This transboundary biosphere reserve stretches along the Drava, Mura and Danube Rivers, which are separated by flood prevention dykes into an inundation area and a flood-controlled side. The biosphere reserve provides an important tool in learning different approaches to floodplain management.
Declaration Date: 2012
Administrative authorities: Ministry of Culture (Croatia) and Danube-Drava National Park Directorate (Hungary)
Surface Area: 631,460.71 ha (395,860.71 ha in Croatia and 235,600 ha in Hungary)
Core area: 97,187.9 ha (66 587.9 ha in Croatia and 30,600 ha in Hungary)
Buffer zone: 111,798.12 ha (85,098.12 ha in Croatia and 26,700 ha in Hungary)
Transition area: 422,474.69 ha (244, 174.69 ha in Croatia and 178,300 ha in Hungary)
Latitude: 14°24’N - 16°11’N
Longitude: 13°07’W - 14°51’W
Central point: 15°17’N - 13°57’W
The majority of terrestrial habitats of the core area and the buffer zone are covered by softwood or hardwood gallery forests, but there are also extensive grassland areas along the Drava River. The area contains a variety of wetland habitats, including those that are among the most threatened in Europe: alluvial forests, wet grasslands, gravel and sand bars, islands, steep banks, oxbow lakes, stagnant backwater, abandoned riverbeds and meanders. They are surrounded by riparian forests and arable land with scattered pastures. This variety of habitats provides shelter for a great number of species.
The most significant protected animal species are as follows: Wild cat (Felis silvestris), Otter (Lutra lutra), Beaver (Castor fiber), Pond bat (Myotis dasycneme), Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus), Willow Warbler (Phyloscopus trochilus), White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Little Tern (Sterna albifrons), Danubian newt (Triturus dobrogicus), Blackwinged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Bittern (Botaurus stellaris), Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea), Great White Egret (Egretta alba), Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) and others.
The unique wetland area of Kopacki Rit is also a Ramsar site, and hosts more than 20,000 birds during the winter period. To date, the diversity recorded in the area includes: 400 plant species, 400 invertebrate species, 44 fish species, 293 bird species (of which 141 nest permanently or temporarily) and 55 mammal species.
Most of the population lives in the transition zone of the biosphere reserve. The core zone is located in Croatia. The buffer zone has a total population of 27,239 and the transition zone has a population of approximately 470,000 people. In this part of the biosphere reserve the main cities are Osijek, Varaždin, Vukovar, Koprivnica, Virovitica, Cakovec and Ilok.
In the Hungarian side about 180,000 people live in small town or rural village environment, most typically in the transition zone. Baranya, Somogy and Zala counties are characterised with a network of small villages with sometimes as few inhabitants as only a couple of hundred people.One of the major functions of the biosphere reserve is to provide a training ground for the revival and modernization of floodplain management, which will ensure an extra source of livelihood for local people, and help preserve the natural values of the floodplain region. The major activities in the area are agriculture, forest management, sand and gravel extraction, diverse types of industry, and ecotourism.
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Last updated: September 2012