Europe's Amazon

The cross-border area of the Danube, Drava and Mura Rivers, starting in Austria and flowing through Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia, is among Europe’s most important wetland areas.
The more than 400,000 ha area is comparable with tropical rainforests in terms of biodiversity and productivity. White-tailed eagles and Black storks nest in the floodplain forests; the gravel and sand banks are home to Little ringed plover, Stone curlew, and the extremely threatened Little tern. In the rivers themselves are Sterlets, Wild carp and Danube salmon. The floodplains are furthermore important as drinking water reservoirs and provide efficient flood protection as well as recreation and tourism.

WWF has been working with local and international partners for over ten years to protect the region. Our objective is to secure the cross-border area of the Danube, Drava and Mura Rivers, focusing particularly on:
  • Establishing effective protection and management, through e.g. establishment of a cross-border “Danube-Drava-Mura UNESCO Biosphere Reserve”;
  • Halting further degradation, including river regulation projects as well as sand and gravel extraction/quarrying; and
  • Beginning restoration of selected damaged floodplain areas. 
In spring 2008, the Croatian Government officially protected an area along its portion of the area of about 150,000 ha – the largest riverine protected area in Europe, and a key step toward achieving protection for the cross-border area.

Arno Mohl, WWF-Austria
 / ©: Arno Mohl
The Drava is one of Europe's last rivers in a relatively natural state.
© Arno Mohl
 / ©: Arno Mohl
The meandering Drava River is one of Europe's best preserved rivers; now a part of the Croatian section is under formal protection.
© Arno Mohl

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