When soil is contaminated, what ends up on your plate and in your cup or glass is less than healthy. Chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers are causing untold damage. The 'conventional model' of agriculture is exhausting the earth and undermining human health. There are much better methods of protecting soil and plants using natural resources.
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.
Mount Etna, India’s ship graveyard and trees in Africa are among the images captured by European Space Agency and Nasa satellites last month
The Mackenzie river system is Canada’s largest watershed, and the 10th largest water basin in the world. The river runs 4,200km (2,600 miles) from the Columbia icefield in the Canadian Rockies to the Arctic Ocean. If your vehicle weighs less than 22,000lb, you can drive the frozen river out to Reindeer Station. The bitterly cold ice road runs for 194km between the remote outposts of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. White, snow- and ice-covered waterways of the east channel of the Mackenzie river delta stand out amid green, pine-covered land. The low angle of the sunlight bathes the higher elevations in golden light. The pond- and lake-covered lands around the river are home to caribou, waterfowl, and a number of fish species. Several thousand reindeer travel through this area each year on the way to their calving grounds.
Interior secretary to review past presidents’ national monument designations
Designation of monuments could be ‘rescinded, modified or resized’
Donald Trump is triggering a review of protections that cover more than a billion acres of US public land and waters in a move that could potentially rescind the designation of several national monuments declared by previous presidents.
Trump will on Wednesday sign an executive order relating to the Antiquities Act, a law introduced by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 which gives presidents the ability to name areas of federal land and waters as national monuments. The order will direct Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, to review about 30 national monuments that are larger than 100,000 acres and have been declared since 1996.
Wildflowers have erupted across California deserts in the past month in a phenomenon known as a ‘super bloom’. After heavy rainfall ended months of drought, the flowers carpeted such vast areas that the transformation was visible from space
Constitutional experts say government is on ‘very dodgy ground’ claiming election purdah forces it to postpone publishing pollution strategy
The government’s attempt to delay publishing its air pollution strategy because of the election is “dishonest” and leaves ministers on “very dodgy ground”, according to constitutional experts.
The government had been under a court direction to produce tougher draft measures to tackle illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which is responsible for thousands of premature deaths each year, by 4pm on Monday. The original plans had been dismissed by judges as so poor as to be unlawful.
The new cycling and walking investment strategy is the first legislation of its kind to legally bind the government to long-term funding for cycling and walking provision
Unless you’re an avid transport campaigner, it’s likely that among the rush of government announcements made last week, you will have missed one very important one: the publication of the cycling and walking investment strategy (CWIS),
The government’s intention to launch a CWIS was first announced in January 2015. It took more than two years, but we now have the first legislation of its kind in England to bind the government with legal commitments to invest in cycling and walking provision.
Planners claim that a dual carriageway under the prehistoric monument will ease congestion. But campaigners warn that it will have a disastrous impact on one of the world’s most fascinating landmarks
Solstice Park is “a strategically located development opportunity”. That’s what its promotional blurb says, anyway – but put more prosaically, it is a clump of offices, distribution centres and retail and hospitality businesses on the A303, just under 10 miles from Salisbury. It symbolises two things: government attempts to help the economy of south-west England, and the tourist industry centred on Stonehenge, a few minutes’ drive away. As if to somehow complement the monument’s antiquarian wonders, there is a faux-ancient statue outside the Holiday Inn, of a 22ft figure giving thanks to the sun. Inside, double rooms go for just short of £100.
It’s 8am on a misty Wednesday morning and a group of people here are very anxious about the latest proposal for this historic patch of England: a 1.8 mile tunnel containing a new dual carriageway, its entrance and exit sitting inside the Stonehenge world heritage site, and which may also involve a new flyover. After years of proposals for a tunnel being knocked back and forth – a similar plan was ruled out in 2007 – the latest scheme was announced by then chancellor George Osborne in 2014. Soon after, David Cameron and Nick Clegg staged separate photo opportunities on the same day at Stonehenge, in an attempt to sell the economic benefits of a tunnel and widened road to locals. Give or take consultation processes and concerns about the costs, work is due to start in 2020.
Emperor penguins are perfectly adapted to survive harsh Antarctic conditions but their habitat is threatened due to climate change. To celebrate World Penguin Day, the WWF has chosen its top 10 emperor penguin facts