Today is European Natura 2000 Day
Notranjska Regional Park and Natura 2000
The inhabitants of Lake Cerknica have always been aware of how special the lake and its surroundings are. The discontinuity and the fact that it changes its image every day always leaves us speechless with its beauty. It is a place of the meadows which offer home, food and nesting areas for many different bird species. The meadows of Lake Cerknica are also an important stop on their relocations, a place where they can rest, find food and collect new strength in peace. The wider area, including the extensive Javornik Forest Complex, is an important transitional area for large carnivores.
As many as nine Natura 2000 sites meet and overlap here. Within the Notranjska Park lie the sites of Cerknica Lake, Kozje stene near Slivnica, Bezuljak and the Notranjska Triangle. The boundaries of the park are also crossed by the areas of Snežnik-Pivka, Planinsko polje, Javorniki – Snežnik, Krimsko hribovje – Menišija and Kočevsko. Many people mistakenly think that, to preserve its nature we should stop all human activities in the areas belonging to the Natura 2000. On the contrary! Many habitats depend on human activities and agriculture. Therefore, we can say that Natura 2000 also maintains the existing management practices, because man also co-creates these areas by mowing or by reviving extensive agriculture where grazing and mowing are abandoned.
With sustainable farming in the area, the park maintains extensively cultivated and late-mowed meadows and moist grasslands, which are home to many endangered species of butterflies and birds. Without the human influence, these lands would be overgrown and the nesting sites of Eurasian bittern and corncrakes, homes of butterflies and other insects would, be lost.
To maintain a favorable situation, it is only necessary to keep the past practices in a large part of the area. In some places, minor adjustments to existing activities need to be introduced to ensure that land use is compatible with nature conservation objectives, but it is not necessary to introduce new systems or practices. One such example is late summer mowing, which allows the young corncrake birds nesting there to retreat and thus avoid the mower.
On rare occasions only the major measures are needed. In our area, these are mainly cases of natural riverbeds restoration to restore the living environment to its former favorable state, to prolong the retention time of the lake water and to increasea the area of aquatic habitats.
A place for everyone
Along withe the natural resources, we have co-created an environment of extraordinary importance. We are obliged to maintain this balance for the future generations. This is only possible by strong nature conservation awareness of all of us, by living responsibly and by preserving the good past practices. The inclusion of a large part of our area in the Natura 2000 network is a recognition that we treat our environment responsibly and sustainably and an incentive to continue our efforts.
Photography: Jošt Stergaršek