Lastovo Archipelago

Year of compilation: 2022

Site description
Lastovo Island, and the small, low and mostly bare islets around Lastovo are the most important nesting site of Audouin’s Gull in Croatia. The iselts are also key breeding areas for Yelkouan and Scopoli's Shearwaters. Lastovo is mostly covered by aleppo pine forest and suitable for night roost of migratory birds overflying the Adriatic sea. 

Key biodiversity
The majority of the site has a terrestrial component, other key biodiversity relating to the site is described in the text copied from the SPA network description: The Lastovo Archipelago is one of the richest and best preserved botanical areas in the Mediterranean. There are 810 species recorded so far, including endangered species, species extinct elsewhere, endemic and steno-endemic species. Around 70% of the islands' surface is covered by forest. It is mostly covered by macchia - mostly by Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) and Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis), and Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo). There is also an abundance of animal life. 175 vertebrate species have been recorded so far: 71 of them are endangered at the national and 37 at the European level. The Lastovo Archipelago is an important resting site for numerous migrant birds and also the nesting site for the rare Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) and Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea). Around 70% of Croatia's population of the globally endangered Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii) nests on the island groups of Lastovnjaci and Vrhovnjaci. 248 marine plant species represent the richness of the marine world in the Lastovo Archipelago. This small area hosts as many species as a wide area of the Central and Southern Adriatic. There is a seasonal inflow of nutrients from deep waters, which fosters the proliferation of marine life. Due to the abundance and wide variety of zooplankton, the Park's sea world is rich with corals, sponges, molluscs, bryozoans, Echinoidea, crustaceans and numerous other species. 330 species of invertebrates have been recorded so far, of which 20 are on the list of endangered species. Very rich and well preserved are the colonies of the Black Coral (Gerardia savaglia), Red Coral (Corallium rubrum) and Star Coral (Madracis pharensis). Many cultural goods testifying to the rich history of the area are found in the Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park, especially on the islands of Lastovo and Sušac. Registered and protected cultural goods of the Lastovo Archipelago are divided in four categories: cultural and historical ensembles (village of Lastovo, Lučica); ecclesiastical architecture (38 churches and chapels, some preserved, some ruinous, 21 registered as protected cultural goods); secular architecture (forty architecturally valuable housing complexes from the period between the 15th and 19th century); archaeological sites (hillfort settlements, prehistoric gomila, ancient villae rusticate, the historical area of the island of Sušac). Lithostratigraphic units represented in this area are limestones and dolomites (upper jurassic - J3) and limestone and dolomite (lower cretaceous - K1). Soils brown soil on limestone and dolomite, rendzina soils on dolomite. Morphologically significant is the exchanging of many separate hills and karst valleys - fields that were created in impermeable dolomite zones or in semi-permeable dolomitized limestone; many caves, the most famous is the Raca cave in the southeastern part of the island; current form the islands were created after the transgression of the sea after the last glaciation; presence of process of abrasion.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Unregulated recreational activities and tourism, overfishing and unregulated construction on the coast represent the main threats to birds in the area.

Work relating to seabird research received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union. The project is co-financed by the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs and the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lastovo Archipelago. Downloaded from on 28/03/2023.