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The Mura River Biosphere Reserve, Slovenia

Located in the eastern part of the country, this biosphere reserve includes the largest preserved complex of floodplains in Slovenia, where the interweaving of natural factors and human presence has created an exceptional cultural riverine landscape. The main sources of income for residents are agriculture, industry, forestry and tourism.  

Designation date: 2018

Photo gallery ǀ  Press release


Regional network: EuroMAB

Ecosystem-based network:



    Surface :
    28,652 ha

    • Core area(s) : 7,847 ha
    • Buffer zone(s) : 8,451 ha
    • Tansition zone(s): 12,354 ha


    • Central point: 46°21'N - 16°08'E

    Administrative authorities


    Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for nature conservation/ Maribor

    Address: Pobreska cesta 20 a ; Maribor 2000

    Tel: +386 23331370


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    Ecological Characteristics

    According to the classification of the EU’s Natura 2000 network, the area of the biosphere reserve belongs to the Continental Biogeographic Region. The following Natura 2000 habitat types are represented in significant proportions in the area: rivers with muddy banks with Chenopodion rubri p.p. and Bidention p.p. vegetation; Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae); water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation; hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels; lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis); riparian mixed forest of Quercus robur, Ulmus laevis and Fraxinus sp.; natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition-type vegetation; molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae); and illyrian oak-hornbeam forest (Erythronio-Carpinion).

    It encompasses a large number of habitat types which are important at the national and international levels (in the Continental Biogeographical Region and in Europe), in particular wetlands and floodplain forests; due to the complex ecological conditions, the core area is a mosaic of well-preserved characteristic habitats of the middle sections of dynamic river floodplains, proving its high ecological value; due to complex ecological conditions and low-intensity management; the core area contain very old stands of floodplain forests, in particular white willow, common oak, and black and white poplar stands; the buffer zone is composed of a very wide variety of habitats, in particular: wetlands, agricultural land with significant areas of natural vegetation, transitional woodland-scrubs, natural grasslands, a mosaic of agricultural landscapes with fragmented plots, water bodies, water courses and broad-leaf forests; buffer zone is an area where local communities conduct their economic activities in symbiosis with nature, while supporting social activities; the transition zone is an area with numerous attractions for visitors, created and driven by centuries-old culture and local traditions.

    Socio-economic characteristics

    The population of the biosphere reserve is 37.800 (2013 census), living in 91 settlements in 16 municipalities. The biosphere reserve area is inhabited by two ethnic groups or minorities, i.e. the Hungarian minority and the Roma community. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic, followed by Evangelicals (as the most numerous group amongst Protestants) and other Protestants – concentrated only in the Prekmurje region, and the Orthodox and Muslim population. Prekmurje is one of the most religiously mixed Slovenian regions. Here, we can also locate the members of the Reformed, Pentecostal, Baptist, Calvinist, Jewish, Jehovah's Witness and other religious communities.
    The biosphere reserve area features the Pannonian dialect group out of seven main ones in Slovenia. In total, three dialects, six subdialects and dozens of local microdialects are spoken in the biosphere reserve area. The written language in the biosphere reserve is Slovenian and in the Municipalities of Lendava and Dobrovnik also Hungarian.


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