Links of interest for

Croatia : Cres & Losinj


The Croatian islands include almost all islands on the east coast and the central area of the Adriatic, making the second largest archipelago in the Mediterranean. There are 1,185 of them, geographically divided into 718 islands, 389 islets (peak above sea level) and 78 reefs (peak below sea level). Although they determine the territorial sea that makes almost 37 % of the total area of Croatia (without the islands the territorial sea would be reduced by two thirds), the islands make up just about 3,300 km2 or 5.8% of the total national land territory. The largest of them is the island of Krk (409.9 km2). There are 77 islands larger than 1 km2, and only twenty exceed 20 km2. Due to their particularly indented coastline (Pag is the most indented and Hvar is the longest) they feature more coastline than the mainland. Of 5,834.9 km of the Croatian coastline, 4,057.2 km (69.5%) is island coast. According to the 1991 census there were 67 inhabited islands with a surface area of 3,062 km2. There are also about 15 occasionally inhabited islands (during the season) that together with the uninhabited islands make a surface area of 143 km2. The island with the largest number of inhabitants is Korcula (17,078) and Krapanj has the highest population density with 527 inhabitants living on 0.36 km2. Further details about the main geographical and geopolitical characteristics of the Croatian islands are given in this paper.

The Directorate for Island and Coastal Development within the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and in accordance with the National Island Development Programme and the Islands Act, is in charge of their sustainable development and supervises investments in the most significant sectors on the islands. Other government departments have different responsibilities for islands. For example, in 2006, the Ministry of Science and Technology approved financing for the e-Islands project that connects schools on low inhabited and depopulating islands with the mainland through the Croatian Academic and Research Network (CARnet) This project helps teachers give virtual lectures to pupils using video and multimedia equipment, including smartboards and enables access to other line learning tools.

The islands are usually divided into the Istrian, Kvarner, North Dalmatian, Central Dalmatian and South Dalmatian groups. For the purposes of this case study we are focusing upon Cres and Losinj, two islands joined by a bridge over a narrow artificial channel on the more developed northern Kvarner group. Cres is 68 km in length, has an area of 405.78 sq km and a population of 3,238. Losinj is 31 km in length, has an area of 74.68 sq km and a population of 8,346. Allegedly the place where Jason and the Argonauts fled with the Golden Fleece, the islands were originally known as the 'Absyrtides'; according to locals, Medea killed her brother Absyrtus here as he pursued her and threw his remains into the sea, where two of his limbs became Cres and Losinj.

Cres is the second largest of the Adriatic islands, only beaten in size by neighbouring Krk. It marks the transition between the lush green vegetation of northern Croatia and the bare karst of the Adriatic, with the deciduous forest and overgrown hedgerows of northern Cres - the so-called Tramuntana - giving way to the increasingly barren sheep-pastures of the southern part of the island. Sheep apart, there's not much agriculture on the island, and the only other economic activities are fishing and tourism. Despite its proximity to the mainland, Cres is by far the wilder and more unspoiled of the two islands, boasting a couple of attractively weather beaten old settlements in Osor and Cres Town, as well as numerous villages and coves in which modern-day mass tourism has yet to make an impact.

Losinj developed a thriving maritime trade after the demise of the Venetian Republic, with a large fleet and several shipyards, and later emerged as a holiday destination - like Opatija on the mainland it started out in the late nineteenth century as a winter health resort for sickly Viennese. Nowadays the island's main town, Mali Losinj, is a magnet for holidaymakers from central Europe, though even here you'll find a characterful old town and port relatively unsullied by mega-developments.

There are other small inhabited islands in the Cres-Losinj archipelago most notably Unije and Susak. The latter has a small population of less than 200 who speak their own dialect, which is not easily understood by other Croats. It is also distinct because the women often dress in a colourful costume, comprising of a short, multicoloured dress, white blouse and red leggings.

Apart from northern Cres, the western flanks of other islands in the Kvarner Gulf are hauntingly bare when seen from the mainland, the result of deforestation during the Venetian period, when local timber was used to feed the shipyards of Venice. The fierce northeasterly wind known as the Bora has prevented anything from growing there again. The denuded landscape is particularly evident on the most southerly of the Kvarner group, Pag, with its bare, stony hills that look incapable of supporting any form of life. Despite this around 8,000 live here, looking after three times as many sheep. The two main settlements are Pag Town, with its attractive historic center, and Novalja, a bland modern settlement whose beach-based nightlife is fast earning it the title 'the Croatian Ibiza'.

Renewable Energy & Eco Housing

At the beginning of 1994 the Croatian government adopted a new research project in the energy field called PROHES and in March 1997 signed the agreement to manage ten national energy programs with the Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar (EIHP). An eleventh program CROTAK was started in 1999 by EIHP for energy development on islands. The goal of this program was to ensure institutional, organizational and expert perquisites for increasing energy efficiency and alternative energy use on islands. Some preliminary results of their investigation aimed at establishing the energy consumption in households, services and industry sectors as well as predictions of future energy demands until 2020 were published in this paper.

All inhabited islands are connected to the national electric power system with undersea cables from the mainland. Wind power in Croatia has been growing since the first commercial wind farm was constructed by Adria Wind Power on the island of Pag in 2004 supported by a mix of German and Croatian capital. The preparation phase, including location permit, measurements, ornithological impact study, connection contract, building permit, power purchase agreement, energy consent and network use contract took nearly 7 years, while construction took only 4 months. The site consists seven Vestas wind turbines each generating 850 kW. All the electricity generated except for those quantities required for auxiliary on-site supply is sold to the national power company Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP Group) which has been engaged in electricity production, transmission and distribution for more than a century. When the wind farm is inoperative, this company supply electricity for the plant's needs under effective tariff rates. The total electricity generation capacity in Croatia by the HEP Group in 2004 was 4,049 MW.

At the third meeting and workshop of the EU STORIES project to facilitate Renewable Energy Sources (RES) penetration in islands through modifications in the legislative and regulatory framwork that will adopt energy storage technologies, a presentation was given about the Croatian islands. Amongst other things this illustrated a small hybrid system on Cres and what future solar capacity would be required for Losinj. At the fourth STORIES project meeting held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in October 2009, there were two presentations about the island of Mljet Dubrovnik 2009. and Impact of Energy Storage which is situated in southern Dalmatian archipelago. As this island is a national park wind farm installations are still prohibited but the needs and opportunities in infrastructure particularly for an independent municipal power system and further desalination plant are illustrated. Two further presentations RES and Energy Storage and Energy on Islands of Split and Dalmatia were given about RES policy, programs and projects for Croatia in general and the islands of Split and Dalmatia County.

Another EIHP project involves the development of a concept for an energy independent ecological house as an element of an autonomous solar village for rural tourism on Croatian islands. Energy and environmentally conscious building construction aims to: reduce heat losses from a building by improving the insulation of its outer elements, and by providing an adequate relation between the surface area and the building's volume; increase heat gains within a building through adequate orientation and the use of solar energy; utilise renewable energy sources; and increase the efficiency of the heating system. The analysis shows that passive house standards provide economically feasible ways to reduce energy demand within new buildings in conformity with the principle of sustainable development.

The UNDP Removing Barriers to Energy Efficiency project aims at removing barriers for the implementation of economically feasible, energy efficient technologies and measures in residential and service sectors in Croatia, with the final goal to reduce energy consumption and the associated greenhouse gases, and rising public awareness about efficient use of energy. Along with activities directed towards citizens and business sector, such as national and local information campaign about energy efficiency, seminars, free brief energy building audits and recommendations for citizens, project activities also include - Systematic Energy Management (SEM) in the Cities and Counties of the Republic of Croatia project and House in Order project.

Waste Minimisation & Recycling

The Croatian Environment Agency is responsible for providing reliable and comparable waste data and information to decision-makers and the general public as detailed in this leaflet. The last official data was published in the Waste Management Plan of the Republic of Croatia 2007-2015.

Water Management & Security

There are no permanent watercourses on Cres. However, in its central part is Vrana lake, a natural phenomenon of exceptional value and economic importance. It was created in a karstic sink by water rising from the depths, and its annual performance depends on the precipitation. The lake forms a 74 m deep crypto depression holding 200,000,000 m3 of potable water. It is 5.5 km long and 1.5 km wide, with a surface area of about 5.5 km2 and is the main source of water for the islands of Cres and Losinj. Along the coasts of the island are numerous submarine springs.

Extensive Agriculture & Organic Food Production

The sun, rocky ground and water scarcity have always marked the development of the island agriculture. Only 6% of the total surface area of the Croatian islands is arable land, and tillage requires much care and hard work. For this reason the most commonly found grounds are the anthropogenously terraced grounds, which between the two world wars were still vineyards and olive groves, and today they are mostly left untilled, a prize to the garrigue and Aleppo pine. Even so, the agricultural production is still dominated by vineyards and olive groves which thrive in spite of the drought. On dry karst pastures sheep are bred which yield high quality meat and milk for delicious cheese. Most other cultures, like citrus fruits, kiwi and vegetables, require water which is scarce. Water scarcity is a limitation to a more extensive wine, fruit and olive production.

Olive growers are increasingly watering their olive-trees, and on many islands the so-called Cres model is spreading: sheep are enclosed in an olive-grove to weed and manure it. Olive growing is in many ways a proper island activity. The tree is capable of regeneration, modern agricultural machinery guarantees good crops, oil can be inexpensively and efficiently stored for several years, and the work in an olive-grove is done in the autumn and winter when there are no tourists or other agricultural works. Besides, olive oil can harmonise edible vegetable oils balance in domestic consumption. On the other hand, most of the former olive-groves are now hard to reach because old field lanes are falling in, becoming overgrown with maquis and impossible to pass for decades now.

Pag's main claim to fame is a hard, piquant sheep's cheese, which has a taste somewhere between mature cheddar and parmesan. The distinctive taste is due to the method of preparation - the cheeses are rubbed with a mixture of olive oil and ash before being left to mature - and diet of the sheep, which includes many wild herbs flavoured by salt picked up from the sea by the wind and deposited on the grey-green carpet of sage across the island. Indeed, salt is Pag's main traditional industry with saltpans stretching out along the island's central valley. Another is lace-making, a craft for the moment that remains uncommercialized. Small pieces are sold from doorways by the lacemakers themselves, often wearing the dark, full-skirted local costume that seems to have endured here more than anywhere else on the Adriatic.


There are daily ferries from Rijeka to Cres Town, journey time 1 hour 15 minutes. There are also very frequent ferries from Brestova on the mainland (very near Rabac) to Porozina - journey time 20 minutes - and between Valbiska on Krk to Merag on Cres - journey time 30 minutes. All ferries are run by Jadrolinija. There are daily buses from Zagreb to Cres Town, with a journey time of 4 and a half hours.

There are daily ferries from Rijeka to Mali Losinj (journey time 4 hours), and also between Mali Losinj and the surrounding islands. In July and August there is a catamaran service from Venice (with a stop at Pula) operated by Venezia Lines. There are daily buses from Zagreb to Mali Losinj & Veli Losinj, with a journey time of about 6 hours.

Sustainable Tourism & Niche Marketing

The Croatian National Tourist Board provides comprehensive information and there is also a Kvarner County Tourist Board as well as local tourist offices on Cres and Losinj. At the 12th International TourFilm Festival, recently held in Split, the promotional film "Losinj - Island of vitality", was announced as the best tourist film of the festival. Ecotourism is growing trend on both islands as this paper and PhD dissertation illustrate. Local companies are now offering walking excursions, bike and boat trips, traditional accommodation and diving plus an award winning camp site.

From its very beginning, the Eco-Centre Caput Insulae on Cres has dealt with and promotes ecotourism as the only possible means of connecting traditional ways of life based on sheep grazing and agriculture with the economic development of the island. In order to bring tourists closer to the beauty of the north part of the island, Tramuntana, the centre has built a network of seven educational eco-trails. Three circular hiking trails start from the centre passing through a mixed area of pasture, forest, abandoned villages, drystone walls (gromaca) and freshwater ponds. The most interesting of the trails is the 7km red path that takes you past twenty open-air sculptures by Ljubo de Karina, inscribed with Glagolitic script and poems by a local poet. Staff and volunteers from the centre also restore the drystone walls and clean out the ponds on a regular basis to prevent eutrophication. By saving the ponds they are also helping local shepherds whose sheep use them for drinking water and therefore the preservation of traditional sheep farming that in turn is one of the main prerequisites for the survival of griffon vultures from extinction.

The WWF has identified the Croatian islands as one of the last pockets of Mediterranean paradise. With the decline in the fishing industry, tourism has become the main source of income, and more and more tourists are coming attracted by the islands unspoiled beauty. Throughout the region WWF is working with local environment organizations like SUNCE and the Tour Operators' Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development to establish a Dalmatian Blue Corridor made up of a series of marine protected areas. Their first pilot project was the island of Lastovo in 2005.

Biodiversity & Protected Areas

Croatia is still regarded as a country with a high level of preserved nature and biodiversity and Cres is probably the most important island in this respect. Plant species richness for all Croatian islands has been estimated to 1807 species on the basis of floristic study of 106 islands published in 2008. On these islands there were 89 circum-Adriatic endemic and 35 narrow endemic plant taxa recorded. Almost 200 species of vertebrate fauna inhabit Croatian islands. Of the mammals especially interesting is the only island population of European mole that was found on Cres and is considered to belong to a discrete taxon.

Croatian islands provide important nesting places for many endangered bird species such as Cory's Shearwater, Eleonora's Falcon, Griffon Vulture, Audouin's Gull and Little Tern. At the Eco-Centre Caput Insulae on Cres there is a sanctuary for Griffon Vultures in the village of Beli. Since being set up in 1993, it has rescued, healed and released 95 birds. For the first time in 2009, two of these birds were fitted with satellite transmitters that can stay on for years, providing data on their location, altitude, speed and course.

When the project began there were only around 20 pairs of vulture on Cres. It has now been raised to some 70 pairs, more than half the species' total number of pairs in Croatia. Still, their survival is at risk on several fronts. One is the decline of sheep farming, as the scavengers eat mainly sheep carcases. Another is creeping urbanisation, which is destroying their habitat, and they also suffer the collateral damage of farmers trying to poison wild boar. Croatia's griffon vultures are the only ones that nest as low as 10 metres just above the sea on vertical cliffs. Tourists flock to the area in boats, and upon reaching them they clap and shout in order to startle the birds into taking flight - hoping to photograph these majestic raptors. Tragically, many of the birds are young and do not yet know how to fly. Once they are frightened from their nests, they fall into the water and drown. In 2009 ECCIB reported that five vultures had been killed in this way and another five were under their care.

Among reptiles, the most interesting are 13 endemic taxa of Dalmatian wall lizard, each restricted to a single island. Invertebrates as a whole are poorly researched with few surveys having been conducted on Croatian islands.

Invasive alien species present one of the major threats to Croatian islands biodiversity. Silver-leaved nightshade on the island of Plavnik, eastern mosquitofish in ponds of several islands, small Indian mongoose on some Dalmatian islands and wild boar, fallow deer and mouflon which have been introduced to some islands as game species are just some of the problems.

The State Institute for Nature Protection is centrally responsible and performs a number of activities with the aim to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of nature conservation in Croatia in the long run by high quality research and monitoring work. Amongst other things, it helped to establish the Croatian Ecological Network in 2007 with defined areas of national and international importance. It includes areas important for wild taxa (except birds) and habitats, which correspond to NATURA 2000 proposed Sites of Community Importance, and areas internationally important for birds, which correspond to NATURA 2000 Special Protection Areas. Areas important for wild taxa (except birds) and habitats comprise in total 27.49% of the island territory in Croatia while areas internationally important for birds cover as much as 81.26% of the island territory of Croatia.

There are three National parks on islands - Brijuni, Kornati and Mljet - and two island Nature parks - Telascica and Lastovo Archipelago - which consist of land territory and the adjacent sea. The process of giving the Losinj-Cres archipelago permanent protection as a Regional park is ongoing since this area has been identified as one of the critical habitats for bottlenose dolphins in the eastern Adriatic. The Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation has a particular interest in this area with an education and interpretation centre at Veli Losinj harbour. It was instrumental in getting a Special Marine Reserve established in 2006 off Losinj-Cres which is the biggest marine protected area in the entire Adriatic, totaling 526 and forming part of coherent Croatian network of MPAs under MedPAN.

Together with bottlenose dolphins, this Reserve will help conserve a number of other endangered and protected species of flora and fauna and their critical habitats found within the designated area. For example, wintering sites of loggerhead turtle, sea grass beds, coral biocenoses and nesting sites of the common European Shag. Moreover, recent research identified 152 species of marine flora, 303 species of marine invertebrates (7 strictly protected, 9 protected) and 112 species of fish (19 endangered species in Croatia) within the area. This area is known also for its important underwater archaeological sites particularly the site where the Greek bronze statue, a priceless replica of Lizip's Apoksymenos, was discovered.

In 2009 a paper was published about the environmental challenges for sustainable development in the Croatian North Adriatic littoral region. The major threats and problems on Croatian islands include: concentration of economic activities and population along the coast, lack of integrated coastal zone planning and management, illegal building, tourism and urban development (including infrastructure and recreational activities), depopulation (the most prominent process on some islands), land abandonment (demise of traditional extensive grazing and mowing), unsustainable fishing, poaching, untreated waste waters and fires. There are numerous NGOs engaged with campaigning against these various activities and undertaking projects to either educate, implement or mitigate against them including Argonauta that run an Island Sustainability Education Centre, Association SUNCE, Croatian Society for Bird and Nature Conservation, Dolphin Dream Society, Green Action, Green Osijek and Zelena Istra. On a much larger scale, the main goal of the UNDP/GEF Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in the Dalmatian Coast through Greening Coastal Development (COAST) project is to ensure that the development path of the Croatian Coast is environmentally friendly, with the conservation of landscape and biological diversity central to its goal. Although this project does not include the Cres-Losinj archipelago there are many initiatives (organic farming, authentic breeds and varieties, eco-rural tourism, shellfish farming, sustainable fishing, environment preservation as a method for its sustainable use etc) supported under their Green Business Support Programme taking place on other Croatian islands that could serve as examples of good practice.

Integrated Development Planning

The Maglite Foundation is a non-profit Croatian entity, which was established in 1997 by Mag Instrument. Anthony Maglica, President and Founder of Mag Instrument, is the President of the Managing Board for the Foundation. The Foundation logo symbolizes a globe with light emanating from the Maglite Corporate Headquarters in Ontario, California in North America to the Adriatic Sea.

The Maglite Foundation's purpose is to facilitate the clean up of the Adriatic region as well as to support environmental protection efforts and preservation of this delicate ecosystem in order to preserve its natural beauty and safeguard its resources. The Foundation also hopes to facilitate the economic revitalization of this region consistent with these goals, primarily through job creation and other economic stimulus.

The Foundation's initial focus has been on the island of Zlarin off the coast of Sibenik. Although born in New York City, Maglica was raised on Zlarin. Several years ago he went back to visit his boyhood home and noted the extent of pollution on and around the island. Trash was dumped everywhere on the island or weighted down with rocks and thrown into the sea. Maglica was so distraught that he created the Maglite Foundation immediately upon his return and went about designing and fabricating a state of the art incinerator for the island. The Foundation also donated a fire engine to the island (its first!).

Zlarin (an island approximately 6 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide) is located on the Dalmation coast. It is one of four inhabited islands belonging to the town of Sibenik, the gateway to the national parks in the Krka river gorge and the Kornati Islands. Zlarin is within swimming distance of the mainland, or if you prefer, just a 30 minutes boat ride from the Sibenik ferry terminal. Zlarin's beautiful coast and clear waters are a haven for summer yachters traveling the Adriatic coast. Its picturesque small village dating back to the 1400's is a photographer's dream and its pristine coves a paradise for swimmers and summer sunbathers.

As recent as 1960, the population of Zlarin was close to 2000 people. However, many of the inhabitants left the island for jobs in the cities of the former Yugoslavia, leaving the present population at approximately 250. Until the 1960's islands off the coast from Sibenik were heavily cultivated, primarily for subsistence farming. At one time, Zlarin even produced exportable wine and olive oil. Today agricultural production has dwindled to garden plots and a few cared-for olive and grape orchards. At present, only 5% of the island's 8.14 square kilometers are used for agricultural production. Much of the former orchards and vineyards are covered with Mediterranean pine. Zlarin was also once the center for red coral harvesting in the Adriatic but today just one small private workshop remains on the island producing coral jewellery.

In May 2000, the Maglite Foundation commissioned a study to identify and explore the potential for socioeconomic development on Zlarin. It sponsored a team of instructors and students from the College of Environmental Design at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona to spend a week gathering data about the island from the local government in Sibenik. Subsequently, an urban design course being taught at the University prepared multiple scenarios for developing the island consistent with the Foundation objectives. It is not known whether any of these came to fruition but today a local NGO Punta Arta has received financial support under the UNDP/GEF COAST Green Business Support Programme for a project titled "Preservation, revitalization and modern reinterpretation of the old ways of friendly cohabitation with natural island environment: ethno-botanical analysis and eco-geographical survey of wild cabbage of the island of Zlarin."

The first programme to recognise the specificities of the Croatian islands was produced in 1986. In the context of transition, Croatia's development planning became heavily influenced by Western European approaches underpinned by commitments to participation and stakeholder consultation which, only sometimes, managed to move beyond mere rhetoric. Regardless of the nature of the economic and political system, the need to balance top-down and bottom-up planning processes, and the importance of development a national strategy sensitive to local conditions, often presented planners with insurmountable obstacles, not easily solved by simply adding on participatory planning methods. Over time, a number of national programmes and regulatory frameworks have been developed including the National Island Development Programme (1997), the Islands Act (1999), and the Decree on Methodology of Island Development Programmes (2002). Until now, island development programmes have been completed but not yet implemented in 26 island groups covering the entire Croatian archipelago.

Various papers PRO-ACTIVE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY, Participation in Transition: and Participation in island development programmes in Croatia co-written by Dr Nenad Starc at the Institute of Economics in Zagreb have explored the political, institutional, technological and socio-economic factors impeding or impelling stakeholder participation in the preparation and implementation of island development programmes in Croatia.

The abstract for his last paper stated: "At the political level, the lack of transparency in expenditure choices, and their tendency to reflect over-politicised decision-making, tends to orient island leaders to emphasise formal and informal relations with central politicians rather than with their own local communities, with whom communication tends to be one-way.

Most islands are divided between two or more units of local self-government without adequate mechanisms for joint planning and resolution of disputes. In addition, the institutional capacities of many islands in the context of out-migration, coupled with the lack of island identification by some stakeholders (such as business interests), also tends to inhibit the implementation of programmes. Crucially, technological issues and the problems of achieving economies of scale in large infrastructure programmes also tend to promote dependency on central decision-makers. Finally, socio-cultural variations appear relevant insofar as the level of participation in implementation of programmes correlates with the level of development of the islands."

In 1987, Starc was involved in helping to plan and establish a Centre for the Development of the Adriatic Islands on Cres-Losinj with two employees funded by municipal funds. "Its goals included helping to steer island development, ensuring that development programmes and thinking took into account the specificities of island development, and, crucially, to promote the role of islanders in decision making. From its inception, the Centre came up against the dominant power structure on the islands of Cres and Losinj, namely the two main tourist and trade firms which employed almost 60% of all the islands' active population, and which controlled municipal decision-making with its own people as Presidents of the Municipal Assembly and Executive Council. Indeed, a number of 'company islands', i.e. those dominated by one major company, still exist today with companies tending to by-pass participatory planning processes. Traditionally, the two key political positions in the town were nominees of these firms and, when the President of the Assembly changed, municipal commitment changed to concern, if not hostility, at a body perceived to be interfering in municipal-business matters. Already, by 1988 funding from the municipality became more erratic, invitations to key meetings were no longer received, and the Centre's work was largely ignored. Formally, the initiative survived the change in the political system in 1991 but never had much power locally. It was officially closed in 1994 although elements of the Centre's structures and its leading activists became important in terms of the formulation of island policy at central state level."

The third largest island of the Cres-Losinj archipelago is Unije (17km2, 100 islanders) and Starc chose it as a representative case due to its relatively rich resources and turbulent history to examine the impacts of large-scale patterns of socio-economic development on small island communities and their economies. His paper describes the island's ecosystem, resources, population and built environment and analyses ups and downs that the island experienced in last two centuries. The inability of usual analytical methods to capture features of small economies and communities is observed and discussed. The main external economic factors of changes of the Unije community have been the fishing industry with its dynamic spatial pattern and the tourist industry which has been the main activity on the island in the last 40 years. Other factors have been changes in the geo-political environment and general socialist development policies. Development of both industries and corresponding state policies are discussed in order to reveal the inability of policy makers to take into account insular development specificities. Policy failure to take into account different effects that the same measure may have in different parts of the territory in which it is applied is also discussed. In the remainder, decentralisation of development management and bottom-up top down policy mix are proposed and elaborated as solutions for existing policy failures.

Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation Measures

A paper on the "Potential Implications of Sea-Level Rise for Croatia" was published 2008 in the Journal of Coastal Research. Sea-level measurements at four points on the east Adriatic coast over the last 40 years indicate differential sea-level trends: from a rise between +0.53 and +0.96 mm/y to a decrease between -0.50 and -0.82 mm/y, a range mainly due to local tectonic activity. In this paper, the effects of assumed 20- and 86-cm sea-level rises on the coastal area are assessed by expert judgement. Coastal areas appear to have, in general, a low vulnerability to changes in sea level. However, some important sites, such as Vrana Lake on the island of Cres would be seriously endangered. Because of its great length, the entire Croatian coastline cannot be fully protected. Therefore, long-term national adaptation strategies to sea-level rise and plans of actions should be prepared and adopted, and monitoring of the consequences of sea-level rise and further research should be implemented.

A book about Climatic Change and the Mediterranean published in 1996 had a chapter on the "Implications of Expected Climatic Changes for the Cres-Losinj Islands". This study based on extrapolations from the best available data identified four potentially major, specific impacts that may become gradually apparent by the middle of the next century in the Cres and Lošinj archipelago. (a) Gradually increasing salinity of the waters of Lake Vrana, which is at present virtually the sole source of freshwater on the archipelago, due to penetration of sea water into the aquifers feeding the lake as a consequence of sea level rise. (b) Flooding of some present coastal urban areas and infrastructure, due to the rise in sea level. A mean sea level rise of 1 m would inundate about 35 ha of the economically and historically most important urban areas, housing about 13% of the archipelago's present population. (c) An extended tourist season owing to elevated average temperature. An increase of about 2°C in the mean temperature (anticipated to occur by the year 2030) could extend the tourist season from the present three to five months. (d) Increased risk of forest fires owing to the increase in temperature, with concurrent decrease in humidity and soil moisture during the summer season.

The main recommendations of the study, which may have to be taken into account, include: (a) research on the hydrology of Lake Vrana should be increased and, depending on the results and the projected demands for fresh water, an early decision should be taken either: to improve and increase the trapping and storage of peak flows of kantic rivers over the Kvarner mainland and artificially recharge the karstü underground aquifers during the prolonged, dry summer seasons; or to ensure the supply of additional quantities of drinking water from mainland sources or, to produce it locally (e.g. by desalination); (b) elevation of coastal defence structures in order to protect valuable historic centres, buildings and structures. Development plans should identify vulnerable areas and restrict future developments that may be vulnerable to climatic changes; (c) evaluation of the opportunities and demands (space and services) resulting from an extended tourist season; and (d) review of forest management (e.g. clearing of undergrowth, cutting of firebreaks) practices to reduce the increased risk of forest fires.


Cpt. Mario Babic, Head, Directorate for Island & Coastal Development, Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure
Goran Krajacic, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb
Starc Nenad, Institute of Economics Zagreb
Robert Nikolic, President of Local Board, Unije
Goran Susic, Director, Eco-Centre Caput Insulae, Cres