One Europe, More Nature in the Tisza River Basin, Hungary | WWF

One Europe, More Nature in the Tisza River Basin, Hungary

Posted on
09 December 2005

Through the One Europe More Nature (OEMN) project, WWF Hungary is working to restore the Tisza floodplain and reconnect it to the river. This series of factsheets highlights some of WWF's activities in the area.

Working towards an ambitious vision
The vision of WWF is a restored Tisza river basin whose floodplains and wetlands are once again re-connected to the main river channels. A fully ecologically functioning river system could support the range of human, ecological and economic aspects of life in the region. The Tisza Vision sheet explains more about the restoration possibilities and dynamics of the Tisza River.

Drivers in the field
Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a key driver for landscapes across Europe. What will this mean for the Tisza floodplains and the farmers who work there? OEMN is answering this question by working on the ground at the most fundamental level: local. There is no successful demonstration project without a field component. The Ecsed Marsh restoration not only shows how to restore low-yield, low-elevation, potential seminatural floodplain areas, but the approach of planning and implementation is also a clear mechanism, which can be adapted to any other similar site in Europe.

Uncovering and demonstrating practical mechanisms
To fulfill the vision, OEMN identifies and launches win-win partnerships between those groups gaining benefits from using natural resources. The project builds on strong economical bases and promotes elements of an emerging “new economy” - good for people and good for the environment. In the preparation phase we screened several business opportunities directly linked to the floodplains. A relatively small-scale example is the local fruit production which has many benefits, not only for the local producers but for nature as well. The Nagykörű Floodplain Orchard sheet tells more about how this new economy contributes to the Tisza vision (and also the fight against invasive species).

Large scale opportunities?
Restoration over large-scale areas, thousands of hectares, where nature can conquer the land again - this is the dream of every nature conservationist in Europe and the goal of OEMN. But other large-scale trends are on the horizon, pulling in tens of thousands of hectares – land which could be wetlands and restored floodplain could be turned into energy plantations. Biomass power-plants are becoming key players in the energy sector and it is imperative to find common ground for co-operation, because these changes are happening with or without the involvement of the nature conservation community. The Green Power sheet introduces how.

Payments for Environmental Services (PES)
In the developing world this term has been well known for more than twenty years. It can be a whole range of schemes, where private investors, municipalities or local bodies are uncovering the functions of the ecosystems and, based on common understanding and interest, they are conserving the natural resources through market-based mechanisms. In Europe, apart from a few examples, there are only embryonic projects but the Danube drinking water sheet gives a good description of one such working pilot co-operation, between WWF and Hungarian drinking water supply companies.

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