Two new Hungarian Ramsar sites for World Wetlands Day
Hungary names two new Ramsar sites
In World Wetlands Day ceremonies held on 20 February 2008, Mr László Haraszthy, State Secretary for Nature and Environment Protection, announced the designation of two new Ramsar sites effective on that date. Borsodi-Mezoség (17,932 hectares, 47°44'N 020°54'E) is a Landscape Protection Area and Natura 2000 site, a large alkaline marshland on the bank of the river Tisza. Montág-puszta (2,203 hectares, 46°21'N 020°40'E) is part of a National Park located on the Hungarian Great Plain. In addition, one of Hungary's first Ramsar sites, Hortobágy, designated back in 1979, has been extended by over 8,000 ha. to 32,037 ha. Here are brief descriptions of the two new sites as summarized by Ramsar's Monica Zavagli from the accompanying RIS data.
Borsodi-Mezoség. 20/02/08; Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén; 17,932 ha; 47°44'N 020°54'E. Landscape Protection Area, SPA and SCI (Natura 2000). The largest alkaline marshland complex on the right bank of the river Tisza. The main wetland types, still preserved in good, natural conditions, are permanent and intermittent marshes, hayfields and alkaline wet meadows which form a special mosaic vegetation pattern with arid vegetation habitats (such as steppe grasslands on loess and sandy soil). The site has outstanding significance for migratory birds, providing key staging habitats and waterbodies, and for the preservation of endangered species of Eurasian steppes (Saker, Imperial Eagle, Red-footed Falcon, Roller and Lesser Grey Shrike). Thanks to water restoration projects managed by the Bükk National Park Directorate, the numbers of nesting waterfowl have grown significantly, but the site is also important for many other animal and plant species, some endemic and many endangered. The most important cultural value is the survival of ancient, traditional pastoral life. Extensive animal husbandry has been practised there for thousands of years, and pastoral traditions, tools and lifestyle have been preserved. Kurgans (tumuli) have also been found in the area. Ramsar site no. 1745. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Montág-puszta. 20/02/08; Békés, Csongrád; 2,203 ha; 46°21'N 020°40'E. National Park, SPA, SCI. A low-lying, basin-like area located on the Hungarian Great Plain. The diverse habitat types ensure ideal conditions for rare species of flora and fauna. Due to its closeness to the traditional migration flyway along the river Tisza, it is not only an important nesting site for birds but also a roosting and feeding place used frequently during the migration. The site also ensures excellent conditions for the reproduction of important amphibian species such as Bombina bombina, Triturus dobrogicu and Hyla arborea. Since 1997 the site has seen several restoration works (closing canals, building dykes, etc.). The next project of the Körös-Maros National Park Directorate will be to eliminate a 4.5 km long functionless canal of the area, and this work will improve the landscape value of the area. The second step will be the elimination of the Határ-canal (a 3 km long canal north of the area) to recreate water conditions closer to the natural state. Ramsar site no. 1746. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Hungary now has 28 Wetlands of International Importance covering a surface area of 235,430 hectares.