Czech Biosphere Reserve expanded to include two Ramsar sites in Dyje-Morava floodplains


Palava Biosphere Reserve expanded into lower Morava floodplain

Ramsar's Tobias Salathé reports that the Biosphere Reserve Palava (covering essentially limestone hills with an important biodiversity and many sub-mediterranean species), in the south of the Czech Republic, has recently been expanded to include the Dyje-Morava floodplains with its extensive oak forests (again with a specific assembly of important species supported). This brings the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve more in line with (and largely overlapping) the Ramsar sites "Lednice fishponds" and "Floodplain of the lower Dyje River" and can partly also be seen as a result of the international workshop organized in October 2003 by the Czech Man and Biosphere National Committee (with the participation of the Ramsar Bureau and others, reported here). Josef Chytil, until recently secretary of the Czech Ramsar Committee, is working in the management authority of the now extended Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar site.

As reported by the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme on 18 August, among the results of the meeting of the Bureau of the International Coordinating Council: "Extension to Palava Biosphere Reserve, renamed the Lower Morava Biosphere Reserve (Czech Republic). The original Palava site is now complemented by the corresponding lowland floodplain forests of the Rivers Dyje and Morava, the second largest area of its kind in Europe. The extension is the result of a major consultation process amongst all parties concerned. It is envisaged at a later date to create a trilateral transboundary biosphere reserve, adding contiguous areas in Austria and Slovakia."

The NGO Trinational Initiative for the Morava-Dyje Floodplain was selected for the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award in 2002 in recognition of the work carried out for many years in three countries -- Austria, the Czech Republic, and the Slovak Republic -- to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of the floodplains of the Morava and Dyje rivers. The Morava-Dyje riverine landscape is one of the last regions in Europe where traditional land use has secured a rich biodiversity, and it serves today as a model area for the reconciliation of nature and humankind. The NGOs involved are Daphne in the Slovak Republic, Distelverein in Austria, and Veronica in the Czech Republic, with the support of WWF International's Danube Carpathian Programme. Through their efforts, the Ministries for the Environment of the three countries established a transboundary "Trilateral Ramsar Platform" for the area, whereby a body of 15 experts from the ministries, water management institutions, national Ramsar committees, and NGOs meets regularly to ensure collaborative management.

Photos and captions courtesy of Josef Chytil.

A typical feature of UNESCO World Heritage Site Lednice - Valtice area: Apollo chateau in Mlynsky fishpond

Dyje River

One of very typical (and important) insect species: ant Liometopum microcephalum. This species is submediterranean, on BR Palava probably it reaches its NW boundary, but it has here a very strong population. Lives in floodplain forests, mainly on big oaks, where it has its nests inside big branches in the crown of tree.

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