BER (HNP) - Complex habitat rehabilitation of the Central Bereg Plain, Northeast Hungary
The wetlands of the Central Bereg Plain, located in the least developed region of Hungary, next to the border with Ukraine, harbour a complex mosaic of habitats. However the project area has suffered long-term degradation by human activities, which resulted in a dramatic loss of its natural values over the last decades. The main causes were desiccation by agricultural drainage during the socialist era, increasing eutrophication from agricultural chemicals, erosion from surrounding arable areas and a lack of renewal of the wood stock in cultivated forests. Through the project over 430 ha of wetlands are restored by closing ditches and eliminating drainage channels as well as ecologically valuable grassland and forest habitats in the surrounding areas. This not only provides a buffer zone for the wetlands (within the 1,500 ha project area) but also valuable habitats for the many Annex I birds. By the end of the project, the restored hydrology of the area should provide the ideal microclimatic conditions to help these wetlands recover in the harsh and dry Pannonic climate. At the same time, scientific monitoring was to lay the basis for the long-term maintenance of the rehabilitated areas. Finally, the local population is informed about the natural values of the Natura 2000 habitats, and farmers and foresters are trained to manage their land in a wetland-friendly way.