Mount orjen

Mount orjen

Exactly at the border between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, on Mount Orjen, there is a small place called Podštirovnik. Locals have the ramp key to cross the border seamlessly, and on the Bosnian side, they’re surrounded by a short-toothed sage – Salvia brachyodon.

The type of sage which the inhabitants of Podštirovnik refer to as large Pelin. This is one of the rarest white species of the Dinaric karst and is the eastern Adriatic steno endemic plant. It’s embellished with characteristic flowers, largest among European sages. So far, it has only been found in three locations in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Short-toothed sage was first discovered and described by Karel Vandas in 1899 on Mount Orjen. And what makes it endemic to this area is that, just a few meters from the border with Montenegro, last leaves of sage are found.

Same interest and motivation brought a group of experts to Mount Orjen.

NGO E group was founded in 2011 with an aim to protect animals and plants and work on the overall environmental improvement.

Last year we received a small grant from CEPF under the name “Preservation of Endemic Plants on Mount Orjen in BH”

E group intensively cooperated with project partners from Montenegro – non-governmental organization “EnvPro”, and they received support on the field from experts from the Museum of Natural History of Rijeka and the University of Primorska from Koper.

BH is a country that is extremely rich in biodiversity with a large number of endemic and steno endemic plants. But a lot of parts of Bosnia remain unexplored. First idea arouse interest in Moun Orjen’s steno endemic plan, Iris orjenii, but at that moment we were not sure if its presence was recorded on BH side of Orjen. On southeast part we determined the amount of population of Iris orjenii, where we placed plots for permanent monitoring of the population. Field work that we did, definitely gave us specific results, and all the plants that we observed are with limited distribution which makes them unique because they survived for so many years in this area. And they represent wealth and heritage of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that’s why they’re significant to our country.

Every research, including this one on Mount Orjen is desirable and important. Bosnian side is still not under the legal protection, so every additional research could help in brining faster legal protection of plants.

Endemic plants are important for the conservation of overall biodiversity and, as they are unique to their regions, they represent an important segment of each country’s natural heritage. Because endemic species have generally limited distribution, endemic threats carry greater risks. In other words, if we endanger the survival of only one species or if it becomes extinct, we also endanger the survival of other species in that range. Biodiversity is linked together and all individuals within the ecosystem depend on each other, and this chain extends all the way to man.

And that’s why biologists protect endemics.

When you see that a group of experts from Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, drove 8 hours to Mount Orjen, then climb the top of the mountain only to find an endemic plant that grows there, you will realize when you see it, that you are now longer looking at the plant. You will be looking at life.

Your life.

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