Croatia completes inventory of wetlands

Croatia completes inventory of wetlands

16 October 2006

CRO-WET - Croatian Wetland Inventory
SGF project completed

The Croatian State Institute for Nature Protection (SINP) carried out a comprehensive wetland inventory to create a reference database for further planning and protected area designation use. This project accomplished for the first time a comprehensive overview of Croatian wetlands identifying 3883 individual sites. Altogether 390,885 hectares of wetland habitats and 56,516 km of watercourses and sea coastline were recorded to correspond to the Ramsar criteria.

The biggest area concerns eight complex sites. These are large wetlands, mostly situated in floodplains of large rivers such as Sava, Drava, Danube, Kupa and Neretva. The biggest number of sites belongs to the categories of ponds and springs with an overall rather small area. The most important indicator is that wetlands cover about 6.9% of the Croatian territory.

The GIS database consists of thematic shape-files mapping different categories of Croatian wetlands (at the scale 1:100.000) and of accompanying attribute tables with basic data on each wetland, such as state border, topographic background, map of officially defined catchment areas in Croatia, and ecosystem-specific wetland inventory shape-files. Furthermore 37 maps were elaborated for each of the wetland types, according to the Ramsar classification, represented in Croatia. The online version of the CRO-WET database at enables you to search both general and site specific information for each of these wetland types.

Using the methodology of GIS mapping allowed different kinds of analyses during the process of physical and development planning at regional and national level. These were executed during the project period by SINP at the request of relevant ministries and planning institutions. The database allows different analyses needed for wetlands evaluation and protection, the preparation of new Croatian Ramsar site proposals as well as a national wetlands policy. In future, the results of the CRO-WET project will also be used for important nature protection processes, especially the establishment of the National Ecological Network (the CRO-NEN: see also and as a contribution to the NATURA 2000 sites network of the European Union, to which Croatia is an accession country.

All results from the database and the list of wetlands in Croatia are available on the Internet at

This comprehensive set of information and data has further been used to elaborate and publish a number of educational materials which were presented at the occasion of the 2005 World Wetlands Day celebration in Zagreb. To raise public awareness about wetlands, these materials were distributed, with further explanations and contact details, to all elementary and secondary schools in Croatia, to be used by them for local benefits.

Congratulations to the Croatian State Institute for Nature Protection (SINP) for the implementation of this extensive project making a significant contribution to the ongoning and further planning processes.

-- Dorothea August, Ramsar

Man-made ponds

Permanent freshwater marshes and pools

Permanent freshwater marshes, reedbeds

Non-forested peatlands

Salt pans

Shrub-dominated wetlands

Karst and other subterranean hydrological systems