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Montenegro - Country Profile

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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Montenegro is home to diverse geological bases, landscapes, soils and climates. It can be divided into two main bio-geographical regions (mediterranean and alpine) with a variety of ecosystems falling within these two eco-regions. Although there is no formal, widely recognized classification of ecosystems in Montenegro, from the point of view of biodiversity conservation, the following ecosystems are distinguished in the NBSAP: alpine, forest, dry grasslands, freshwater and marine and, among these, habitats include: coastal, caves, canyons, and karst as a specific geological formation. Within its land cover, 54% is covered by forests with natural forests covering 45% of the territory. Montenegro’s maritime zone extends out to 12 nautical miles (22.26 km) from the shore, covers 2,504.8 km2, and reaches a maximum depth of 1,233 metres, supporting extensive seagrass (Posidonia oceanica and Cymodocea nodosa) populations.

The state of biological diversity in Montenegro has been monitored within a limited scope since 2000 by the National Environmental Monitoring Programme, and the wealth of flora and fauna species puts Montenegro among the most biologically diverse countries in Europe, classifying it as a global biodiversity hotspot. Estimates suggest that over 1,200 species of freshwater algae, 300 species of marine algae, 589 species of moss, 7,000-8,000 species of vascular plants, 2,000 fungi, estimates of 16,000-20,000 species of insects, 407 species of marine fish, 56 species of reptile, 333 regularly visiting birds and a high diversity of mammals are found in Montenegro.

Benefits and ecosystem services arising from biodiversity in Montenegro range from provision of wood for heating, timber, grazing for cattle, sustaining aquifer stability, fertility of soil, protection from erosion, landslides and floods, benefits for tourism and climate regulation. Although there is potentially great economic value surrounding these services and it can be said that everyday life for most people depend on ecosystem services, there is little knowledge within the general public about biodiversity issues.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The period of isolation which Montenegro faced in the 1990s resulted in a break in cooperation with the scientific community and exclusion from wider initiatives related to biodiversity conservation which has caused significant gaps in knowledge. On the basis of available information, the following 6 main categories of anthropogenic threats can be identified: uncontrolled urbanization and tourism development in natural habitats with associated infrastructure development; changes in land use practices, particularly in relation to agriculture and forestry; unsustainable and illegal use of natural resources (including illegal hunting, overharvesting etc); water, soil and air pollution from industrial and agricultural pollutants and municipal wastes; introduction of alien invasive species; impacts of climate change, especially the effects of hot and dry periods on forest habitats which need to be the focus of more attention. Issues such as the impact of alien and invasive species and climate change are still poorly understood but can be expected to have a higher importance among threats to biodiversity in the future.

The cumulative effect of the above threats to biological diversity is the loss of rare or endangered habitats and their associated (often endemic) species, particularly on the coast. This has the potential to cause a reduction in the functionality and stability of natural ecosystems, particularly of forest and water ecosystems.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Montenegro adopted a National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan for the 2010-2015 period in July 2010. The NBSAP was largely based on a 2008 country study designed to gather information on biodiversity, threats, cross-sectoral issues and ecosystem services. In Montenegro, the NBSAP serves as the fundamental document for protection, conservation and management of biological diversity, defining long-term goals and activities for preserving biological diversity, along with overall economic, social and cultural development.

Montenegro is currently undertaking efforts to update and revise its NBSAP, consistent with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. It is also focused on adaptation to EU legislation and the Natura 2000 network, as well as the cross-sectoral integration of biodiversity concerns.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Milestones that have been reached include an increase in nationally designated protected area coverage (from 7.872% in 2006/2007 to 9.047% in 2009/2010) and, most importantly the establishment of Prokletije National Park. Several Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and Important Plant Areas (IPAs) have been identified and one new potential Ramsar site is under consideration for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance. Currently, 268,558.24 ha (comprising 19.44% of the country) is under some form of national or international protection which is a significant development towards the achievement of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11.

One of the main obstacles to achieving the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets is a gap in comprehensive knowledge on biodiversity within the country. The development of two books on flora and bird species, actions related to inventorying and mapping of endemic species, vegetation and habitat mapping, inventorying of invasive plant species and a long-term research programme on biodiversity have been developed to address these gaps and contribute to awareness-raising. This combined with increased public education and staff training initiatives, this will contribute to the objectives outlined in Aichi Biodiversity Targets 1 and 9.

Negotiations on Montenegro’s accession into the European Union began in June 2012 and, as part of these negotiations, several efforts must be made to incorporate the EU acquis into national policy, many elements of which link to the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. These include: agricultural and rural development, fisheries management, environmental initiatives and scientific research. These ongoing efforts contribute to Aichi Biodiversity Targets 6, 7 and 19. This led to the formation and implementation of the National Programme for the Integration of Montenegro into the European Union. Accession of Montenegro into the EU will also enable the development of the national Natura 2000 network, contributing to Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 and increasing species mobility within Europe.

Although Montenegro is not a signatory to the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, efforts such as the collection and analysis of data related to the equitable distribution of benefits derived from genetic diversity, are being developed by the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environmental Protection (MSPEP) and a team of experts which will contribute to Aichi Biodiversity Target 16.

Other species-specific activities are being carried out, such as the placement of floating rafts for the safe nesting of the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) at Skadar Lake. Efforts to monitor the presence of the Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) relate to Aichi Biodiversity Targets 11, 12 and 15.

Funding in the amount of 25,000 Euros has been provided by the Government for developing an action plan for climate change which will attempt to disseminate the impacts that climate change will have on biodiversity in Montenegro, thereby increasing knowledge on biodiversity issues.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Several important steps have been made towards providing support mechanisms for the new NBSAP, such as the adoption of regulations envisaged by the Law on Nature Protection and the harmonization of other sectoral laws and regulations for GMOs. These will all serve as important tools for supporting the NBSAP and achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

Advances in the development of effective national biodiversity strategies are tied to stipulations regarding EU accession. As a potential EU member, Montenegro will be entitled to funding and subsidies which will no doubt facilitate efforts to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. There is also funding and support available for Montenegro from the UNDP and WWF, who are encouraging increased environmental efforts. With support from WWF, Montenegro conducted an initial evaluation of protected area management in 2009.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The existing biodiversity monitoring programme does not provide enough information about the state, factors of threats and threats themselves to biological diversity, and so a review of this monitoring programme is in place. In addition, long-term monitoring and scientific research remain priorities in the Montenegrin NBSAP.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme