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Slovenia – a Land of Forests

Forests not only have important ecological and social functions, but also lend exceptional beauty to the Slovenian landscape. Photo: UKOM archive

The most typical feature of the Slovenian landscape is its forests, which cover 66% of the national territory (according to a 2005 report of the Forest Service of Slovenia). In terms of relative forest cover, Slovenia ranks third in the European Union, after Finland and Sweden. The forest area in Slovenia is expanding through the natural reforestation of abandoned farmland, meadows and pastures. In many parts of the urban landscape, however, forests have to yield to the construction of infrastructure and housing. The forests are a valuable natural resource for Slovenia, containing close to 300 million cubic meters of wood. Forests not only have important ecological and social functions, but also lend exceptional beauty to the Slovenian landscape.

They protect forest land and stands from erosion, store and purify water, influence the climate by balancing temperatures, conserve biodiversity, maintain the balanced drainage of precipitation into watercourses, and absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, which is believed to be the cause of critical long-term changes to the global climate.

The social functions of forests are associated with various human activities. At first glance, these cannot be evaluated in material terms, but they definitely represent a major, universal, and indirectly material value. One of forests' vital social functions is that of protection: forests protect natural and artificial structures, and natural and cultural heritage. They are a place for exercise, learning, teaching and research, they are great tourist assets, a source of health and inspiration.  

Slovenia's forests in numbers

In the Trignav National Park larches over a millennium old can be found. Photo: BOBO /STB

Surface area:

1.163.812 ha

Number of naturally growing tree species:

71

Growing stock:

293.532.000 m3

Annual growth of growing stock:

7.445.927 m3

Annual harvest (2004):

2,957,997 m3

Potential annual harvest (2004 forest management plans):

4.162.662 m3

 

Text by: Tone Lesnik, Forest Service of Slovenia  , Večna Pot 2, Ljubljana (in 2005)