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      Biosphere Reserve Information



© Photo: A. Herzig
  General Description   Neusiedler See (Lake Fertö) is an extensive cross-border lake, shared by Austria and Hungary. It is the largest salt lake in Europe, with carbonates and sulphates originating from underground water which reaches the surface through fissures in the rock. Halophytic vegetation and a reed belt (Phragmites communis), are of high conservation importance. The lake is also designated as a Ramsar site since it represents an extremely important staging area for migratory waterfowls. The lake is bordered by mountains (the spurs of the Eastern Alps, the Ruster Höhenzug in the west, and the Leithagebirge in the north-west) and opens to the Lesser Hungarian lowland in the east and south. Due to the fine lake sediments, the shallowness and the wind exposition of the lake, the water is characterized by high turbidity. The water level is fluctuating due to high levels of evaporation rates in summer. Infrastructure developments infringe some parts of the lakeshore.
About 35,800 people live in 17 settlements in the Neusiedler See Biosphere Reserve and some 30,000 in 21 settlements in the adjacent Lake Fertö Biosphere Reserve in Hungary (2001). Their main economic activities are agriculture (mostly wine farming) and tourism. Both branches show a small structure and often constitute part time occupation. The majority of the working population is commuting to Vienna or other smaller cities in eastern Austria.
Neusiedler See Biosphere Reserve has carried out numerous limnological studies in cooperation with Hungarian scientists in Lake Fertö Biosphere Reserve.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate broadleaf forests or woodlands; lake system and wetlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Salt lake of pleistocene origin with reed beds (Phragmites communis), milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and fennel pond weed (Potamogeton pectinatus); shore communities with halophytic plants such as glasswort (Salicornia prostrata), saltmarsh grass (Puccinellia spp.), sea aster (Aster tripolium) and pepperwort (Lepidium crassifolium); meadows with rare plants such as yellow pheasant’s eye pasque flower (Pulsatilla grandis), violet pasque flower (P. nigricans) and wormwood (Artemisia laciniata)
  Location   47°40' to 47°56'N; 16°40' to 16°52'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   25,000
  Core area(s)   4,330
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +114 to +500
  Year designated   1977
  Administrative authorities   Provincial Administration of Burgenland
  Brief description   Chemical, microbiological and biological monitoring of lake
Zooplankton and zoobenthos investigations
Fish and fisheries
Bird and fish species of the reed belt
Ecology and spatial distribution of game species
Impact of grazing by cattle and horses on meadows
Impact of fire management on meadows
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Benthos, biology, birds, ecology, fishes, freshwater/inland water, methodologies, plankton, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Fishery/Fisheries, livestock and related impacts/overgrazing.
  Integrated monitoring   Impact and risk studies/Environmental impact.
  Contact address   Alois Herzig
Biological Station Neusiedler See

A-7142 Illmitz
  Telephone   (43.2175) 2328
  Fax   (43.2175) 232 810

Last updated: 07/10/2006

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