Key message

The proportion of agricultural land with high natural value increased from 10.1% in 2002 to 15.3% in 2022. This includes areas of extensive orchard, wet meadows, lands undergoing afforestation, mixed land use and agricultural land covered by forest trees.

Compared to other EU countries, Slovenia demonstrates substantial landscape diversity and a high natural value of its agricultural land.

In this indicator, we address the proportion of areas with high natural value from two different perspectives. By examining this indicator from two angles, we facilitate a comparison with more or less similar countries with which we share the continent and, the area for food production. Simultaneously, we track changes in the proportion of areas with high natural value at the national level, with a focus on agricultural land.

The indicator represents and assesses the proportion of agricultural land with high natural value. It thereby indicates the extent to which agricultural land is diverse in terms of biotic diversity (the number of plant and consequently animal species) or the diversity of land use and mosaic coverage of agricultural land. In the first part (KM05-1), it shows the proportion of agricultural land with high natural value (HNV) in Slovenia and compares it with the proportion of HNV agricultural land in other EU countries based on uniform Corine Land Cover data at a scale of 1:100,000. In the second part (KM05-2), it monitors changes in the proportions of land use with characteristics of high natural value on the basis of detailed national data at a larger scale (1:5,000) from the RABA database (MKGP).


Figure KM05-1: Agricultural land, categorized as high natural value (HNV) areas

MAFF, 2002-2022; CLC, 2018; calculations by AIS (2023)

* 1222 (Extensive orchard), 1321 (Marsh meadow), 1410 (Agricultural land in overgrowth), 1500 (Trees and shrubs), 1800 (Agricultural land, growing with forest trees)

Show data
Sum of the agricultural land use areas of high natural value (HNV)*[ha] Share of HNV areas use of total agricultural land[%] Share of HNV areas use of total land in Slovenia[%]
2002 67092.30 10.10 3.30
2005 69526 10.70 3.40
2007 75082.70 11.30 3.70
2011 83031.50 12.40 4.10
2018 103894.80 15.40 5.10
2019 105519.20 15.70 5.20
2020 104365.70 15.50 5.10
2022 102718.70 15.30 5.10
Figure KM05-2: Share of high natural value areas by countries, 2018

Copernicus, 2018; calculations AIS (2023)

Show data
Complex cultivation patterns (CLC 242)[%] Land principally occupied by agriculture, with significant areas of natural vegetation (CLC 243)[%] Share of land area with high natural value [%]
Iceland 0.10 0 0.10
Germany 0.20 0.30 0.40
Sweden 0.30 1.30 1.60
Liechtenstein 2.80 0.50 3.20
Finland 0 3.30 3.30
Norway 0.50 2.90 3.40
Switzerland 2.50 1.80 4.30
Hungary 2.80 2.10 4.90
Poland 2.60 3.90 6.50
Spain 3.80 2.90 6.70
Austria 4.40 2.70 7.10
Ukraine 3.30 4 7.20
Romania 3.50 3.80 7.30
Ireland 0.80 6.90 7.70
Slovakia 1.30 7.40 8.70
Czechia 0.60 9 9.60
Estonia 3.10 6.70 9.80
Denmark 2.30 8.20 10.50
Latvia 6.50 4.50 11
Moldova 5.20 6.60 11.80
Cyprus 7.20 4.70 11.90
Bulgaria 2.40 9.60 11.90
France 10.20 2.80 13
Montenegro 2.10 11.70 13.80
Greece 5.20 8.70 13.90
Italy 7.30 7.10 14.40
Turkey 5.40 9.20 14.60
Albania 6.80 8.60 15.40
Portugal 7.10 8.50 15.60
North Macedonia 8.60 7.30 15.90
Lithuania 9.70 7.10 16.80
Netherlands 14 3.30 17.40
Luxembourg 13.50 5.80 19.30
Slovenia 12.80 9.10 21.90
Croatia 13.70 8.90 22.60
Belgium 17.30 6.10 23.50
Serbia 12.60 12.10 24.70
Malta 4 45.50 49.50


  • Preserving the high natural value of agricultural land; or, where possible, increasing the natural value of agricultural land.
  • Ensuring agricultural production and (self)food supply while preserving the high natural value of agricultural land."

Slovenia is characterized by significant landscape diversity primarily resulting from its rugged terrain, diverse climatic conditions, soil types, land use, and a fragmented ownership structure. The agricultural landscape, in particular, exhibits exceptional diversity in its coverage. In flat areas, this diversity is mainly due to a pronounced fragmented ownership structure and soil types (e.g., dry and sandy soils on gravel and sand, and hydromorphic soils on clays and loams) with occasional natural landscape features (hedges, shrublands, wetlands, small water bodies, etc.). In the hilly and mountainous regions, landscape diversity is further contributed to by relief factors, geomorphology, natural landscape features, and human-made structures (hedges, dry stone walls, etc.).

Monitoring the proportion of areas with high natural value at the national level:

The proportion of agricultural land (AL) or the total area of AL in Slovenia has changed only minimally. This proportion was 32.7% in 2002 and 33.0% in 2022.

The sum of the proportions of land use categories 1222, 1321, 1410, 1500, and 1800 (land uses with high natural value) has increased from 10.1% in 2002 to 15.3% in 2022. It's important to note that due to changes in the interpretation key, we can directly compare areas with high natural value between 2018 and 2022. The changes are minimal, only a few tenths of a percent, to some extent reflecting the subjectivity of photo interpretation and not indicating a clear trend of increasing or decreasing the proportion of land with high natural value."

Comparing the proportion of high natural value areas with other EU countries

Data on land use and land cover in Europe (Corine Land Cover - CLC) represent the use and coverage of land in European countries periodically, following the same methodology. This enables a direct comparison of land use and land cover in all EU countries. Areas of high natural value on agricultural land are classified into two categories:

  • "242 Complex cultivation patterns," which reflect a pronounced intermingling of agricultural land use types and fragmented ownership structures. This includes small parcels with various annual crops, pastures, and/or permanent plantations, areas under fallow, urban gardens with complex patterns of land use, high-stem orchards, vegetable gardens, and individual houses and other scattered structures.
  • "243 Land principally occupied by agriculture, with significant areas of natural vegetation." Category 243 is primarily occupied by various forms of agricultural cultivation, mainly with a fragmented ownership structure (fields, meadows, pastures, orchards, vineyards, berry plantations, etc.), interwoven with a significant proportion of land under natural or semi-natural land use (e.g., remnants of (semi-)natural forests, groups of trees and shrubs smaller than 25 hectares, linear structures of trees and shrubs, (semi-)natural vegetation along drainage ditches, small water bodies, wetlands, peat bogs, dry areas, bare land, heaps of stones, and other natural and semi-natural vegetation or land areas.

Both categories contain elements that directly or indirectly express a high natural value. The fragmented ownership structure is typical of most of Slovenia's agricultural land. The diversity of the agricultural cultural landscape and the intermingling of different land uses are largely due to this fragmented ownership structure. When considering the proportion of areas with natural land use elements, whether anthropogenic or natural, in some areas, it becomes evident that CLC categories 242 and 243 represent areas with high natural value in the agricultural landscape.

The proportion of areas with high natural value in the agricultural land, expressed as the sum of the proportions of CLC categories 242 and 243, is 21.9%. It is worth noting that even a significant proportion of contiguous agricultural land, such as the class 211 - non-irrigated land (CLC class 211 - Non-irrigated land), reflects the diversity of the fragmented ownership structure.

Compared to all other EU countries, Slovenia ranks highly in terms of the proportion of agricultural land with high natural value (the sum of 242 and 243), securing the 4th place in the EU, and 5th place out of 38 European countries. When considering only category 243 - Agricultural land with a significant proportion of natural vegetation, Slovenia ranks 2nd among EU countries, following Malta. In continental Europe, considering the specific characteristics of Malta, Slovenia secures the 1st place.

We can conclude that, measured with a uniform methodology and within the same time periods in comparison to European and EU countries, an exceptionally large portion of Slovenia's agricultural land exhibits a high natural value.




Date of data source summarization
Other sources and literature

  • Hočevar M., Kobler A., Vrščaj B., Poljak M., Kušar G. 2001. Corine karta rabe tal in pokrovnost Slovenije. Ljubljana, Gozdarski inštitut Slovenije
  • Updated CLC illustrated nomenclature guidelines. 2019. 2019. izd. European Environmental Agency
  • MKGP. Raba kmetijskih zemljišč Republike Slovenije 1:5.000 [Land use digital database (1:5.000) ] verzija 2011 do verzije leta 2022.
  • MKGP/MAFF. 2013. Interpretacijski ključ; podroben opis metodologije zajema dejanske rabe kmetijskih in gozdnih zemljišč. Ljubljana, Slovenija Slovenia], MKGP.
  • Stritar A. 1990. Krajina in krajinski sistemi. Raba in varsto tal v Sloveniji. [Landscape and Landscape Systems. Soil Use and Conservation in Slovenia]. Ljubljana, Slovenia [Slovenia], Partizanska knjiga:
  • Oset F. 1987. Kategorije, talni tipi, bonitetni razredi, raba tal in velikost parcel na posameznih pedosekvencah v Savinjski dolini. Diplomska naloga / Diploma thesis, Ljubljana, Slovenija, Univerza Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljani, Biotehniška fakulteta, VTOZD za agronomijo / University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Agronomy Department: 129 p.

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