Plants, animals, fungi and lower organisms have developed adaptations to cope with the conditions in the environment; some are able to build more suitable homes, gather more food for the long winter, others produce protective hairs in cold periods or change the colour of skin, leaves or flowers due to radiation. Certain features have been passed from generation to generation, creating endemic species, unique to particular regions.
The Triglav National Park prides itself on pure waters, deep-cut gorges, remains of virgin forests, richness of biodiversity, and an eldorado of mountain flowers including a number of endemic plants such as Triglav Hawksbeard (Crepis terglouensis), Julian Poppy (Papaver alpinum subsp. ernesti-mayeri) and Silver-leaved Cranesbill (Geranium argentum). Typical park animals are the chamois, ibex, red deer, brown bear, lynx, eagle, numerous bird and reptile species, and the endemic Marble trout.
High-mountain plants – attractive, colourful, sweetly scented
The Triglav National Park is home to several plant species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Do you ever wonder why flowers in the mountains are so diverse, why their stems are often hairy, leaves thick and flowers so sweetly scented, large and colourful? Is it merely to tone down the hardness of rocks and lure man to these miracle gardens?
Mountain plants can entrap and store the rapidly draining precipitation water; they have developed adaptations to cope with harsh weather, attract rare pollinators with colourful and fragrant flowers, and are food for animals, thanks to their taste and juicy texture. This is the most important task of all mountain plants, those rather inconspicuous as well as the prominent and eye-catching ones: edelweisses, bellflowers, orchids, gentians and others. Today we know that some of these plants are very rare and picking them would further threaten their existence. Any why does their existence matter so much? We need mountain plants to exist so that they can continue to perform their essential role in the ecosystem. And we need them to exist so that mountains can continue to be such a beautiful place.
The Triglav National Park enables nearly all animals typical of the mountain environment to survive here.
The park is the nesting ground for 84 bird species, a significant number of which are winter guests or peregrines. It is the natural habitat for golden eagles, capercaillie and black grouses. The capercaillie is the most threatened species, as its numbers are slowly, yet consistently decreasing. In summer months, griffon vultures can be seen soaring the sky above Krn of the Krn pastures.
The most typical animal species of the Triglav National Park is the chamois. Its current population count is about 3000 animals. The Alpine ibex was introduced to the Zadnjica valley in 1964, and has spread from there to several other parts of the park. The ibex populations have varied in number throughout this time. The Alpine marmot was introduced to TNP in the same time as the ibex. Deer population, however, is rather big and evenly distributed. Although the population numbers cannot be accurately assessed, the species' population dynamics trends have been studied thoroughly. The same is true of the red deer population, which is increasing in size and spatial distribution. The mouflon is a foreign species brought to Slovenia in the 1960s. Mountain hares, beech martens, foxes, badgers and rock ptarmigans are of frequent occurrence. The otter, however, is very rare and is the most threatened animal species in the park.
Fun fact: Brown bears
are regular guests to the park, although they do not reside in this area. Over the last decade, several individual lynx
have been permanently present.
Nature has endowed the Triglav National Park with diverse forms and phenomena of inanimate nature. The park can pride itself on diverse bedrock composition and the richness of fossilized life specimens.
Its surface forms are highly diverse and numerous, comprising high-mountain ridges with towering peaks, glacier U-shaped valleys, and a treasure chest of karst surface forms. The underground has been dramatically transformed by underground water flows. The underground tunnels of some caves extend deep into the heart of mountain ranges, while in other places abysses drop to incredible depths.
The number of karst caves has been increasing, and has so far amounted to 600.The park is also famous for its hydrological assets, such as the main watercourses of the Soča, Sava Bohinjka and Sava Dolinka, and numerous torrents. The rivers have cut deep into the surface, carving picturesque ravines, gorges, canyons and troughs. In karstic glacier-shaped depressions mountain lakes have formed. Although few in numbers, mountain lakes are among the most attractive natural features of the park: the three Križ lakes at the Kriški podi plateau, then Lake Krn and the lakes Dupeljsko jezero (the Duplje Lake) and Jezero v Lužnici (Lake in Lužnica) in the vicinity of Krn, Jezero na Planini pri Jezeru (Lake on Planina pri Jezeru), the lakes in the Triglav Lakes Valley and the largest of them – Lake Bohinj. Through neither the highest nor the mightiest waterfall in Slovenia is among the waterfalls of TNP, many have become well-frequented (the Savica Fall, the Peričnik Fall, the Upper and Lower Martuljek Falls, the Šum Fall in Vintgar). Hydrological heritage also includes raised bogs in the depressions of the Pokljuka plateau.
Fun Fact: The only Slovenian glacier
, the Triglav Glacier, has unfortunately shrunk in size so that it hardly deserves its name.
Forests cover two thirds of the park's area including valley bottoms, steep slopes and high plateaus.
The most characteristic tree species in the Triglav National Park are beeches, spruces and larches. Though especially spruces, larches and dwarf pines create the image of the Alpine world, the Julian Alps are also characterised by warmth-loving stands of hornbeams and ashes on the southern side of the park.
Only species and individual trees which adapt to the harsh conditions of the mountainous areas of TNP can thrive. On the Soča side of the park the tree line does not extend above 1600 metres. The highest reaching tree species is the beech, which is comfortable with frequent cloudiness and abundant precipitation, but spruces and larches manage to survive on higher ground. In the centre of the park and in the north, the higher forest belt is dominated by spruces and larches, which set the tree line at 1800 metres.
The Triglav National Park contains forests reserves with a total are of over 1000 hectares, which are completely left to natural development.