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.The hills at the Northern limits of Göd called Debegió Hills represent a unique value: the area of approx. 100 hectares is bordered by the city limits of three towns: Göd, Sződ and Sződliget, stretching across an area split in two by highway M2.
Debegió, a hill only in its name, is in fact an area with sand grass and chalet-like forests, and a habitat to rare plant- and animal species. The area is protected by Duna-Ipoly National Park, and is part of Natura 2000 Network, a nature conservation system recognized by the European Union. Therefore, ensuring conservation of the protected species and groups of species living in this area is a moral obligation of all of us, and for us, who work in the national park, it is an outright statutory and work-related obligation.
What are we protecting?
The natural flora – primarily the various sand grass species – was preserved here in its original beauty through the millenniums, with it several special natural values. Primarily, the subendemic (only lives in a few places outside of the Carpathian Basin) colchicus arenarium. This low, but thin plant opens its flowers in the Fall. At this time, it doesn’t have leaves. Those only grow in the Spring, when the seeds are also falling on the soil. These formerly common plants have become endangered species everywhere, mainly due to the deterioration of habitats (just like in Debegió), and to the impact of human interventions (e.g. collection, expanding of built environment, etc.).
Out of the animal species, carabus hungaricus, a seemingly featureless invertebrate is definitely worth mentioning. For outsiders, this simple, black-exoskeletoned bug is the same as most of its kin, except for that its only home is the sand land and it never ventures to the vicinity of family houses. Like any other domestic carabus species, it is a nocturnal animal, though it may enjoy the early Fall sunshine, too. Another characteristic of the carabus is that if threatened, they surprise their attacker by directing their rear end towards it, spraying methacrylic acid up to even half a meter away. The acid will induce a burning sensation on the skin, and if sprayed in the eyes, the effect is similar to that of capsicum. Of course, it won’t cause permanent damages. Carabus hungaricus was first described for science from Hungary, in the 18th century. Their populations are endangered species everywhere, therefore, they are especially protected, with a conservation value of HUF 100,000.00.
Modern conservation efforts are not equal to the unconditional conservation of the protected areas, as the lives of protected values are affected by several processes. Debegió is no exception: the aggressively expanding invasive plant species, primarily pseudoacacia and celtis occidentalis take the habitat from indigenous species. In order to protect the area’s indigenous conservation values, within the framework of the tender entitled "Conservation of Dry Grasslands in Central Hungary" supported by the European Union’s LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity Program between 2013-2020, Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate will remove all invasive woody plants living in non-scheduled forest segments from Debegió in the Winter of 2017-18. When the works are completed, the area will regain its traditional image shaped through centuries.
The habitat-reconstructing works in the Göd area are based on domestic- and EU legislation, out of which, the most important is Act LIII of 1996 on Nature Conservation in Hungary. Accordingly, action or the choice of habitat type to protect is not subject to contemplation.
Should you have further questions regarding habitat reconstruction works, we are happy to answer them at email@example.com. Selmeczi Kovács Ádám, Regional Manager (Börzsöny Conservation Region)
and Kiss Gyula, Tender Project Manager