Did you know: ‘The Amazon Of Europe’ - World’s First 5 Nations Biosphere Reserve
Updated: Jul 14
This is a victory for nature 12 years in the making. This Reserve covering five nations has finally come to pass as a transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It spans 4000 square-miles in Austria, Slowenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia. Named the ‘Amazon of Europe’, the biosphere is precedent-setting as a multinational effort to curb ecological destruction. It is the largest river-based protected area in Europe.
UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (similar to its famous ‘World Heritage Sites’) represent a high level of international protection and recognition for the finest ecosystems in the world, especially ones which are critical to maintaining the biosphere which is...the global web of life.
Why is it important and what is a biosphere?
Quote from Euronews.green: “Biospheres are crucial for ecological restoration as their UNESCO protected status ensures an area’s biodiversity and ecological structures, like floodplains; they are protected from outside destructive interests.
The Mura, Drava and Danube biosphere will protect floodplains, forests, sand and gravel banks, steep banks and backwaters. It will also look after a huge number of animal species, including the highest density of breeding white-tailed eagles in continental Europe.”
The seed for the project was sown in 2009 when Croatia and Hungary signed a joint declaration stating their shared aspiration for such a reserve becoming reality, which was followed just two years later by Serbia, Slovenia and Austria.
UNESCO began in 2011 reviewing borders and habitat in each country resulting in the designating of a biosphere in each one, but always with the plan in mind to combine them at one stage. The reserve is a sign that nature can defend and maintain areas around humans - even in a continent as crowded as Europe. It is established as the first Biosphere Reserve to cross the borders of so many nations.
Top: Plitvice Lake Waterfall, right: Plitvice Lake, Croatia (Pixabay)
“This is the most valuable connected river landscape in Central Europe and does not need to shy away from being compared with the Amazon,” stated WWF project coordinator Arno Mohl.
“The five countries involved prove that nature conservation can overcome country borders for the benefit of everyone. In the context of the current climate crisis and massive species extinction, protecting the last natural areas has become a matter of our survival,” Mohl continued.
Representing such an important body of water, it’s unsurprising perhaps that it’s a refuge for imperiled species like the black stork, otter, beavers, little tern, sturgeon, and the highest density of European white eagles, along with 36 species of native Slovenian fish on the IUCN Red List (IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, was established on 5 October 1948 in the French town of Fontainebleau. As the first global environmental union, it brought together governments and civil society organisations with a shared goal to protect nature).
In Slovenia, the River Mura is the only stretch of water not separated by dams, meaning fish can migrate from its headwaters all the way to the Danube Delta where it flows into the Black Sea.
“In its biodiversity strategy, the EU pledged to protect 30 percent of EU land and seas by 2030. The creation of the Mura-Drava-Danube reserve is in line with the ambition of the EU Green Deal,” says Claire Baffert, Senior Water Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office.
“The decision to protect the ‘Amazon of Europe’ is a beacon of hope that should be replicated across the continent.”
And the world, I may add !!!
“The five countries involved prove that nature conservation can overcome country borders for the benefit of everyone. In the context of the current climate crisis and massive species extinction, protecting the last natural areas has become a matter of our survival,” said WWF project coordinator Arno Mohl after the submission to UNESCO in 2020.
The biosphere will contribute to the EU’s Green New Deal. This is the commission’s proposed method of transforming the EU’s economy to get to no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. It also promises to move away from creating economic growth through the use of non-sustainable resources.
Will the rest of the world follow? Unfortunately and sadly, in so many countries, including Australia, the politicians hide behind their ignorance toward long-term management of the environment resulting in no redeemable consequences regarding climate change. WE SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD ANY FURTHER DELAY OF ACTIONS...our lives, those of future generations, our economies, societies and cultures depend on it...
Euronews.green, 16.09.2021 (viewed 05.10.2021)
Good News Network, 27.09.2021 (viewed 05.10.2021)