Nature has combined and interwoven great natural riches in this small piece of Europe and granted Slovenia extraordinary variety and diversity that is still well preserved today. Over a third of the country's territory lies within the Europe-wide network of Natura 2000 protected areas, while other valuable areas have been proclaimed major parks and reserves. Direct contact with nature is possible even on the edges of cities.

Green riches
Centuries ago, over 90% of Slovenia was covered by forest. Slovenia's trees are still its most important lung, absorbing greenhouse gas emissions. But on their own they are not enough. This is why Slovenia is promoting green tourism, to reduce the environmental impact as much as possible. By behaving appropriately and responsibly, you too are part of this form of tourism. See the Nature – Green Slovenia chapter for advice on what you can do to help preserve green nature.

Flora and fauna
Approximately 60% of Slovenia is covered by forests, and over one million new trees are planted in Slovenia every year. Plant diversityis enormous. In areas where there are no forests there is other natural vegetation such as thickets and meadows. Particularly in mountain areas, there are many endangered and protected species of flowers.
Fertile soil is mainly found in the east of the country and in flat areas in river valleys, so this is where agriculture is most developed. The sunny sides of many hills in the south and west of Slovenia offer good conditions for vines.
For contact with wild animals in Slovenia, you can head for the forests that lie just outside many towns. Large numbers of deer live in the forests, and increasing numbers of brown bears, a previously endangered species. Slovenia's rivers, lakes and sea are home to a rich variety of aquatic species. Many species of birds nest in Slovenia, and the territory is a staging area for migratory species.