A 10-year vision
Making Velebit a wilder place. For the benefit of nature and people.
The Velebit mountain chain has, together with the most suitable of its surrounding lowlands and marine areas, been established as one of the finest, wildest, largest, best protected and most famous wildlife and wilderness areas in Mediterranean Europe.
The area thereby provides new sources of income and pride for the people who live here, as well as for Croatia as a nation. Velebit inspires people in adjacent areas that have similar natural settings, to also approach their problems and opportunities using rewilding as a tool.
The unbroken ecological integrity of the Velebit ecosystems has been preserved, and at the same time large areas of it have become much wilder, with a number of core rewilding areas that have no-take regimes, especially along the main ridge of the mountain chain.
In the core rewilding areas, natural ecological processes to a great extent, regulate nature, with wildlife in fully natural densities and with all the original native species present. Here, people have taken a clear step back, not actively managing the landscape nor its wildlife any more. The core zones are connected through wildlife and wilderness corridors and surrounded by zones for different kinds and levels of sustainable use.
This new situation has provided examples of new or additional ways to make a living here, based on the wild resources. In combination with sustainable products from the surrounding areas where people still use the landscape in traditional or modern, but sustainable ways, this is a vital part of the future for people here. The negative spiral of land abandonment, rural exodus, loss of biodiversity and fading traditional culture has instead turned into new opportunities, attracting new, young and entrepreneurial people as well as many more visitors, also from far outside the region, and thereby increasing the variety of the total tourism offer of Croatia as well as extending the country’s tourism season.
The whole region shall in the future be able to be ecologically connected with similar, natural lands in Croatia and in the larger Dinaric Arc mountain chain (ranging from Slovenia into Albania), for example together through the Natura 2000 and Emerald networks.