Danube-Drava confluenceThe confluence of the Danube and the Drava Rivers is especially valuable. Three countries meet here -- Hungary , Croatia , and Serbia & Montenegro – and their various protected territories, including Kopacki Rit in Croatia, Gornje Podunavlje in Serbia, and Gemenc-Beda-Karapancse in Hungary, represent just fragments of a single ecological unit of some 60,000 ha that is divided by national and other administrative borders. Rare black storks and white-tailed eagles are known to range between the protected areas of this whole region, and the fish travel between national territories without a passport.
The main features of the Danube floodplain are its regular floods and dynamic water regime; the consequent sedimentation processes which create the typical floodplain relief; and its outstanding biodiversity. However, being accessible and fertile, floodplains are valuable for settlement, agriculture and transport, human activities that usually destroy the wetland ecosystems.
Even though the entire floodplain is one ecological unit, its different parts are managed in different ways, under different degrees of nature protection. These areas are of international importance, containing large areas designated as Ramsar sites (Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, especially as Waterfowl Habitats) or Important Bird Areas (IBA) by BirdLife International.
The Croatian Government's move in spring 2008 to put the Croatian areas of the Drava floodplains under official protection has made a major step toward securing international protection for the region as a whole.
It is not only the natural heritage of this area, which is so special: a complex and often turbulent history has built an intricate cultural web, embracing many ethnic groups with their own traditions and values.