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Only in 1918, when World War I ended with Austria-Hungary on the losing side, did Slovakia materialize as a geopolitical unit—but within the new country of Czechoslovakia.Although a critical stocktaking of the Czech-Slovak relationship shows more discord than harmony, there was one splendid moment when the two nations stood firmly together.At these upper elevations, particularly in the Tatras, the tree cover below the timberline consists largely of dwarf pine.At about 7,500 feet (2,300 metres), alpine grasses and low-growing shrubs give way to lichens.The highest elevations support taiga and tundra vegetation.The timberline runs at about 5,000 feet (1,500 metres).Snow remains on the higher peaks into the summer months.Although Slovakia is a small country, its varied topography supports a wide variety of vegetation.

The growing season is about 200 days in the south and less than half of that in the mountains.Agriculture and timber cutting have diminished the republic’s original forest cover, but approximately two-fifths of its area is still forested.Forestland is most extensive in the mountainous districts.The forests and lowland areas support numerous game birds, such as partridges, pheasants, wild geese, and ducks.Raptors, storks, and other large birds are protected.

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