Mura-Drava-Danube: World’s First ‘Five-Country Biosphere Reserve’
Part of: Prelims and GS III – Conservation
Context Recently, Mura-Drava-Danube (MDD) was declared as the world’s first ‘five-country biosphere reserve’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
- The biosphere reserve covers 700 kilometres of the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers and stretches across Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia.
- The total area of the reserve is a million hectares – in the so-called ‘Amazon of Europe’, which is now the largest riverine protected area in Europe.
- The biosphere “represented an important contribution to the European Green Deal (climate action plan) and contributed to the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy in the Mura-Drava-Danube region.”
- The strategy’s aim is to revitalise 25,000 km of rivers and protect 30% of the European Union’s land area by 2030.
Importance of the MDD:
- The area is one of the richest in Europe in terms of species diversity.
- It is home to floodplain forests, gravel and sand banks, river islands, oxbows and meadows.
- The area is home to the highest density in Europe of breeding pairs of white-tailed eagle and endangered species such as the little tern, black stork, otters, beavers and sturgeons.
- It is also an important stepping stone for more than 2,50,000 migratory waterfowls every year.