Dry habitats are rare, but not unusual in pristine floodplains.
They play a crucial role in sustaining biodiversity by harbouring many rare and
endangered species. Unfortunately, these dry habitat patches are very often
reduced to small remnants in the floodplain areas, resulting in isolation and habitat
fragmentation. The focus of the DANUBE DRY HABITAT CORRIDOR is therefore the
protection, restoration, conservation, and appropriate management of the Danube
dry grasslands. For the first time, local expertise on the management of dry
habitats has been incorporated into a Danube-wide perspective.
The DANUBEPARKS Canyons Network
A milestone was reached with the establishment of the
DANUBEPARKS Canyons Network, resulting in a joint Memorandum of Cooperation between
the Danube Canyon Administrations. These Canyons are break-through valleys and gorges
often acting as key areas for habitat connectivity along the Danube. The five
Protected Area representatives from Germany (Donauengtal near Passau), Austria
(Wachau, UNESCO World Cultural Heritage), Hungary (Danube Bend, Duna- Ipoly
National Park), Serbia (Djerdap National Park), and Romania (Iron Gate Nature
Park) will work on joint strategies to synergize the biodiversity conservation
actions of Danube Canyons in the coming years.
Danube-wide Dry Habitat Cadastre
The first cadastre and Danube-wide map of dry habitats were
established in order to fully visualise the Danube Dry Habitat Corridor.
Building on existing data and the compilation of habitat specifics of each Protected
Area, the finalized map sheds light on the core areas, as well as possible gaps
interrupting this corridor.
Pilots for dry habitat management
Flood protection dykes act as ecological linkage for semi-dry
grassland species in various sections of the Danube. A grazing pilot activity
in Germany, in addition to cross-border grazing between Slovakia and Austria,
aimed to support this eco-corridor and to develop the dyke as Green
Infrastructure between the Protected Areas. The activities raised awareness, brought
together key experts, and demonstrated a feasible alternative for the longterm management
of dry grasslands.
Since dry habitats host valuable populations of orchids, the
management of these areas must be given special consideration. Alongside a
Danubewide map of orchids as flagship species, a special botanical study on orchid
abundance in a section of the Danube in Hungary was prepared, as well as a study
on a rare, flagship butterfly species specific to an important dry habitat in
Based on a thorough evaluation of local dry habitats, a
Danube-wide strategy has been developed to form a better understanding of the habitats
of the Danube, and to provide information on directly applicable management