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13 September 2018

Natura 2000 in Croatia and Slovenia

sloveniaCroatia is the EU’s newest member state, and is also one of the countries with the greatest number of Natura 2000 sites, with over a third of its land included in the network. Croatia experiences such a diverse range of flora and fauna because of the varied biogeographical regions it contains. The inland region’s grasslands and forests contains one of Europe’s few remaining intact wetlands, and is home to 297 bird species. Close to 400 species of new invertebrates have been discovered this decade alone in Croatia’s complex coastal cave system, while many mammals, amphibians and reptiles make their homes along the coastline and in Croatia’s islands and islets. The Biokovo bellflower is one species which is unique to Croatia, while two-thirds of known Mediterranean fish species and half of European birds can be found in the country. Slovenia is the only country with more land included in the Natura 2000 network than Croatia. This increased access to nature is also reflected in cultural attitudes; 62% of Slovenians have heard of Natura 2000, and 32% know what it stands for, making Slovenia the fifth most informed country. The importance of nature can be seen in the attitude of 54% of Slovenians who believe economic interventions that destroy protected areas should be prohibited. You can shift cultural attitudes towards nature by taking part in our Go Wild! Stay Cultured photo contest, and bring awareness of the biodiversity we are protecting to people and decision-makers across Europe.