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UNESCO to declare ‘Mura-Drava-Danube’ a biosphere reserve

UNESCO to declare 'Mura-Drava-Danube' a biosphere reserve

The confluence of the Drava River (foreground) and Mura near Legrad, Croatia (Photo: BikeMike/Public Domain)

At a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria this coming Wednesday, UNESCO will declare the Mura-Drava-Danube a biosphere reserve, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Adria has learned.

The so-called “European Amazon” will become the largest protected river area in Europe. 

The Mura, Drava and Danube rivers form a highly valuable and free-flowing river corridor spanning 700 kilometres and connecting almost 1.000.000 hectares across Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia. 

The initiative for the protection of the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers in Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia was launched more than 20 years ago by environmental activists and civil society organisations.

Work on establishing the Mura-Drava-Danube biosphere reserve officially began in 2011, when the environment ministers of the five countries signed a declaration on the establishment of a transboundary biosphere reserve. 

The joint nomination, officially sent in April 2020, linked the four pieces of the puzzle – biosphere reserves in Austria, Slovenia and Serbia and the Mura-Drava transboundary biosphere reserve in Croatia and Hungary – into a single protected area, WWF points out.

The “European Amazon” is rich in rare habitats such as large floodplain forests, sand and gravel reefs, steep banks, backwaters and oxbow lakes, beavers and otters, and fish such as sturgeon.

More info on the 5-country Biosphere Reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube” here. 

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