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



01.06.2018. - 31.05.2021.

Dr. Srđan Stojnić

Riparian forests of the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere reserve constituting ecological corridors are in unfavorable condition and declining due to increasing incidence of pests & diseases, unsustainable human activities and lack of guidance on how to manage riparian forests, including where to find appropriate planting material, so that they can continue to persist and provide all ecosystem services.

REFOCuS aims to counteract this decline by building resilience into riparian forests of the Biosphere reserve by providing: 1) novel silvicultural methods for forest management and conservation and 2) increase availability of appropriate planting material to be used when natural regeneration fails. REFOCuS consortium consist of 5 project and 6 associated partners from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, geographically covering the whole territory of the Biosphere reserve and is led by Slovenian Forestry Institute.

REFOCuS includes four thematic working packages: 1) Interpreting knowledge, 2) Silviculture & conservation, 3) Planting material availability & 4) The policy interface supported by project management and project communication packages.

It shall result in: 1) recommendations on tree species to use & promote, 2) spatial analysis of the riparian corridor, 3) management handbook for threatened riparian forests, 4) pests & diseases riparian forests information system & identification tool, 5) transnational seed transfer zones for seven riparian tree species for the Biosphere reserve & PP countries, 6) database on planting material for riparian forests connected to transnational seed transfer zones, 7) common regional planting material transfer procedure, 8) planting material use & conservation guidelines, 9) whole region riparian species gene bank, 10) holistic strategy for resilient riparian forests all drafted by PPs with support of ASPs, and discussed with target groups and other stakeholders & 11) installed demonstration sites for stakeholder education.


  • 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, Forestry and Water Management, Directorate of Forests (Serbia)
  • Mecsek Forestry Co. Ltd. (Hungary)

Web page


Overall: 1.503.076,78 EUR
ERDF Contribution: 1.101.242,71 EUR
IPA Contribution: 176.372,54 EUR
ENI Contribution: 0 EUR