Croatia: Forest Fires in Croatia – A Permanent Danger (IFFN No. 9 – July 1993)

 

Forest Fires in Croatia – A PermanentDanger

(IFFN No. 9 – July 1993, p. 13-15)      


Forests and other wooded land cover about 35% (ca. 2,458,000 ha) of the total land area of Croatia. In terms of phytogeographic diversity there are two forest regions: Euro-Siberian and Mediterranean. The Mediterranean forest region covers 43% of the total forest area. Forest fire occurrences, affected area and related damages are closely connected to our Mediterranean forests and their degraded stages (maquis, coppice, garrigue, brushwood). 94% (ranging from 89 to 99%) of the total area affected by fire was in the karst region (Tab.1 and 2). The forest fire season has two peaks. The first one is between March and May. In this period forest fires are mainly a direct consequence of agricultural waste burning without taking the necessary precautions on non forest land. The second peak (time of large fires) coincides with extreme weather conditions and high tourist frequency (Tab.3).

According to forest fire data of the last 20 years we can say that 99,9% are due to human activities, but about 50% are ascribed to unknown or doubtful causes. Since the beginning of data recording (1971) there was a negative difference between burnt and afforested and reforested areas on karst. The problem is especially expressed in the areas of high fire risk where fires are very often repeated at short intervals on the same areas and usually after the third time the area becomes incapable of natural reforestation. What worries us is the fact that we have not managed to reduce either the number of fires or an average burnt area per fire. The last decade was characterised by an increased number of fires and burnt area (Table 4). During the period 1971-1990 there was permanent recording of forest fire data. The gap in data recording for years 1991 and 1992 was due to war. There were several fires set by the occupiers but because the areas are still occupied, it is not possible to determine the consequences.

 

Tab.1. Burnt area according to main vegetational types during theperiod 1986-1990.  

Year

Burnt Area (ha)

Total

Conifer Forests

Broadleaved Forests

Brush-wood

Maquis

Garrigue

Others*

1986

595

562

90

941

 

1,093

3,281

1987

627

1,175

202

277

572

682

3,535

1988

4,490

1,755

289

3,956

333

4,101

14,924

1989

763

2,479

117

197

94

698

4,348

1990

3,227

12,413

2,305

1,205

965

3,835

23,950

Total

9,702

18,384

3,003

6,576

1,964

10,409

50,038

                                            *

        Others: pasture land, abandoned agricultural land

         

         

  Tab.2. Forest fires on karst in comparison to total firesin Croatia during the period 1986-1990.  

Year

Karst region

Average ha/fire

Burnt area in Croatia (ha)

Karst ratio (%)

Burnt area (ha)

No. of fires

1986

3,178

91

35

3,281

97

1987

3,409

81

42

3,535

96

1988

14,821

161

92

14,924

99

1989

3,849

70

55

4,348

89

1990

21,937

266

82

23,950

92

Total

47,194

669

71

50,038

94

 

 

  Tab.3. Forest fires larger than 500 ha during the period1986-1990.  

District

Burnt area (ha)

Fire started

Duration of fire (hours)

Vegetation type*

Cause

Bravc

613

01.09.1886

23

M, MP Unknown Dubrovnik

1,175

18.08.1988

24

AP Agr. waste burning Dubrovnik

875

18.08.1988

10

AP, M ” ” ” Korcula

3,897

24.07.1988

792

AP, M ” ” ” Šibenik

1,360

04.08.1988

10

PL Rubbish burning Trogir

1,295

16.08.1988

24

PL, M, G, B Unknown Zadar

700

04.08.1988

24

AP, M Pyromaniac Labin

571

29.01.1989

46

POC, AP Unknown Dubrovnik

525

11.07.1990

20

AP, B ” Dubrovnik

520

22.08.1990

96

AP, M Lightning Gospic

700

20.03.1990

120

BP, POC Unknown Knin

500

21.03.1990

48

POC ” Korcula

1,150

23.08.1990

72

M, AP Electricity lines Korcula

601

28.07.1990

72

AP Unknown Pula

500

20.03.1990

AP, MP ” Split

597

12.09.1990

15

PL ” Zadar

600

17.08.1990

18

B

Electricity lines

                                * M = maquis; MP = maritime pine; AP = aleppo pine; PL = pasture land; G = garrigue;
                                   B =brushwood; POC = pubescent oak coppice

 

Tab.4. Number of forest fires and burnt area in Croatia during theperiod 1971-1990.  

Year Number of fires Burnt area (ha) Average ha/fire 1971

447

9,361

21

1972

302

3,341

11

1973

397

7,486

19

1974

323

4,652

14

1975

283

6,204

22

1976

371

7,733

21

1977

159

4,190

26

1978

268

5,202

19

1979

184

8,642

47

1980

261

5,875

23

Subtotal

2,995

62,686

21

1981

265

7,650

29

1982

403

11,184

28

1983

404

18,717

46

1984

275

6,670

24

1985

506

22,157

44

1986

207

3,281

16

1987

171

3,535

21

1988

249

14,924

60

1989

220

4,348

20

1990

869

23,950

28

Subtotal

3,569

116,416

33

Total

6,564

179,102

27

 

 

Source: Forest Research Institute, Department of Forest Typology, and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

 

 

From: Jela Bilandzija
Address:

Forest Research Institute
Department of Forest Typology
Streljacka 1
41000 Zagreb, Croatia

Phone/Fax: (++38) 41-42 65 40


Top
Country Notes

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien