Natural features include in particular geological phenomena; minerals and fossils and mineral and fossil sites; surface and subsurface karst features; caves; gorges and other geomorphological phenomena; glaciers and glacial forms; springs; waterfalls; rapids; lakes; bogs; brooks and rivers and their banks; the coast; plant and animal species and exceptional specimens and habitats thereof; ecosystems; landscape; and designed landscape.
Valuation and identification of natural features
Valuation surpluses are determined by the following criteria:
- Connectedness (either into a functional whole or territorially)
- Conservation status
- Ecological or genetic significance
- Scientific research significance
- Testimonial significance (because of its symbolic meaning, its connection with cultural events or characteristics, or its visibility for Slovenia or part of it).
In terms of importance, natural features are classified into those of national importance because of their uniqueness, typicality, connectedness, testimonial value and rarity and those of local importance.
Natural features are identified by the minister. In 2019, 17,470 natural features were identified, of which 5,321 are natural features of geomorphological, geological, hydrological, ecosystem, botanical, zoological and tree types and species and 12,148 are underground caves.
Protection of natural features
No one should treat natural features in such a way as to endanger their existence.
The owner of a natural feature is obliged, among other things:
- To enable safe passage for others,
- To obtain permission from the Slovenian Environment Agency for arrangements concerning viewing or visiting,
- To allow the carrying out of nature conservation tasks,
- To obtain the approval of the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Protection for any intervention in the area or intervention in nature; details and exceptions are set out in Article 6 of the Rules on the identification and protection of natural features.
Special rules apply to the finding of a mineral or fossil: the finder must suspend any works, protect the find and immediately notify the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Protection. Underground caves are subject to an even more detailed regulation, determined by the Underground Cave Protection Act.