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Opuzen, March 6, 2015
The fourth agrometeorological workshop Agrometeorology in the service to the users: "Environmental protection, wildfires and agriculture"

On Friday, March 6, 2015, in the hall of the Hotel Merlot Opuzen, the fourth agrometeorological workshop entitled "Environmental protection, vegetation fires and agriculture" was held within the program "Agrometeorology in the service to the users" of Croatian Agrometeorological Society. The Dubrovnik-Neretva County, in the framework of the EU IPA Adriatic project HOLISTIC, participated in the organization of the workshop as an equal partner to the HAgMD.

The purpose of the workshop was to provide agrometeorological information to wider number of direct beneficiaries, with the aim of preserving and protecting the environment, micro-climate, biodiversity and Mediterranean vegetation, and to encourage rural development, which would ultimately enable local people to improve the quality of life. Broad Neretva area belongs in a very sensitive area due to climate change, so its protection is of great necessity. From the viewpoint of biological and landscape diversity, the Neretva River is not only one of the most valuable areas in Croatia but also internationally. The lectures were aimed to students of agricultural profession, agronomists, farmers, fruit growers, vine growers, beekeepers, fire fighters, hunters and foresters, but also to the policy makers in order to assist them in the development of strategic plans for sustainable development. Results of agrometeorological research on the protection from the wildfire, which users were able to hear at the presentations on the workshop, will help in improving and advancing of methods of prevention in order to preserve forests and other vegetation, and thus biodiversity of the wider Neretva area. The importance of the workshop was recognized by the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection to whom we are grateful for their patronage.

The workshop began with a welcoming speech by Dr Višnja Vučetić, president of HAgMD, who also welcomed participants on behalf of the director of the Meteorological and Hydrological Service, MSc Ivan Čačić. Following speeches were held by Ms. Marija Vučković, Deputy of Prefect of Dubrovnik-Neretva County and MSc Zoran Đurđević, Head of Forest Management Unit Split, Croatian Forests. The last who addressed to the participants was the Main Fire Commander of Croatia from the National Protection and Rescue Directorate, Mr Slavko Tucaković and opened the meeting with wishes of successful work.

The workshop was attended by 162 participants, mostly from the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, but there were also participants from the Split-Dalmatia County, as well as guests from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, by which the workshop had taken an international character. Within two sections there were 11 lectures in which participants were able to hear about the weather and climate change impact on agriculture and wildfires, how agrometeorological measurements and forecasts are of use to the farmers and how it helps protect against fire vegetation, and further on how meteorology and certain weather situations are closely related to forest fires. The analysis of soil temperature and endangered species and habitats from vegetation fires in the Neretva valley was also presented. Afterwards, there were lectures on the dynamics of vegetation in the Neretva valley, the analysis of damage from forest fires in the area of ​​Forest Administration Split, weather situations during major forest fires, and is the irrigation of vineyards in Neretva valley reality or delusion. At the end of the workshop there was presentation of the project HOLISTIC.

After each section there was a discussion in which the participants actively participated and presented the problems they encounter in their environment. Also, the discussion has helped experts in getting the feedback that will be of great use in the orientation of their further work and research.

In the final remarks few facts were highlighted:

• We hope that the importance of cooperation of different disciplines has been recognized, in order to gain insight into the real situation. HAgMD strives to bring together active professionals whose knowledge can help the community where the workshop is held.

• At the beginning of the discussion there was a proposal of employment of rangers in order to protect the Neretva valley from intentionally caused fires. Public Institution for the Management of Protected Natural Areas ​​in Dubrovnik-Neretva County has employed only one person with this function for the whole of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Due to lack of funds, they cannot increase the number of employees for the purpose of protection of the area with special natural values. The problem would be partly solved with increasing degree of protection i.e. if the protection would be at the national level. However, the agreement of those present is that it is necessary to educate and inform the local population about the importance of the Neretva region and therefore to assume part of the responsibility and become aware of the significance of the nature reserve for their area. This workshop was also an aspect of such education, where various participants were gathered at one place. In this sense, only joint cooperation contributes to the development of consciousness.

• In a few short discussions it was concluded that any target installation of a meteorological station requires compliance with certain guidelines. Large agricultural producers keep pace with time and they do not leave to chance work performance of the plantation. Instead, they are setting up agrometeorological stations by themselves, thus providing timely information for their own purposes. Croatian Agrometeorological Society is at service to anyone who needs advice in the selection of agrometeorological instruments to set agrometeorological station, not only to farmers, but also to schools, for example which want to join the Globe program.

• Concerns of foresters about establishing of vineyards in forested areas are justified because the forest is our wealth. Experts in the field need to look for solutions for large areas of uncultivated agricultural land and put them into operation. The economic justification of these vineyards in karst areas must be clearly defined. It is necessary to put pressure on policy in solving the problem of placing the right area in the right functions with adoption of appropriate development strategies of the local community. In that way, the Neretva valley would not be degraded and the local population has the opportunity to survive in this area.

Our water resources should be utilized, but unfortunately slow bureaucracy deprives us valuable time in the development of our potentials.

 Petra Sviličić


Participants of the fourth agrometorological workshop
"Environmental protection, wildfires and agriculture" in Opuzen , March 6, 2015.


Speakers and Organizing Committee of the of the fourth agrometorological workshop
"Environmental protection, wildfires and agriculture" in Opuzen , March 6, 2015.


HAgMD @ 2014.