For its third fieldwork trip to Mountain Orjen, NGO EnvPro gathered lead project expert, representatives of partner organization NGO Egroup, young researchers and volunteers of NGO EnvPro and and a photo/video reporter. This time, the goal of the fieldwork trip was to gather data on at least one of the populations of Iris orjenii, to attempt to find another population of this species and if conditions permit, gather data for it. Additionally, the goal of this fieldwork trip which are woven into the entire project is capacity raising of young researchers within the lead and partner organizations.
The intended data to be collected were a phytocoenological relevé in the area of the population, population abundance, exact number of flowering individuals, individuals with seeds and the number of sterile individuals. This was performed successfully for one of the populations in location Vučji zub, while the other population was searched for based on coordinates from the discovery of this population in Borovi do, but was not found. A phytocoenological relevé is a list of plant species in a specified plot (in this case 5 x 5 meters), including an evaluation of abundance and coverage of each species, as well as general data (date, GPS coordinates etc.) on the area as well as ecological data such as elevation, relief, geological and pedological soil composition etc. All data gathered on this fieldwork trip will be used to better describe the population, plan further research activities and cooperation, and design monitoring and conservation measures and with this create an effective action plan for this species for the future. Especially important was practicing some of the proposed conservation measures such as removal of Juniperus sabina from the area where Iris orjenii is competing for resources and reallocation of mountain tracking path away from the population.
Regarding capacity raising of young researchers, thanks to the support of leading expert, Boštjan Surina, capacities of present young researchers and project partners were raised in the domain of floristic and phytocoenological research. The main challenge remains to locate the other 2 populations of Iris orjenii (in Borovi do and Vele leto) which is planned for next season’s fieldwork. In this season NGO EnvPro team will strive to collect seeds from Iris orjenii on location Vučji Zub and additionally, explore whether species Salvia brachydon can be found on the cross-border and Montenegrin side of Mountain Orjen.