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National Park Neusiedler See - General Information

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Austria's first IUCN-approved National Park

This national park on the plains at the heart of Europe - reached from both Austria and Hungary - shows that nature knows no boundaries.
Its aim is the long-term preservation of habitats for a wide variety of bird and plant life at the point where the Alps meet the Euro-Asiatic plains.
The basis for the Park was created by the inclusion of large privately owned areas of cultivated land.

The riches of the area between the Alps and the Puszta

Water, rippling reed beds, sweeping meadows with flat saltwater pools - this ist the National Park known as the Neusiedler See Lakes Area.
The Pannonian climate with its long growing period and its position between the Alps and the Puszta determine the type of plant life: mosaics of dry meadow surrounded by wetlands and salt marshes.
The National Park is full of wildlife, mainly birds: meadow sandpipers, geese, herons, storks, curlews and birds of prey.
The mammal most popular amongst visitors is the funny little suslik, or ground squirrel, that lives in the short grass of the pastures.

From all over the skies

Large parts of the Neusiedler See Lakes National Park are extremely important for the migration of birds.
The meadows and marshes are places where many migratory species choose to rest and winter. European research programmes into endangered bird species refer to study results from this Lake Area.
One need not be an ornithologist to appreciate the unique experience of waders, ducks and, in particular, tens of thousands of geese passing throught in spring and autumn.
The work of the National Park is also of the utmost importance in preserving one of the most endangered birds species in the world, the great bustard.

Saving nature for the people

The main task of the national park is to safeguard the natural processes of nature.
However, in the conservation areas, people should be allowed to make use of the land for educational and leisure purposes.
People who live in the region, holiday-makers or people on day trips: all of them are asked to treat nature`s creatures with consideration in return for what has now become a rare natural experience.
Guiding visitors and encouraging them to behave properly can help here - conservation achieved by locking people out is a contradiction in terms.
Nature needs a home, but man should not lose his place in nature.

Everything is based on knowledge

The combination of orginal natural landscape and man-made landscape that not been intensively farmed provides a habitat for avariety of flora and fauna that is unparalleled throughout Europe.
Because it is locatad at a point where several climatic zones meet,the area is home to Alpine species as wellas those from the Mediterranean and Central Asia.
Scientists have long since made the National-Park area into an open-air laboratory on which their research is focused.Maintaining the quality of the habitat-and thus of the cultivated landscape-means
that the area must be put to non-intensive use all the time, based on the regions centuries-old tradition of cattle farming.
The results of research help to bring about constant improvements in this work.

From science through politics to the population

Conservationists and scientists hed wanted a National Park in the Neusiedler See Lakes Area for decades.
It was not until 1987 that this desire started to bear fruit with the establishment of an Austro-Hungarian planning commission.
This commission, which operated not only across national boundaries, but also-at the time-across the Iron Curtain and two completely different froms of society,
was not only aimed at protecting the natural environment-it was also a singn of peace.
The planners fought for recognition of the National Park by the IUCN from the beginning.
Negotiations with the various landowners took five years, and once the contracts had all been signed, the Regional Parliament of Burgenland were able to pass the National Park Act on 12 November 1992.

Cultivated land goes back to nature

The central concern of a National Park is the preservation of a natural landscape where use is no longer made of the land by man and where the dynamics of nature are allowed to take over again.
The National Park around the Neusiedler See Laake Area consists of The southern part of Lake Neusiedler and the surrounding marshlands, covering about 4,000 hectares.
The areas accessible to people on existing pathways are in the five conservation areas.
These are characterised by small, shallow saltwater pools with reed beds, and by wide meadows.
The appearance of the meadows and the wide variety of flora and fauna in them are due to the fact that for centuries they were only used for grazing and hay-making.
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