The Oak Forest in Radenkovac near Sokobanja, as one of the few preserved Cer forests of great age and impressive tree dimensions, was recognized by the Institute for Nature Protection of Serbia as an area that deserves protection. Having in mind that the representatives of the Municipality of Sokobanja recognized this area as a natural value on their territory and as another pearl of their tourist offer, they proposed to the Institute to set this area, in their work, as a priority in protection. After the submitted initiative and talks with the representatives of the local self-government, the expert associates of the Institute toured the terrain on several occasions during 2020, thus initiating the procedure of valorization of the oak forest in Radenkovac into a possible future protected natural asset.
The value of this forest is reflected in the degree of its preservation, especially having in mind that it is located next to the local road and in the area of the inhabited place, which is a real rarity in Serbia. The oak forest in Radenkovac is dominated by the association of cervo-sessile forest (Quercetum petraeae cerris) which is characterized by representativeness, autochthony, authenticity, beauty and harmony, which according to the Rulebook on evaluation criteria and procedure of categorization of protected areas (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 97/2015), represents important criteria for placing an area under protection.
“The value of this area is the preserved oak forest in which cer and sessile oak predominate, while bear hazel is found as ancillary species (Corylus colurna), ash (Fraxinus ornus), weak (Acer campestre) and other species. A special value of the future protected area are the numerous cera trees, of impressive dimensions, on a fairly flat terrain that can be reached locally. The flat terrain with clearings overgrown with herbaceous vegetation and individual old cera trees, evenly distributed, are a combination that provides a pleasant feeling to the visitor as he moves through this space. The other part of the future protected area is also overgrown with oaks and we find their dense offspring there as well as the presence of other accompanying species. Herbaceous species of plants have been recorded in the forest community of cera and sessile trees, which due to their rarity, endangerment, relictness, or other reasons are treated as important from the aspect of nature protection, and they are: 2 species of orchids (Orchis purpurea i Cephalantera rubra), Kosovo peony (Paeonia peregrina) and others “, it is stated in the announcement of the Institute for Nature Protection of Serbia.
The vegetation picture of the Radenkovac mountain landscape also consists of forest ecosystems: mixed oak forests with hornbeam (Carpino orientalis – Polyquercetum E. Wolf. 1987) and sessile and cera forestsQuercetum petraeae cerris), as well as hornbeam forests (Carpinetum East serbicum). In this area, as a created value, the old village school stands out, which has been reconstructed and adapted into a mountain lodge.
Based on the research conducted so far and the collected literature data, the Study of protection of this area will be prepared, which will be proposed for protection as a Monument of Nature of botanical character of III category, ie as a protected area of local importance.
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