The Black Poplar Conference in Novi Sad on April 24th-25th brought together Protected Area Managers, Forest Management Enterprises, and nature protection NGOs. It was a place for experience exchange and networking on Danube-wide level, but also the chance to present important outcomes from the DANUBEPARKS STEP 2.0 project. The Black Poplar Monography, showing the results from the mapping and genetic analysis of Black Poplars all along the river, was published right on time for the conference.
During the first day, the management of floodplain forests and conservation of Black Poplars was discussed from different perspectives. On the one hand, the Black Poplar Monography was presented, and the Danube-wide results of the genetic study discussed among the international experts. It received great attention and could build an important cornerstone for future DANUBEPARKS activities. On the other hand, pilot projects from different project partners were in the focus: Reforestation actions, additional analysis, and restoration for natural rejuvenation all work towards strengthening the Black Poplar along the Danube. All presentations are available on the website under Downloads / Conference and Workshop Proceedings.
The second day provided room for practical experience exchange during a field visit in the Apatin marshes of the Gornje Podunavlje Special Nature Reserve. The extended walks in the floodplains led to the most impressive Black Poplar stands and single specimen. Also other DANUBEPARKS flagship species, like White-tailed Eagle, could be observed throughout the day. However, the excursion served not only to show the management practices and conservation efforts in this Serbian Protected Area, but also enabled informal conversations among the experts as a basis for further cooperation.
The occasion of the Black Poplar Conference was also used for a Steering Committee Meeting the day before (April 23rd). Apart from preparing future structures of the DANUBEPARKS Network, enlargement was an important topic: Small Wetland of Braila (Romania), Iron Gates Natural Park (Romania), Nature Protection Institution of Osijek-Baranja County (Croatia, managing several Protected Areas along the Danube and Drava Rivers), Arbeitskreis Wachau (Austria, strongly involved in the management of the Natura2000 area Wachau), Landkreis Passau (Germany, managing the Natura2000 area Passau-Jochenstein) were welcomed as observers to the Network. They will be in closer cooperation with DANUBEPARKS, receive all information and participate in selected activities. Towards the end of the current project, they all have the perspective to become full network partners.