Slovenian forestry is known for its management practices which promote natural forest structures, natural regeneration and forest stand development through mimicking natural processes and small-scale disturbances. This, commonly named the “close-to-nature” management approach, integrates ecosystem requirements into sustainable forest management. One of its main goals is biological diversity preservation as an aspect of Slovenian wildlife management. Being part of forest management, both aim to preserve habitats and favourable conservation status of many species. This also includes species that are endangered, vulnerable, or rare on the European level. Such species are for example large carnivores, which can – in wildlife management – be seen as umbrella species. Slovenia has many years of experience with managing brown bear, wolf and eurasian lynx populations. While for the lynx there are currently major efforts to keep population free from inbreeding problems (check out the LIFE Lynx project the Slovenia Forest Service is currently involved with as coordinator), brown bear and wolf population are in their best condition of the last decades. Nonetheless, population management faces new challenges all the time. In the wider area of the Dinaric Mountains for example, brown bear and wolf have not only persisted due to the habitat richness, but also because of local people’s positive attitudes towards large carnivores. This should not be taken for granted as commonly conflicts between people and large carnivores are one of the major challenges. Especially in the last few years, when wolf and bear populations were strengthening and inhabiting back the areas where they once lived. On this matter, there were several international (European) projects conducted over the past few years, helping both forest and wildlife managers to face newly appearing challenges and continuously improve wildlife management.
By means of promotion, we attach footage of a playful Slovenian bear, taken during LIFE Lynx project:
This article was prepared by Matej Bartol, Miha Mareče, and Simon Poljanšek from the Slovenian Forest Service.