The Romans knew how to build, and they knew how to choose the best sites for their building. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a prime and well-preserved example. New discoveries in and around the Palace in recent years have brought about a major revision of the history of this magnificent Late Antique building project.
The 'Mediterranean diet' is considered to be extremely healthy, especially in protecting against heart disease. The first commercial genetically modified (GM) crops were planted in the United States in 1994 and have aroused heated controversy ever since. When GM meets the Mediterranean diet, are the two compatible? Or will GM swallow up the concept of the 'Mediterranean diet' and spit it out, unre...
A major scientific study published in November 2016 confirmed the horrific damage cigarette smoking can cause to human health. Cigarette smoking is associated with 17 different types of cancer and is estimated to claim more than 6 million lives each year.
In the age before tablets, mobile phones, computers and televisions, many people used to read, and reading was a social asset. Yes, it is so. We who are old enough remember that there was a time, not so long ago, when these wonders of modern living did not exist. Children brought up in this age of instant communication across continents often wonder what we did with our time. One thing was reading...
Hvar is blessed in having a very good water supply. That said, piped water is not yet available across the whole island. The eastern villages between Jelsa and Sućuraj still rely on wells and cisterns filled by rainwater, although projects to connect them to the mains supply by stages are in hand, and have been since about 2010.
The law on the Protection of Animals (Zakon o zaštiti životinja) is relatively recent, dating back only to 2006. It is based on European Union directives dating from 1983, with several updates to the present time. The Croatian law was updated and amended in 2013. When this final text was debated and accepted by Parliamentarians in February 2013, there was a strong recommendation that public awaren...
The wildflowers on Hvar are a year-round joy. Even in the depths of winter, there is hardly a week without colours brightening up the countryside, contrasting with the island's rocks and the variegated dark green of the woodlands.
Orchid enthusiast Frank Verhart continued his researches into European orchids during 2016. He found much of interest on the Pelješac peninsula.
Orchis tridentataPhoto: Frank Verhart
Frank Verhart from the Netherlands has lifelong experience looking out for orchids, and his expertise increases year on year. In 2015 he explored the Dalmatian islands of Hvar and Brač as the guest of Eco Hvar, and introduced many to the magic of the often tiny treasures to be found in woodlands, fields, gardens and roadsides. He was able to show why it is so important to look after these protected plants, as they all too easily get overlooked when individuals and local authorities spray areas with herbicides, and as a result of thoughtless fly-tipping in the countryside. Mapping where the orchids are to be found plays a key role in their protection. Frank logs his orchid findings with care, resulting in detailed maps for the records. In his identifications and classifications, he uses the taxonomy from the standard work by the Belgian expert Pierre Delforge, 'Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East', published by Christopher Helm Publishers, 2006.
Over several years, Frank has generously been sharing his detailed findings with Prof.dr.sc. Toni Nikolić at the Department of Botany in the Biology Division of Zagreb's Science University, who is responsible for compiling the full listing of Croatia's plants, the Flora Croatica Database.
In 2016, Frank visited France and Croatia, by way of Slovenia. As he reports: "all still and as usual by hitch-hiking. On the way [to Croatia] I have visited and stayed overnight at Miran Ipavec's Autostoparski Muzej (Hitch-hiking Museum) in Bled, Slovenia. Miran is maybe the most experienced hitch-hiker, distance wise, in Slovenia.. I’ve again been able to do some very cool observations, especially Orchis ustulata and Cephalanthera damasonium (Burnt orchid and White helleborine) as they have never been reported from Pelješac before, and I am fairly confident indeed, that there are no official reports of those. The latter has recently been found by Croatian botanists for the first time on Mljet 2012 and Korčula 2013, I think this is quite remarkable..."
The Orchis ustulata (neotinea ustulata, burnt orchid, burnt-tip orchid) is fairly common across Europe, to which it is native, but is considered endangered in the United Kingdom, according to the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. That said, Kew reports that there has been a significant decline in central Europe "due to habitat destruction as a result of building, quarrying and, in particular, more intense agricultural practices. Burnt-tip orchids can only survive in unfertilised, unploughed grassland due to their protracted underground growth period. In addition, where grazing is discontinued burnt-tip orchid is liable to decline because its small size means it cannot survive in long grass."
Besides the rare findings on Pelješac, Frank observed many more familiar orchids. However, a couple appeared in unusual colours, notably the orchis morio (pictured above), and the orchis italica (below).
Query: It was a pleasant surprise to come across your article regarding olive oil making in Dalmatia. Me and my husband have taken it up as a serious hobby to be involved in the olive oil process in m...
Hello I was staying in Hvar Town for 5 days last week in June 14 and we tried our best to care for the kittens, cats we have seen as they were so very skinny. What is keeping me awake at night back in...
The site contains articles and information on topics related to health, the environment and animal welfare.
While the focus is on Hvar Island in Dalmatia, much of the information is relevant to the rest of Croatia, and some to Europe, the United States and the rest of the world.
The main language of the site is English, but articles in Croatian are being added as quickly as possible. Some of the Croatian articles are translations, some original. Book reviews are in the language of the publication being reviewed.
To see all the articles archived in each category, click on the category name which is given below the title of each article (Environment, Highlights, Notices etc).
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We are very grateful to Željka Horvat for kindly and expertly designing the ECO HVAR logo, also to Jelena Bunčuga, Petra Mimica, Bartul Mimica and Ivana Župan for their generous help in translating articles into Croatian.
Special thanks are also owed to Mihael Magdić of Orion Informatika i Trgovina, Varaždin, for his excellent and patient efforts in designing the website.
Research programme will send aerosol injections into the earth’s upper atmosphere to study the risks and benefits of a future solar tech-fix for climate change
US scientists are set to send aerosol injections 20km up into the earth’s stratosphere in the world’s biggest solar geoengineering programme to date, to study the potential of a future tech-fix for global warming.
Malaysian activist Bill Kayong fought to save forest lands from logging and oil palm development. Like a troubling number of environmental campaigners around the world, he paid the highest price, reports Yale Environment 360
It was 8.20am on 21 June 2016. Bill Kayong, an up-and-coming political activist in Miri, a coastal oil town in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, was 15 minutes into his morning commute, waiting in his pickup truck at a traffic light across from a shopping mall. Suddenly, two bullets shattered the side window and struck him in the head, killing him instantly.
Kayong was one of dozens of people killed while defending environmental and human rights causes in 2016. His life was taken just one day after a report from the human rights group Global Witness revealed that the previous year had been “the worst on record for killings of land and environmental defenders”, with 185 people around the world killed while taking a stand against development projects ranging from dams, to mines, to logging, to agricultural plantations.
Collection will help scientists piece together a large branch of insects’ family tree and be a resource for scientists who study natural controls on the environment
In two rooms of Charles and Lois O’Brien’s modest home in Tucson, Arizona, more than a million insects – a collection worth an estimated $10m – rest in tombs of glass and homemade shelving. They come from every continent and corner of the world, gathered over almost six decades; a bug story that began as a love story.
This week, the O’Briens, both octogenarians, announced that they would donate their collection, one of the world’s largest private holdings, to Arizona State University.
Exclusive: Draft regulations seen by the Guardian reveal the European commission wants to prohibit the insecticides that cause ‘acute risks to bees’
The world’s most widely used insecticides would be banned from all fields across Europe under draft regulations from the European commission, seen by the Guardian.
The documents are the first indication that the powerful commission wants a complete ban and cite “high acute risks to bees”. A ban could be in place this year if the proposals are approved by a majority of EU member states.
A plan to halve carbon emissions every decade, while green energy continues to double every five years, provides a simple but rigorous roadmap to tackle climate change, scientists say
A new “carbon law”, modelled on Moore’s law in computing, has been proposed as a roadmap for beating climate change. It sees carbon emissions halving every decade, while green energy continues to double every five years.
The carbon law’s proponents are senior climate-change scientists and they argue it provides a simple, broad but quantitative plan that could drive governments and businesses to make urgently needed carbon cuts, particularly at a time when global warming is falling off the global political agenda.
Extent of ice over North pole has fallen to a new wintertime low, for the third year in a row, as climate change drives freakish weather
The extent of Arctic ice has fallen to a new wintertime low, as climate change drives freakishly high temperatures in the polar regions.
The ice cap grows during the winter months and usually reaches its maximum in early March. But the 2017 maximum was 14.4m sq km, lower than any year in the 38-year satellite record, according to researchers at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) and Nasa.
Massive fine reflects change in sentencing as previously low penalties failed to deter water firms from polluting England’s rivers and beaches
Thames Water has been hit with a record fine of £20.3m after huge leaks of untreated sewage into the Thames and its tributaries and on to land, including the popular Thames path. The prolonged leaks led to serious impacts on residents, farmers, and wildlife, killing birds and fish.
The fine imposed on Wednesday was for numerous offences in 2013 and 2014 at sewage treatment works at Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley and Little Marlow, and a large sewage pumping station at Littlemore.