The unique sub-Mediterranean wetland in Europe, Hutovo blato, is located in the south of Herzegovina on the left side of the Neretva River in a typically karst environment. It has been known since ancient times as a green oasis. In this abundance of water living conditions found a large number of plant and animal species. The wetland is interesting and significant from an ornithological, ichthyological, scientific, ecological and tourist point of view.
Hutovo blato is considered one of the largest wintering grounds for birds in Europe. Hutovo blato territorially belongs to the municipalities of Čapljina and Stolac. It spreads on swampy, plain and hilly terrain. It has an altitude of 1 m to 432 m.
This area is about fifteen kilometers from the Adriatic Sea, so it is greatly influenced by the Mediterranean climate. Due to its exceptional importance and beauty, Hutovo blato was declared a Nature Park in 1995. Flowing into the valleys and depressions of the karst sinkhole and surface water from the surrounding areas create a large number of lakes, ravines, molds and the river Krupa and provide a high level of groundwater. Such a high groundwater level affects the occurrence of permanent and intermittent springs and springs.
The lakes of Hutova blata represent real cryptodepressions. The bottoms of some lakes are below sea level (Jelim 18 m). The largest lakes of Hutova blata are: Deransko, Jelim, Drijen, Orah, Škrka and Svitava. Lake Svitavsko is an artificial accumulation, created by the construction of the Čapljina hydroelectric power plant. All lakes of Hutova blata are interconnected by a large number of canals and ravines.
The Krupa River is the main watercourse of Hutova blata. Drains of the waters of Gornji Blato and Lake Svitav into the river Neretva. Krupa has no real source but is an island of Lake Deran. The length of Krupa is 9 km. The average depth is about 5 meters. This is a unique river in Europe because it has the property of flowing in both directions. It flows normally from the “source” to the mouth, and from the mouth to the “source”. Due to the high level and high water flow, the Neretva River suppresses the Krupa River, thus creating this phenomenon.
Thanks to the proximity and influence of the Adriatic Sea, the abundance of water surrounded by karst-hilly terrain, the biological diversity of the vegetation of Hutova blata is extremely valuable. There are few places in the world that have such a large number of species in such a small area. The entire vegetation cover of the Nature Park can be divided into four types of vegetation:
water, swamp, meadow and forest. The water surfaces of the Hut mud are mostly covered with water lily (Nymphaea alba) and water lily (Nuphar luteum). In addition to them, the vegetation of water surfaces is also represented by the hatchery (Potamogeton sp.), The frog beetle (Ranunculus sp.), Etc.
Most of the wetland area is overgrown with endless reeds, where the dominant species are: reed (Phragmites sp.), Rush (Typha sp.), Sedge (Carex sp.) And sieve (Juncus sp.).
Forest and meadow vegetation are represented by numerous characteristic species that complement the biological diversity of Hutovo blato. Significant species of these vegetation types are: ash (Fraxinus sp.), Oak (Quercus sp.), Boar (Ruscus sp.), Pomegranate (Punica sp.), Pine (Juniperus sp.), Willow (Salix sp.), Elm (Ulmus sp.), Alder (Alnus sp.), Blackberry (Rubus sp.), Mulberry (Morus sp.), Nettle (Lamium sp.), Clover (Trifolium sp.). Some plant communities are only developed in places, while some are very widespread and cover large areas.
From the hunting ground to the protected pearl of the sub-Mediterranean swamp
“Hutovo blato” is an exceptional habitat for many plant and animal species. It has been mentioned since ancient times. After the Second World War, “Hutovo blato” was protected exclusively as an elite hunting ground. The history of “Hutovo blato” as a protected part of nature begins on June 3, 1954, when the ornitho-faunal reserve “Hutovo blato” was established on 6144 ha.
As part of the ornitho-faunal reserve in 1959. the strict bird reserve Škrka (350 ha) was closed, closed for fishing, hunting and other economically viable activities. Due to its international significance, “Hutovo blato” was founded in 1971. included in the “List of wetlands of international importance”, and in 1980. it is included in the “International Project for the Protection of Mediterranean Wetlands”.
As a special hunting ground “Hutovo blato” officially existed until March 30, 1995. when due to its natural values it was declared a Nature Park. The public company Nature Park “Hutovo blato” was established by the Government Decision HR HB in 1995. (Narodni list HR HB no. 45/95) with its seat on the Karaotok municipality of Čapljina, and since then it has been managing the area occupied by the Hutovo Blato Nature Park.
The International Council for the Protection of Birds (ICBP) included in 1998. “Hutovo blato” in the list of internationally important bird habitats. Then in 2001. Nature Park “Hutovo blato” inscribed in the list of wetlands of international importance according to the methodology of the Ramsar Convention and is registered with the UNESCO Directorate in Paris.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
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