Activity calendar Activity calendar-home News

The signing of the Grassland Memorandum for the preservation of Dinaric nature

“The signing of the Grassland Memorandum for the preservation of Dinaric nature marked the conclusion of the ‘Dinara back to LIFE’ project, initiated in January 2020.

With the goal of preserving Dinaric grasslands and promoting sustainable development in the Dinara region, the project achieved significant milestones. Over nearly four years, more than 700 hectares of Dinaric grasslands were restored, along with the revival of 20 wells and ponds, the creation of mountain trails and dry stone walls, with numerous stakeholders contributing.

These results already positively impact bird habitats reliant on open Dinaric grasslands. Initiatives for legislative support ensuring grassland preservation and sustanable have also started.

Collaboration among stakeholders are key for future nature conservation of Dinara. The official conclusion of the ‘Dinara back to LIFE‘ project was marked by the ceremonial signing of the Grassland Memorandum for Dinaric nature preservation. This event involved project partners, local and regional government units, and representatives from respected counties. The act aims to strengthen collaboration for nature preservation, raise awareness, and promote sustainable development in the Dinaric region.

At the opening ceremony at the Sinj Alka Museum, Ivana Selanec, Director of Biom Association, welcomed attendees, expressing gratitude for preserving Dinaric biodiversity. She stressed the vital need for mutual collaboration among Grassland Memorandum signatories and stakeholders for its future.

Dr. Marko Jelić, Šibenik-Knin County Prefect, also highlighted Dinara’s significance, emphasizing the necessity for a Public Institution for Dinara Nature Park. Joining Dr. Marko Jelić at the Grassland Memorandum signing ceremony were Marija Vuković, Head of the Environmental Department in Split-Dalmatia County, mayors Miro Bulj (Sinj), Marijo Ćaćić (Knin), Jure Plazonić (Vrlika), Ivan Bugarin (Trilj), Martin Ercegovac (Kijevo), Dinko Bošnjak (Hrvace), Anita Babačić Ajduk (Director of Šibenik-Knin County Public Institution ‘Priroda’), and Domagoj Lažeta (Director of ‘More i krš’ Public Institution for protected natural areas in Split-Dalmatia County). The Ministry of Agriculture provided substantial support through its representatives in the project’s advisory council.

The project’s restoration goals were presented through the ‘Open habitat type – grasslands‘ during its second year, initiating manual removal of woody vegetation with twenty students from across Croatia participating in a significant volunteer camp.

Project leader Tomislav Hudina later showcased the project’s results, emphasizing the success of grasslands and livestock infrastructure restoration and collaboration with sixteen local herders and numerous other stakeholders. When asked about the signatories’ expectations, project leader Tomislav Hudina expressed hope for their continued support and potential initiatives, stressing the importance of ongoing efforts for Dinara’s preservation, given its biological diversity and rich cultural and historical heritage. In the spirit of collective work for Dinara’s nature and its inhabitants, all that remains is to reiterate ‘Preserve our treasure’ and echo the sentiment gathered during initial community surveys: ‘Not for us, but for the generations to come.‘ Tomislav Hudina, Project Leader”

Activity calendar-home News

Visit by LIFE Program Representatives

Last week “Dinara back to LIFE” had a joint visit with the representative of CINEA (The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency), our project advisor Mr. Joseph van der Stegen and project monitor Mr. Nikica Skroza from ELMEN EEIG. The project visit was an opportunity to make a review of the project activities, to discuss implementation results and challenges, draw policy lessons from the project, and discuss crucial activities for reporting and the After-LIFE plan.

Project manager Tomislav Hudina from Association Biom was delighted to take a presenting role and give a summary of project activities, their implementation and achieved results. The joint visit was an opportunity to discuss:

  • Grassland restoration activities and evaluation of their impact
  • Current status of target habitats and effects of extensive grazing
  • Restoration of grazing infrastructures: wells, ponds, paths and stonewall structures

Since Dinara back to LIFE is in the final phase, continuation of project activities (After LIFE plan) was also discussed, and project team presented crucial activities for continuation of activities, initiatives and communication started by the project.

The project advisor Mr. van der Stegen was very interested in learning more about the logic behind grassland restoration intervention and getting to know the situation in the local community.  The “Dinara back to LIFE” project team is very satisfied with the achieved results and the ecological impact on key habitats. Also, the project had a meaningful impact for the community (a.o. farmers and beekeepers) but also at the policy and decision-making levels.

It is really a unique opportunity to have CINEA and ELMEN EEIG representatives visiting the project and giving their feedback and perspective on the project implementation and on the broader policy context as well. CINEA highlighted the fact that the project has experimented promising grassland conservation measures that also bring benefits to the stakeholders. LIFE program is one of the best programs for nature conservation. We are very satisfied with the results of our restoration activities, but also with the social and policy impact of the project.  LIFE offers a certain flexibility which is almost always necessary in nature conservation, especially regarding longer projects.

The project advisor and project monitor joint visit gave our team positive energy and motivation as we are organizing our final deliverables and events to complete the project implementation.

Activity calendar-home News

Dinara back to LIFE takes the spotlight at the 17th Experts’ Meeting on Brijuni island

From October 10 to 12, the 17th annual meet-up of experts from public institutions responsible for taking care of natural areas and ecological networks was held. It well organized by the Environmental Protection and Nature Conservation Institute under the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

In a beautiful setting, the hosts and co-organizers, the Public Institution Brijuni National Park and the Public Institution Natura Histrica, welcomed over 150 participants from nearly all public institutions responsible for managing protected natural areas. Over the course of the three-day meeting, 22 presentations were held, covering the work of the relevant ministry, as well as presentations from various county and local public institutions, national parks, and nature parks.

On the first day of the meeting, alongside topics on Nature Restoration and the challenges of European Polic;, examples of projects in preparation or already underway, related to habitat restoration, were presented. In the lecture titled “Experience of Restoring Grasslands through the Implementation of the Dinara back to LIFE Project” Tomislav Hudina, the project leader from the Biom Association, presented the three-year work of project partners in the restoration and preservation of Dinaric grasslands and the results achieved. Also, since the project is coming to an end, the publication of the Guidelines for the Restoration and Sustainable Management of Dry Grasslands has been announced. These guidelines are expected to be valuable for many public institutions that participated in the meeting, especially considering that we are entering a period where a lot of attention will be given to habitat restoration.”

With numerous presentations and a rich program, participants concluded this year’s gathering by visiting the protected area of the Mirna Valley and the Special Reserve of Forest Vegetation – Motovun Forest.

Photos: NP Brijuni, R.T.

Activity calendar Activity calendar-home News

Save the date! ”Dinara back to LIFE” project conference

Working Together Towards Grasslands Sustainability (Cross-sectoral Approach)

We are delighted to announce the “Dinara back to LIFE” project conference “Working together towards grassland sustainability (cross-sectoral approach)”.

Save the date! The conference will be held in Sinj, Croatia from 21 to 24 March 2023.

We aim to bring together stakeholders from different sectors such as nature conservation, forestry, agriculture, public authorities, local action groups, etc., and discuss opportunities and the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation in grassland management. 

The project team will also present “Guidelines for dry grassland restoration and sustainable management”. The Guidelines are based on the grassland restoration experience of the last three years, with the aim of being a knowledge resource for governing institutions. We are hopeful that our knowledge, advice, and lessons learned will prove to be useful for future sustainable grassland management.

We will continue planning the event and logistics, and keep you updated with the information. Conference invitation will be sent to your e-mail in January 2023, and until then please make sure to save the date!

You can also find new updates at

           Conference themes

  • Guidelines for dry grassland restoration and sustainable management

  • The role of nature conservation, forestry and agriculture sector in grassland conservation and sustainable use and management of Natura 2000 sites

  • Opportunities for cross-sectoral cooperation

  • Local communities leading rural development


Are you interested in attending the “Dinara back to LIFE” project conference? We’d love to have you! Although our registration isn’t open just yet, you can express your interest on the link.

Activity calendar Activity calendar-home News

New grassland restoration season has begun

After our spring/summer break, needed to leave the animals undisturbed during nesting and fledging season, we began a new season of overgrown grasslands restoration.

The upcoming season will take place from 1st of September 2022 until March 31st 2023. Overgrown grasslands will continue to be restored in the Ježević dry grassland, situated between the villages Koljane and Cetina. During the previous season 47,6 ha of dry grassland was already restored, an area we will increase in the upcoming season.

Map of the area restored in 2021/2022 season

Grasslands are being restored by manually removal of woody vegetation, especially juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus). Juniper bushes have been taking over grassland areas for decades, and as a plant species that is not normally eaten by grazing animals the only viable method of removal is manually removing the plants, as it used to be done in this area in the past when more people and animals lived here.

By restoring the overgrown areas, we are hoping to attract species whose habitat is dry grassland, and are currently declining in number due to habitat loss. The short-toed lark (Calandrella brachydactyla) and the stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) are examples of bird species that depend on this habitat and are therefore at risk, not only in Ježević dry grassland, the only such grassland left on Dinara, but at the very few remaining habitats of this kind left in Croatia overall. The last breeding pair of the stone-curlew was recorded here two years ago and the species has since disappeared from this area due to habitat loss. We are hoping to see it return after restoring almost 50 ha of open grassland last season and expanding that area further in the upcoming season.

We chose the Ježević dry grassland specifically as it is the last recorded site of nesting stone-curlews on Dinara as well as a current habitat of the short-toed lark. We want to continue restoring and expanding this area to reverse the negative habitat trends affecting the quality of this habitat that is needed for these and other species dependant on open habitats. Some sites have only become so overgrown recently so we will also try to restore those areas to attract breeding birds.

This season our goal is to restore at least an additional 53 ha of dry grassland, with the aim that these areas once cleared will be continually used and maintained, meaning they should be used for grazing. It is a natural and best way to maintain grasslands, therefore extensive cattle breeding significantly contributes to maintaining biodiversity. We are hopeful the cleared areas will therefore not only remain cleared but will also expand, increasing the number of farmers and cattle.

Potential restoration areas in 2022-2023 season (rounded in red)

In addition to grassland restoration, we will continue our work on restoration of ponds and wells, mountain trails and dry walls. All of which are important parts of our cultural heritage as well as helpful assets for the local farmers.

As last year, restoration work ends at the end of March for a very important reason. In the, spring nature wakes up and many animal species begin their mating season, which for birds means the beginning of their nesting season. At this time nature is at their most vulnerable, and especially ground-nesting birds such as the stone-curlew, short-toed and other larks. Even unintentional human disturbance, which may not seem harmful, are a danger for the nests and the young if they occur in areas where these rare species nest. If disturbances occur and result in nests being destroyed while they have eggs or before the fledglings learn how to fly, it can mean the breeding effort was unsuccessful and therefore the survival of the birds is less likely.

Due to its exceptional biodiversity and preservation of nature, Dinara was declared a Nature Park, thusly we invite all individuals and institutions to be considerate towards nature and respect its cycles. We suggest all institutions and individuals, before organising event and activities in nature, to consult the relevant expert institutions (public institutions for the management of protected areas and other protected natural values or, in case of Dinara, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development), as well as public land managers such as Croatian Forestry or local government units to acquire necessary permissions.

Activity calendar Activity calendar-home News

‘How are we Preserving Dinara’ – come to our lecture at the Alka of Sinj Museum

We are organizing a lecture ‘How are we Preserving Dinara’ in the multimedia hall of the Alka of Sinj Museum on Friday, August 12, 2022 (at 6 p.m.) where we will present our nature conservation projects and our efforts in promoting sustainable use of Dinara.

We invite all interested parties – and especially guests from the city of Sinj and the Cetinska Krajina region who will visit us during these celebratory days – to come, meet us and listen to what we are doing to preserve Dinara.

The lecture about our efforts to preserve our favorite mountain will be given by Ivana Selanec, master of ecology and nature protection, director of the regional office of Biom Association in Sinj.

In addition to lectures, visitors of Sinj will have the opportunity to visit the exhibition “Back to nature” of the Dinara back to LIFE project on two occasions – on Sunday, August 7 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., as well as on Friday, August 12 from 9 a.m. to noon, at Matića ulica 12, Sinj.

Biom is the largest organization for the protection of birds in Croatia, and we are one of the leading member and volunteer organizations for the protection and research of nature in our country. Our main task is to preserve nature for the benefit of current and future generations.

With activities on the ground, we are present in almost all parts of Croatia, and in our 16 years of existence, we have implemented more than 300 different projects for the preservation of biodiversity. Today, we are a professional organization that successfully implements numerous domestic and international projects for the preservation of nature and biodiversity.

With the lecture in Sinj, we want to present our work in the area of ​​Dinara, point out the threats that nature faces on Dinara, and what is our role in its preservation. We will also present the values ​​that nature provides to people and thus ensures the coexistence of people and nature on the highest Croatian mountain, which has always had a special place in the hearts of our citizens.

Check how you can get involved and support the work of the Biom Association at the following link –

The lecture is supported by the Ferata portal.

Activity calendar Activity calendar-home News

Monitoring of the burnt area on Vrdovo – a year later everything is greener

We conducted a research on Vrdovo plateau where we used controlled burning in winter 2021 in order to determine differences between the burnt area and the control area.

In February 2021 our first restoration action of its kind, controlled burning was conducted on an area of 7 ha. Our recent research conducted over a year after the restoration activity shows that regarding the flora, the areas are no different. However, visually the difference is significant. The burnt area is visibly greener as it does not contain any old last-year leaves, which also enable uncontrolled burning as they are the dry material that burns.

It was established that younger shoots of woody vegetation dried out. However, the thicker branches ‘survived’ the burning, therefore small shrubs were successfully removed while the larger bushes and trees do not seem to be negatively affected by the burning.

Based on this, we can conclude that controlled burning during the winter months does not negatively impact the grassland or the more mature vegetation that is present, while at the same time it removes the dry biomass, which if not removed regularly, can facilitate devastating summer wildfires.

Activity calendar Activity calendar-home News

Workshops held in Sinj on exceptional values unique to the local environment

Recently, the Dinara back to LIFE project began with activities intended to promote sustainable tourism on Dinara area. Educations were organized to get acquainted with the natural treasures of Dinara, and local flora and fauna. A good practice visit to Nature Park Vransko Lake was also organized, as it represents an example of the successful implementation of sustainable nature observation programs.

The primary focus of the Dinara back to LIFE project is to restore the grasslands of Dinara, and in order for the restored habitats to remain preserved, it is necessary to be persistent in the sustainable use of nature and its resources.

The tourism sector is an important factor in the use of natural areas, and the recent declaration of Dinara Nature Park is a new opportunity and an encouragement for starting new activities for tourist boards, guides, and visitors. A special effort has also been made by us to emphasize and advocate that the development of tourism should be directed towards sustainability and in accordance with the preservation of nature. Focus put on the Dinara area in the last few years presents a huge opportunity, but it is important to be aware that the increasing interest and a large number of visitors that comes with it can be a threat to the natural treasures of the area, and therefore it is important to have a thoughtful and strategic approach to the matter.

The recent program aimed at tourist guides, as well as all interested citizens, consisted of three activities:

  • Education about the environmental values of Dinara area:
  • Wildlife watching tour to become familiar with the urban biodiversity of Sinj
  • A visit to good practice example – Vrana Lake Nature Park

Through education about the area’s environmental values ​​and the wildlife watching tour, the participants got familiar with the local environment, unique in the world. It is often the case that the inhabitants of a place see their surroundings as something ordinary, while in reality, the situation is exactly the opposite. Large open space grasslands, karst terrain, extensive livestock farming, drinking water sources, as well as ponds and wells are just some of the examples of the local landscape common for us that on the other hand present the first encounter with such habitats and species for many visitors.

The excursion to the Vrana Lake Nature Park was conducted under the expert guidance of the Nature Park staff. The participants had the opportunity to learn about the history of Lake Vrana and its uniqueness, as well as the problems and challenges this public institution is facing. An important thing to learn from the example of Lake Vrana is that the role of the tourism sector in protected areas is very specific and has a strong educational component. Experiencing nature and its beauty may be the motivation for paying a visit, but it should be used to learn about the importance of nature and biological diversity, as well as to spread awareness of the need to protect it.

As part of the program, our group itself was part of one of the nature observation programs, i.e. bird watching, while for some it was the first encounter with this type of activity. We hope that this experience brought all of our participants closer to the idea of tourism based on nature observation and that it motivated them to think about using the potential of nature observation tourism on Dinara.

We are very pleased to have met local tourist guides, interested citizens, and a group of high school students from Dinko Šimunović High School. Our work in the field of promoting sustainable tourism on Mount Dinara just began with this education and excursion. Once again, we would like to thank all the participants, and we hope that it was interesting, informative, and useful.

Recently, we held wildlife watching tours workshop, presenting it as a type of sustainable tourism. We also organized a good practice visit to Lake Vrana.
Activity calendar Activity calendar-home News

Video: Panel discussion ‘European Green Deal – How Croatia Can Strike It?’

The European Green Plan aims to solve the current climate crisis through three basic points: combating climate change by ending dependence on fossil fuels; preserving biodiversity because we have reached a point where the ecosystem can no longer take it; moving to a circular economy in which things from nature are recycled and used as long as possible – this is how Ariel Brunner from BirdLife International explained the pioneering project of the European Union at the panel discussion.

Brendan Dunford from the Irish program BurrenLIFE assessed that “the European Green Plan represents a huge advantage for countries like Croatia, a country with natural treasures. It is important that Croatia keeps pace with these opportunities and does not see them as threats. The results are then guaranteed and not only for today, but also for future generations”. Through his Burren programme, Dunford introduced a hybrid approach to farming in which farmers are paid both for work done and for achieving defined environmental goals.

Aljoša Duplić, director of the Croatian State Institute for Nature Protection announced on this occasion that Croatia will protect 30% of the Adriatic Sea under its jurisdiction because “the sea is very important not only as a resource for fish and tourism, but also as a sink for carbon. Protection will certainly enable sustainable fishing”.

Engin Yilmaz from the Yolda Initiative organization proposed setting up a platform that will bring together farmers and local residents in one place.

Watch the entire panel discussion ‘The European Green Plan – How Croatia Can Strike It?’, organized in the city of Sinj in May by Association Biom as part of the Dinara back to LIFE project, below:

Activity calendar Activity calendar-home News

Lecture: How much CO2 was emitted during the Dinara wildfires of 2017 and 2020?

At the recent 57th Croatian & 17th International Symposium on Agriculture in Vodice, members of our project team from the Faculty of Agriculture University of Zagreb presented their estimate of carbon dioxide (CO2) released in the 2017 and 2020 wildfires on Dinara. The results of the study were presented during the poster session.

CO2, a greenhouse gas, is the largest contributing factor to global warming and in 2021 record CO2 emissions caused by wildfires were broken in many parts of the world, including the Mediterranean.

In this study, doc. dr. sc. Hrvoje Kutnjak, prof. dr. sc. Josip Leto and assistant Lucija Rajčić tried to estimate CO2 emissions from the biomass samples collected during our project at Dinara mountain by making an approximation of the total biomass burned during the two wildfires and multiplying this with the CO2 emission factor for biomass burning.

Using Sentinel-2 satellite images, the areas affected by  the August 2017 and April 2020 wildfires were identified. Using the geographic information system (GIS), the size of the area was measured. The area affected by the 2017 wildfire was estimated at 64 km2, and by the 2020 wildfire at around 62 km2.

Graph: Red – the area affected by the 2020 wildfire; yellow – 2017 wildfire

Biomass samples collected at the burned area as part of our project were used to approximate the total biomass burned in these wildfires. Finally, the estimated mass of emitted CO2 was obtained by multiplying the total biomass with the CO2 emission factor. It was estimated that more than 11,500 tons of CO2 were emitted in the 2017 wildfire, and approximately 11,000 tons of CO2 in the 2020 wildfire.

The calculated amounts aren’t exact, they are an approximation. This is the first time a similar method was used for grasslands in Croatia. The estimated emissions are just an approximation but we hope to refine the method in the future. A more detailed description of the study can be found on the poster below –