Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Croatia is located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea and can be divided into 16 distinct landscape units, such as the Panonnian highlands and the plateau of Kordun. Some of the features of these landscapes are karst fields and rivers, mountain chains and limestone plateaus. Forests cover 44% of the land area of Croatia, the majority of which is owned by the state. The karst area, which covers 54% of Croatia, is unique because it runs along the entire Adriatic coast and also extends into the continental region. The scree vegetation of the karst areas is home to Croatia’s rarest and most threatened plant, the endemic Velebit degenia, and the numerous caves are home to the subterranean freshwater sponge, Eunapius subterraneus. Threats to karst areas include pollution, the construction of hydroelectric power plants and intensive agriculture. Wetlands are also important ecosystems as they have the highest biological and landscape diversity, although they are also the most threatened of Croatia’s ecosystems.