Karst landscape

The Karst plateau is home to many sub-Mediterranean hop hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia) and downy oak (Quercus pubescens) forests. The forests are very bright and not too tall, more like a shrubbery than a forest. Besides hop hornbeam (Ostyria carpinifolia) and downy oak (Quercus pubescens) we can also find manna ash (Fraxinus ornus), and various types of maple tree (Acer campestre), Centaurea kartschiana, mahaneb cherry (Prunus mahaneb), and other species of shrubs. The plant mantle includes larger or smaller types of european black pine (Pinus nigra), which were planted by man. In the past, even until the first half of the 20th century, the Karst was a sheer stone desert. Man has always had an important influence on the environment and has therefore changed it considerably. It is believed that in the remote past the Karst was covered with magnificent oak forests which almost became entirely extinct due to the use of timber, large scale fires (in order to have arable soil) and also grazing. In this way, Karst pastures were created which had exceptional flora.

Sunny, warm sinkhole slopes have also favoured the emergence of Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) forests which are found close to water. In addition to the main species of this environment, hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), forests also contain sessile oak (Quercus petraea), turkey oak (Quercus cerris), and little leaf (Tilla cordata). The forest undergrowth, which is made up of early spring species such as the snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis), primrose (Primula vulgaris), hepatica (Hepatica nobilis) and other species is also particularly interesting. This undergrowth is typical of beech forests.

 

Branica valley


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