Nature protection and biodiversity - State and impacts (Slovenia)

SOER 2010 Common environmental theme (Deprecated)
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In the last 50 years, no species of mammal was exterminated on the territory of Slovenia.
Nature and biodiversity Nature and biodiversity
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Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia
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Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia
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03 Jan 2011
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Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia
Published: 20 May 2010 Modified: 11 May 2020 Feed synced: 03 Jan 2011 original
Key message

The populations of many plant and animal species are decreasing and are threatened: some may become extinct. Forty-five percent of species are included in the list of threatened species, including more than 80 % of all known amphibian and reptile species and almost half, 41, of mammal species.

Of the species that became extinct before then, the lynx (Lynx lynx) and beaver (Castor fiber) are again present in Slovenia. Lynx, which disappeared in previous centuries, was reintroduced in Slovenia in 1973, while the beaver was reintroduced in Croatia in the 1990s from where it spread to Slovenia. The brown bear (Ursus arctos) population in Slovenia is part of the population occupying the Alps-Dinaric Mountains-Pindus Mountains which is one of the largest populations in Europe. In accordance with the Brown bear (Ursus arctos) management strategy in Slovenia (2002) and EU regulations, selective and limited hunting of animals in the wild has been carried out under strict supervision and in limited numbers if there is no other alternative and if such hunting does not pose any harm to the maintenance of a favourable status of brown bear populations within their natural range (NB06). Two studies carried out in 2008, which included estimates of the state of the Slovenian bear population based on an analysis of teeth and genetic-molecular research of bears taken from the wild, confirmed that the Slovenian part of the brown bear population was in good condition as regards numbers and genetic diversity (Jerina, Adamič, 2007, Kos et al., 2008).

On the Red List of threatened animal species, six marine mammals from the order of whales and dolphins (Cetacea) are categorised as endangered. Permanent presence in the Slovenian part of the Adriatic is recorded for the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), while other species visit the northern Adriatic sporadically (NB10).

The range of bird species has only been studied during the nesting and winter periods and the number of birds within selected species in the areas important for birds has been estimated. A waterfowl count has been carried out each January since 1988 covering all the major rivers, the entire Slovenian coast and, since 1997, most of the important still bodies of water within the country (NB01) (DOPPS, 2006, DOPPS, 2008).

For Slovenia, 3 266 different native taxa of ferns and seed plants have been described. Their basic characteristics derive from Alpine and Central European floristic elements and Pannonian, Dinaric and Mediterranean species. The large number of species is mainly a result of the great diversity of habitat types, which in turn result from physical geographic – elevation range, insulation and geologic features – through floro-genetic, to purely anthropogenic factors – the intensity of human impact on nature, urbanisation, extensiveness of farming, etc. Ferns and seed plants are threatened, particularly by habitat alteration, commercial use and direct destruction, including picking and gathering. Approximately 19 % of species are threatened, of which 29 species of ferns and seed plants are extinct (Ex), 80 are endangered (E), 254 vulnerable (V) and 257 rare (R) (NB05).

Preservation of genetic resources is mainly ex situ, in gene banks and collections, where the genetic material of agricultural varieties and breeds is kept in the form of living organisms or their products – seeds, spores, etc. Especially important is the so-called preservation of genetic material for rare and threatened species where regular in situ protection is no longer possible. Plant collections in Slovenia comprise 11 collections and 3 botanical gardens. As a result of the larger number of animal species, animal collections are more numerous, and there are also some collections of fungi and micro-organisms.

For the preservation of agricultural biodiversity in the field of animal husbandry and agricultural plants, local varieties and breeds of animals and autochthonous plant species are kept in gene banks. The production of traditional and old varieties and species of agricultural plants is falling due to intensification of agriculture which is reflected in reduced genetic diversity and variety. This is the result of the use of smaller numbers of modern varieties intended for intensive production which in most cases are derived from the same source, thus limiting genetic diversity. In recent years, a trend of greater diversification in maize, wheat and potato has been observed – the total number of cultivated varieties has increased since 1997 while the number for other crops has remained unchanged or has been decreasing (KM15).

Table 1: Total number of varieties by groups of crops registered and confirmed for sale

Stubble cereals (common wheat)na10810812912611613513513613659
Root crops – potatona50506258616060605859
Root crops – sugar beetna2121202021181818135
Fodder crops – grassna66667578757676696621
Fodder crops – grass (decorative)na3434444546505049530
Fodder crops – legume cropsna48484946404242416612
Fodder crops – other fodder crops (incl. grain legumes, vetch and green manure plants)na6262716556606050439
Industrial plants (excl. sugar beet) – oil plantsna3737393434303022247
Industrial plants (excl. sugar beet) – fibre cropsna8889101010990
Industrial plants (excl. sugar beet) – hopsna12121313131414141415
Industrial plants (excl. sugar beet) – otherna1010106333310

Source: Phytosanitary Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, 2009 (Indicator KM15)

In the area of animal husbandry, ten out of 12 autochthonous breeds of domestic animals are threatened. The pressure of other breeds is being successfully reduced by breeds for which the breeding method recognises the importance of adaptation to natural conditions – including the Carniolan honey bee and Jezersko-Solčava sheep. Nine of 16 existing traditional breeds are also threatened. The situation in regard to threatened breeds has generally been improving due to more intensive expert work in the area of preservation of breeds of domestic animals, the establishment of a gene bank, and the establishment of breeders’ organisations. On the other hand, the situation regarding widely-spread traditional breeds that are not under special protection has been deteriorating. Some of these are unable to resist the pressure of economically more competitive global breeds; therefore their number has been decreasing (KM16).



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The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

Filed under: SOER2010, biodiversity
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