In April 2004, Slovenia designated the Natura 2000 sites and undertook to suitably protect them. It defined 26 sites for bird conservation and 260 sites for the conservation of habitat types and species. Thus there are 286 Natura 2000 sites in total, encompassing approximately 35 percent of the country.
A particular characteristic of Slovenia is its great diversity of animal and plant species in a small area, and its well-preserved nature. The sites are home to 111 threatened plant and animal species protected by the Habitats Directive and 105 species protected by the Wild Birds Directive.
Two thirds of sites are forested, a substantial part consists of areas with little vegetation (mainly rock walls), just under a tenth are areas above the tree line, and there are also notable areas of grasslands. A quarter of the total Natura 2000 sites in Slovenia fall within the Triglav National Park, regional and landscape parks, or are designated as nature reserves or natural monuments.
With regard to the number of protected species and the proportion of its national territory included in the Natura 2000 network, Slovenia is at the very top of the European list.