ljubljansko barje

Ljubljansko barje - a Natura 2000 site

The consequences of the ever-increasing development in the spheres of technology, economy, agriculture and other human activities are reflected particularly in the disappearance of natural heritage. On the European continent, fewer and fewer habitats still live their natural lives, which means that a number of sensitive animal and plant species have found themselves on the edge of survival or have even become extinct. The changes are most distinct in lowlands and other easily accessible districts. Thus mainly wetlands, riverine forests and meadows have gradually disappeared, with major changes occurring in cultural landscape as well. The areas that somehow managed to retain their original identity - in spite of the fact that history has been unfavourably disposed to nature - are today the sanctuaries of numerous highly endangered animals and plants.

The main objective of the EU's "Natura 2000" project is to protect the areas inhabited by animal and plants species of international concern. Selected on the basis of uniform criteria in each EU member state, they constitute the >Natura 2000< network, a basis of the transboundary nature protection and conservation.

The Natura 2000 sites are special protected areas as stipulated by the EU Directive on the conservation of wild birds (79/409/EEC) and special areas of conservation as defined by Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (92/43/EEC).

In May 2004 when joining the EU, Slovenia bound itself to implement all the above mentioned nature-conservancy directives. On the basis of expert criteria, 26 special protected areas for birds (including the entire Ljubljansko barje) have been stipulated, as well as 260 special areas of conservation for habitats and species. In Slovenia, the Natura 2000 network thus covers more than 35% of its entire territory, indicating a great diversity of plant and animal species as well as exceptionally well preserved nature. The Natura 2000 sites in Slovenia are home to 111 endangered plant and animal species safeguarded by the Habitat Directive and 105 species protected by the Bird Directive. Considering the number of protected species and the extent of the national territory covered by Natura 2000 sites, Slovenia is ranked first among the EU member states.

Although the latter may indeed be a compliment to our hitherto attitude towards nature, it is certainly a great responsibility at the same time. Namely, the state is also obliged to protect the Natura 2000 sites in a suitable way, to provide for a favourable status of species and their habitats, and to check all plans and measures that could have an impact on the protected species and habitats. The founding of Ljubljansko barje Nature Park and its successful management thus present a direct implementation of the EU nature-conservancy requirements.

At Ljubljansko barje, one of Slovenia's special areas of conservation, the following bird species are being protected:
- Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
- Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
- Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
- Grasshopper Warbler (Locustella naevia)
- Corn Crake (Crex crex)
- Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
- Barred Warbler ( Sylvia nisoria)
- Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)
- Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
- Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
- Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus)
- River Warbler (Locustella fluviatilis)
- Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
- Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
- Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)
- Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)
- Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
- Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola)
- Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus)
- Scops Owl (Otus scops)
- Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
- Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Plant and animal species:
- Bullhead (Cottus gobio)
- Large Copper (Lycaena dispar)
- Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia)
- False Ringlet (Coenonympha oedippus)
- Brook Lamprey (Eudontomyzon spp.)
- Danube Salmon (Hucho hucho)
- Danube Roach (Rutilus pigus)
- Striped Chub (Leuciscus souffia)
- Bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus amarus)
- Scarce Large Blue (Maculinea teleius)
- Spined Loach (Cobitis taenia)
- Large Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cardulegaster heros)
- Italian Crested Newt (Triturus carnifex)
- Yellow-bellied Toad (Bombina variegata)
- European Pond Terrapin (Emys orbicularis)
- Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros)
- European Otter (Lutra lutra)
- Fen Orchid (Liparis loeselii)
- Ornate Damselfly (Coenagrion ornatum)
- Balkan Barbel (Barbus meridionalis) Ramshorn Snail (Anisus vorticulus)
- Common River Mussel (Unio crassus)
- Narrow-mouthed Whirl Snail (Vertigo angustior)

Habitat types of Ljubljansko barje, protected by the Habitat Directive:
- Illyrian oak-hornbeam forests
- Illyrian beech forests
- riverine willow, alder and ash trees in floodplain softwood forests
- caves not open to public
- basic fens
- lowland extensively farmed meadows
- lowland and montane to Alpine hygrophilous fringe associations with high-stemmed plants
- grasslands with prevailing meadow fescue on carbonate, peaty or argillaceous-silty grounds
- watercourses in lowland and montane belts with riverine plant associations

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