12 October 2023 – The ReNature project is actively conducting restoration work on grasslands and wetland ecosystems. The restoration of eight ponds and the Velban spring within the influence area of the Škocjan Caves Park is currently in progress. To re-establish the grasslands, overgrowth is being removed, and grazing of Istrian sheep, a Slovenian native breed, is being reintroduced.
One of the project’s key activities is the restoration of eight ponds and the Velban spring, which is a distinctive feature of the Brkini region. In June, work began in Suhorje and Narin with the assistance of an external contractor. Initially, overgrowth was removed, and water basins were deepened. During the restoration of two ponds in Pregarje, existing ponds were cleared of silt, vegetation, and debris. They were then deepened and the water-impermeable layer was reinforced with clay.
Work on the ponds in Suhorje, Pregarje, and Narin is nearing completion, and additional restoration efforts will be carried out in Tatreh, Buje, Gornja Košana, Barka, and Škocjan. After restoration, these areas will provide a suitable habitat for amphibians, dragonflies, and other aquatic and riparian organisms.
Reestablishing Dry Karst Grasslands
To enhance grassland ecosystems, the University of Ljubljana’s Veterinary Faculty, in collaboration with the Agrarian Community of Gabrče, completed the establishment of a grassland spanning 39 hectares on Vremščica in March. Areas cleared of vegetation by an external contractor were dedicated to grazing by Istrian sheep, a Slovenian native breed, in June, preventing overgrowth. By August, the pasture had already developed a botanically rich grassy cover.
Under the guidance of the Municipality of Pivka, part of the meadow near Ravne Castle was restored by clearing the vegetation, while in Narin, woody vegetation will be removed from 5.5 hectares.
About the ReNature Project
The ReNature project – 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 – has been underway since May 2022. One of the project’s main objectives is to expand the restored wetlands and grassland areas, whose functionality has been diminished due to climate change. The restoration of these ecosystems aims to preserve and enhance the critical functions they provide for various plant and animal species, as well as for human activities.
The ReNature project, supported by EEA Grants, involves the Škocjan Caves Public Service Agency as the project promoter, along with project partners including the Municipality of Pivka, the Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Information Technologies at the University of Primorska, the Veterinary faculty at the University of Ljubljana, and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.
Source: Natura 2000