The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas

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DANUBEPARKS – the network of protected areas of the Danube River was founded in April 2007, with the signing of the Tulcea Declaration the aim of which is to integrate the protected areas along the Danube River and its main tributaries (the Sava, Tisa, Prut and Morava).
Implementation of the project began in March 2009 and went on to February 2012, with the participation of 12 partners from 8 countries. The leading partner was the Donau-Auen National Park of Austria. The objective of the project was to set up a long-term network to transfer knowledge and experience in the protection of nature, to draw up and implement joint strategies and concepts, optimise coherent management of the natural heritage of the Danube and strengthen protected areas at local and regional levels.


Mission: Development and implementation of an international strategy for the preservation of the natural heritage of the Danube.

Objectives and visions of the project:
  1. reinforcement of the protection of the nature of the protected aeras of the Danube River
  2. sensible management of protected areas along the Danube
  3. exchange and promotion of management expertise
  4. advancement of knowledge about the ecological status of the river, as well as about the economic, social and ecological impacts in the management of Danubian protected areas
  5. prevention, control and diminution of pollution in the floodplain areas and wetlands of the Danube basin
  6. promotion of awareness of the international importance of the Danube
  7. promotion of sustainable development
  8. exertion of influence on the implementation and future development of public policies.


Project activities:

1. Morphology of rivers and revival of habitats
2. Management of floodplain areas
3. Protection of the umbrella species of the Danube River
4. Monitoring and NATURA2000
5. Natural tourism



1. Morphology of rivers and revival of habitats

The natural dynamics of the rivers is a key factor for species and habitat diversity. The diverse habitats and species that live in them make up very dynamic natural ecosystems; for their survival, a minimal and a sensible human impact is essential. Ecosystems do not know national borders and very often extend over several states (Strategy on Conservation and Navigation, PDF, 7.65 MB). For this very reason, it is necessary for there to be collaboration and communications among countries in order to preserve valuable ecosystems. A natural river ecosystem provides a multitude of services to man and nature: protection against floods by the use of the natural retention areas, natural fertilisation of the soil, and the provision of areas suitable for recreation. Hence the revival of these habitats is essential (Danube River’s Morphology and Revitalization, PDF, 12.07 MB).



2. Management of floodplain areas

Natural ecosystems and the links among the diverse habitats and species are very dynamic. Particular importance attaches to the connection between habitats threatened with human activities and habitats that are essential for the migration and survival of plant and animal species. Ecosystems know no borders, however much these might be visible on maps, for in reality an ecosystem is very often spread over several countries. One of the main objectives of the DANUBEPARKS project is to establish an international network of riparian forest habitats (Perspectives for Danube Floodplain Forests, PDF, 8.44 MB).



3. Protection of the umbrella species of the Danube River

Preservation of the umbrella species of the Danube region is conducted through action plans the task of which is to preserve biodiversity and promote responsible habitat management. Species involved in the monitoring (Dynamic Danube Natural Values, PDF, 2.36 MB) project are the bank swallow, the little ringed plover the white-tailed eagle and the black poplar.

The black poplar is selected as flagship species in the presentation of the old riparian forest habitats along the Danube area. It shows its authenticity in these regions through the characteristic habitat conditions it employs and is considered an indicator species for the preservation of dynamic riparian forests.

The white-tailed eagle (Action Plan for the conservation of the White-tailed Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) along the Danube, PDF, 1.59 MB) is the biggest bird of prey of the Danube region and one of the most attractive of the birds of the Danube floodplain area. The Danube valley population is on the whole restricted to the border areas of Hungary, Croatia and Serbia that have large wetland areas. The reason for this is the white-tailed eagle’s need for unrestricted spaces in which to hunt (in search of food it can cover as much as 80 km a day, and is very sensitive to human activities).



4. Monitoring and NATURA2000

The task of the monitoring activity is to collect spatial and numerical data and to provide a database for the protection and revitalisation of species and habitats. Monitoring of activities is also useful as a criterion for the assessment of the effectiveness of the protection measures implemented.
Monitoring of species according to the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive is one of the main tasks of the European ecological network NATURA2000 (”NATURA 2000” Programme within the Danube River Network of Protected Areas Danubeparks, PDF, 5.60 MB).



5. Natural tourism

The protected areas along the Danube River are – with their outstanding natural and cultural values – a great attraction for lovers of nature tourism (Strategic Position of DANUBEPARKS (Danube River Network of Protected Areas) for Tourism, Environmental Education and Regional Development, PDF, 8.17 MB). The protected areas fulfil their tasks by educating visitors and the local population about the value and function of their habitats and species. Accordingly, tourism in protected areas must always have an educational component. When tourism follows the principles of sustainable development, this can help in the improvement of the economic situation of the local population, particularly in the rural areas.


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