Rewilding Croatia’s Velebit Mountains


Davor Krmpotić
Team leader of Velebit Mountains

VelebitMap.jpgCroatia, playing in its first World Cup final today, makes this rewilding story from the Velebit Mountains, and interview with its team leader, timely:

This dramatic mountain chain, right on the Adriatic coast in Croatia, is one of the wildest areas of the whole Mediterranean. A region where wild nature is really coming back.

Velebit is one of the most important natural areas in the Balkans and situated on the Adriatic coast of Croatia. It hosts two national parks, a biosphere reserve and several wonderful old-growth forests, deep canyons, ancient open lands and exciting wildlife like Balkan chamois, red deer, brown bear, wolf and lynx…

Velebit hosts a diversity of habitats

Velebit.jpgHow would you characterise your rewilding area?
Velebit is one of the most important natural areas in the Balkans. The area hosts an extraordinary diversity of different habitats, from barren Mediterranean landscapes at sea level, via vast beech forest of central European type, to almost boreal systems and alpine grasslands at higher altitudes. Outside protected areas in the south and east there are several other very interesting areas also with great rewilding potential, mainly consisting of abandoned farm and grazing lands. Apart from its fantastic wildlife, Velebit is also a climber’s paradise, home to spectacular caves and breathtaking sceneries. Continue reading

National Park of the Week: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Waterfalls


Granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park is Coratia’s largest and most popular park. Sixteen lakes, all inter-connected over a distance of 8 km by series of waterfalls and cascades, are set deep in the woodland and have a height difference of 135 meters (Veliki Slap, the largest waterfall, is 70 meters tall). Although the terraced lakes comprise only a small area of the total 300 sq km park, they offer a stunning sight with their changing hues throughout the seasons and garner practically all the attention from local and foreign tourists alike. Continue reading

The Tale of Two Pomegranates

The color red defines the current fruit season in India.  (Bananas don’t count because they are always in season, and yes there are indeed red bananas…)  The fruit stalls are piled with apples and pomegranates.  What lacks in variety is made up in abundance, as well as the flair for display.

But this season pomegranates reign.  Native to Iran (culturally Persia), the fruit traveled through India, mostly in the north of the country (Pune is famous for pomegranate production), but also in our southern state of Kerala.  The Middle East, Mediterranean and southern Europe were also fertile ground for the Punica granatum, and when the Spanish brought it to the “New World” it completed the global circuit nicely. Continue reading

How the Wind Rose Turns

A recent trip to Thekkady showed me that the North East Monsoon will soon be upon us.  The state’s equatorial tropical climate is dictated by its privileged position between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, with the South West Monsoon providing respite from the summer heat and the North East Monsoon providing displays of lightning worthy of the Diwali season.

As the winds pick up it made me think about our time in Croatia, a country where the winds have mysterious names that don’t appear to coincide with points on the compass.  Like eddies, one of those inanimate natural phenomena that seem to take on animated characteristics, the named winds seem to possess characteristics far greater than the mere direction of their source. Continue reading