Krakovo Forest – A Forest with an Abundance of Life
Krakovo Forest is among the most important wetlands in Slovenia located on the floodplaints of the Krka river, not far from the picturesque riverside town of Kostanjevica na Krki. It is regularly flooded by the nearby Krka River. One part of the forest was managed for centuries by monks from a nearby monastery, while large areas were inaccessible and have been left untouched by human intervention.
The forest was also the site of a remarkable scientific discovery. In the 19th century, a Czech-born forestry official named Josef Ressel was responsible for mapping the area of Krakovo forest. A passionate inventor, he took some time off to test one of his most important designs – the modern ship propeller – on the Krka River.
The wetland’s central part, which is officaly protected as a nature reserve, is covered with the most extensive lowland oak forest in Slovenia. There, many oak trees are three or more centuries old.
The regular flooding in the forest, which consists mostly of sturdy oak and hornbeam trees, has resulted in an abundance of unique vegetation and exceptionally varied birdlife. A large amount of dead and decaying trees is present in the forest, thus supporting a thriving population of woodpeckers and other cavity-nesting birds.
Rare flowers such as the drooping tulip are common here, and the moist soil makes an ideal breeding ground for the protected moor frog. More than 15 different species of amphibians thrive here, and both beavers and otters are regularly spotted in the area.
We are lucky enough to still have some primeval forests – a treasure of knowledge and information about natural processes.
Krakovo Forest is a sanctuary for numerous endangered plant and animal species. It is especially important for birds. It is listed as an internationally important bird area and also Natura 2000 site.
To visit Krakovo Forest, a path called the Ressel Trail (Resslova pot) can be used. It is 8 km long and connect the Trstenik moorland with the central part of the forest, its surroundings and floodplains along the river Krka. On the way back we can visit Cvelbarjev hrast – the second thickest oak in Slovenia. The tree has a chest diameter of 7.5m, is 33m tall and about 300 years old; extraordinary dimensions allowed him unlimited racial space, so it developed a wide canopy with thick branches.