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Protected areas in Croatia


According to the Nature Protection Act, there are nine categories of protected areas in Croatia, largely corresponding to the internationally recognised IUCN Protected Area categories.

National and nature parks are designated and managed at national level: national parks aim at preserving intact natural values, and they also serve the purpose of scientific research, whereas the objective of nature parks is the protection of biological and landscape diversity; both typologies share cultural, educational and recreational purposes, too.

Other types of protected areas are managed at county level: strict reserves; special reserves (protected because of their uniqueness, rarity or representativeness, and of particular scientific significance); regional parks (for the protection of landscape diversity as well as for the promotion of sustainable development and tourism); nature monuments; significant landscapes (for the conservation of landscape values and biological diversity, or cultural and historical values); park forests; park architecture monuments (artificially developed areas having special aesthetic, cultural, historic, ecological or scientific values).    

In addition to parks protected under the national legislation, other areas in Croatia are protected in accordance with international conventions.

UNESCO World Heritage Areas are exceptionally valuable sites that are considered to be of outstanding value to humanity; Biosphere reserves are recognized by the UNESCO Man and Biosphere programme as areas which promote both biodiversity conservation and  sustainable development; Ramsar areas are wetland habitats included on the List of Wetlands of International Importance, in accordance to the Ramsar Convention; areas belonging to the European Geoparks Network (EGN) seek to protect geodiversity and stimulate sustainable development in the parks through geotourism.

According to the Protected Areas Register of the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection (as of 28 June 2013), a total of 420 areas are protected in the Republic of Croatia in various categories. They account for 8.19% of the total country area, that is, 11.61% of the terrestrial territory and 1.97% of the territorial sea. Nature parks account for the largest share of all protected areas (4.79% of the total national territory).

Source: State Institute for Nature Protection

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