The Sava and Drava floodplains: Threatened ecosystems of international importance
About 200,000 hectares of alluvial wetlands offer sustainable flood control, natural water purification, and incomparable ecological value on the Sava and Drava Rivers between Croatia, Hungary, and Slovenia. The continuous riparian system formed by the rivers, their tributaries, and the Danube stretches over 2,000 km. An ecosystem of pan-European importance is being endangered by unsustainable water management, hydroelectric dams, and plans to ease navigation. Large biosphere reserves are proposed to maintain the high economic and ecological value and to promote best practices in natural resources management and tourism. Birds are discussed as an indicator of the ecological importance of the flooding and geomorphology of the alluvial wetlands.