Geological diversity means the diversity of non-living nature and includes geological and geomorphological diversity. Geological diversity includes various types of rocks, minerals, fossils, relief formations, subterranean objects and structures as well as the processes that formed them through geological periods.
Geological and geomorphological heritage constitutes a natural heritage of scientific, cultural, aesthetic, landscape, economic and/or intrinsic values, which needs to be preserved and handed down to future generations.
Non-living nature or geological and geomorphological heritage in the Republic of Croatia is valuable, abundant and diverse. A special value of our geological and geomorphological heritage is its great diversity in a relatively small area.
Croatia has a long tradition of geodiversity protection. The Cave Protection Act was enacted as far back as 1900, and the first geological (Rupnica–Voćin) and paleontological nature monuments of nature were proclaimed as early as 1948.
Geological diversity is an important natural factor underpinning biological, cultural and landscape diversity and therefore an important parameter to be considered in the assessment, protection, conservation, management and use of natural areas of the Republic of Croatia.
Geological and geomorphological heritage in general, and in particular the site of fossil remains of Neanderthal man Hušnjakovo – Krapina and Vindija – Donja Voća, the quarry Fantasia, Lukina jama–Trojama pit system, Crveno jezero (Red Lake), etc. are valuable geosites, not only of local or European, but also of global importance and, as being highly attractive for tourists, they should be included in the tourist offer through the development of geotourism (scientific-educational tourism).
Protectedgeological and geomorphological heritage
Individual parts of geological and geomorphological heritage of interest for the Republic of Croatia have been designated as protected natural assets, mostly as nature monuments or special nature reserves, while the predominant part of valuable geological heritage is located within spatially larger protected areas (important landscapes, regional parks, nature parks and national parks).
Under the Nature Protection Act, a total of 56 geo-structures/geo-sites in 13 counties have been protected thus far, of which 52 as nature monuments (of which 2 are under preventive protection) and 4 as special nature reserves (of which 2 are under preventive protection), which makes about 12% of the total number of protected areas in Croatia.
Key issues in the protection and conservation of geodiversity in the Republic of Croatia
- insufficient awareness of the value and importance of geological and geomorphological heritage,
- non-renewability, vulnerability to damage or destruction resulting in permanent loss of geological and geomorphological heritage,
- many parts of valuable geoheritage ( southern Mt. Velebit, northern Dalmatia, certain parts of Lika, Kordun, Banija and Slavonia, etc.) contain landmines, and landmine clearance is a very slow and expensive process.
Geodiversity and geoheritage conservation contributes to solving the issues of survival of species and integrity of ecological systems.
The Republic of Croatia has included geodiversity conservation in the Strategy for the Protection of Biological and Landscape Diversity of the Republic of Croatia. (OG 143/08).
The establishment of the UNESCO Global Geopark Network (GGN) and the European Geopark Network (EGN) contributed to the improvement of geodiversity conservation and sustainable use of geological and geomorphological heritage.
Consequently, in 2007 Nature Park “Papuk” became the first Croatian geopark, or a full member of the listed association of geoparks.
A contribution to geological diversity protection and conservation was also made by the IUCN resolution CGR4.MOT055 Conservation of Geodiversity and Geological Heritage, adopted in 2008 upon celebrating the International Year of Planet Earth proclaimed by the United Nations’ General Assembly.
Conservation of geodiversity on international, national and local levels contributes to the objectives of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 - 2014).
Minerals are natural formations, integral part of the lithosphere, each with defined and constant chemical composition and stable physical properties under particular pressure and temperature conditions.
Within the meaning of the Nature Protection Act, minerals are natural assets/natural components and are not raw minerals.
Minerals are the property of the Republic of Croatia.