Photo 1. Detail of Ice Cave at Park Forest Golubinjak (Photo by M. Randić)
INTERESTING FEATURES OF PARK FOREST GOLUBINJAK
The primary, natural phenomenon of the Park Forest is its highland forest, rich in plant, animal and fungal species, a forest that is criss-crossed with karst relief forms, caves, underground cavities and an abundance of picturesque carbonate rocks. As early as the end of the 19th century, Dragutin Hirc, our renowned researcher and nature promoter, wrote of the exceptional aesthetic importance of the forest world and the scattered labyrinth of rocks in the forest of Golubinjak:
“From the south-eastern part of Lokve, these amazing and strange crags stretch out for several hundred metres. First they flow from the south-east to the west, and then suddenly they turn for a short distance to the north. Each crag is, in itself, almost like a peak that is difficult to climb because of the vertical drop of its mighty cliffs, but once you have managed to reach the top, your eyes will feast on impressive crevices, caves and deep pits; and you will gaze at colossal firs and spruces, until finally, weary with amazement, you will stare into the deathly silence that rules these parts.”
Dragutin Hirc, 1898, a fragment from his book “Gorski Kotar”, describing Golubinjak
Two basic types of forest vegetation can be found in Golubinjak. The common type of beech and fir forest – in botany known under the scientific name of as. Omphalodo-Fagetum – has developed on the deeper soils. This, in floristic terms, unusually rich forest association received its name from the creeping forget-me-not (Omphalodes verna, Photo 2), an important spring plant with lovely blue flowers. The oldest trees, including a fir tree called the Forest Queen, have grown in this type of forest.
The second type of forest vegetation is perhaps more important in terms of landscape because of the exceptional visual and aesthetic impression it leaves on visitors. It is a fir forest with small reed, in which spruce trees are quite widespread (as. Calamagrostio-Abietetum). This type of forest is also popularly known as fir (and spruce) forest on stone blocks. Some of the forest trees, most of which are conifers, (a local feature are many dry, sprawling trees of immense biological value) are scattered among the fractured rocks and carbonate blocks, creating an unforgettable impression of a forest wilderness.
At the foot of the crags and between the crags there is a luxuriant growth of fern and herbaceous plant species creating special plant associations. The most obvious in such habitats is the ox-eye daisy association (as. Telekietum speciosae).
The areas at the foot of the crags are full of crevices and fallen blocks of rock through which chilly air circulates, turning these micro locations into frost pockets where cold air can be felt even during the strongest summer heat. Such places are overgrown with many types of mosses and ferns.
Especially interesting are the many karst forms found in Forest Park Golubinjak: caves, stone bridges, ice caves, sinkholes and carbonate rocks of the most diverse shapes (Ice Cave, Dove Cave, Hell’s Gates, etc.) Ice Cave (Photo 1) is the typical habitat or locus typicus of three taxa of beetle and one species of millipede that were first found here and scientifically described.
By making the increasingly growing number of visitors to Golubinjak aware of its special features and value, we can expect them to know how to recognize and appreciate the natural beauty of this remarkable and well-preserved forest park. To this end, Public Institution Priroda has taken part in developing a Management Programme for Forest Park Golubinjak by preparing a brief informative text on the forest park’s natural values, which you can find on our Web pages, www.ju-priroda.hr/3zasticeni/3golubinjak.html
Marko Randić, MSc