Miraculous Forest Žutica

Miraculous Žutica Forest

The brochure "Miraculous Žutica Forest" describes the plant and animal life of a wondrous and fascinating forest known as Žutica. The brochure was published with the aim of promoting the importance of protecting the floodplain of Žutica forest as an area of rich biodiversity and raising the awareness of the value of this area.

The Žutica forest occupies more than 4600 ha of Lonjsko polje floodplain and is categorized as a lowland floodplain forest. It is about 30km away from Zagreb and located in the area of the town of Ivanić-Grad and the municipality of Križ. It is one of the biggest lowland floodplain forests in Croatia and first natural polder of the river Sava downstream of Zagreb. As well as all the other lowland floodplain rivers, Žutica forest's origins, life and transformations are inextricably linked to water. Floods have lately been causing great destruction to people living in floodplains of big rivers. In Žutica forest, floods have a completely different, opposite effect – they bring life. Flood waters of the Sava bring life to the old backwaters which the river Lonja, changing its course through the centuries, left behind. Abundant annual floods bring about fantastic transformations of the Žutica forest.

Besides the vast floodplains, Žutica is also characterised by giant English oak trees in whose shadows grow bushes of dyer's green weed (velika žutilovka), a plant which most likely gave the name to the Žutica forest. At the edge of the forest is one of the most dynamic and most endangered habitats – floodplain pastures of the Žutica forest. Floodplains of Žutica are characterized by distributaries, canals, backwaters and lakes which are a favorable habitat for diverse wildlife.

Even though the Žutica area has for the past 40 years contained an oil field with over 200 wells, the forest retains rich flora and fauna characteristic of the floodplain forests of northern Croatia. The Žutica forest contains several different habitats. It is interesting to note that Žutica contains one fourth of the total number of amphibian and reptile species living in Croatia. Because of this extraordinary wealth of flora and fauna, Žutica is a part of European network of protected areas ‒ Natura 2000. Research conducted so far records 309 species of moths, 9 species of amphibians and 6 species of reptiles. Žutica is also an important habitat for the Italian and Danube crested newts and their hybrids, the European fire-bellied toad, the European pond turtle, the beaver and the common otter.

The Žutica forest is rightfully called "miraculous" because despite sudden and frequent changes in living conditions related to climate change and frequent floods, it manages to maintain its wealth of life. This wealth of life is the reason it was included in the national ecological network Natura 2000. As many as four valuable habitat types- natural eutrophic waters with vegetation, subatlantic and Central European oak and oak-hornbeam forests, alluvial forests and floodplain mixed forests - are the goal of conservation.

Žutica is cherished in all its beauty drawn from the tenderness and harshness of its cycles of life, defined by both the seasons and the floods. Read more about the Miraculous Žutica Forest by clicking on the link or watch a video, and then visit the forest and cherish its beauty. It doesn't matter which season you choose for your visit, the forest is uniquely wondrous in all of them.

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