Ecology and Environment

The lack of heavy industry in Croatia has had the happy effect of leaving its forests, coasts, rivers and air fresh and unpolluted. Nevertheless, there are some problems. Although 23% of Croatia is covered by forests, they are under serious threat. It's estimated that about 50% of the forests are imperilled as a result of acid rain, mostly from neighbouring countries. Logging and building projects are cutting into forested land at the rate of about 1000 hectares a year.

Coastal and island forests face particular problems. First logged by Venetians to build ships, then by local people desperate for fuel, centuries of neglect have left many island and coastal mountains barren. The dry summers and brisk maestral winds also pose substantial fire hazards along the coast. In the last 20 years, fires have destroyed 7% of Croatia's forests.
Animal pasturing in the Kornati Islands, Krka National Park and the Velebit Range have also damaged the landscape even though sheep and goat herds are disappearing. Although the sea along the Adriatic coast is among the cleanest in the world, overfishing has greatly reduced the fish population and scavenging for coral has nearly eliminated reefs.

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