Public Institution Barać Caves – Protected Areas Management In the Municipality of Rakovica was founded in line with the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, at the initiative of the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Rakovica, with the aim of protecting, preserving, promoting and using the protected natural values on the territory of the Municipality of Rakovica. By virtue of the Decision on Incorporation, it was registered with the Commercial Court in Karlovac as a nonprofit organisation in the ownership of the founder. The activity of the institution is regulated by legal regulations, the Decision on Incorporation, the Statute of the Institution and other acts that the Institution enacts pursuant to legal regulations. The Institution is managed by the Governing Council in accordance with the law. According to the decisions of the Governing Council, the Institution is led by the Director, and work on the protection of the natural environment on the territory of the Municipality of Rakovica is coordinated together with the representatives of the Municipality.
The core activity of the Public Institution Barać Caves is protecting, preserving, promoting and using protected natural values and:
- monitoring the implementation of measures and conditions for the protection of the natural environment on the territory under its management
- proposing the protection of natural areas of exceptional value
The protected area under the management of the Institution
1. The Protected Landscape of Barać Caves
The initiative for the protection of Barać Caves was initiated in 1999, when the Physical Planning Institute of the Karlovac County, pursuant to the opinion of the Karlovac Speleological Association, created a plan on the foundedness of proclaiming Barać Caves in Nova Kršlja a protected natural area – geomorphological monument. However, protection was not implemented at this point.
The wider area of Barać Caves is also of archaeological importance, which it why it was preventively protected as an archaeological zone by virtue of the Decision of the Conservation Department in Karlovac in 2003.
The wider area of Barać Caves was preventively protected up to 2011. Permanent protection of the area was proclaimed on 29 March 2016.
The term Barać Caves covers Upper Barać Cave, Lower Barać Cave right below it, New Barać Cave and Baraćevac Spring Cave. Although 5 more cave structures are present in the protected area, the entire region bears the name Barać Caves due to the recognisability of this moniker.
The protected area encompasses an area of 5.19 km2 and is located in the Municipality of Rakovica.
2. Ecological network NATURA 2000
According to Article 6 of the Regulation on the Ecological Network, the ecological network of the Republic of Croatia consists of Special Protection Areas for Birds – SPAs (areas of importance for preserving and establishing favourable conditions for wild bird species of interest for the European Union and their habitats, as well as areas of importance for preserving migratory bird species, particularly when it comes to swampland of international importance) and Special Areas of Conservation for other important species and habitat types – SACs (areas of importance for preserving and establishing favourable conditions for other wild species and their habitats, as well as natural habitats of interest for the European Union).
Within the limits of the Protected Landscape, there is one area within the ecological network of the Republic of Croatia that has been designated as an area of conservation of importance for species and habitat types. This is Lower Barać Cave as the habitat of an endemic species of insect. Also, outside the protected area but within the territory of the Municipality of Rakovica, there are 3 more SAC areas and 1 SPA area. As the areas of the ecological network are managed by Public Institutions for the Management of Protected Areas, Božić’s Cave in Kordunski Ljeskovac is also under the management of this institution as the habitat of an endemic species of insect, together with Dumenčić Cave in the village of Keseri as the habitat of an endemic species of insect and the cave system Panjko’s Ponor – Varićak’s Cave as an important habitat for subterranean species and part of the SPA area of Gorski kotar and Lika
Valuation of the area determined that various relief types were developed on the territory of the Protected Landscape of Barać Caves, with karst relief predominating. Under ground, there are cave structures with dripstones, Pleistocene fossilised remains and endemic cave fauna and archaeological finds. The entire area includes rare and endangered habitat types and the endangered and strictly protected species related to them. The way in which the area has been used so far does not represent a threat to the natural environment (biodiversity, geodiversity and landscape diversity).
The aim of protection is to preserve the geomorphological and geospeleological values of the karst area, as well as the mosaic-like landscape, its natural and semi-natural habitats and the biodiversity related to them.
3. Speleological objects in the area of Municipality of Rakovica
Speleological objects are of special interest to the Republic of Croatia and enjoy its special protection. Speleological objects in the municipality of Rakovica are managed by the Public Institution Barac Caves. To date, about 150 caves and pits have been recorded and most of them are still being explored. Some of them, which are at greater depth, are very rich in water. There are a large number of speleological objects that stand out with a great cave ornaments, endemic species of cave fauna and valuable paleontological and archaeological finds.
Name of protected area: Barać Caves
Protection category: Protected Landscape
IUCN protection category: V / Protected landscape/seascape
County: Karlovac County
Municipality of Rakovica
Area of protected area: 518.66 ha/5.19 km2
Company name and abbreviated company name
Public Institution Barać Caves – Protected Areas Management In the Municipality of Rakovica
Public Institution Barać Caves
Company seat Nova Kršlja 47a
Court of registry Commercial Court in Karlovac
Number of registry 020035042
Company share capital HRK 80,000.00 (paid in full)
Governing Council of the Institution Darka Spudić, Sanjin Mihelić, Nikola Magdić, Zoran Luketić, Nenad Bogović
Director Tihana Oštrina, sturč.spec.oecc., MBA
Bank and bank account number Karlovačka banka,