Determined: The state of Hungary’s Carpathian Region forests | WWF
Determined: The state of Hungary’s Carpathian Region forests

Posted on 15 March 2017

A five-year long research has assessed the conservation status of the Hungarian forests
Budapest – A five-year long research project has assessed the conservation status of the forests in the Northern Mountains of Hungary. The research found that there are significant differences in the state of the forests of the Northern Mountains – in particular that of the Börzsöny, the Mátra Mountains, the Bükk and the Aggtelek Karst, which also determine the survival chances of the resident animal species of high EU importance. The findings of the research that are unique to Hungary can significantly contribute to the efficient, conservation-oriented development of forest management.

One of the main objectives of the research conducted on 50,000 hectares between 2012 and 2017 in Hungary’s Carpathian Region was the detailed examination of the forests. In addition, the tree species composition, the forest structure, the amount of deadwood, the so-called microhabitats (tree hollows) important for the species of specific needs, the alien plant species, the re-growth and the game browsing impact were all subject of the research. The data collection was conducted with state-of-the-art computing devices. It took 3,200 field days of nearly 30 researchers.

Additionally, other expert groups studied the occurrence of bird and bat species in the same area and also collected up-to-date information on the proliferation of the most typical members of the insect world. It was of high importance to study from the bird families, the Woodcutter and Flycatcher species, which are most bound to forests, while the research also managed to clarify the occurrence of rare species such as the Ural Owl. Regarding the insects, the primary focus was on the large, deadwood beetle species such as the Stag-Beetle, the Great Capricorn Beetle, or the heraldic animal of the Duna-Ipoly National Park, the Rosalia Alpina. One of the rarest beetle species, the Hermit Beetle was found only in the tree hollows of some clumps of old trees in the Mátra Mountains.  

In addition to the surveys, special nature conservation investments were also made for the protection of forest bats: bat-friendly building renovations were carried out; cave habitats and places to drink were set up and put under protection and groups of artificial lairs were built, too.

The project titled Multipurpose assessment serving forest biodiversity conservation in the Carpathian region of Hungary – short named “Carpathian Forests Research” was implemented with the cooperation of the directorates of three national parks, the Duna-Ipoly, the Bükk and the Aggtelek National Parks and two NGOs, WWF-Hungary and the Bükk Mammalogical Society. The cooperation of the external partners - the Forestry Directorate of the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH) as managing authority and the Ipoly Erdő Zrt. as forest manager, was of high significance.

“This forest research is of such great significance for the Hungarian national parks. It is unprecedented so far in our country. It was a great challenge for us to be the main applicant since in this project we had to coordinate the work of several partners, in additon to the fulfilment of our own commitments. Nevertheless, I think together we managed to make the most of this research project and succeeded in implementing all our initial ideas. The outstanding result may entitle us to hope for the future continuation of the joint work”, said András Füri, Director of the Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate. 

“The project is one of the 37 projects, programmes and funds that were approved under the Swiss Contribution to Hungary from June 2012. This Contribution, in the amount of HUF 31 billion, formed part of a broader Swiss support in favour of all 13 new EU member states that has joined the European Union since 2004. The Programme assisted Hungary and the other EU member states in reducing economic and social disparities at national level as well as within the enlarged European Union. The Programme also further strengthened bilateral relations between Hungary and Switzerland”, said Peter Burkhard, Ambassador of Switzerland to Hungary.
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Antal Alexa
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Although it is small, the Normafa area has an extreme variety of majestic old trees that you cannot find anywhere else in the country: oaks, beeches, maples, lindens, chestnuts and even wild cherry trees.
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