The Forest of Motovun
The forest of Motovun is the last preserved lowland Mediterranean autochthonous forest of common oak, narrow-leafed ash and elm. There are only three such forests preserved on the Mediterranean.
The Motovun forest spreads along the Mirna River Valley, from the Istrian Spa to Livade and along the valley of the Botonega river. Although no woody nor herbaceous species is indigenous to it, the forest of Motovun represents the last preserved type of lowland Mediterranean autochthonous forest of common oak, narrow-leafed ash and elm. Such forests are known as longozas. Only three have been preserved on the Mediterranean and the Ponta shore, of which one on the Istrian peninsula. It was declared a special forest vegetation reserve in 1963, spreading across 275 hectares. In the course of history, the forest was often being destroyed. The Austro-Hungarian navy used its trees for building its ships. One quarter of its lower part was cut down during the French administration. Over the last 50 years, Motovun forest has undergone significant changes. The elm nearly disappeared due to disease, and it was noticed that the oak and narrow-leafed ash started to dry after the construction of the new road, the regulation of the Mirna River bed and the construction of the accumulation lake in the Botonega valley. The soil became swampy primarily due to the impossibility of surface water drainage. Today it is strictly forbidden to conduct any interventions without a previous permit. It is only allowed to harvest truffles, of which there are many in the forest of Motovun.