AMAZON OF EUROPE - Cross-border UNESCO Biosphere Park Mur-Drava-Danube is complete

What lasts long will finally be good! The last missing puzzle stone for the future five-country UNESCO Biosphere Park Mur-Drava-Danube, the Styrian border segment of the Mur, was added by Austria on 19 June 2019. The area is part of the last intact dynamic river landscapes of Europe. The goal for the Danube-Drava-Mur region between Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia is the realization of a transboundary biosphere reserve.

Confluence of Drava and Mur on the border between Croatia and Hungary: an impressive floodplain landscape! © Goran Safarek

On a length of 700 km and an area of about 1,000,000 ha it seems that Europe's largest continuous river protection area can become reality. The future cross-border biosphere reserve, situated right at the European Green Belt, contains not only important drinking water reservoirs and retention areas in the event of flooding, it is also home to Europe's highest density of white-tailed eagles with over a hundred breeding pairs and offers resting places for more than a quarter of a million water birds. Not to mention the extraordinary diversity of fish species.

The Styrian Mur on the border with Slovenia was added as the last building block on 19 June 2019 to the UNESCO Biosphere Park. The Naturschutzbund Steiermark has for decades been committed to the protection of over 30 km of floodplain forest. After the UNESCO recognition of the river basins of Hungary and Croatia in 2012, Serbia in 2017 and Slovenia in 2018, only Austria's share in the future protected area was still missing. As the final step, the five countries must submit their individual biosphere reserves within the framework of a common application to UNESCO.

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