The land the Serbs settled upon coming to the Balkans was covered with thick forests. Memory to those forests is maintained in the names of regions, like Šumаdiја, meaning, a vast forestland, a huge forest. Forests provided shelter and even a home (our ancestors used to live in log houses), and in the times of famine, they could provide food. Mushrooms, various edible roots, wild garlic or even acorn from oak forests used to be prepared for human consumption. On the other hand, forests could also mean danger or death for some. Many travellers described their fear while caravans were traversing forested areas in Serbia, with lurking haiduks. Clearing the forests in Serbia – in order to obtain fertile land – started in the 19th century, in the period of Prince Мilоš. Today, 30% of the Republic of Serbia covered with forests, of which 40% is beech wood and 27% oak. Rеpublikа Srpskа, with its 50% of the territory covered with forests, ranks among the above average forested European countries.
RELIGION AND TRADITION
In the pre-Christian times, forests played an important role in the Slavic mythology and religion. Groves and woods used to be places of cult, where deities and demons dwelled and where the souls of ancestors went. Lesnik and Forest Mother are some of the forest mythical beings.
Kоzаrа, Sutјеskа, Таrа National Parks … As part of the Sutјеskа National Park in Rеpublika Srpska, there is the Pеrućicа forest, the largest preserved primordial forest of Europe.