Ecological network as a functionally and spatially connected entity is established for maintaining the habitat types of special importance for the protection, for the restoration and / or improvement of disturbed habitats and for preservation of habitat of the wild flora and fauna. The ecological network consists of: ecologically significant areas and ecological corridors.
The ecological network is managed in a way that ensures the preservation of favorable conditions of sensitive, rare, endangered and habitat types of special importance for the conservation and populations of strictly protected and protected wild species of national and international importance, as well as maintaining and improving functional and spatial connectivity of its parts. .
Ecological network management means the management of individual ecologically significant areas and ecological corridors, in order to maintain and improve the functional integrity of the ecological network.
The basis for activities related to the establishment of an ecological network, which includes the international Natura 2000 ecological network, is Article 38, of the Law on Nature Conservation, according to which the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, in cooperation with the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province and other professional and scientific institutions prepares documentation for the establishment of an ecological network in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, in line with the criteria established by the Law on Nature Conservation, generally accepted rules of international law and ratified international treaties. In addition, the Institute creates and updates a digital database containing both vector-displayed boundaries of ecological network areas and a map of ecologically important areas.
According to the Decree on the Ecological Network (Official Gazette of RS, No. 102/2010), the ecological network of the Republic of Serbia includes 101 ecologically important areas covering 1 849 201.77 ha, which represents 20.93% of the territory of Serbia. These areas include the spatial units in which certain protected areas are located, along with the areas defined by international programs for the identification of Important Plant Areas (IPA), Important Bird Areas (IBA), Prime Butterfly Areas (PBA), Ramsar areas (according to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitats), Emerald Areas (according to the Council of Europe Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats), etc.
In addition to these areas, the ecological network is composed of certain watercourses with the riparian belts (Danube, Tisa, Sava, Drina, South and Great Morava, Tamiš, Kereš, Zlatica, Karaš, Nera, Brzava, Moravica, Bosut and Studva) representing the ecological corridors of the international importance since they enable connection with the ecological networks of neighbouring countries. In general, ecological corridors of international, national or local importance are ecological trajectories and connections that allow the movement of individuals and the gene flow between protected areas and ecologically important areas.