Restoring wetland and grassland ecosystems that are important for protected species and habitats in the Karst and Reka River Basin Biosphere Reserve and the Seasonal Lakes of Pivka Nature Park in Slovenia.

The project area encompasses a unique network of ecosystems characterised by a great geological diversity, biodiversity and rich heritage. The areas between the Natura 2000 sites and other nature conservation areas are extremely important in terms of ensuring the connectivity, integrity and overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network. 

Biodiversity and nature protection play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, as healthy and resilient ecosystems are able to better mitigate climate change.

Wetlands as carbon sinks

Wetlands are the world’s most efficient carbon sinking habitats per unit area. Active storage, binding of CO2 in soil and biomass, reduction of emissions are also characteristic for meadows. Climate change has become the biggest threat to natural heritage sites in the last 10 years and these ecosystems are not an exception.

Less precipitation, higher temperatures and evaporation lead to greater drought and fire risks in meadows and wetlands. Extreme weather events, such as storms, cause erosion, soil and vegetation damage. Climate change exacerbates other pressures, such as invasive species, overgrowth and deterioration due to non-management.

Crucial to Natura 2000 species and habitats

Dry karst grasslands are among the most diverse habitat types in Slovenia. Meadow orchards are key habitat structures for birds and bats. Wetlands, such as karst ponds and other small water reservoirs, have provided water supplies in the past, but have a nature conservation role nowadays. These aquatic biotopes in the project area form a network of habitats of water-bound Natura 2000 species that would not be found in an otherwise dry karst landscape. The disappearance of these ecosystems results in the decline of populations of the Natura 2000 species and habitat types (e.g. crested newt, yellow-bellied toad, marsh fritillary, bats etc.).

The overall objective is therefore to improve the management of wetlands and grassland ecosystems in the project area which are under climate change pressure.

Project info

Project title: Restoration of the Network of Wetlands and Grasslands Important for Natura 2000 and Other Protected Species and Habitat Types in the Karst Biosphere Reserve and the Reka River Basin and the Seasonal Lakes of Pivka Nature Park (ReNature)

Objective: Improve the management of wetlands and grassland ecosystems in the project area which are under climate change pressure.

Project period: 2022-2024



Duncan Halley
Coordinator, NINA

Manca Černigoj
Project leader, Škocjan Caves Public Service Agency