Conservation of dry grasslands in Central-Hungary

Life Ok
Interval: 2017.07.02 - 2020.08.31
Subject: Habitat reconstruction, suppression of invasive plants
Announcer: LIFE

In the framework of this 5-year-long project – started in September 2013 – Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate (DINPD) is directly aiming at the protection of the following priority habitat types: Sub-Pannonic steppic grasslands (6240), pannonic loess steppic grasslands (6250) and Pannonic sand steppes (6260).


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These grasslands provide habitat for numerous protected plant and animal species, that are unique, rare species in Hungary, they occur in a small number or cannot be found abroad at all (for example red-flowered viper’s bugloss /Echium maculatum/, greater pasque flower /Pulsatilla grandis/, sand saffron /Colchicum arenarium/, Laxmann’s bugle /Ajuga laxmannii/, dwarf Russian almond /Prunus tenella/ or Hungarian ground beetle /Carabus hungaricus/ and Hungarian zephyr blue /Plebejus sephirus/).

The project has 9 project sub-sites on 8 Natura 2000 sites covering a total project area of app. 645 ha. These grasslands are generally in good conservation status with many protected species, but are endangered by spontaneous reforestation, spread of invasive species and various types of negative human impacts. 
The 9 project areas are as follows:
1.     earth fort of Tápióság in the area of Alsó-Tápió és patakvölgyek (HUDI20050)
2.     Budaörsi kopárok (HUDI20010) 
3.     Debegió-hegy (HUDI20014)
4.     „Gyermely-Máriahalom” grassland in the area of Epöli szarmata vonulat (HUDI20016)
5.     Tétény-fennsík in the area of Érd-tétényi plató (HUDI20017)
6.     shooting range of Szentmártonkáta in the area of Felső-Tápió (HUDI20019)
7.     Bárányjárás of Domonvölgy in the area of Gödöllői-dombság (HUDI20023)
8.     Küdői-hegy in the area of Gödöllői-dombság (HUDI20023)
9.     Fóti Somlyó in the area of Gödöllői-dombság peremhegyei (HUDI20010).

Land use has changed significantly related to dry grasslands in the last decades, as extensive livestock farming decreased sharply in Hungary. Consequently, these habitats are now threatened by spontaneous reforestation on many sites (e.g. by Crataegus monogyna). Without urgent intervention this process will conclude in the radical shrinkage or even complete disappearance of the given dry grassland biome. Elimination of shrubs is planned on 8 project sub-areas on a total area of 118 ha in order to avoid further diminish of grasslands. Another problem is the spread of invasive species. 7 project sub-areas are infected with invasive species, mainly black locust, black pine and common milkweed. In the course of the project DINPD is eliminating these invasive species from all three priority grasslands habitats: 42 ha of black locust, 12,5 ha of black pine and 24,4 ha of non-arboreal species. Due to several economic and historic reasons, unfavourable land use/ownership status of grasslands is very common in Hungary. DINPD is trying to purchase or acquire 208,61 ha of high value grasslands and ensure adequate nature conservation management definitively. Most of them are one of the last representatives of these habitat types in their areas.

Some of the project areas are affected by negative human impacts. Use of illegal roads, deposit of urban waste and illegal mining are three of the most frequent examples. DINPD aims at mitigating these negative effects with several actions.
The effects of treatments on the grasslands are also observed – with the assistance of botanists and zoologists – parallel with the processes mentioned above.
Raising public awareness is also one of the main goals of the project – to make more people know about the natural values of these grasslands. Therefore new and renovate already existing study trails are to be created in the Budaörsi kopárok, earth fort of Tápióság, Tétényi-fennsík and the Fóti Somlyó. Numerous information publications are going to be published in the near future. Farmers and local inhabitants are being informed and also involved in order to establish long-term maintenance of the grasslands.

Forest Restructuring in Szentmártonkáta

Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate (DINPI) has conducted significant habitat restoration works in the Szentmártonkáta shooting range.


Dry Grassland Management in the Area of Máriahalom Natura 2000

Within the framework of the tender No. LIFE12NAT/HU/001028 entitled “Conservation of Dry Grasslands in Central Hungary”, the habitat restoration works are ongoing in 9 xenotherm project areas.



We celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the Protected Landscape Area of Tápió-Hajta with the handover of a new trail, nature games and introduction of the last 20 years in the Tápió area. The event held in Tápióság was also attended by Bertalan Balczó, Deputy State Secretary.


Purpuricenus Budensis on the Debegió Hill

Those who visited Debegió Hill this Spring and early Summer could almost feel the relief of the landscape. After the removal of the large proportion of the invasive acacia, celtis and ailanthus species, the area regained its former shape: closed and open sandland grass, only ornamented by some deliberately preserved domestic aspen trees.


Habitat Management at Göd City Limits

Destruction of vegetation for environment-protection reasons still gives rise to negative feelings in visitors and locals alike. We’d like to share a few thoughts about this to show that not everything is what it looks.


VOLUNTEERING to Protect Dry Grasslands

Duna-Ipoly Nemzeti Park Igazgatóság launched a volunteering program in cooperation with Zöldövezet Társulás Egyesület within the framework of the LIFE+ tender to protect dry-climate vegetation, and in the meantime, it announces an additional event.


Family Day in Tápióság

A free family day organised by DINPD and Zöldövezet Társulás was held at Tápióság, Cimbáld-rét on 14 October 2017.


Volunteers for dry grasslands 2017

In 2017 volunteers were also taken into the implementation of the LIFE + project titled Conservation of dry grasslands in Central Hungary.


Volunteers for dry grasslands 2016

In 2016 enthusiastic volunteers helped the implementation of the LIFE + project titled Conservation of dry grasslands in Central Hungary.


Collection and transportation of waste from Tétényi-fennsík project area

Fairly few nature conservation activities took place on one of the most valuable part of the Érd-Tétényi plató Natura 2000 area so far. In 2013 this situation started to change: the Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate (DINPD) got the area’s trusteeship rights and the implementation of the 5-year-long LIFE + project titled Conservation of dry grasslands in Central Hungary began. This unique limestone plateau is one of the project’s target areas.
Beside strong spontaneous reforestation with indigenous shrub species, the other most remarkable problem is illegal traffic and its root cause, illegal waste deposition.


Workshop about conservation of dry grasslands

On 21 January 2016 DINPD organised a successful workhop in Domonyvölgy for professionals working at Hungarian national park directorates and researchers working on Conservation of dry grasslands in Central Hungary LIFE+ Nature project.


Prevention of illegal traffic – Crossing gates

On some of the Natura 2000 sites in Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate (DINPD) managed by the project HUGRASSLANDSLIFE, significant damage of nature values are caused by various types of illegal traffic


Family day at the Gödöllő Royal Castle

In 2015 Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate (DINPD) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Gödöllői Dombvidék Landscape Protection Area. For this occasion DINPD organised a free family day in the park of Gödöllő Royal Castle on 06 September 2015.

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