Austria designates its 10th Ramsar site -- photos


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Waldviertel ponds, peat bogs and floodplains

austria.gif (1599 bytes)Austria has designated its 10th Ramsar site as of 22 December 1999, the Convention’s 1013th globally, called "Waldviertel ponds, peat bogs and floodplains" (13,000 ha) in NiederÖsterreich (Lower Austria), bringing that Party’s total Ramsar surface area to 115,772 hectares. Much of it has already been designated as Natura 2000 sites under the EC Birds and Habitats and Species Directives. The site is situated in the southeasternmost part of the central European mountain region, and contains a number of small and large riverine, peat bog, and pond wetlands. Crucial to the area’s water regime, the Lainsitz is a common river connecting to the Czech Republic’s Ramsar sites Trebon fishponds and Trebon peatlands (the ‘Lusnice’ river in Czech) with high commercial value since the 13th century. Peat was extracted for fuel for the glass industry until the end of the 19th century, but no longer. Hunting is common in all parts of the site. The site enjoys high species diversity, especially in plants, dragonflies, amphibians, and birds, with rare species like the mammals Lutra lutra and Micromys minutus, mussels Margaritifera margaritifera and Unio crassus, and the crustacean Astacus astacus. The rivers and ponds perform valuable functions in flood control and water retention and serve as a hydrological buffer zone. Ownership is very mixed, partly publicly-owned by local and national entities and partly owned by small, large, and very large private landowners. Many parts of the Ramsar site have management plans implemented under an EU LIFE project by WWF-Austria, and ongoing research is carried out by WWF-Austria and BirdLife Austria.

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Lainsitz floodplain (Photo: Wandaller-Manhart/WWF-Austria)

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"Autumn Harvest" (Photo: Wandaller-Manhart/WWF-Austria)

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Schremser Moor (Photo: Michaela Bodner/WWF-Austria)

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(Photo: Wandaller-Manhart/WWF-Austria)

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Bruneiteich (Photo: H. Seehofer/WWF-Austria)

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