UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Mura-Drava-Danube | WWF

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Mura-Drava-Danube

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Floodplains of the Danube in Croatia illustrate that Croatia and Hungary signed a declaration to establish a Trans-Boundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that will protect their shared biodiversity hotspot along the Mura, Drava and Danube Rivers.
© Mario Romulic
Waters of Mura, Drava and Danube rivers create a unique area of ​​significant natural and cultural heritage that extends over more than 800,000 hectares in five countries: Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia. Because of its amazing biodiversity and untouched natural areas the joint watershed of all three rivers has been nominated for protection under the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve programme in early 2011.
 
Natural stretches of the Drava, Mura and Danube are under pressure from unnecessary river regulation and gravel extraction, which significantly affect the state of the water body and cause lowering of the groundwater level, impacting agriculture, forests and drinking water sources, and thus wildlife and the local people.

The main objective of the project “Protection of the European lifeline – Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Mura-Drava-Danube (TBR MDD)”, or as we like to call it – “the European Amazon”, is to ensure the protection and sustainable management of transboundary river ecosystems of Mura, Drava and Danube.

In order to successfully manage such a large protected area it is necessary to have good cross-border cooperation and joint management measures. Therefore, WWF's work is focused on linking relevant institutions in all five countries to establish good mutual cooperation. Among the five countries, Hungary and Croatia already obtained the UNESCO protection status, Serbia submitted the nomination to UNESCO, while in Slovenia the procedure for nomination is on the agenda of the government. Austria hasn’t started with the procedure yet. 
 
WWF and its partners - Green Osijek, Croatian Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature, ZEUS, Matis, Baobab, Ecological Society of Koprivnica, and Nature Society Drava – work together through series of activities in order to prevent bad practices (River Watchers) and raise awareness of local people on the benefits of natural rivers and development possibilities for the area under the UNESCO protection. 

UNESCO BIOSPHERE RESERVE MURA-DRAVA-DANUBE

 
	© (C) WWF

SAVING THE „AMAZON OF EUROPE“

Until the 19th century, giant Beluga sturgeons migrated from the Black Sea up the Danube as far as ... 
	© naturepl.com / Frei / ARCO / WWF
Until the 19th century, giant Beluga sturgeons migrated from the Black Sea up the Danube as far as Germany and were important mainstays for many fishing communities.
© naturepl.com / Frei / ARCO / WWF
 
	© Goran Šafarek
Fishing is a traditional activity for the local people.
© Goran Šafarek
Confluence of the Danube and Drava Rivers. The commitment to protect this area would not be worth ... rel=
Confluence of the Danube and Drava Rivers. The commitment to protect this area would not be worth more than the paper it is written on if current plans are executed.
© Mario Romulic