7 steps for effective cross-border management of river ecosystems

Österreich, Niederösterreich, Nationalpark, Thayatal, Fluss Thaya

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How to protect nature across borders?

Ever since humans started to settle, they have erected borders to protected land, property and territory. However, nature does not recognise man-made borders… Protecting and living alongside nature means following nature’s design. Working across borders is fundamental for the effective conservation of shared nature and landscapes, but it is also a means to achieve regional development, whilst promoting mutual understanding and international peace.

To encourage dialogue and cooperation between Protected Areas which share common natural resources, the EUROPARC Federation developed the Transboundary Parks Programme – Following Nature’s Design. It is the only method in Europe to analyse the progress of transboundary cooperation while supporting the growth of a network of professionals working in this field.

7 steps for effective cross-border management of river ecosystems

The cross-border cooperation between the National Parks Thayatal and Podyjí is vital for the protection of the canyon-like valley of the border river Thaya between Austria and the Czech Republic. The basic principle of this cooperation is to optimize the impact of conservation management by combining methods and management tools.

Over the past 20 years, the parks’ administrations have been working together in research and monitoring projects, forest management, regulation of game stocks, and educational visitor programmes. Their continuous efforts to find the best solutions for the complex management of the Thaya river ecosystem is proving highly effective. Here is what we can learn from their experience:

The Podyjí National Park was created shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991, inspiring nature conservationists to start a debate about protecting the area on the Austrian side of border. Nine years later, the Thayatal National Park was finally established. Since then, both national parks have been working together to achieve the best possible protection of this natural habitat and have been following the EUROPARC Transboundary Parks Programme in 2007.

TransParcNet Meeting 2018 © Stefania Petrosillo

In 2018, Thayatal and Podyjí hosted the TransParcNet meeting focused on the topic “Bridges over troubled water – Nature protection of river landscapes”. Read the outcomes and access the presentations of the meeting here .

Podyi National Park

The TransParcNet

With the TransParcNet, the network of certified Transboundary Parks, we provide opportunities to build-up expertise in cross-border cooperation based on the exchange of experience, tools, and best practice. By following the EUROPARC standards of transboundary cooperation, parks aspire to be models of sustainable development through the effective protection of Europe’s natural and cultural heritage.

Since the Basic Standards evaluation system of the programme was launched in 2003, 23 European Protected Areas have been successfully certified as 10 Transboundary Parks.

EUROPARC is looking for new Transboundary Parks across Europe, willing to improve their cooperation and to share their experience within the TransParcNet. We are most glad to welcome you! 

Learn more about the programme here.

Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park, by Ben Arne Sotkajcervi

You found this topic interesting? To find more articles like this one, download the new edition of the EUROPARC Journal Protected Areas In-Sight with a special focus on youth involvement Parks – available in englishgerman and french!