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Prof. Staniša A. Paunović (1925–2003)

Member, Yugoslav Engineering Academy of Science

Honorary Doctor of Science, Mendel University, Brno, Czech Republic

Professor, Faculty of Agronomy, Čačak  

Principal Research Fellow, Fruit Research Institute, Čačak Principal Research Fellow, PKB Agroeconomic Institute, Belgrade

Professor Staniša A. Paunović, Principal Research Fellow, was born on 10 May 1925 in the village of Oreškovica, Municipality of Petrovac (Požarevac). He finished primary school and secondary school (Gymnasium) in Smederevo. From early 1944 to October 1945, he participated in World War Two. Then, he entered the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Zemun as a student of the first postwar generation (1945/1946). During the study, he was appointed Demonstrator in Fruit Growing. He graduated from the Department of Fruit and Grapevine Growing in 1949.

On 1 Decembar 1949, he began working for the Fruit Growing and Processing Institute (now known as Fruit Research Institute) in Čačak, where he was engaged for 30 years at the Department of Pomology and Fruit Selection (1949–1979). At the beginning of his career (1954/1955), he completed a one-year specialisation course in Great Britain at the famous research institutions East Malling Research Station, Long Ashton Research Station andScottish Horticultural Research Institute. In January 1962, at the Faculty of Agriculture, Zemun, he defended his PhD thesis titled “Study on Some Factors of Seed Germination in Continental Fruit Crops, Specifically Focusing on the Effect of Stratification”. He attained all research ranks (including the highest rank of Principal Research Fellow) at the Fruit Research Institute, Čačak. He was Acting Director and, subsequently, Director of the Fruit Research Institute, Čačak from 1977 to 1979, when he managed to secure funding for the construction of a new Institute building. In 1961, he took up a post of Professor of Orchard Establishment and Fruit Crops at the College of Agriculture, Čačak. On 21 November 1979, he received tenure at the Faculty of Agronomy, Čačak as Professor of Fruit Crops, a position he held until his retirement in October 1990. He actively collaborated with the Department of Fruit and Grapevine Growing of the PKB Agroeconomic Research Institute, Belgrade from May 1982 as Principal Research Fellow, working one third of full-time hours on a contractual basis until retirement.

Professor Paunović, Principal Research Fellow dedicated his scientific and research work to the plum, apricot, peach and walnut. He published 184 research papers, 41 scientific papers, 19 research/scholarly papers, 10 monographs, 18 books and book chapters. Along with his other published works, reports, surveys and studies, the total number of his research and scholarly publications is over 400. The results of his work were often cited in both Serbia and abroad. He took part not only in national scientific events, but also in numerous international conferences in Great Britain, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Israel, Belgium, Spain, Bulgaria, the USA, Libya, the Netherlands, Australia, the USSR, China, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Japan, Greece, etc. He delivered 13 keynote and invited lectures at international scientific meetings.

He was one of the most renowned researchers recognised for fruit breeding in Yugoslavia. At the Fruit Research Institute, as part of his research work, he created Collection Orchards of plums, apricots and peaches, with more than 500 cultivars.

Professor Staniša A. Paunović, Principal Research Fellow, authored 46 genotypes of fruit crops. He created 16 cultivars, including 8 cultivars of plum: ‘Čačanska Rana’, ‘Čačanska Najbolja’, ‘Čačanska Lepotica’, ‘Čačanska Rodna’ and ‘Čačanski Šećer’ (released in 1975),‘Valjevka’ (1985), ‘Valerija’ and ‘Jelica’ (1986); 3 cultivars of peach: ‘Čačak’ (1975), ‘Julija’ and ‘Dora’ (1986); and 5 cultivars of apricot: ‘Čačansko Zlato’ and ‘Čačanska Pljosnata’ (1975), ‘Vera’, ‘Biljana’ and ‘Aleksandar’ (1995). He developed two apricot selections: No. IV/81 and No. IV/167,and five walnut selections: ‘Ovčar’, ‘Ibar’, ‘Vujan’, ‘Jasenica’ and ‘Kablar’. For fruit production purposes, he developed five clones of myrobalan plum as rootstocks for plums, 6 clones of ‘Belošljiva’ plum and 2 clones of myrobalan plum as rootstocks and interstocks for apricots, and 10 selections of vineyard peach as rootstocks for peaches.  

            Many of these cultivars and selections, particularly plum cvs. ‘Čačanska Rodna’ and ‘Čačanska Lepotica’ are successfully grown not only in Serbia, where they dominate plum orchards, but also in a great number of other European countries (Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia).

He made a large contribution to international scientific organisations, particularly the International Society for Horticultural Science  (ISHS). He was the first Chairman of the then formed Inernational Committee on Apricot and Apricot Apoplexy (1962), a poisition he held until his retirement in 1990. Under the auspices of ISHS, he organised 8 international  symposia (3rd and 4th International Symposium on Apricots and Apricot Culture, Lednice na Moravě, Czech Republic, 1966 and Subotica, Yugoslavia, 1968, respectively; 5th and 6th International Symposium on Apricot Culture and Decline, Madrid, Spain, 1973 and Yerevan, Armenia, 1977, respectively; 3rd Symposium on Plum Genetics, Breeding and Pomology, Čačak, Yugoslavia, 1977; 2nd International Workshop on Apricot Culture and Decline, XXII IHC, Davis,  USA, 1986). Also, under the auspices of ISHS, he chaired numerous meetings of the Working Group on Apricot. He was the representative of Serbia to the ISHS Council between 1968 and 1996 (Pisa, East Malling, Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Hannover, Canberra, Nyborg, Hamburg, Brussels, Ås, Davis, Birmingham, London, Florence).

Prof. Paunović was Chairman of the Working Group on all types of plum in Europe within FAO between 1983 and 1994, and a member of the Inernational Society for Plum Genetics, Selection and Pomology. Also, he was the representative of Serbia to the Coordination Body for Fruit Genetics and Selection for the Comecon countries and SFRY (from 1980). He was a member of the Editorial Board of the international journal Scientia Horticulturae (1972–1982), Wageningen, the Netherlands.

Either on his own or as a team member, he organised eight Yugoslav Symposia on plums, apricots and peaches: Čačak 1955, Čačak 1968, Čačak 1980, Grocka 1986, Grocka 1987, Grocka 1988, Grocka 1989 and Grocka 1990.

He was the Project Leader of a project on fruit growing and the Leading Coordinator for the investigation, collection and conservation of Yugoslav fruit genotypes towards the formation of the Yugoslav Fruit Gene Bank (1987).

For his tireless dedicated efforts in the fields of science and community service, he received 34 national and international recognition awards, some of which include: Shock Worker Badge and the title of Shock Worker, Šamac–Sarajevo Youth Railway (1947); Timeless Right Winger recognition from the Đurđe Smederevac Football Club (Smederevo) first-team players and fans (1948); First October Prize and plaque on the occasion of the Belgrade Liberation Day (1975); Award for great contributions to the development of the world fruit production, International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), Davis, California, USA (1984); Plaque,  PKB Agroeconomic Institute, Belgrade (1988); Deserving Member, Yugoslav Scientific Pomological Society (1988); Gold Plaque, IX International Symposium on Apricot Culture, Caserta, Italy (1989); Honorary Member, International Society for Horticultural Science (1990); Honorary Doctor of Science, Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry, Brno, Czech Republic (1995); Plaque for Outstanding Contributions to the development of the Faculty of Agronomy, Čačak, Faculty of Agronomy, Čačak (1998); Certificate of Merit, Association of Agricultural Engineers and Technicians of Yugoslavia (1995); Gold Plaque, Institute for Agricultural Research, Fruit Research Centre, Čačak (1996); Plaque, University of Kragujevac (1996); and Gold Plaque and Gold Badge, Dani Šljive (Plum Days) event, Gradačac  (1978); Honorary Member, Yugoslav Engineering Academy of Science (2002).

The late Prof. Staniša A. Paunović, Principal Research Fellow, left behind his daughter Biljana, BSc in Biology, and son Prof. Aleksandar S. Paunović.