The newcomer among the UNESCO’s biosphere reserves is The Mura River Biosphere Reserve, located in the eastern part of Slovenia. This biosphere reserve includes the largest preserved complex of floodplains in Slovenia, where the interweaving of natural factors and human presence has created an exception cultural riverine landscape.
The wild and natural floodplains along the Mura, with its maze of oxbows, river islands, hidden gravel banks and flooded forests is reminiscent of the Amazon giving its nickname as ‘Europe’s Amazon’. The biosphere reserve contains the largest floodplain forests of Slovenia and its rich biodiversity includes the sparkling blue Kingfisher, the black stork and the majestic white – tailed eagle.
UNESCO biosphere reserves are areas comprising terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Each reserve promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. Biosphere reserves are ‘Science for Sustainability support sites’ – special places for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems,
Biosphere reserves are nominated by national governments and remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located. Their status is internationally recognized.including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity.
The Mura’s river basin is comprised of four wetlands, and these ecosystems are significant for water circulation, biotic diversity, food and drinking water, and agricultural, recreational and cultural activities. The river basin also covers Slovenia’s largest freshwater swamp forest and is rich in various species of fish as well as being an important nesting ground for many indigenous and migratory birds.
There are 686 UNESCO registered biosphere reserves in 122 countries, including 20 transboundary sites. Slovenia now has 4 biosphere reserves on the UNESCO list including the Julian Alps, the Karst, Kozjansko & Obsotelje and now also the Mura River.
As a world leader in green, active and healthy tourism, it is hoped by the Slovenia Tourist Board that the recent UNESCO accreditation of the Mura River Biosphere Reserve will provide another reason for active travellers seeking seeking outdoor rejuvenation and adventure to visit Slovenia.
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