Croatian-Hungarian part of Biosphere Reserve "Mura-Drava-Danube" approved by UNESCO
“This is a huge milestone in our effort to protect one of the richest areas in Europe in terms of species diversity”, said Arno Mohl, Project Coordinator of the “Mura-Drava-Danube" Biosphere Reserve project at WWF Austria. “Such floodplain areas can only be topped by the tropical rainforests.”
The part of the reserve, which was recognized today, covers 630,000 ha - about 80% of the future “Mura-Drava-Danube”.
“This decision forms the basis for effective protection and better management of the three rivers and their catchment areas, ecological river basin management and revitalisation across borders”, Mohl said. “It also enables sustainable development of the region and its cultural value.”
With rare floodplain forests, river islands, gravel banks and oxbows, the area is home to the highest density in Europe of breeding pairs of white-tailed eagle and endangered species such as the little tern, black stork, otters and beavers.It is also an important stepping stone for more than 250,000 migratory waterfowls every year.
The river ecosystem is also vital for the socio-economic well being of the trans-boundary region. It is a major source of good drinking water, natural flood protection, sustainable forestry, agriculture and fisheries. It also has an important role in promoting eco-tourism, awareness raising and environmental education in the region.