Call - Nazovi

+385 98 168 8409

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Dubrava 1, Bošana,
23250 Pag, Croatia

Call - Nazovi

+385 98 168 8409

Call - Nazovi

+385 98 739 296

A park in an international environment

National Park North Velebit in an international environment

Natura 2000 Protected Areas Network – Park in international environment

In the late 20th century, human activity and the exploitation of natural resources changed substantially in the European continent, leading to a dramatic deterioration of biodiversity. These developments drove EU member states to try and stop the negative trends in their territories, and identify the most vulnerable habitats and species, which were at risk of disappearing from Europe, and perhaps even at risk of extinction. Natura 2000, the European protected areas network and the basis for environmental protection in the EU, was thus born. Its objective is to preserve, or restore to a good condition, the rare, endangered and endemic species, as well as their habitats.

Natura 2000 logo - decoration on Park in international environment

In addition to protecting the living world and its habitats, Natura 2000 also supports the principle of sustainable development, aimed at achieving a good coexistence of man and nature. Around 27,500 areas, accounting for almost 20% of the EU’s territory, are covered by the Natura 2000 network, which makes it the world’s largest conservation area system. Natura 2000 is based on two EU directives: the Directive on the conservation of wild birds (Birds Directive) and the Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive).

When Croatia joined the EU, Natura 2000 was declared in its territory too. The Croatian Natura 2000 protected area network now covers 36.67% of Croatia’s land territory, and 16.39% of its coastal waters. It includes 38 conservation areas of relevance for birds, and around 745 conservation areas relevant for species and habitat types. All three major protected areas on Mt. Velebit – Velebit Nature Park, Paklenica National Park, and Northern Velebit National Park – are parts of the European Natura 2000 network.

Northern Velebit National Park is a conservation area of relevance for 12 species and 13 habitat types, and is located within the Velebit conservation area of relevance for birds.

UNESCO Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe

At the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee held on 7th July 2017 in Krakow, Poland, the Primeval Beech Forest of the Northern Velebit National Park that grows inside the Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi Strict Reserve, together with the beech forests in Suva draga-Klimenta and Oglavinovac-Javornik in the Paklenica National Park and beech forests in 9 other European countries were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

UNESCO logo - decoration on Park in international environment

This is an extension of UNESCO’s previously protected natural heritage, i.e. the beech forests of the Carpathians (Slovakia, Ukraine) and the beech forests of Germany which, after adding another 63 beech forests in 10 countries (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Spain), was officially entitled the ‘Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe’. By adding new areas to the World Heritage List the unity of an area with extraordinary universal value, which is also evidence of how postglacial expansion and the natural and free development of beech forest ecosystems within Europe was achieved.

The Strict Reserves’ beech forests are an excellent example of untouched forest complexes and represent ancient, preserved forests in a specific karst habitat. They grow at altitudes of 1,200 to 1,500 metres, above the beech-fir forests and under the mountain pine belt. Despite being old, beech trunks are not huge because extreme climate and karst terrain make them grow slowly in dwarf and deformed shapes. They are primeval beech forests that grow on the edge of the European beech’s ecological niche.

The entire area of the Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi Strict Reserve is almost fully protected from human impact. Abundance of species is a result of the palaeoclimatic conditions registered in this area and these beech forests are genetically interesting and priceless to phylogenetic research. They are extremely rich in Illyric species of which some are endemic to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main types of beech forests within the Reserve include Sub-alpine Beech forest with Buttercups (Ranunculo platanifoliae-Fagetum) and Sub-alpine Beech Forest with Sycamore Maple (Polysticho lonchitis-Fagetum), which are characterised by its specific and highly recognisable trunk form. These communities grow in extreme climate conditions with abundant snow, low temperatures, a short vegetation period and harsh winds. Due to persistent snow that presses young trees, these beech tress are typically bound in their lower parts resembling a pipe. As the altitude increases trees become lower and more crooked with more branches, and the tree looks more like a bush which is only a few metres high. Unusual forms of trees, together with the rocky massif they grow on and stunning views over the Adriatic Sea create a special and unique landscape.

European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) – Park in international environment

EDEN logo - decoration on Park in international environment

EDEN is an abbreviation for European Destinations of ExcelleNce – a project that promotes sustainable tourism development models. The project is based on national competitions for the selection of tourist destinations of excellence for each participating country, drawing attention to the values, diversity as well as common features of European destinations and promoting networking between awarded destinations. The project’s objective is to enhance and promote emerging tourist destinations.
Each year the European Commission chooses a theme, and in 2009 the Northern Velebit National Park received an award in Brussels as the national winner within the theme “Tourism and Protected Areas”. More about the EDEN project.

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