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Resilient riparian forests as ecological corridors in the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve (REFOCuS)

International project


STATUS: Ongoing
Project start: 01. Jun 2018.
Project end: 31. May 2021.


International project “Resilient riparian forests as ecological corridors in the Mura – Drava – Danube Biosphere Reserve – REFOCuS” consist of consortium in which the Lead Partner is Forestry Institute of Slovenia, while the Croatian Forest Research Institute acting as a Project Partner together with Project partners and Associated Strategic Partners from Austria, Hungary and Serbia. In this respect, the overall area of Mura – Drava – Danube Biosphere Reserve is covered. Implementation of the project is carried out in the framework of the transnational cooperation programme Interreg Danube under Priority Axis: PO2 Environmental and cultural responsibility of the Danube region, and is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance.

Project is focused to riparian forests of the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve and represents important ecological corridors but at the same time are in unfavourable condition due to various reasons. For instance, there are increasing incidence of pests and diseases, unsustainable human activities and lack of guidance on how to manage riparian forest, especially when natural regeneration fails. On the other side, these forests are important for society in general due to provision of many services and benefits.

Expected project results are:

  • – recommendations on tree species to use and promote
  • – spatial analysis of the riparian corridor
  • – management handbook for threatened riparian forests
  • – pests and diseases riparian forests information system and identification tool
  • – transnational seed transfer zones for seven riparian tree species
  • – database on planting material for riparian forests connected to transnational seed transfer zones
  • – common regional planting material transfer procedure
  • – planting material use and conservation guidelines
  • – regional gene bank of riparian species
  • – holistic strategy for resilient riparian forests
  • – demonstration sites for stakeholder education

REFOCuS aims to foster restoration and to manage of riparian forests.


Budget: Overall 1.503.073,73 EUR, of which ERDF 1.101.242,71 EUR and IPA 176.372,52 EUR.


  • Slovenian Forestry Institute, Slovenia (lead partner)
  • Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape, Austria
  • Croatian Forest Research Institute, Croatia
  • National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, Hungary
  • University of Novi Sad, Institute of Lowland Forestry and Environment, Serbia
  • State Office of the Government of Styria, Regional Office Southeastern Styria, Office for NATURA2000 and Forests, Austria
  • Slovenian State Forests d.o.o., OE Murska Sobota, Slovenia
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Slovenia
  • Public Institution for Management of Protected Natural Areas in the Koprivnica Križevci County, Croatia
  • Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Directorate of Forests, Serbia
  • Mecsek Forestry Co. Ltd., Hungary
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