Field visit to the Hungarian Little Plain Project area in the 3nd day of the international conference “Nature protection in military areas”
On the third day of the international conference “Nature protection in military areas”, field trip to the Hungarian Little Plain project location, near Győr, Hungary, provided ground for the participants to explore, the protected and invasive species, the conservation actions of the Hungarian Little Plain Project (LIFE08 NAT/H/000289), aiming to rehabilitate endangered priority-listed Pannonic sand land habitats. The project is implemented by the Economic office of the Hungarian Ministry of Defence together with the Fertő - Hanság National Park Directorate, Budapest Forestry Co. and Aquaprofit Co. The latter is responsible for communication actions organised the conference. For participants it was also a unique opportunity to ask the consortium members and their experts for on-site experiences and advice.
Before the site visit, the Commander of the SAM WING 12 ’Arrabona’ air defence unit welcomed the conference participants.
At the first stop the Budapest Forestry Co. and the Fertő – Hanság National Park employees introduced the first site, which functioned as a reference site. The main aim of the project is to reconstruct a mosaic type, species rich habitat, where the Pannonic sand steppe, Pannonic inland sand dune thicket are interrupted by patches of trees (Populus sp., Betula pendula) and English oak (Quercus robus). On the so-called reference site, there were no anthropological interventions for decades, with the only exception of the fires occurring in every 5-10 years. Therefore, on these areas only the invasive species were eliminated by the Budapest Forestry Co.
In the next stop, visitors could see the rehabilitated grassland habitats (C.4) where invasive species, mainly acacia was eliminated within the C.1 action. The C.1 Action aims the removal of invasive species from the project area, including invasive plants, such as Robinia pseudoacacia, Solidago gigantea, Alianthus altissima and Asclepias syriaca. The methods use include mowing, chemical treatment, and combined mechanical treatments. István Szidonya, subcontractor of the Budapest Forestry Co. explained the experiences with chemical treatment.
In the last site military created landforms and abandoned buildings (e.g. military trenches, pits and dike systems) were demolished and transformed to natural or semi-natural landforms. During realisation of landworks special attention is needed to conserve grass patches of good natural state (10-100 m2) on the area affected by landscaping. This is necessary because these provide habitats for several protected species and may serve as seedbank during grassland restoration. On the same site, small dunes created from non-used sand, give nesting place for the European Bee Eater (Merops apiaster).
Presentations of the plenary ,military and nature conservation sessions can be found here.