Protected Areas | WWF

Protected Areas

National Park Northen Velebit in Croatia

Protected Areas in Adria

The Dinaric Arc is Europe's biodiversity hotspot where WWF encourages nature conservation and economic development based on sustainability.
There are few places in the world where you can visit incredible and fascinating wetlands, caves and waterfalls in the same day, though hidden in different protected areas and different countries. There are only a few regions where you can pass through four countries with only one fuel tank and meet different cultures. The Dinaric Arc region is one of them!

WWF is working closely with protected areas in the whole region. Since 2008 and the project Protected Areas for a Living Planet, WWF has been present in all protected areas in the region to ensure that biodiversity and livelihoods are protected and enhanced,. 

Within the project Dinaric Arc Parks, 82 protected areas from 8 countries were considered as potential members of the future network of protected areas. By the end of the project, in December 2014, half of them joined Parks Dinarides – network of protected areas of Dinarides, a formal body that currently has 50 protected areas as members. 

With the project Protected Areas for Nature and people (PA4NP), that began in October 2015 in the whole region, WWF is working on the sustainable use of natural resources in the Dinaric Arc as a foundation for socio-economic development. We promote the establishment and proper management of protected areas, as well as close networking with the local population and stakeholders, emphasising the ecosystem benefits of protected areas to people who live in their vicinity. 

Key Findings in Protected Areas in Adria

  • Cerknica lake is the largest disappearing lake in Europe. It is perfect place for bird watchers to enjoy the more than 270 bird species in Slovenia.
  • The world's deepest subterranean free-fall vertical drop is the Divka Gromovnica shaft (513 m) in Velebit pit situated in the Northern Velebit National park (Croatia).
  • The 2nd largest and longest gorge in the world is Djerdap Gorge in Djerdap National Park in Serbia (some 100 kilometers long).
  • Perućica in Sutjeska National Park (BiH) is by far the largest European virgin forest with 1,291 Ha.
  • The canyon of the Tara river (Montenegro) is the seconddeepest in the world (after Colorado).
  • The 2nd deepest lake in Europe is Ohrid lake in Macedonia (after Como lake) and it is by far the deepest lake on the Balkan Peninsula (289m).
  • Karavasta lagoon in Albania is famous for the rare Dalmatian Pelican which nests there; in fact 5% of the world's population of this pelican is found in this lagoon.


There are more than 5000  endemic plant and animal species in the Parks Dinarides protected areas:
• 170 reptiles
• 78 amphibians
• 253 fish
• over 800 subterranean beatles…
• 9 species of dolphins drop in the Adriatic Sea

Beauties of the Dinarides

© NP Tara © WWF © Perat Stavrev © WWF © wwf Medpo © Kozjanski park © Claudia Amico / WWF Mediterranean © Andrija Vrdoljak / WWF © Sutjeska National Park © Arben Islami © Wild Wonders of Europe /Maurizio Biancarelli / WWF © WWF / Andrija Vrdolijak © WWF-Dinaric Arc Parks © WWF/ Ivana Korn Varga

Recognise the value of our nature

	© Dinarc Arc Ecoregion
Find data, stories and best practice examples of how natural values can be sustainably used to contribute to the economic and social development of our region.