Highway killed old oak tree in Savinac, Serbia

The 600 years old oak tree of religious importance to local people was cut down to give way to the highway Corridor XI.


Description
In June 2013, construction of the highway Corridor XI, led by the company Koridori Srbije DOO under a public-private partnership, has reached a 600 year-old Oak tree close to the village Savinac, called "Zapis" (Section Ljig - Preljina). The citizens of Savinac, environmental NGOs and the Green Party opposed cutting down the tree by organizing local protests and a broader media campaign to pressure the company to modify its construction plans. The land where the tree is located was expropriated and the owner received reimbursement of 2000 EUR (around 2,750 USD) for 30m3 of wood. Even though, the old oak tree has a religious significance to the local people it has never been put under the state protection, therefore both the Serbian Institute of Nature Protection and the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments issued the permit to cut it down. Still, the tree is located in the cultural-historical and natural complex Savinac-Šarani. The campaign to protect the old oak managed to temporarily stop the highway construction and start development of alternative proposals. In July 2013, the Minister of Construction and Urbanism came out with the final solution including rerouting of the highway and protecting the tree with metal armature construction and additional water supply. However, according to some sources, the ministry postponed the activities for after the winter hoping that the tree would not survive it. Finally, the highway was not rerouted and the old oak was cut down on 23rd of July 2015 during night to prevent local resistance.
Basic Data
NameHighway killed old oak tree in Savinac, Serbia
CountrySerbia
SiteSavinac
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesAsphalt
Transport infrastructure
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
The motorway will connect the Serbian capital of Belgrade and Bar, Montenegro's main seaport. Italy, Montenegro and Serbia are lobbying to list the route with Pan-European corridors, and it is frequently referred to as part of proposed Corridor XI, or 4B - an envisioned ferry and motorway corridor linking Bari, Bar, Belgrade and Bucharest.
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Project Area (in hectares)4 (total area occupied by the oak roots); 270 km (length of Serbian section of Corridor XI)
Level of Investment (in USD)3,6 billion USD (total investment in Serbian section of highway Corridor XI)
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2013
End Date23/07/2015
Company Names or State EnterprisesKoridori Srbije DOO from Serbia - Main investor and organizer of the constructions
Shandong Hi-speed Group - Chinese construction company, the main contractor
Azvirt - Construction company from Azerbaijan, the main contractor
Uzice a.d. - Serbian construction company, the main contractor
GP Planum a.d. - Serbian construction company, the main contractor
Energoprojekt - Leader of the consortium of Serbian construction companies
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Regional Development and Local Self-government; Ministry of Construction and Urbanism; Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection of Republic of Serbia; Institute of Nature Conservation of Serbia; The Republic of Azerbaijan
International and Financial InstitutionsChina Export Import Bank from China - Supports construction of Corridor XI with 301 million USD loan
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersHrast gerila; GM Optimist http://gmoptimist.org/; Oplaneti se http://www.oplanetise.com/; Zelena lista Srbije http://www.oplanetise.com/zelena-lista-srbije-2.html; Evropski pokret http://www.evropskipokret.org/; Stop ekocid u Srbiji; Permakultura Srbije; Ekoloski medijski servis Srbije: http://www.ekomedija.tk/; Zelena patrola; Zeleni Srbije http://zelenisrbije.org/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Pastoralists
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Development of AlternativesThe opponents of the project demand rerouting of the highway, claiming that the tree would not survive the relocation (proposed by the company) and calling for compliance with European Union environment protection directives, as Serbia has a plan to became EU member in the future.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The old oak tree was cut down in July 2015.
Sources and Materials
Links

Nadležni "našli" rešenje za problem na Koridoru 11: Mole boga da surova zima ubije stari hrast
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Seoba „zapisnog” hrasta iz sela Savinac
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Ko se boji kletve još
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I Evropa traži spas 600 godina starog hrasta
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Izmestiti prastari hrast isto što i ubiti ga
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"Vučić ponizio i nas i svetinju"
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Narod čuva sveti hrast!
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Sveti hrast od 600 leta menja trasu autoputa?
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Oak stops construction of Corridor 11
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Ilić: Bile su vam bitnije kafana i crkva, ali ne brinite, nećemo dirati ni hrast!
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SRPSKE FIRME U GRADNJI KORIDORA 11
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Belgrade – South Adriatic
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Energoprojekt za Kineze gradi na Koridoru 11
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Ministar obećao da će viševekovni hrast biti spasen
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Zbog hrasta će i EU da reaguje?!
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Kinezi počeli Koridor 11 (FOTO)
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Chinese Company Offers to Build Corridor 11
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600 year old oak cut down
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Hrast na Koridoru 11 posečen tokom noći (VIDEO)
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Media Links

Oak tree album
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Video of protests 1
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Video of protests 2
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Old oak was cut down
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Other Documents

The old oak tree and his guards The old oak tree became a symbol of civil initiatives.
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The construction works and the oak tree The conflict started when the highway construction approached the oak
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Bikers guard the old oak too The oak tree is 40 m high and has volume of 7.5 m
[click to view]

Cutting down of the old oak After three years of resistance, the old oak was cut down to give way to high road
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Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update07/04/2016
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