Julian Alps

The boundary of this biosphere reserve runs along the State border between Slovenia and Italy. It is an area of alpine mountains and karst plateaux, with an alpine climate characterised by cold winters and short summers, although the valleys opening towards the Mediterranean region to the south have milder climatic conditions. The fundamental role of the biosphere reserve is to reconcile the protection of the rich biological values and landscape diversity with sustainable uses (agriculture, forestry, dairy farming, fishing, water management, cheese production, tourism).

Nomination date: 15 September 2003
Surface area: 195,723 ha
Administrative division: Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of Environment and Spatial planning, The Triglav National Park

Human Activities

Agriculture with pastoral economy, small enterprises, crafts, ecottage industry, tourism, forestry.

Ecological Characteristics

Relief and geology:

  • Underlying bedrock consist mainly of Early Triassic limestone
  • The Julian Alps were strongly shaped by glaciers
  • Typical landscape: high mountain summits and ridges, karst plateaus, deep glacier valleys
  • Average altitude: 1334 m
  • The lowest point (180 m): in the Tolminka gorge
  • The highest point (2864 m): the Triglav summit


  • Alpine climate with cold winters and short warm summers
  • The valleys opened towards the Mediterranean sea have milder climatic conditions

Hydrological characteristics:

  • Karst springs, waterfalls, creeks and rivers,
  • Alpine glacier lakes – on limestone basis!
  • The dividing line between the Soča and Sava catchment areas runs trough the heart of the Julian Alps, marking the important watershed between the Mediterranean and Black Sea

Vegetation cover:

  • 66 % natural forests
  • 2 % agricultural land

Flora and fauna:

  • 1000 lichen species
  • 1600 vascular plants
  • 200 mosses
  • 300 – 400 algae
  • 2200 animal species

Protection Classifications

The Biosphere Reserve Julian Alps is divided into a core area, a buffer area and a transitional area or area of corporation. The core and the buffer areas are determined by the Triglav National Park Act.

The transitional area includes the whole surface of Local Municipalities, which are partly located inside the Triglav National Park and and partly outside.

> Back to Biosphere Reserves in Slovenia

                                                                               Last updated: September 2012

Back to top