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Protecting Croatia’s geoheritage

Croatia has a long traditional of protecting its geoheritage. The first Caves Act was passed in 1900, while the site Rupnica was proclaimed the first geological nature monument in 1948. Upon the discovery of a prehistoric human fossil, Hušnjakovo was proclaimed the first paleontological nature monument.

The 2008 Strategy and Action Plan for the Protection of Biological and Landscape Diversity of the Republic of Croatia (OG 143/08) called for greater attention to be paid in protecting geodiversity and geoheritage. The conservation of geodiversity and geotopes was set as a strategic goal in order to preserve the biological and landscape diversity and to ensure the in situ and ex situ conservation of the non-renewable geomorphology and geoheritage of the Republic of Croatia.

\"\"Today, 433 protected areas are registered in the Ministry of Environmental and natural protection's Register of protected natural values. Of these, 51 are protected as geosites. Geoheritage is protected in the categories of special reserves (paleontological) and nature monuments (geological, paleontological, geological/paleontological, geomorphological and hydrological), and protected minerals (Vrgorac siliceous nodular concretions). The majority of localities (36) are protected as geomorphological nature monuments.

Geoheritage is also found within the borders of already protected areas, such as strict reserves, national parks, nature parks, regional parks and significant landscapes.




The most intensive period for the protection of geosites was during the 1960s, when a total of 28 sites received protection. However, a stagnation in the protection process was recorded in the periods from 1950 to 1958, from 1986 to 1994 and from 1998 to 2008.

Since 2008, based on the expert substantiations for preventative protection of the State Institute for Nature Protection, the Nature Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection has proclaimed five sites as preventatively protected geosites: Crnika on the island of Pag as a special geological/paleontological reserve; the cave in the Tounj quarry as a geomorphological nature monument, the Vrtare male Pit as a geological/paleontological nature monument, the Brbiscica bay as a geological/paleontological and geomorphological special reserve and Gorjanović loess profile in Vukovar as a geological nature monument.

The table below outlines the expert substantiation/foundation for the geosites and the year of proclamation of protection:

Name of area ES*/EF** Category Year of drafting Year of proclamation

EF** Geological/paleontological special reserve 2005  
Cave in the Tounj quarry ES* Geomorphological nature monument 2005 2008

ES* Geological/paleontological special reserve 2008 2008

Vrtare male pit
ES* Geological/paleontological nature monument 2008 2009

ES* Geological nature monument 2009  

Brbišćica bay

Geological/geomorphological special reserve
(Geological/paleontological and geomorphological special reserve)

2009  2010

Vrtare male pit
EF** Geological/paleontological nature monument 2010  
Gorjanović loess profile in Vukovar ES* Geological nature monument 2010  2012
Pljuskara canyons EF** Paleontological nature monument 2011  


EF** Geological/paleontological nature monument 2012  

* expert substantiation for protection
** expert foundation for protection

Zwicker, G., Žeger Pleše, I., Zupan, I. (2008): Protection of the geoheritage of the Republic of Croatia, State Institute for Nature Protection, Zagreb

Ministry of Culture, Nature Protection Directorate: Register of protected natural values

Croatian Parliament (2008): Strategy and Action Plan for Protection of Biological and Landscape Diversity of the Republic of Croatia (OG 143/08)