What is the Blue Heart?

Where in Germany can you still find the original wild rivers? You'll need a magnifying glass. But in the Balkans such utopias still exist on a large scale, even today. In the countries bordering the eastern Adriatic  and in Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria and some parts of Greece, one can still find pristine streams, untouched gorges, extensive alluvial forests, rivers with huge gravel bars and spectacular waterfalls.  This is where the Blue Heart of Europe beats.

Save the Blue Heart of Europe

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Virtually untouched river landscapes

Nowhere else in Europe is there a comparable number and range of natural and undamaged river landscapes as in the Balkans. Over 80 per cent of these vital lifelines have good or even very good ecological status.  By comparison, only 10 per cent of Germany's rivers are still classified as near-natural, whereas 60 per cent are heavily regulated.

Biodiversity hotspot

The blue heart of Europe is a barely known jewel in Europe's natural treasure chest and it is largely uncharted territory. However, the first studies hint at an enormous range of species and habitats. The Balkan wild rivers are amongst Europe's key biodiversity hotspots.

Forty per cent of Europe's endangered species of freshwater molluscs (bivalves and snails) live in the rivers and lakes of the Balkan peninsula. In addition to this, the region has the distinction of having a high density of endemic fish species; there are 69 fish species that occur only in the Balkan rivers and nowhere else in the world.

Campaign brochure "Save the Blue Heart of Europe"

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Save the Blue Heart of Europe - official website

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