Threats to biodiversity

»The consequences of declining biodiversity are the depletion of food resources, climate changes, natural disasters and instability of our lives.« (IRSNC 2010)

The fact is that biodiversity is declining. Why? There are many reasons; the main reason is the human. With the start of the industrial age the human impact on nature has increased. The growth of mankind has led to increased use of natural resources, causing a change and shrinking of natural habitats. Natural habitats have begun to disappear gradually due to construction, expansion of settlements and agricultural surfaces, mineral excavations, woodland clearance. The remaining habitats are changed daily due to other human activities (logging, mowing, sailing, recreation ...). Although species have become extinct over time, the rate of extinction in recent times is much higher than the natural average (estimated at 2-3 species per year). Therefore humans are the cause of the "sixth mass extinction." The current extinction rates are namely 100-1000-times faster than the natural rate. According to the known data at least 58 animal and plant species became extinct by the year 2001 in Slovenia and there are around 2700 taxa on the Red List of which four-fifths of all known species of amphibians and reptiles, and almost half of the mammalian species. In 2002 635 species of vascular plants from the 3266 total known species were on the Red list of the Republic of Slovenia. In addition to the Red List species of the Republic of Slovenia we protect species through various conventions and directives, which involve more than 300 species. The most common cause of threat is the loss of habitat. One of the most endangered habitats in Slovenia is flowing waters and the associated wetlands.


Slovenian Environment Agency (2001) states the main causes of threats to biodiversity in Slovenia to be as follows:

• lack of awareness of the importance and meaning of biodiversity;

• changes in the agriculture (technology, intensification of production, abandoning the cultivation of suitable agricultural land, use of new cultivars and hybrids, promoting monocultures, marketing and social changes);

• the introduction of agriculture in areas of preserved nature (ex. areas of primeval forest in Kočevje); development of infrastructure (highways, hydropower facilities);

• regulation of watercourses (safety against floods, increase of agricultural land, non-natural embankments);

• drainage of wetlands;

• uncontrolled urbanization, mainly dispersed colonization;

• introduction of alien and invasive plant and animal species (in the country and between different areas within it);

• excessive removal of plant and animal species from the nature (hunting, fishing, clamming etc..);

• air, water and soil pollution, and climate changes;

• failure to implement regulations and lack of controlling measures;

• poor coordination among the concerned public on preserving biodiversity;

• disorganized education, training and raising awareness.


All these activities and the shortcomings have a direct and indirect effect on destruction and changing of not only the ecosystems of inland waters, but also on other ecosystems. Ecosystems and habitats are getting fragmented. With the loss of habitat, the species that inhabit it begin to disappear. The excessive exploitation of natural resources leads to decline in biodiversity. The overexploitation is present in Slovenia as there is a calculation that confirms it. It states that theoretically there is one hectare of land available for each inhabitant, but he actually exploits the ecosystem services of 4.5 hectares of land area.

»There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.« (Mohandas K. Gandhi)



Slovenian Environment Agency 2001. Review of the status of biodiversity and landscape diversity in Slovenia. Ljubljana, Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning of Slovenia, Slovenia Environmental Agency: 224 pages. In Slovene.

Slovenian Environment Agency 2008. Environmental Indicators in Slovenia. [NB02] Endangered species. Available on the Internet, 15/03/2012. In Slovene.

European Commission 2011. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. COM (2011) 244 final. Brussels: 17 p. Available on the Internet, 15/03/2012. In Slovene.

The Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation (IRSNC) 2001. People with nature, nature for people. Biodiversity is our life. Ljubljana: 40 pages. Available on the Internet, 01/02/2012. In Slovene.