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Slovenia - Enviornment

Slovenia Environment

Slovenia occupies about 2% of central Europe - 20,256 sq km (7817 sq mi) of land area - and it's about the size of Israel or Wales. To the north is Austria and to the south Croatia. Shorter borders separate Slovenia from Italy in the west and Hungary in the east. Slovenia is predominantly hilly with more than 90% of its surface over 300m (984ft) above sea level. Forest covers almost half of the country (making Slovenia one of the world's 'greenest' countries) and agricultural land - mostly made up of fields, orchards, vineyards and pastures - covers a further 43%.

There are six main regions within the country: the Alps; the pre-Alpine hills; the Dinaric karst (a limestone region of caves and underground rivers) below the hills; the Slovenian littoral, 47km (29mi) of Adriatic coastline; the flat Pannonian plain; and the lowlands, making up around one-fifth of the country mostly in the east and north-east. The interior is drained by rivers including the Sava and the Drava (which empty into the Danube), the Soca flowing into the Adriatic, the Mura and the Krka. The Kolpa River marks much of the border with Croatia.

The country is home to 2900 plant species and many are unique to Slovenia. Triglav National Park is especially rich in endemic flowering plants. Common European animals are abundant in Slovenia, including deer, boar, chamois, bear and lynx (all of which are hunted), and it's also home to rarer beasts such as the moor tortoise, cave hedgehog, scarab beetle and various dormice. Proteus anguinus, the 'human fish', is unique to Slovenia's karst caves, and is one of the world's most mysterious creatures.

The northwest has an Alpine climate and temperatures in the Alpine valleys are moderate in summer but cold in winter. The Adriatic coast and much of the Primorska (westernmost) province have a Mediterranean climate with warm, sunny days and mild winters. Most of eastern Slovenia has a Continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. January is the coldest month when the average daytime temperature is minus 2°C, (28°F) and July is the warmest with an average of 21°C (70°F).

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