Thayatal National Park, Austria
The Thayatal National Park and its neighbour, the Podyjí National Park in the Czech Republic, contain some of the most biodiverse areas to be found in Central Europe’s protected areas. It is a steep valley embedded in natural forests located at the border of northern Lower Austria and the Czech Republic. The combination of diverse geology, river morphology and the valley’s location on the intersection of two climate zones created the conditions for this high biodiversity.
The River Thaya carved its way 150 metres deep into the geological formations of the Bohemian Massif creating the characteristic valley meanders. Along these river bends an intertwined mesh of various habitats can be found: natural forests, dry grasslands, meadows and cliffs and rock faces. It provides habitat for numerous rare animals such as the Black stork and the European Wildcat and plants such as the Siberian melic grass .
Its central position in the otherwise very fractured and intensively used landscapes of the Waldviertel, the Weinviertel and South Moravia make it very precious in terms of wildlife in Central Europe and worthy of protection. Despite its relatively small expanse of 7,660 ha (NP Thayatal 1,360 ha, NP Podyjí 6,300 ha) the area has great potential as a stepping stone for migrating wildlife, such as the European Wildcat, the Lynx, the Wolf or other species that require interconnected movement corridors for migration and dispersion.
In addition to the impressive natural landscape the area has a rich cultural history, such as the castles and ruins along the river or the famous wineries, which are of interest for visitors and scientists alike.
The Thayatal National Park works closely together with its associated partners, the Podyjí National Park Administration and the University of Vienna. For a video of the Thayatal National Park click here (German language only).
If you live/work in this case study area and if you are interested to take part in strategy development for a better green infrastructure please feel free to contact Christian Übl at the Thayatal National Park Administration.
Header photo: NP Thayatal/Ralph Mirau