Drava River © Goran Šafarek

The Drava River hosts a variety of habitats, including some which are among the most threatened in Europe: alluvial forests, wet grasslands, gravel islands and sand banks, side-arms, steep banks, oxbow lakes, stagnant backwaters, abandoned riverbeds and meanders.

Floodplain forests, together with an extensive network of various floodplain water bodies and their typical vegetation are widely distributed in the entire project area. However, both habitat types are at risk due to river regulation in the past, riverbed deepening and water level decrease.

Pioneer habitats like gravel, sand and muddy banks are widely distributed within the entire project area, in particular on the upper, more dynamic part between the Slovenian border and Ferdinandovac. Due to river regulation, riverbed deepening, water level decrease and reduced sediment dynamics in the last 100 years, pioneer habitats were reduced by about 92% and steep dynamic banks by about 80%.