The Karst

The Karst Biosphere Reserve encompasses the kocjaske jame Regional Park including the kocjan caves, designated both as a World Heritage site and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.

The specific underground ecosystems, typical of the karst, are well known for their geomorphological, geological, and hydrological formations that are due to the limestone bedrock. The latter is the main reason for the constant lack of running surface water in the karst and the creation of conditions for cave formation.

Nomination date: 24.10.2004
Surface area: 59,780 ha
(Incluing core area: 403 ha; buffer zone: 45,000 ha; transition area:14,377 ha)

Administrative division: Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, Public Service Agency Park Škocjan

Human Activities

There are 68 inhabitants in the core zone, 8000 are living in buffer zone and 7000 in transition area.

  • Tourism: bed and breakfast, family guesthouse, local touristic societies, participation in and promotion of visits to the Škocjan Caves and surrounding villages, promotion of ethnological events and culture.
  • Education: four primary schools involved in international schools network of the Park Škocjan Caves, high school, participation in workshops and training for teachers, mentors, local people, rangers, participation in research projects for school children organized by parks authorities.
  • Research: participation in monitoring of underground waters, protection of drinking water sources, explorations of caves, underground channels and canyons, hydro geographical study, biodiversity studies.
  • Nature protection: participation in local societies organised by fisherman, hunters, fireman, mountaineers, scouts, cavers, peasant women, participation in activities for raising public awareness provided by parks authorities and Public Service Agency for Forestry.
  • Private or/and business sector: Transport business, timber industry, railway transport.
  • Food production: bees for honey production, growth of autochthonic apple and plum species and their products, autochthonic fish, sheep and goats breed.

Ecological Characteristics

Karst Biosphere Reserve encompasses The Škocjanske jame Regional Park and a proper cave system of Škocjanske jame with Mejame cave. The area is well known for its outstanding natural features, geological and hydrological peculiarities. The buffer zone encompasses the flysch surface with the catchment area of The Reka River.

The transition area is located on limestone surface above the vulnerable underground system of the caves. Specific ecosystems, typical of the karst, are well known for their exceptional geomorphological phenomena that are due to the limestone bedrock. The latter is also the main reason for constant lack of running water in karst and the condition for the development of numerous caves.

It also influenced the way that animals and plants have adapted the occurrence of endemic species and resourcefulness of farmers. Geomorphologic features are observed here: caves, number, grasslands, stony countryside, pastures, underground streams and pools, collapsed dolines, cave system, underground canyons, sinkholes, the Reka River, speleothems - stalactites, stalagmites, ponds, underground halls, natural bridges. Fauna of the cave system represents species adapted to the absence of light, scarce food supply and variable river flow.

Protection Classifications

At the national level: Regional Park Škocjan Caves, part of Natura 2000 sites Kras and Reka Reka At the regional level: UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ramsar Site, MAB location



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