Located in the south-east of the Pannonian Plain, in Vojvodina, is the largest European continental sandy terrain – Deliblatska Peščara (Deliblato Sands). This aeolian sand accumulation made up of silica-carbonate sand, which was formed during the Ice Age, gradually became overgrown with plant species from the surrounding areas, which formed a distinctive autochthonous vegetation.
In the course of history, Deliblatska Peščara was covered with stable forest and grass communities. In the 18th century the autochthonous vegetation of Deliblatska Peščara was destroyed by overcutting and burning of forests and uncontrolled grazing, which resulted in the deforestation of one half of its total area. The gale-force Košava wind was moving the unfixed sand masses and blowing sand over the surrounding agricultural land. Afforestation of exposed surfaces was the only efficient way to stabilize the moving sand masses.
This is why in 1818, the forest engineer Franz Bachofen started the work, and his successors managed to successfully complete the venture of afforestation of blown sands as late as 1907. The year 1912 marked the beginning of the manage-ment of protection forests in Deliblatska Peščara following the principles of conventional forest management. In the mid 20th century, the idea of nature conservation prevailed, and consequently Deliblatska Peščara received the status of a protected natural asset. The area was designated a special biogeographical area – Deliblaticum. In the national setting, Peščara is a natural asset protected under category I, and in a global setting it is one of the most important bird and plant habitats in Europe, while Danube wetlands are protected by the Ramsar Convention. The reserve is located in the European Green Belt and it has been proposed as a Natura 2000 site and Biosphere Reserve. By the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Serbia prescribed in 2002, the Special Nature Reserve “Deliblatska Peščara” with the total area of 35,000 ha was declared a natural asset of great importance and the three-degree protection regime was established.
The distinctive features of Deliblatska Peščara are its forest-steppe vegetation which is unique in the Pannonian Plane, and its distinct dune relief. It has a temperate continental climate with a specific microclimate characterized by early and late frosts and the high temperature amplitude. During winter, the squally Košava wind which blows in the region can reach a hurricane speed. Deliblatska Peščara is the area which doesn’t have any above-ground watercourses. Precipitation in the form of groundwater moves into the springs and from there through springs and canals reaches the river Danube. Groundwater in the central part is at the depth of 200m.
Flora is characterized by sand, steppe, forest, marsh and water plant communities. Out of 900 plant species inhabiting Deliblatska Peščara the most typical are the plants commonly found in steppe habitats: the Banat Peony, Steppe Peony, Bulrush and Dwarf Steppe Almond, while juniper tree is the only autochtonous conifer. Autochtonous forests are composed of Virgilian oak and silver linden. More than one half of the area of Deliblatska Peščara is covered with the forest composed of allochthonous tree species - acacia and black and white pine.
Fauna is characterized by species commonly found in sandy and steppe habitats: the saker falcon, mole rat and steppe gerbil. Deer, roe deer and wild boar are commonly found in the forests. Aquatic ecosystems of the Danube wetlands are the nesting grounds of rare marsh birds: little cormorant and squacco heron, and massive temporary habitats for migratory birds: sand martin and wild goose.
Deliblatska Peščara is one of the most widely researched areas in Serbia. Thus far almost 1000 studies and scientific papers have been published in the Hungarian, German and Serbian language.
THE STUDENT RECREATION CENTER ČARDAK
In the very heart of the Deliblato Sands, only 60 km from Belgrade, lies the Student Recreation Center Čardak. Apart from sports facilities offered at the center, guests can also enjoy the natural surroundings.