Valuable natural features

We consider valuable natural features to be the most extraordinary and/or special parts of nature. In the area of the Goričko Nature Park there are 44 elements decelerated as valuable natural features of national importance. Among them are 10 exceptional or morphologically unique trees, 5 stagnant water reservoirs, 9 streams, 4 geological specialities and 16 areas, either habitats or other locations, where protected species can be found. The status of valuable natural features was assigned also to Sotina Hill, mineral water spring in Nuskova, extensive meadows in Motvarjevci and Budinci, and Ledava Lake. On the map.

Geological features

The most interesting geological features of Goričko are spring of mineral water in Nuskova and deposits of basaltic tuffs and pyroclastic materials in abandoned rock mines in Grad. Both are categorised as important valuable natural features of national interest. Among other important geological and geomorphological valuable natural features are the areas of Sotinski breg and Slatinska graba. Sotinski breg is the highest point of Prekmurje and is build up from paleozoic methamorphic schists, which are old up to 500 million years and were created deep in the earth crust under immense pressure and temperature. These rocks are today exploited in rock mine as technical rock for road gravel. On the hill of Sotinski breg the biggest European owls - Eurasian eagle owls (bubo bubo) are nesting. With a little luck we can hear it in the dark.  Mineral spring in Nuskova Mineral spring in Nuskova is the natural source of mineral water. The cooling magma deep in the Earth crust releases a big amount of gasses (CO2 and others), which then rise up through the faults and dissolve in waters layers. When mixed with water, these gases form weak acids.  Acids then help by dissolving minerals and other elements, which are present in the water when it springs on the surface. Mineral water in Nuskova contains bigger amounts of iron, which can be seen in the red colour (iron oxides) of nearby spring. This water is commonly used by locals and has an unique taste.  Grad - deposits of basaltic tuff and pyroclastites On the northern part of Grad village there is abandoned rock mine of basaltic tuffs and pyroclastites. These deposits are result of pliocenic volcanic activity before cca. three millions years. Basaltic tuff is sedimentary rock, which was created by compaction of vulcanic ashes, sands and other sediments. Within tuffs we can also find some pyroclastites. Most common are olivine nodules in small, oval form. In these nodules are small crystals of mineral olivine. On air these nodules get weathered fast. These deposits are the only known source of olivine nodules known in Slovenia. 

Unique habitats

Habitats of rare plant and animal species, areas of great biodiversity of living creatures and areas of conserved and characteristic aquatic habitats are due to their great importance defined as the valuable natural features of different types. Ledava lake and Hodoš Lake stand out among the stagnant waters in terms of their zoological and ecological value. Ledava Lake, which is located near village Krašči, is the largest stagnant water reservoir in the region, with 80 ha of surface area. North of the lake an extraordinary forest of white willows grows on sediments of the Ledava. Mentioned forest is extremely well preserved and thus classified as an eco-cell, making it exempt from economical targetting. Numerous woodpeckers and other animal species have found a home in this forest, including a collared flycatcher with its distinctive white collar. The vast belt of reed hosts a diverse world of birds – heron, great reed warbler, Savis warbler, water rail, and common moorhen. Different types of terns fly around above the water surface during the spring, while migration to their nesting grounds. Wetland meadows in Pertoča, located north of the Ledava Lake, are defined as valuable natural features of zoological, botanical and ecological value. They are, among others, home to sedge warbler, marsh warbler, and common snipe. Hodoš Lake is not far behind in terms of zoological diversity – great crested grebe, little grebe, little bittern and common otter are regular inhabitants of the water reservoir of Dolenci creek. Habitat of shrubby garland flower near Lake Hodoš was recognized as botanical valuable natural feature. Not far away, near the Hungarian border, an area of dry meadows on Bejčin Hill was also defined as an ecological, botanical and zoological valuable natural feature. Wet meadows of lemon daylily and marsh gentian are preserved in the valley surrounding this hill. Extensive meadows of great burnet all over the area are home to crowds of butterflies like scarce large blue and dusky large blue. Along the ridge, meadows become purple coloured during the spring due to the green-winged orchid. Eurasian hoopoe, red-backed shrike, common whitethroat, and yellowhammer are common scenes around this hill. Common buzzard and common raven do flyovers above the forest patches. In the eastern part of Goričko Nature Park, along the banks of Kobiljes brook in village Motvarjevci lies the preserved area of wet extensive meadows, which are home to last marsh fritillaries in the Goričko. The flowering meadowes are coloured in vivid colours by marsh gentian, lemon daylily, Siberian iris, devils-bit scabious, sneezewort, water ragwort, and saw-wort. Red-backed shrikes like to rest on tops of gray willows, while river warbler, marsh warbler and common whitethroat prefer to hide within the safety of dense clustered canopy of these willows. Meadows with similar vegetation can also be found few km to the east in Kobilje, where two additional plant endemites of Goričko can be found – fringed pink and bulbous saxifrage. In the western part of Goričko Nature Park, in Cankova and Pertoča, two habitats of mountain daffodil have been recognized as valuable natural features.

Preservation of valuable natural features

The most valuable parts of nature, such as exceptional trees, special or characteristic geological phenomenons, and the preserved and species-rich habitats, have the status of valuable natural feature. Type and management of valuable natural features are prescribed by Rules on the designation and protection of valuable natural features (sl. Pravilnik o določitvi in varstvo naravnih vrednot). Attached in the link is a list of valuable natural features and their records. In the area of the Goričko Nature Park all the valuable natural features have the status of national importance. Some valuable natural features are marked with explanatory tables, on which you can learn more about their characteristics or typical species of plants or animals living there. Some valuable natural features need our help to continue their existence. Exceptionality in most cases coincides with the age of the trees, as old trees are also more susceptible to attacks by fungi and insects, or damage. Rejuvenation cutt, which extends the life of the tree, can be used to help such trees. In the past such cutting was done on sorb tree and service tree specimens in Kobilje, both of them recognized as valuable natural features. The habitats of rare and endangered plant and animal species must be maintained in a favourable state as well. Living habitats of shrubby garland flower is threatened by the growth of oak seedlings on forest edges, making it a necessity to annually remove young trees from meadows. Mowing the forest edges is not an appropriate measure, as it would also damage these shrubs.

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