Popovo polje

Year of compilation: 2019

Site description
Popovo polje stretches 31 in length and not more than 1,5 in width. It is surrounded by mountains of: Vjetrenik, Gradina, Čavaška gradina, Mala gradina, Vranjak, Bjelasnica,Veliki Lisac, Rujnica and Oblo brdo.
Trebišnjica river flows through the polje which is a part of Neretva and Trebišnjica river basin and has a flood area of 42,06 km2. 
Famous karstic phenomena include Vjetrenica cave, Lukavac source, cave Baba, Crnulja, Doljašnica, Ponikva, while Drawings (petroglyphs) at the Vjetrenica entrance and Zavala monastery are most important cultural sights in the area. 

Key biodiversity
In ornithological sense it hasn’t been systematically researched since, but in 2017 a large population of over 100 breeding pairs of Turtle Doves Streptopelia turtur has been confirmed. Apart from that this polje probably hosts large flocks of Crane Grus grus, Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, and Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis during migration.
Until now 176 bird species, 7 fish and 20 dragonfly species have been recorded in Popovo polje. Flora was never thoroughly explored. Most important habitat types are associations of temporarily flooded submediterranean wet meadows (Trifolio-Hordeetalia) and associations of reed and rush that grow in shallow water pools. Popovo polje was also known as extremely important site of underground biodiversity, yet many endemic species unique for this polje were lost during the building of Trebišnjica channel and other hydrological transformations of this site. Olm Proteus anguinus still survives in this polje. 

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Being known by one of most fertile soils in this part of Europe, Popovo polje is extensively used for agriculture, especially for potato, water melon, tobacco growing, vine and fruit-production and livestock grazing. Main threatening factors are further development of its hydrologic potential through the Upper Horizon project.

Site access / Land-owner requests
Popovo polje is located in Southern Herzegovina close to the borders with Croatia and Montenegro. The most frequent road passes in the direction NW-SE: Mostar – Čapljina – Ljibinja – Trebinje. From North polje is accessible from the direction of Foča – Gacko – Bileća Trebinje. 

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Popovo polje. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/08/2022.