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From Knin to Trilj, the examination of public attitude about the importance and potential of the Dinara begins!

If you are visited by field examiners with a short questionnaire in the next ten days, don’t worry – LAG “Cetina Krajina” and the Biom association are conducting a field survey about the importance and biodiversity of the Dinara and its potential for the local population.

The research is conducted as part of the “Dinara back to LIFE” project, which aims to preserve the Dinaric grasslands, encourage their sustainable use and provide support to the local population for the development of agricultural and tourist activities in the Dinaric area.

”To live by the Dinara certainly has its privileges and advantages. The whole area is an exceptional nature resource which should be known how to make the most of and to encourage local people to develop the potential that Dinara has. That is why the opinion of the local population is important to us, and through this examination it will be a great help to us in further activities” , says Melani Glavinić from the Biom association.

The survey is completely anonymous and takes only 15 minutes. After, it is followed by data entry and processing. The test results will be published on the project website as well as the local media. The collected data will help guide the project team to direct further project activities and see how the local population perceives the Dinara.

If you have any questions about this research or aquire additional information, you can contact the phone number 021/274 946 or e-mail: dinarabacktolife@gmail.com. The examiners will conduct research the towns of Knin, Sinj, Trilj and Vrlika and the municipalities of Hrvace, Kijevo, Otok and Civljane.

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Our comment: Fire on Dinara Mountain

The fire on the Dinara Mountain did not cause catastrophic damage to the entire burned area, because most of the grasslands will be restored after the first rains, but not the habitats which will take decades. Those habitats show that the tradition of uncontrolled burning has no place in modern area management. Management of the Dinara area, which is part of the Natura2000 network of protected areas, is an obligation of the Republic of Croatia and uncontrolled fires will make this management difficult long term.

Photo: Fire on Dinare (from Glavaš)

Photo: Fire on Dinare (from Glavaš)

Last days, numerous media have published articles about the recently extinguished fire on Dinara Mountain. The fires are mostly associated with negative impacts on nature and people, but some of the comments show that there are other opinions. Since the part of our Dinara back to LIFE project is planed controlled burning, it is important to point out what is the difference between controlled burning and fire.

With controlled burning, relatively small areas are burned in a targeted manner depending on their use and the goal we want to achieve, while with fires, large areas are also uncontrol burned for which fire is harmful for several reasons.

The impact of fire on different habitats is significantly different and depends on the current weather conditions and the amount humidity of the fuel mass. The impact of fire on grasslands is minimal, especially in winter; but after a couple of spring rains the traces of the fire will hardly be seen. In fact, fire will destroy much of the species that overgrow grasslands which is useful in the long term management. The largest burned areas on the Dinara are grasslands but it’s important to know that it wasn’t just the grasslands that burned. A curve mountain pine stands, although seemingly only low dense shrubbery, take decades to recover in the harshness of the mountain climate. Beech forests, which are spreading slowly in the karst, and there are very few left on Dinara, take much more than one human life to recover.

Photo: Fire map on Dinara

Photo: Fire map on Dinara

Larger areas of sub-Mediterranean shrubs and low forests were also burned in this fire. Burning is often focused on this type of habitat with aim to restore the grassland, for example for the pasture. It is an old tradition that has remained as a way to “improve” the area even now, when most of the burned areas will not be used for grazing at all because there are not as many cattle as there used to be. Medunaca oak forests, which eventually emerge from these thickets, are almost non-existent in larger areas, as they have disappeared through out thousands of years of livestock, logging and burning. It is only in recent decades that these forests have begun to regenerate and it is our job to help them do so. Of course, we will not turn all grasslands into forests, but we will not prevent the overgrowth of grasslands everywhere. Dinara is the part of the EU Natura2000 network of protected areas and it is clearly defined which species and habitats are important; and in order to preserve them we need various types of grasslands, forests and transitional habitats.

Controlled burning, as a part of area management, is required to respect all area users, all habitats and species living there. Grasslands are burned for maintenance purposes, but great care is taken not to spread the fire to forest habitats, with the exception of one part of the thickets that we want to return to the grasslands. The controlled burning is carried out in accordance with the spatial planning of the area management, and in that spatial planning we take care of both nature and the people who use that space.

Photo: The fire smoke

Dinara has space for all: for pastures of thousands of cattle herds, for all species that live in the grasslands and for restored forests of oak, beech or pine, and many species that live there. It is only important to treat it with expertise, knowledge, experience and great respect for nature resource.

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Dnevnik Dinare

Postcard from the roof of Croatia, the future Nature park of Dinara

The Dinara mountain massif is a rich and significant habitat for flora and fauna. Due to its exceptional nature and ecological value, it is the part of the Natura 2000 ecological network which includes areas important for the conservation of endangered species and habitat types of the European Union. More than 87% of the area of future Dinara Nature Park is also the area of the Natura 2000 ecological network. In addition to valuable nature, important habitats for endangered plant and animal species and the internationally recognized phenomenon of Dinaric karst, on the Dinara is the highest peak of Croatia!

This year’s International Day for Biological Diversity with its slogan “Solutions are in nature” speaks in a special way about the importance of working together in harmony with nature and the role of biodiversity in sustainable development. In Croatia, Nature Protection Day is also celebrated on that day, and this year’s celebration was marked by the proclamation of the future twelfth nature park in Croatia – Nature Park “Dinara”.

Back to beginning, last Friday a public presentation od Dinara was held in Knin as part of a public inspection of the Law on the Proclamation of the Dinara Nature Park. The presentation was attended by the Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy Tomislav Ćorić, Šibenik-Knin County Prefect Goran Pauk, Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Blaženko Boban, Knin Mayor Marko Jelić and citizens, representatives of non-governmental organizations and other interested public. It is pointed out that the Law provides protection of 63,052 hectares in the Dinara area, including the Dinara massif (Dinara, Troglav and Kamešnica), the source and upper course of the Cetina River and karst fields (Hrvatačko, Paško and Vrličko) along the Cetina. Upon completion of the public inspection, the consultation and preparation of the law for adoption will follow, and one year after the entry into force of the law, the Dinara Nature Park Public Institution will be established.

“The Dinara Nature Park will be the 12th nature park in the Republic of Croatia and together with eight other national parks, we’ll complete one set of 20 such protected areas. With the proclamation of the Dinara as a nature park, the share of protected areas on Croatian land will increase from 12 percent to 13 percent, and under the European ecological Natura 2000 network, there will be an increase from 36.7 percent to 39 percent of the European Union’s territory. This clearly shows what these 63,000 hectares of newly protected area will mean for the total capacity of protected areas in Croatia and, ultimately, what it will mean for the future of biodiversity in Croatia,” said Minister Ćorić.

The next day, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service organized a field trip to the Dinara and a climb to peak Dinara (1831 m). From the Samar meadow, about fifty experts in nature protection and nature lovers set off on foot towards the recently established mountaineering shelter “Zlatko Prgin”, and after a short break, in a relaxed and cheerful atmosphere, continued to conquer the highest peak of Croatia. Just an hour later, the crowd was bustling at the top, and smiling faces hinted that every step had paid off! The cameras tried to capture all the beautiful corners, and the eyes would like to remember every inch, absorb all the colors, grasp every kilometer in front of them in all directions: the mountains of Dalmatia, Troglav, Cetina and Livanjsko fields as well as Peruča Lake.

From the top, there is a photo which will remain as a memory of all the little people who love and live in Dinara in their own way. Gathering continued with the hosts in the mountain lodge “Brezovac”.

We are especially looking forward to the recognition of Dinara because we are aware of its nature resource. Thus, our project “Dinars back to LIFE” is a great opportunity to preserve the Dinaric grasslands and encourage their sustainable use.

Dinara fed so many families who reciprocated with respect and admiration, was and remained the center of life to hardworking and humble inhabitants. It is up to us to preserve Dinara in the future – starting from ourselves, with valuable projects needed for the whole community and the law – permanently in the honor and privilege of living with the Dinara.

Photo: Aleksandar Gospić