SH/4/8 project

Sustainable Conservation on Natura 2000 sites in Hungary Project Closing Conference

2016. October 28.

In 2012 the project entitled "Sustainable conservation on Natura 2000 sites in Hungary" received a four-year grant, in the amount of CHF 2 009 174  funded by the Swiss-Hungarian Cooperation Programme,.

At the beginning of the project it was known that in the case of Hungarian Natura 2000 sites wetland and forest habitat types are in unfavorable conservation status, as well as some species of community interest are data deficient, so we do not have the necessary assessment of the conservation status data (distribution, population size and the change of trend). The consortium including the Szent István University, the Centre of Ecological Research of Hungarian Academy of Science and BirdLife Hungary/MME has undertaken to move forward in these areas with the above mentioned project. The project aimed to prepare two SPA (Special Protection Natura 2000 area) statutory management plan, as well as the underlying studies and the planning process itself.

The project has developed monitoring methodologies and carried out monitoring activities in case of 6 fish, 3-3 amphibian and reptile, 23 birds, 10 bat and 4 carnivorous mammal species, 5 plant species, status of forests, trends of forest and wetland habitats in unfavorable conservation status, dead trees in forest habitats and game effect on forests. Different methods of data collection were used on sample areas and at national level.

A konferencia megnyitója

Péter Tóth project magager opens the conference (photo: Dénes Nagy)

By using these data, management plans of Mátra mountains, and the alkali ponds of Kiskunság were prepared using participatory planning, involving farmers and other land-users, over more than 103 484 ha area.

Az SCO köszöntője

Gabriella Csáka, Swiss Contribution Office greets the conference (photo: Dénes Nagy)

The project has developed the methodology of management planning, the management requirements of the plans were tested on two pilot areas approx. on 250-250 ha, both from economic and ecological point of view. The results of pilot testing were feeded back into  management planning.

The work carried out during the past few years of the project was presented at  the project closing  conference organised in Gödöllő on 27 October 2016.

Presentations are available on the links below in Hungarian.

SZIE monitoring

MTA ÖK monitoring

MME monitoring

SZIE pilot area management

SZIE management planning

MME public relations and management

In 2006, a referendum in Switzerland decided that CHF 1,3 billion would be spent on supporting the catching up of countries acceding to the European Union in 2004 in order to reduce social and economic disparities within an enlarged EU. In June 2012, Hungary successfully committed the full amount of the Swiss Contribution, i.e. approximately HUF 31 billion, as a result of which 37 different projects, programmes and funds have been supported.

 

For further information on the Swiss Contribution see. http://www.svajcihozzajarulas.hu  and http://palyazat.gov.hu/svajci_hozzajarulas.

Conference on Hungarian wetlands, as side event of second Internatioal Nature Film festival, Gödöllő

2016. May 31.

Research Centre for Farm Animal Gene Conservation (HáGK), the GATE Green Club and BirdLife Hungary/MME organised the conference 'Protection of Water, Wet Habitat and Biodiversity - Nature-friendly Fish- and Water management' in Báldy Bálint Conference Centre of HáGK, on 20th May, 2016.

A biodiverzitás fenntartása és megőrzése vizeinkben és vizes élőhelyeinken

Presentation of our project was held by Péter Tóth (photo: Nagy Dénes)

 

The aim of the conference was to raise awareness and to encourage discussion on the conservation needs about the unique biodiversity connected to Hungarian wetlands. Participants could gain information about biodiversity of our wetlands, programmes, projects aiming conserving and maintaining these habitats carried out by research groups, universities, national park directorates and non-governmental organisations.

The conference was connected to the second Internatioal Nature Film festival, held between 18-22 May, 2016 in Gödöllő.

Presentations of the conference are available in the link below in Hungarian.

Bat research on the tenth Hungarian Conservation Biology Conference

2016. May 23.

Between April 1-3 the 10th event of the Hungarian Conservation Biology Conference Series (HCCB) took place on the research of endemic mammalian species of the Carpathian Basin, with particular attention to conservation aspects.

MTBK_X

Most Hungarian mammal specialists attended to the conference (photo: Nagy Dénes)

Our Swiss founded project contributed to the event by organising a thematic bat research workshop, but other project activities were present, too, with presentations and posters, respectively carnivorous mammal research and game effect on forest habitats activities.

Status of project "Sustainable conservation on Hungarian Natura 2000 sites" SH/4/8 implementation, 2015

2016. March 23.

The overall delivery of the project is in line with the former plans. Monitoring methodologies are under the approval procedure by the Ministry of Agriculture, while field data collection also proceeded in 2015. The amount of area covered with new, good quality biodiversity data available has expanded significantly (sum: 966000 ha).

Public debate of the 12 Natura 2000 sites carried out successfully (April - Kiskunság; July - Mátra). Besides the documents made available through the project website (http://natura.2000.hu/hu/csoportok/projektblog/matrai-fenntartasi-tervek-elso-koros-egyeztetese), informational material has also been handed out for forum participants. Forums were followed by the interest of local media (http://www.kiskorostv.hu/hirek.php?hirid=1653).
Management planning procedure provides input to on-the-spot habitat management of the pilot sites in ACT4. Baseline monitoring actions finished in the pilot areas, the first reports are ready for both Mátra and Kiskunság areas. Data transfer between the project and the Nature Conservation Information System is under development.

Project external communication activities have massively broadened. All biodiversity related projects financed by Swiss-Hungarian Cooperation Programme presented their results on the conference organized by the project as a side-event of the I. International Nature Film Festival in Gödöllő, 15/05/2015 (http://natura.2000.hu/hu/csoportok/projektblog/termeszetvedelmi-tamogatasok-svajcbol). Intensive communication actions were carried out aiming farm advisors to prepare the financing possibilities of agri-environment payments encouraged by the project by the policy recommendation published in 2013. 1700 experts were directly trained and high quality information materials were published (written, designed and printed by the project) in order to change the negative trends of agriculture biodiversity. Following the idea of the already published "Field guide for farmland birds", the first manuscripts of field guides for fish farmers and forest owners are ready, finalization of the booklets is planned in PIR8. While the first booklet focused on agricultural habitats, the ones under development focus of fishponds and forests. Scientific communication is considered as one of the most significant strength of the project.

Mid-term-audit report has been submitted to Intermediate Body and after the necessary corrections this was approved in February 2015 by the IB. The mid-term report was finally approved on the 22/05/2016. On-site-visit of the project was carried out by Széchenyi Program Office on 02/07/2015,  where the overall project status was considered favourable. Prolongation of the project with 2 months was requested by the Executive Agency, which was approved through the 3rd modification of Implementation Agreement (30/10/2015). Indicator contribution further proceeded in terms of several logframe indicators.

All professional reports and indicator verification documents, publications and other outputs of the project are available at project website (http://natura.2000.hu/hu/filedepot).

Swiss Nature Conservation Projects

2015. May 15.

Swiss Contribution supports six nature conservation large projects in Hungary. Results of these projects were presented in a conference organised by BirdLife Hungary/MME on 15 May 2015.

Jean-François Paroz, Swiss ambassador greets the conference

Jean-François Paroz, Swiss ambassador underlined in his greeting speech the importance of conservation efforts and conected education, research and communication activities. These efforts were supported by Swiss Contribution, granting approximately 2 billion HUF for the six projects. These projects cover broad range of activities stemmed from Natura 2000 network and delivered by governmental and non-governmental organisations, research and education institutions in Hungary.

Dr. György Gémesi, major of Gödöllő town, hosting the conference, greets conference

Presentations of conference available below (in English).

 

Role of government in conservation projects of Swiss-Hungarian Contribution - András Schmidt, deputy head of department, Ministry of Agriculture

Results of "Surveys of protected and strictly protected animal species of community interest and the development of their monitoring methodologies in the Natura 2000 sites of Vas, Zala and Somogy counties" project

Results of "Multipurpose assessment serving forest biodiversity conservation in the Carpathian region of Hungary" project

Results of "Sustainable conservation on Hungarian Natura 2000 sites" project

Results of "Cooperation for the protection of our natural assets" project

Results of "Sky-high schoolroom" project - KOKOSZ

Results of "Sky-high schoolroom" project - BirdLife Hungary/MME

Results of "Widening the green kindergarten and ecoschool movements" project

Management plan forums in Kiskunság

2015. April 27.

Valuable opinions were collected in discussion forums held for first drafts of management plans in Kiskunság, produced by "Sustainable conservation on Hungarian Natura 2000 sites" project, financed by Swiss-Hungarian Contribution Programme.

Fülöpszállás, discussion with farmers after the forum

These forums gave opportunity to discuss documents describing conservation values and suggested management prescriptions of conservation experts and other stakeholders. Management plans were available beforehand from  natura.2000.hu. Three forums were organised by Szent István University  - in Fülöpszállás, Kiskőrös és Harta - on the dates 9th April, 15-16th April.  Apart from the expert group producing the management plans, including representatives from Kiskunság National Park Directorate stakeholder groups - land users, involved authorities and organisations - were invited. Additional information, suggestions were collected from these stakeholder groups in order to integrate and coplete the management plans.

Kiskőrös, Kiskőrösi TV interviewing management plan expert before forum

Management plans will be refined by this process, and the new versions will be available on project website soon.

Harta, discussion of management plans

During the forum in Kiskőrös Kiskőrösi TV made a riport with experts of the project.

Status of project "Sustainable conservation on Hungarian Natura 2000 sites" SH/4/8 implementation, 2014

2015. March 6.

The overall delivery of the project is in line with the former plans. Monitoring methodology development has been finalized regarding all targeted species/habitats. The data collection period of the year 2014 was active and successful. A common data storage is under construction at the Executing Agency, collecting all types of data available from the project. Based on the common data storage of the project mainstreaming biodiversity data into Nature Conservation Information System (NCIS) will be ensured. Management planning procedure further proceeded, baseline documentations are ready and management requirements for the species and habitats concerned are provided by the responsible groups of ACT1-ACT2. Stakeholder analyses of the planning procedure have been finalized. Management planning procedure provides input to on-the-spot habitat management of the pilot sites in ACT4. A study tour for the whole project group was organized in cooperation with SVS/BirdLife Switzerland aiming to collect information on management planning procedures and conservation aimed land management practices in the Canton of Zürich. Land management pilot projects further proceeded with the necessary infrastructural development. Forest and grassland management actions started in both sites. Baseline monitoring actions started in both of the sites in order to capture the real nature conservational benefits of the management prescriptions. Project external communication activities have broadened, project website is continuously updated. Special attention was paid for reptile conservation, besides several meeting held for professionals and the open public, a leaflet has been published and roll-ups were made introducing the targeted species (eg. pond turtle). All of the project partners actively communicates the project both at scientific and at public level. A mid-term project leaflet has been published in Hungarian and in English language. The project participated in professional events (Exhibition for Guns, Fishing and Hunting, 13-16.02.2014.; National Meeting of Green NGOs, 25-27.04.2014.). A guideline for farmers to farmland birds have been published for Natura 2000 sites. Press conference for the "Guidebook for farmers regarding farmland birds" of Natura 2000 sites has been held successfully organized on the 14/05/2014  (http://www.mme.hu/fenntarthato-termeszetvedelem-magyarorszagi-natura-2000-teruleteken-projekt-felidei-eredmenyeinek-es).

 

Status of project "Sustainable conservation on Hungarian Natura 2000 sites" SH/4/8 implementation, 2012

2014. April 14.

The overall achievement of the project in terms of physical completion is in line with the planned results.

Project management team was set and the project office was established. Full-time and part-time staff has been selected and employed since project start. Equipments for the project management as well as equipments required for data collection are mostly purchased. Maps, databases and specific software needed for analyses and surveys are also purchased.

Methodologies for the different monitoring activities are developed as planned (literature overviews, survey structure planning, relevant data collection, preparation of questionnaire). The exact study sites of the surveys are partly designated and under harmonization between the different WPs.

Preliminary fieldworks started (training of monitoring staff, methodology test, sampling plots description, pair-wise selection). Promotion of project plans (methodology, expected results, etc.) in scientific forums started. Preparation for management planning and land use pilot actions started.

Daily internal project communication is carried out, providing help for professional and administrative delivery. Strong communication is ensured between the project and the Ministry for Rural Development, other Swiss Contribution Projects within Focus Area 4. and national park directorates. A web-based forum was launched to provide the necessary communication between Swiss Contribution Projects and the responsible governmental bodies.

External communication activities done based on the accepted publicity plan. The opening conference was successfully organized and held, where a wide range of stakeholders (eg. researchers, governmental administrative staff, land users, forest and game managers) participated. Project was promoted for public on the crowded and nationally famous bird watching occasion, Wild Goose Gathering, Tata.

Kick-off meeting with Swiss expert was held in October, where the time frame of the further collaboration was set.

Status of project "Sustainable conservation on Hungarian Natura 2000 sites" SH/4/8 implementation, 2013

2014. April 14.

Human, infrastructural and administrative resources have been established for carrying out the planned activities in 2013. Most of the monitoring methodologies have been developed in the first half of the year. 48 monitoring methodology document have been drafted aiming the total scope of the targeted species/habitats. Methodology testing started in the first season and expected to provide the necessary feedback for finalizing the draft methodology papers. The first season of field data collection is finished by the end of 2013. Biotic data is under further analyses, the first results were published in scientific papers (Acta Biologica Hungarica, Community Ecology, Rangeland Ecology) and presented in national and international conferences (Climate change and ethnobiology" conference, Denton, USA; "Open Landscapes 2013", Hildesheim, Germany, The 3rd Eastern European Ethnobiology Seminar on "Variations in space and time"). Innovative, supplementary surveys run well, and expected to provide results with high scientific value (pond turtle radiotelemetry, nest protection activities, bat audio-location, etc.).

Know-how exchange with SVS/BirdLife Switzerland seems to be extremely useful for the project. A common workshop was held for partners and experts in May 2013, and reports were provided about biodiversity monitoring and about nature conservation aimed agri-environmental subsidies.

Based on Swiss expertise a policy recommendation was elaborated aiming to protect agricultural biodiversity through a specific agri-environmental measure. Collaboration with a Swiss reptile expert started, and common data collection was carried out regarding dice snake (Natrix tessellata).

Natura 2000 management planning and pilot area management activities facing with minor challenges, due to the need of further description of activities and negotiation with stakeholders. Community based planning procedure interviews started to be carried out both at the Mátra and Kiskunság Natura 2000 sites.

Preparations of land management pilot projects further proceeded. The public procurement procedure for contracting for land management activities was launched and significant process was made by the end of year 2013.

Project website is launched, the web-based forum and an inventory of the project documents are available at www.natura.2000.hu. Communication of the project activities started through the website. Project external communication activities have further broadened, with representing the project at expert level (regular meetings with the representatives of Ministry for Rural Development), with the participation in professional events (International Exhibition of Guns, Fishing and Hunting - FEHOVA cca. 50.000 visitors, 16-19/02/13; OMÉK - National Agriculture and Food Exhibition ~100.000 visitors, 18-22/09/2013; Tatai Vadlúdsokadalom >10.000 visitors, 30/11/2013 ) and giving radio interviews (Európa Rádió, interview on the joint initiative for agricultural biodiversity). Detailed description of the project was published in the official magazine of the MME (Madártávlat 1/2013) Communication materials (leaflet, rollup) were designed and published. The achievement of the project indicators started in several topics.

Activities

2013. April 30.

Fish monitoring

The aim is the monitoring and surveying of data deficient, methodically challenging fish species of community interest (asp, European weatherfish, European bitterling, spined loach, European mudminnow, Petenyi's barb). Methodology development includes substituting method for genetic sampling with more economic ones, among others scale morphometry. Activity is run by Department of Aquaculture in SZIE.

Amphibian and reptile monitoring

The aim is to surveying and monitoring amphibian and reptile species connected to national wetland habitats by volunteers supervised by experts of the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Group of BirdLife Hungary. Among these species pond turtle gains special attention, being data deficient and seeming declining.

Monitoring birds species in wetland and forest habitats

Monitoring Centre of BirdLife Hungary develops and coordinates monitoring of 23 data deficient bird species in wetland and forest habitats. Data contributes to management prescriptions of Natura 2000 sites in the project.

Bat monitoring

Selected bat species (barbastelle, Bechstein's bat, Natterer's bat, Alcathoe bat, Brandt's bat, whiskered bat, common noctule, greater noctule bat, pond bat, Daubenton's bat) are all in Annex II and IV of Habitats Directive and data deficient nationaly. Monitoring includes new methods used (e.g. species detection by ultrasonic recording). Activity is supervised by Mammal Conservation Group of BirdLife Hungary.

Surveying plant species

Annex plant species of Natura 2000 sites in Mátra and Kiskunság project areas are surveyed by Department of Conservation and Landscape Ecology of SZIE.

Forest monitoring

The activity harmonises previous research in forest habitats and introduces and educate an improved monitoring methodology. Main field locations are strictly protected forest reserves. Data originating from here are the reference for assesment conservation status of forestry practices. Activity is run by Centre of Ecological Research of Hungarian Academy of Science.

National trend analysis of Natura 2000 habitats

Plant based natural capital of Hungary declines by 5% annually. This activity aims the assessment of trends of 19 habitats of Community interest in 50 years, but in the scope of two last centenars of habitat changes. Activity is run by Centre of Ecological Research of Hungarian Academy of Science.

Dead wood surveys

Two-third of forest species (especially fungi and insects, but moss, bird and bat species as well) are connected to decaying wood. The activity surveys 500 managed forest sites for mass and quality of dead wood and describes moss and fungi community connected to.  Activity is run by Centre of Ecological Research of Hungarian Academy of Science.

Game effects on forests

Forest quality and forest natural renewal are judged to affected by game species (deer, roe-deer, wild boar). However, there was no scientific research for this judgement. Activity develops game effect methodology and incorporates this new methodology to forest monitoring. Activity is run by Institute of Wildlife Conservation of SZIE.

Carnivorous mammal monitoring

Carnivorous mammals being top predators are important parts of habitats of Community interest. Activity monitors five carnivorous mammals (lynx, wolf, otter, wild-cat, steppe polecat, all Annex II species of Habitats Directive) and surveys common species (fox, badger, jackal) in Mátra and Kiskunság. Activity is run by Institute of Wildlife Conservation of SZIE.

Natura 2000 maintenance planning and pilot management projects

Activity produces 12 Natura 2000 maintenance plans for Mátra and Liskunság, using data produced by previous activities. Maintenance plans collect management prescriptions for all relevant land use (e.g. agriculture, forestry, game management) affecting species and habitats of Community interest. Management prescriptions are tested on pilot areas, 250-250 has in Mátra and Kiskunság from ecology and economy point of view. Activities are run by Institute of Environment and Landscape Management of SZIE.

Publicity and project management

Project consortium is lead by BirdLife Hungary, also in the role of running project magagement and publicity activities.