LIFE Project Cover Photo

Danube Wild Island Habitat Corridor

Reference: LIFE20 NAT/AT/000063 | Acronym: LIFE WILDisland



The Danube River is a hub of biodiversity and an essential lifeline for Europe. The large number of Natura 2000 sites (over 100 on the Danube and 230 sites along its course) shows Europe's commitment to preserve this natural heritage. Over 2 000 plant and 5 000 animal species live in or by the Danube’s waters. Human intervention has resulted in the loss of around 90% of Europe’s riparian zones in the past century. Beside agriculture, the hydromorphological alteration of rivers have had the most negative effects on nature (as reported in Habitats Directive, Article 17). This points to the enormous importance of a Danube ecological corridor. Danube islands are considered flagship sites for the preservation of intact riverine habitats and make up over one-third of alluvial forests (habitat type 91E0*) surface area in Danube Natura 2000 sites.


The LIFE WILDisland project aims to conserve the priority EU Habitats Directive habitat type 91E0* (‘Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior’) by way of coordinated, Danube-wide conservation and restoration actions for the Danube islands.

The project has the following main objectives:

  • Improving the conservation status of the priority habitat 91E0* along the entire course of the Danube;
  • Restoring natural processes and river dynamics to preserve vital Danube islands as key 91E0* sites;
  • Implementing best-practice measures to transform inland waterway infrastructure into Green Infrastructure;
  • Improving conditions in 91E0* stands by best practice forest management, including control of IAS;
  • Increasing the coherence of the Danube Wild Island Habitat Corridor by restoration of islands in the sections of the Danube significantly altered by hydropower;
  • Strengthening ecological connectivity and coherence of the Natura 2000 network along the Danube River by establishing the Danube-wide conservation concept;
  • Anchoring wilderness in riverine Natura 2000 sites through the preservation of pristine islands and primeval stands, and promoting non-intervention management;
  • Building bridges between EU policy and local agendas;
  • Using a multilateral approach to maximise both added value for the EU and impact on relevant EU policies.

Together with transnational stakeholders, the project intends to develop a conservation strategy and prepare the multilateral ‘WILDisland RAMSAR Regional Initiative’, with new (strictly) protected areas on 196.7 ha. The project will deliver a best-practice example for transnational cooperation. Coordinated actions in nine protected areas, covering 39 Natura 2000 sites, will increase the coherence of the Natura 2000 network along the world’s most international river, and contribute to the implementation of the EU Habitats Directive by counteracting fragmentation of alluvial forest (91E0*) sites.


Expected results:

  • Best practice island restoration in the Danube section altered by hydropower (Upper Danube)  and restoration of alluvial forests on 102 ha;
  • Improvement of hydro-morphology for habitat 91E0* through the optimisation of navigation infrastructure on 437 ha;
  • Conservation of habitat 91E0* on Danube islands by hydrology improvement and sediment management (Middle and Lower Danube) on 376 ha; and
  • Improvement of habitat type 91E0* by forest management on 352 ha.



Reference: LIFE20 NAT/AT/000063
Acronym: LIFE WILDisland
Start Date: 01/09/2021
End Date: 31/08/2027
Total Eligible Budget: 14,222,637 €
EU Contribution: 9,099,154 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: Nationalpark Donau-Auen GmbH
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Schlossplatz 1, 2304, Orth an der Donau,
Contact Person: Georg Frank
Email: Send Email
Website: Visit Website

LIFE Project Map



  • Freshwater
  • Invasive species


  • freshwater ecosystem
  • invasive species


  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)


  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"


Type Code Name
SPA ROSPA0031 Delta Dunării și Complexul Razim - Sinoie
SCI SKUEV0293 Klucovske rameno
SPA DE7231471 Donauauen zwischen Lechmündung und Ingolstadt
SPA AT1205000 Wachau - Jauerling
SPA SKCHVU007 Dunajske luhy
SPA DE8017441 Baar
SCI BG0000497 Archar
SCI HUDD20032 Gemenc
SCI ROSCI0044 Corabia - Turnu Măgurele
SCI ROSCI0066 Delta Dunării - zona marină
SCI BG0000377 Kalimok - Brashlen
SCI BG0000534 Ostrov Chayka
SPA AT1204V00 Donau-Auen östlich von Wien
SPA AT1204000 Donau-Auen östlich von Wien
SPA BG0002091 Ostrov Lakat
SCI HUDI20034 Duna és ártere
SCI BG0000533 Ostrovi Kozloduy
SCI BG0000532 Ostrov Bliznatsi
SCI ROSCI0006 Balta Mică a Brăilei
SCI ROSCI0022 Canaralele Dunării
SCI ROSCI0045 Coridorul Jiului
SCI ROSCI0088 Gura Vedei - Șaica - Slobozia
SCI DE7232301 Donau mit Jura-Hängen zwischen Leitheim und Neuburg
SCI AT1205A00 Wachau
SPA HUFH30004 Szigetköz
SCI BG0000199 Tsibar
SCI BG0000396 Persina
SCI DE7922342 Donau zwischen Riedlingen und Sigmaringen
SCI DE7136304 Donauauen zwischen Ingolstadt und Weltenburg
SCI ROSCI0105 Lunca Joasă a Prutului
SCI HR2000394 Kopački rit
SCI SKUEV0393 Dunaj
SCI ROSCI0065 Delta Dunării
SPA ROSPA0076 Marea Neagră
SCI BG0000631 Novo selo
SPA ROSPA0121 Lacul Brateș
SPA ROSPA0005 Balta Mică a Brăilei
SPA ROSPA0039 Dunăre - Ostroave
SPA AT3114000 Traun-Donau-Auen
SCI BG0000232 Batin
SCI HR2000372 Dunav - Vukovar
SPA HR1000016 Podunavlje i donje Podravlje
SPA BG0002007 Ostrov Ibisha
SPA BG0002024 Ribarnitsi Mechka
SPA ROSPA0023 Confluența Jiu - Dunăre
SPA ROSPA0024 Confluența Olt - Dunăre
SPA ROSPA0108 Vedea - Dunăre
SCI BG0000335 Karaboaz
SCI HUDD20045 Béda-Karapancsa
SCI SKUEV0090 Dunajske luhy
SCI HR2001309 Dunav S od Kopačkog rita
SCI ROSCI0039 Ciuperceni - Desa
SPA HUDD10004 Béda-Karapancsa
SPA ROSPA0013 Calafat - Ciuperceni - Dunăre


Name Type
viadonau(via donau - Österreichische Wasserstraßen-Gesellschaft mbH), Austria Participant
VHP(VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH), Austria Participant
PNPD(Persina Nature Park Directorate), Bulgaria Participant
UNIPER/DWK(Uniper Kraftwerke GmbH), Germany Participant
DINPI(Duna-Ipoly Nemzeti Park Igazgatóság), Hungary Participant
DDNPD(Duna-Dráva Nemzeti Park Igazgatóság), Hungary Participant
ADUVIZIG(Alsó-Duna-völgyi Vízügyi Igazgatóság (Lower Danube Valley Water Directorate)), Hungary Participant
FHNPD(Fertő Hanság Nemzeti Park Igazgatóság), Hungary Participant
DDBRA(Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority), Romania Participant
BROZ(Bratislavské regionálne ochranárske združenie), Slovakia Participant
JUUP KR(Javna ustanova "Park prirode Kopački rit"), Croatia Participant
HR Forests(Hrvatske šume limited liability company, Croatian Forests ltd.), Croatia Participant
Vsume(Javno Preduzede "Vojvodinašume"), Serbia Participant
Nationalpark Donau-Auen GmbH Coordinator