Since 2007 DANUBEPARKS, the Network of Danube Protected Areas is jointly working to preserve the Natural Heritage along the Danube through Danube-wide projects and initiatives.
The DANUBEparksCONNECTED project has now set milestones for strengthening the Danube as a habitat corridor:
- The WILDisland initiative protects the last semi-natural islands along the Danube: 912 islands form a Danube-wide habitat corridor, and the last remaining river wilderness can be found on 14,000 hectares. Island and river revitalizations make WILDisland a model for European green infrastructure.
- The Danube is a bird migration route of European importance. But every year tens of thousands of birds collide deadly at power lines near the river. As part of the DANUBE FREE SKY campaign, power lines have been made safe for birds to protect them from a collision.
85% EU funding through the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme also enabled Danube-wide protection concepts for dry habitats and riparian forests.
- Dry habitats play a crucial role in sustaining biodiversity by harbouring many rare and endangered species. The focus of the DANUBE DRY HABITAT CORRIDOR is, therefore, the protection, restoration, conservation, and appropriate management of the Danube dry grasslands. Also, a milestone was reached with the establishment of the DANUBEPARKS Canyons Network, resulting in a joint Memorandum of Cooperation between the Danube Canyon Administrations.
- Riparian forest habitats are a substantial part of the river ecosystem. Sadly, around 90% of these zones have been lost in the past century due to human intervention. With this campaign, we aim to restore riparian forests by detecting gaps in the riparian forest corridor for conservation or restoration measures. Such reforestation activities can mitigate climate change significantly by raising the carbon storage capacity of the Danube riparian zones.
Also, thousands of local people, youth and school groups, NGOs, and other supporters participated in the DANUBEPARKS Volunteers Days and joined in with “Cycling the Danube”. This has shown that our Protected Areas are an excellent catalyst for getting the public fascinated by our shared natural heritage on the Danube.
With this project, the DANUBEPARKS Network has significantly improved coherence in the management of the Danube Protected Areas and overarching guiding documents created during the project is leading us toward future activities concerning ecological connectivity.