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Folder Biodiversity in Slovenia

The geographical position of Slovenia in the contact area of the Alps, Pannonian Plain, the Dinarides and Mediterranean, as well as the diversity of abiotic factors (climate, relief, altitude, geological and pedological structure) have a strong impact on its great biodiversity, owing to each a number of researchers have included our country among the so-called »hot spots« of European biodiversity. Much of the credit for the relatively well preserved Slovene nature should also go to the traditional farming in the past.

Slovenia is inhabited by approximately 15,000 animal species, 6,000 plant species and 5,000 fungus species, whereas we still have no or incomplete data as far as bacteria and archaea are concerned. No less than 850 species are strict endemites, the majority of which are closely associated with underground habitat types, Alpine and sub-Alpine grasslands, rocky masses and screes. The species endangered at the European level inhabit largely floodplain woodlands, densely packed beech-fir forests, and wet and dry grasslands. Amongst the most endangered and rapidly disappearing habitat types in our country are dry and wet grasslands, coastal and sea habitat types, and standing as well as running waters.

The protected areas cover approximately 10% of Slovenian territory. These are: Triglav National Park, three regional parks (Škocjan Caves, Kozjansko, Notranjska Park), over 40 nature parks (the best known among them being the Sečovlje Salina, Goričko, Logarska Valley, Strunjan, Lahinja, Boč, Zgornja Idrijca and Kolpa), 1 strict nature reserve, 52 nature reserves, and 1,185 nature monuments. Still waiting to be realized are the numerous proposals for the founding  of regional parks (Karavanke-Kamniško-Savinjski, Kočevsko-Kolpa, Karst, Pohorje, Snežnik, Mura, Trnovski gozd) and nature parks (Drava, Ljubljansko barje). Furthermore, 35.5% of Slovenia is protected within the framework of the European ecological Natura 2000 network, which for the time being constitutes 260  potential sites of community interest (pSCI) and 26 special protection areas (SPA). We also have three wetlands of global concern (Ramsar sites), i.e.: Sečovlje Salina, Škocjan Caves and Lake Cerknica, and 14,901 natural riches. Let us also underline that nature outside protected area is of exceptional importance for a long-term conservation of animal and plant populations as well, considering that it constitutes corridors between separate protected area and can function as a source of individual plants and animals for colonisation and repopulation of the areas.

Endangered in Slovenia are 36% of mammals (8 species at the global level), 49% of birds (4 species at the global level), 73% of amphibians (1 species at the global level), 48% of fishes and lampreys (4 species at the global level) and over 10% of vascular plants. All these species have been included on the national Red List. The major nature- endangering factors are agriculture (agromeliorations with wetland drainage, cutting down of tree and bush hedges for the purpose of rounding up the estates, destruction of non-agricultural tracts of land for the purpose of farming, abandonment of crop rotation, prevalence of monocultures, irrigation of dry areas, intensification of grasslands – substantial manuring, frequent mowing, early first mowing, transformation of meadows into fields, increased grazing pressures, sowing of grass mixtures in the meadows); hydromelioration and construction of hydroelectric power plants (changes in the water regime – lowering of groundwater level, drying up of floodplain woodlands along the rivers, disappearance of oxbows, gravel banks, sand walls along the rivers, and thus of the characteristic fauna and flora); urbanisation and infrastructure (increased building up of the areas in the heart of nature, landfills, construction of roads and motorways), recreational activities (ballooning, paragliding, climbing, mass tourism, etc); introduction of non-indigenous plant and animal species (with particularly endangered indigenous flora of river banks and some fish species); forestry (removal of dying trees from the forests, construction of forest roads); excessive exploitation of natural riches (picking of plants and mushrooms, hunting, fishing, digging of gravel and sand) and pollution of the ground, air and waters.

Folder Protecting biodiversity
Folder Legislation
Folder Institutions