June 14, 2023 – We are pleased to announce the successful completion of the “Ecomanager” project by Croatian Forests. As part of this project, in collaboration with the Croatian Forestry Institute and under the leadership of our expert, Professor Emeritus Joso Vukelić, we have created and published a Manual for the inclusion of ecological network requirements in Ecological Network Management Programs (ENMPs). We also organized professional training sessions on the planning and management of ecological network areas, attended by over 350 forestry experts.
The manual consists of a printed part spanning 264 pages and a memory card containing two extensive chapters. It was authored by eight individuals (J. Vukelić, J. Medak, K. Indir, M. Mrakovčić, G. Lukač, A. Đanić, D. Matošević, M. Renje) with the contribution of twenty collaborators. It comprises 12 chapters, covering various topics such as the content, purpose, and objectives of declaring and establishing an ecological network, the content, procedure, and approval of ENMPs. The central and most extensive section focuses on 27 target bird species and a total of 45 target species from groups including bats, large mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, vascular flora, and mosses. Furthermore, it lists and describes 45 forest and non-forest habitat types based on the Natura 2000 classification, which encompasses 136 types at the IV level of the National Habitat Classification. The manual provides a description of the field research procedure, data interpretation, and the creation of a map for habitat types at the IV level of the NKS classification. Additionally, the memory card contains descriptions and graphical representations of 454 plant species for NKS types, along with specific examples of the produced VII and IX chapters of the ENMP device record for three economic units from the lowland, Dinaric, and Mediterranean regions of Croatia.
“The creation and publication of this manual represents a significant achievement of the Ecomanager project. We take pride in its uniqueness for Croatia and the substantial assistance it will provide in implementing the complex tasks associated with planning and managing ecological network areas, as well as all forest ecosystems in the Republic of Croatia,” explained the project manager at Oikon, Professor Emeritus Joso Vukelić.
“Oikon – Institute of Applied Ecology has been actively engaged in forest ecology activities since its establishment, dedicating the past 25 years to this field. The work on this manual has synergized our knowledge of forest ecology and its various components identified as conservation objectives within the Natura 2000 network of protected areas in the Republic of Croatia. The manual will provide exceptional guidance and specific instructions to colleagues working on forest management and Natura 2000 area protection plans. It comprehensively covers all the conservation goals that our country has committed to, offering structured textual and graphic information. As far as we are aware, no similar manual has been produced within the territory of the European Union to date,” stated Dalibor Hatić, the director of Oikon.
The project, titled “Development of forest management plans as ecological network management plans – Ecomanager, KK.06.5.2.08.0001,” spanned five and a half years and encompassed 559,413 hectares of forests and forest land owned by the Republic of Croatia. These areas are managed within 167 economic units of Croatian Forests. Of the total project area, 382,536 hectares (63.38%) are situated within the ecological network Natura 2000, which comprises conservation areas of importance for species and habitat types as well as conservation areas important for birds. The project received co-financing from the European Union’s Cohesion Fund as part of the Operational Program “Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014 – 2020.”
The Ecomanager project’s final conference took place on June 7, 2023, in Gospić, where the project’s achieved results, including the Manual, were presented.