 500 million cubic meters of drinking water.

CAVES

Uvac Special Nature Reserve is rich in karst landforms with various karst formations: karst plains, karst depressions, karst sinkholes, rock shelters, caves and potholes.

Caves are numerous and vary in size, ranging from rock shelters to Ušak Cave System, the largest known cave system in Serbia. Except for its size, this system has some other characteristics as well that make it one of the most interesting speleological sites in Serbia and is definitely one of the main values of the reserve. 

The system consists of two caves and a pothole with the interconnected canals that total 6185 meters in length.
The largest part of the system is the Ušak Cave. It has two entrances, one in Gornje Lopiže village and the other in Uvac valley. Ledena Pećina cave is slightly shorter. The main canal of Ledena Pećina cave stretches almost parallel with the main canal of Ušak Cave, at the distance of about 100m. The smallest, but yet the most interesting part of Ušak cave system is Bezdan pothole. The entrance into the pothole is at the end of a dead-end valley called Miletin Do. 

When its about caves, Tubića Pećina and Baždarska Pećina caves should also be mentioned. The first is situated in Tubići village, five kilometers northwest from Sjenica. It has two entrances and occasionaly it is hydrologically active. Baždarska Pećina cave is located in Ursule village, some 10 kilometars nothwest from Sjenica.
Caves in the territory of Uvac Special Nature Reserve are very rich in speleothem deposited by the action of dripping water to form stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies, transparent needles etc..

UVAC MEANDERS

Major morphological feature of the reserve is the Uvac River canyon valley including the valleys of its tributaries. The right tributaries to Uvac are Vapa, Kladnička reka, Vrševina and Tisovica rivers and left- Čajak, Veljušnica and Zlošnica.

The Uvac river waters  deeply carved its bed eroding limestone rocks to form narrow canyon valleys with high, steep limestone cliffs. Canyon parts within the reserve are located between the confluence of Vapa and Veljušnica rivers and down the river from Kokin Brod on. The middle part between Veljušnica and Kokin Brod has characteristics of a gorge. The average depth of the valleys ranges between 200 and 300 m, maximum up to 350m.  

The special value of the canyon parts of the valley are curving meanders. A very impressive zone with these meanders is upstream of Veljušnica mouth, in the limestone zone of Lopiže village. Relative height of meander heads is 100m.