The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
This article follows up: Protected areas - overview and division
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is one of the most important international convention concerning nature protection and the only convention protecting a certain biotope - wetland. The convention was initiated by an alarming decline in the number of populations of many species of water birds in connection with the changes and loss of wetlands.
The Wetland Convention was signed on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar (Iran) and came in force in 1975. The Slovak Republic acceded to the Ramsar Convention on 2 July 1990.
Each party to the Ramsar Convention is obliged to include at least one of its wetlands in the "List of Wetlands of International Importance", which is administer by the convention secretariat. Each country is obliged to ensure adequate protection and wise use of wetlands in its territory. Wetlands that meet international criteria from the point of view of ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology are included in the list.
List of Ramsar sites in Slovakia
14 sites in Slovakia (40,697 ha) were registered:
Pariz marshes (Parížske močiare)
Protected Site, an extensive area of swampland supporting extensive reedbeds on the Danube River floodplain. Water levels are artificially regulated. The area includes the only breeding locality for Acrocephalus melanopogon in the Slovak Republic. Several other species of breeding waterbirds use the site.
Nature Reserve located on the Danube floodplain, at the foot of the mountains, the site includes woodland, wet meadows, reedbeds, and a fishpond and gravel pit. The area is important for numerous species of waterbirds, several of which breed at the site. A notable fauna of two species of shrew, various amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, and numerous notable plant species are supported.
Senné fishponds (Senné - rybníky)
Nature Reserve. The site is located in a formerly seasonally-inundated large, flat depression within the Východoslovenská nížina Lowland (East Slovakian Lowland) that lies on an important waterbird migration route. It includes one large pond with adjacent seasonally-flooded grasslands and shrub swamps and 28 fish-farming ponds. It is one of the most important breeding and resting sites of rare, endangered and vulnerable water birds in Slovakia, including globally threatened and migratory species. A part of the site is used for fish-farming and for cattle grazing. The site is also an important subject of scientific research (hydrological, ornithological, botanical) and education for students and members of non-governmental organizations.
Danube flood plains (Dunajské luhy)
A section of the Danube River and its floodplain along the Austrian and Hungarian borders. The site includes a network of tributaries, oxbow lakes, sand and gravel banks, floodplains, floodplain forest, reedbeds, marshes, and low-lying meadows. The floodplains represent the most valuable source of drinking water aquifers in Central Europe. The area is important for its diverse flora and fauna and especially for staging waterbirds.
Morava flood plains (Moravské luhy)
Protected Area Landscape, a section of the Morava River that forms the border with Austria and the Czech Republic. The site, the most important section of the river's floodplain, includes tributary channels, oxbow lakes, sand and gravel banks, abandoned sand and gravel pits, reedbeds, freshwater marshes, seasonal pools, wet meadows, pastures, and seasonally inundated forests.
Landscape Protection Area, Nature Reserve. The widest part of the Latorica River, including a well-developed network of oxbow lakes, tributaries, seasonal pools, reedbeds, marshes, wet meadows, pasture and floodplain forest. The site borders Ukraine. The area supports a rich wetland fauna of dragonflies (Odonata), amphibians, and nesting waterbirds.
Rudava River Valley (Alúvium Rudavy)
The site contains the most valuable middle part of the Rudava River floodplain. It has a well-developed complex of wetlands including the river and its tributaries, oxbow lakes, sandbanks, peat bogs, fens, reedbeds, flooded forest, swamps, wet meadows, and pastures. It is considered to be one of the best-preserved small lowland river ecosystems in Slovakia.
Turiec Wetlands (Mokrade Turca)
Includes National Nature Reserves and Protected Site. Habitats present include scattered oxbow lakes, permanent and seasonal marshes, fens, seasonally inundated grassland, shrub and tree dominated wetlands, and peat pits. The site is internationally important for fish and benthic organisms (over 1,000 species) such as Acentrella and Rhabdiopteryx. Diverse wetland plant communities contain a large number of rare, endangered plant species, including the orchid Dactylorhiza maculata transsilvanica and Sesleria uliginosa. The site is also important for algae, fungi, and mosses, as well as for 170 bird species and mammals such as Lutra lutra and Sicista beulina.
The core area of the site is the Ipel River, an important tributary of the Danube River. It is linked with the extensive wetland ecosystem of the Ipoly Valley Ramsar site in Hungary. The area is a unique complex of well-preserved wetland habitats along the middle and lower part of the river floodplain within the Pannonian biogeographical region. Marshes and seasonally flooded grasslands along the river have a high level of biodiversity. There are two fragments of floodplain forest and scattered patches of willow shrub. Important habitat for migratory birds, mammals, amphibians spiders, and dragonflies. The site is used extensively for agriculture, poultry breeding, cattle grazing, and, on a limited scale, tourism.
Wetlands of Orava Basin (Mokrade Oravskej kotliny)
Important Bird Area, most of the site is situated in the Protected Landscape Area. It has a diverse mosaic of wetland communities, including riverine-forested peatland, wet peat meadows, non-forested shrub, swamp forests, fens, open bogs, and an artificial water reservoir. The site is characteristic of the Western Carpathian biogeographical province. It supports a high diversity of rare and endangered plant and animal species, especially insects (butterflies and dragonflies), amphibians, fish (37 species recorded), mammals (Lutra lutra, Arvicola terrestris), and birds, many of which use the site for breeding, overwintering and feeding.
Orava River and its Tributaries (Rieka Orava a jej prítoky)
The site represents the major part of the system of submontane streams within the catchment of the Orava River. The riparian vegetation belt is nearly continuous and mostly of edge character, but there are several patches of submontane or montane floodplain forest and well-developed shrub and herb layers. There are over 50 species of vulnerable, rare or endangered vertebrate and invertebrate species.
Domica (part of the 25km-long Domica-Baradla Cave System)
Protected Landscape Area, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, World Heritage site. Sub-surface wetlands (types Zk(b) and Ts, permanent subterranean streams, lakes, wetlands with diverse subterranean fauna), discovered in 1926; part of the 25km-long Domica-Baradla Cave System, the largest subterranean hydrological system of the plateau karst shared by Slovakia and Hungary, in the natural functioning of which it plays a substantial hydrological, biological, and ecological role. The site has special value for a large number of endemic and rare plant and animal species.
Tisa (Tisa river)
In southeastern Slovakia, the site includes a 6 km section of the Tisa River and its floodplain contiguous with portions of the river in Hungary and Ukraine. The site includes floodplain forests and shrubs, an oxbow lake and grasslands. It is part of a larger wetland important for the recharge of aquifers in the Tisa River basin, natural control of flooding and self-purification processes, as well as for maintaining biological diversity. It supports species vulnerable at international level such as the Corn crake (Crex crex), Geoffroy's bat (Myotis emarginatus) and the Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus).
Caves of the Demanova Valley (Jaskyne Demänovskej doliny)
National Park, European protected bird territory. Part of the longest cave system in the country with a total measured length of 35,044 meters. The system consists of nine speleologically interconnected caves and further associated smaller caves. Hydrological and hydrogeological characteristics of the territory influence the underground wetlands supporting suitable conditions for the existence of rare and endangered water invertebrates as well as terrestrial organisms that are dependent on these water areas. The majority of the above-ground forests are under a nature protection scheme.
Informations about areas are a selection of informations from the Ramsar Sites Information Service:
List of Ramsar sites in Slovakia >>
Map of Ramsar sites in Slovakia >>