The Annotated Ramsar List: Hungary
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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance
HUNGARY / HONGRIE / HUNGRIA
The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Hungary on 11 August 1979. Hungary presently has 29 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 244,913 hectares.
site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas
Baradla Cave System and related wetlands. 14/08/01; Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén; 2,075 ha; 48°28’N 020°30’E. National Park, MAB Biosphere Reserve, World Heritage site. The Baradla Cave System is the Hungarian part of the 25 km long Baradla-Domica Cave System that is a typical and the largest subterranean hydrological system of the karst plateau in the territory of Hungary and Slovakia. The site is characterized by a permanent subterranean stream, ponds, rich dripstone formations, and diverse representatives of subsurface fauna as well as rich archaeological remains. The extended underground world of the Aggtelek & Slovak Karst, of which the site is a large part, provides a habitat for more than 500 species of troglobite, troglophile and trogloxene animals including endemic species (such as Niphargusaggtelekas), as well as species first described from this region. The most important archaeological sites are the settlements of Bükk culture both inside and in front of the cave entrance, with charcoal drawings unique in Central Europe. The importance of the karstic springs was recognized by local people as early as the Middle Ages, particularly for milling grain and crushing ore. More than 200,000 tourists visit the site annually, for whom tours and study trails, as well as hotels and campsites, are available. The site is a part of Transboundary Ramsar Site with Slovakia’s Domica Ramsar site (designated January 2001) and part of a single ‘Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst’ World Heritage site since 1995. Ramsar site no. 1092. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Béda-Karapancsa. 30/04/97; Barany; 1,150 ha; 45º40’N 018º54’E. Landscape Protection Area, National Park, Nature Reserve. Floodplain habitats along the southernmost part of the Danube River made up of river branches, oxbow lakes, marshland, meadows, reedbeds, and hard and softwood gallery forests. The site supports various rare, endangered or endemic plants. Various species of nesting waterbirds use the site. Human activities include fishing, forestry and hunting. Ramsar site no. 901. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Biharugra Fishponds. 30/04/97; Békés; 2,791 ha; 46º58’N 021º32’E. Landscape Protection Area; National Park. Intensively used lakes near the Romanian border, supporting a characteristic steppe vegetation, wet meadows and forests. The site provides resting, breeding, feeding and staging areas for numerous endangered and protected waterbirds and waders. The "kunhalom", an elevated hill probably used for burial purposes 1100 years ago, is archaeologicaly important. Human activities include intensive fishing, cattle and sheep breeding, farming and hunting. Ramsar site no. 903. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Bodrogzug. 17/03/89; Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén; 3,782 ha; 48º11’N 021º25’E. Landscape Protection Area. A floodplain area including several lakes at the confluence of two rivers, with grassland, marshland, lakes, reedbeds, willow scrub and areas of woodland on higher ground. The area is important for breeding and staging numerous species of waterbirds. Several notable plants are supported. Ramsar site no. 422. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
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.
Csongrád-bokrosi Sóstó sodic-alkaline pans. 04/12/2004; Bács-Kiskun, Csongrád; 770 ha; 46°45'N 020°00'E. Nature Reserve. Composed of two seasonal saline lakes, Nagy Sós-tó of 100 ha and Kis Sós-tó of 10 ha and including saline marshes, saline meadows, a mosaic of loess meadows on high embankments, and agricultural areas of different sizes in between the ponds. The site is home to rare, endemic and threatened communities and species including European otter Lutra lutra, Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus, and Great Bustard Otis tarda. It is part of the migration route along the Tisza river valley and supports more than 20,000 waterfowl seasonally, playing an important role as a resting, feeding and breeding site. Waterbirds regularly using the site include Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Garganey, White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose, Bean Goose and the globally threatened Lesser White-fronted Goose. Past measures in the catchment area decreased the extent of wetlands through lowering the groundwater table. A potential threat to the site is the acceleration of the eutrophication process caused by nutrients coming from the arable lands. Ramsar site no. 1409.Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Felsö-Tisza (Upper Tisza). 04/12/04; Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg; 22,311 ha; 48°25'17"N 022°12'28"E. Protected Area, Landscape Protection Area, Natura 2000 (SPA, SCI). The site covers the entire active floodplain along a 215 km section of the river Tisza in northeastern Hungary, adjacent to the Bodrogzug Ramsar site; it meets the Ukrainian and Slovakian borders to the east and north, and the catchment is also shared with Romania. Felsö-Tisza is a typical floodplain with dikes constructed in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. The natural and near-natural habitats consist of large patches of softwood (Salicetum albae-fragilis) and hardwood riverside forests (Querco-Ulmetum), oxbow lakes, filled-in meanders with rich natural flora and fauna, extensively managed or abandoned orchards and plough-lands. The site supports many globally threatened species of flora and fauna. It offers habitat to 57 different orchids and is especially important as migration path to many different fish species, some of them endemic to the Danube river system. The site fulfills numerous important ecological functions such as aquifer recharge and habitat connectivity. Threats include uncontrolled and increasing tourism, fishing, intensification of forestry and eutrophication. The site is part of a Transboundary Ramsar Site designated in conjunction with "Tisa River" in the Slovak Republic. Ramsar Site no. 1410. Most recent RIS information: 2012.
Fishponds and Marshlands south of Lake Balaton (Dél-balatoni halastavak és berkek). 09/06/11; Somogy County. 9,483 ha; 46°42’N 017°36’E; Protected Area, SPA, SCI. The site consists of several sub-sites south of Lake Balaton Ramsar Site, the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe. It mainly consists of natural or near-natural marshland, meadows and fishponds including many habitat types listed under the EU Habitats Directive. The site supports globally and regionally threatened species of plants like Water Chestnut Trapa natans, fish species like European Mudminnow Umbra krameri, several breeding bird species such as Bittern Botaurus stellaris stellaris as well as mammal species like Otter Lutra lutra. The site is also an important staging area during migration and wintering season for more than twenty thousand individuals of waterbirds, including about 12,000 Greater White-fronted Geese Anser albifrons and 9,000 Greylag Geese Anser anser. The site also hosts more than 1% of the population of the Great White Egret Ardea alba and the non-avian species Root Vole Microtus oeconomus, which is endemic to the Carpathian Basin (Ramsar Criterion 9). Human use of the site includes fish-farming, fishing, reed harvesting, hunting, forestry, and tourism. The “Balaton Catchment Area Water Management Plan” was completed in 2010 under the guidelines of The EU Water Framework Directive. Ramsar Site no. 1963. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Gemenc. 30/04/97; Tolna, Bács Kiskun; 16,873 ha; 46º15’N 018º51’E. Landscape Protection Area, National Park. The site consists of various floodplain habitats along the Danube River. The undisturbed forests, tributaries and oxbow lakes support a high diversity and density of endangered species. The site supports various endemic and rare plants and two protected mammal species. Large numbers of migrating and wintering waterbirds are supported and various nesting birds use the site. Human activities include recreation, forestry, hunting and fishing. Ramsar site no. 900. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Hortobágy. 11/04/79; Hajdú-Bihar, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok; 32,027 ha; 47º34’N 020º55’E. World Heritage Site; Biosphere Reserve; National Park, Nature Protection Area. Four separate sectors of the extensive Hortobágy Steppe include a system of artificial fishponds; a reconstructed swamp system; a part of a dam, islands, woodland and mudflats; and extensive grassland, marshland and swamp areas. All sectors support extensive reed and Nymphaea beds. The area is important for breeding, wintering and staging important numbers of many species of migratory waterbirds. Human activities include intensive, large-scale fish production and reed harvesting. Public access is strictly controlled. There are a field research station and several observation hides available. Area extended from 23,121 to 32,037 ha in 2008. Ramsar site no. 189. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Ipoly Valley. 14/08/01; Nógrád; 2,227 ha; 48°04’N 019°07’E. National Park. A long, flat, and narrow valley containing oxbow lakes as well as shrub and alder bogs which serve to minimize risks of flood damage. Seasonally flooded meadows are partly grazed by cattle and partly mowed, and groundwater recharge supplies drinking water to the population. The site is an important stopover for migratory waterbirds and offers habitat to a significant number of fish species, some of them endangered, though its role as an important fish spawning ground has declined. Few serious threats to the site are foreseen, though increased overgrazing and greater use of artificial fertilizers would not be welcome. Expanded recreational and eco-tourism for the Budapest region may bring benefits, and a return to traditional, sustainable fishing methods is contemplated. The site was declared as part of a Transboundary Ramsar Site with Slovakia's Poiplie Ramsar site on 02/02/07, and a unique ethnographic and cultural character binds the sites, as evidenced by the Csadó-tanya prehistoric settlement remains. Ramsar site no. 1093. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Kis-Balaton.11/04/79; Zala, Somogy; 14,745 ha; 46º39’N 017º12’E. National Park, Natura 2000 site, IBA. One of the largest marshlands with reedbeds, marshy meadows and large sedges, unique within the biogeographic region, that are still in close-to-natural state. Most of the vegetation is water-logged for most of the vegetative season. Once the westemmost bay of Lake Balaton, located within the delta of the Zala River, the site today is a water protection system consisting of two main parts: Phase I is characterised by open water surfaces with relatively narrow reedbelts along the dikes, while Phase II contains vast reedbeds and sedgy marshes, and less open water. The site has a crucial importance in the history of Hungarian nature conservation, as it was was the first area where the protection of the great white egret was organized. This species had become almost extinct, but due to its protection the population increased and nowadays about 4,000 pairs nest in Hungary. The site, as a Landscape Protection Area, has been legally protected since 1976 and part of the Balaton Uplands National Park since 1997, and it fulfills Ramsar Criteria 1-8 for listing. The area is important for breeding waterbirds and for staging internationally important numbers of Anser. Human activities include controlled reed harvesting, fishing, and hunting. Ramsar site no. 185. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Lake Balaton (Balaton). 17/03/89; Zala, Somogy, Veszprem; 59,800 ha; 46º50’N 017º45’E. Natura 2000 Birds and Habitats Directives. The largest lake in Central Europe and estimated to be 22,000 years old. Extensive reedbeds fringe the shoreline. The site is an important staging site for large numbers of various species of waterbirds and supports about 2,000 species of algae. The lake is the most important recreation area in Hungary; other activities include tourism, fishing and reed harvesting, and potential threats come from increasing motor sports and construction of sailing ports and fishing stages. Ramsar site no. 421. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Lake Fehér at Kardoskút. 11/04/79; Békés; 492 ha; 46º28'N 020º30'E. National Park, Nature Conservation Area. An alkaline steppe lake in Southeast Hungary. As a former branch of river Maros, the area has been subject to a gradual salt accumulation resulting in a typical puszta fauna and flora associations on the wetland site, including grasslands and reedbeds. The wetland is one of the most fragile and valuable nature reserves in Hungary, along with several archaeological remains. The site has a fundamental role in the passage of thousands of migratory birds in Eastern Hungary and supports several endemic plants. The lake dries out completely during the summer. Human activities include reed harvesting. There is an ornithological field station and museum and birdwatching towers can be used with permission. Ramsar site no. 184. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Lake Fertö. 17/03/89; Györ-Moson-Sopron; 8,432 ha; 47º45’N 016º45’E. Biosphere Reserve; National Park. The Hungarian part of Europe’s largest lake, estimated to be 20,000 years old. The site comprises a portion of Lake Fertö and the region of lakes Herlakni and Oberlakni. Both sectors support extensive reedbeds, saline grassland, marshland and open water areas. The area is important for breeding, wintering and staging several species of waterbirds. Human activities include recreational and commercial fishing and reed harvesting. In ceremonies held on 24 April 1994, a single transboundary national park, called Neusiedl-Fertö, was created in co-management with Austria. Ramsar site no. 420. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Lake Kolon at Izsák. 30/04/97; Bács-Kiskun; 2,962 ha; 46º45’N 019º21’E. National Park, Biosphere Reserve; Nature Reserve. An artificially regulated lake supporting extensive reedbeds, wet meadows, patches of willow, and small open water bodies. The eight heron species of Hungary breed at the site in large numbers. Human activities include reed cutting and in the surroundings, vineyards and orchards are cultivated. The area is closed to the public. Ramsar site no. 902. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Lakes by Tata. 17/03/89; Komárom-Esztergom; 1,633 ha; 47°30'N 018°17'E. Municipal Nature Conservation Area. The site comprises the Old Lake and the Által-ér river with smaller tributaries upstream, including varied wetland types rich in natural values and numerous remnants of the former extensive fen areas. The Old Lake, which is the largest lake of Komárom-Esztergom region, was created in the Middle Age with swelling up the Által-ér stream. It is an important habitat for migratory birds regularly supporting more than 25,000 waterfowl, especially Anser species, Anas platyrhynchos, and Larus ridibundus. Due to the natural conditions ploughlands and fishponds are the main land use activities, but the area is also wedged between urban and industrial regions as well as the urban agglomeration area of Tata. The main threat is expanding private land ownership and increasing plans for building activities. The implementation of fish ponds were the first, but not deliberate step towards the rehabilitation of the former wetlands. It is planned to develop further ecotourism and education facilities, e.g. a study trail with information panels. Significantly extended in 2006 and renamed from "Tata, Öreg-tó (Old Lake)". Ramsar site no. 419. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Mártély Landscape Protection Area. 11/04/79; Csongrád; 2,232 ha; 46º26’N 020º10’E. Landscape Protection Area, Nature Protection Area. A section of the Tisza River floodplain featuring oxbow lakes, wet meadows, arable land, scrub, and woodland. The site supports a large population of the otter Lutra lutra and is an important breeding area for various species of waterbirds. Human activities include recreation. The site supports commercial fisheries and a research centre. Ramsar site no. 186. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
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.
Nyirkai-Hany. 29/09/06; Györ-Moson-Sopron; 460 ha, 47°42'N 017°11'E. National Park, Natura 2000. Situated in the Hanság peat lowland, which was previously regularly flooded by Danube and Rába tributaries before it was drained for agricultural purposes in the 19th century. In 2001, a wetland restoration project was started with Dutch support in the agricultural polders, based on flooding to create open water surfaces, reedbeds, reedmace beds, and tall grass-dominated plant communities. Within a short time the area gained great importance as bird habitat for raptors such as Aquila clanga, Haliaeetus albicilla and Falco cherrug, as well as a nesting and feeding place for waterbirds such as Podiceps cristatus, Botaurus stellaris and Platalea leucorodia. It is also an important wintering site for the Anser anser and Anser albifrons, and it supports, amongst many fish species, Misgurnus fossilis, Abramis brama and Silurus glanis. The site has an important role in the recharge of groundwater and serves as a reservoir in the flood control of the Rába river. Intensive agricultural and recreational use, plus peat extraction in the surrounding areas, have adverse affects on water management and increase of desiccation. Most recently the Fertö-Hanság National Park, of which the site is part, began complex ecological monitoring work to ensure long-term conservation management. Ramsar site no. 1644. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Ócsa Turjános. 17/03/89; Pest; 1,078 ha; 47º16'N 019º15'E. Landscape Protection Area. A peatland area located in the Great Hungarian Plain supporting reed and Scirpus beds, bogs, pools, grassland, arable land, and woodland. The area is important for several species of breeding waterbirds. The site supports several endemic species of Lepidoptera, the otter Lutra lutra, and several notable plant species. The surrounding villages are rich in architectural and other cultural values. There are restrictions on hunting and public access is strictly controlled. An ornithological field station is located at the site, and rehabilitation works are planned. Ramsar site no. 418. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Pacsmag Fishponds Nature Conservation Area. 30/04/97; Tolna; 485 ha; 46º53’N 018º22’E. Nature Conservation Area. Situated in the valley of a meandering stream, the site consists of fishponds established by damming the watercourse. The large waterbodies, marshland, meadows and reedbeds attract thousands of waterfowl during migration and are considered one of the most significant waterfowl resting and feeding sites in Western Hungary. The area provides excellent nesting habitat for several protected and endangered bird species and breeding areas for the strictly protected otter. The site supports several species of protected plants. Human activities consist of an intensive fishery, cattle grazing, mowing and farming. Ramsar site no. 904. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Pusztaszer. 11/04/79; Csongrád; 5,000 ha; 46º26’N 020º08’E. National Park, Landscape Protection Area, Nature Conservation Area. The site is composed of artificial fishponds, marshlands, a seasonally flooded saline lake, flooded woodland, and an oxbow lake. The area is important for staging numerous species of waterbirds and supports several species of notable or endemic plants. A research station and an information centre are available, and there are several observation hides. Ramsar site no. 188. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Rába valley (Rába-völgy). 29/09/06; Vas; 10,961 hectares, 47°02'N 016°40'E. Landscape Park. The largest valley of Western Transdanubia, comprising the floodplains along the river Rába from the Austrian border downstream. The Rába meanders largely freely and yearly floods maintain the natural dynamic of oxbows, shifting riverbeds, and typical riverside vegetation. Typical habitat types are floodplain meadows, softwood riparian forests, willow bushes and hardwood riverside forests; the banks support rare nesting birds such as Merops apiaster, Alcedo atthis and Riparia riparia. The Rába holds an especially rich fish fauna, supporting populations of the threatened Zingel zingel, Zingel streber, and Gymnocephalus schraetzer. Negative impacts are caused by uncontrolled tourism, fishing activities, intensive forestry, and the discharge of treated sewage water pollution inflow from upstream Austria. Since 2004 a restoration plan for maintaining the water supply of the oxbows has been in preparation, which aims to improve the fish spawning possibilities and the development of bird habitats - this will assure the use of the rich fish fauna by traditional fishery in the region. These rich and dynamic natural conditions of the area also have great importance for environmental education activities. Ramsar site no. 1645. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Rétszilas Fishponds Nature Conservation Area. 30/04/97; Fejér; 1,508 ha; 46º50’N 018º34’E. Nature Reserve. A complex of numerous fishponds and the remnants of marshy river beds created at the turn of the 20th century. Characteristic vegetation includes reedbeds, sedge communities, and sodic pastures. One of the most significant waterbird habitats in Western Hungary, the site provides excellent nesting habitat for several protected and endangered bird species and large numbers of various species of herons. 113 bird species use the site, 84 of which are protected. The site supports numerous endangered and protected plants, notably a significant orchid community. Human activities include a fishery, cattle grazing, mowing and farming. A bird-ringing survey is carried out. Ramsar site no. 899. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Szaporca, O-Dráva meder. 11/04/79; Baranya; 257 ha; 45º50’N 018º06’E. Nature Reserve. An oxbow lake formed by the Dráva River, supporting gallery forests, wet meadows, reedbeds, agricultural land and marshes. The site is important for numerous species of breeding waterbirds. It is also an important botanical area. Hunting and fishing are regulated. Ramsar site no. 182. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Upper Kiskunság alkaline lakes.11/04/79; Bács-Kiskun; 6,637 ha; 46º49'N 019º11'E. Biosphere Reserve, National Park, Natura 2000 SPA. Located between the Danube and Tisza rivers, the site includes five saline lakes and an associated mosaic of saline marshes, meadows, reedbeds and arable land. The lakes are filled seasonally by groundwater and precipitation. The site is important for breeding and staging several species of waterbirds. Several notable or endemic plant species occur. Severe droughts have adversely affected the site's ecology. Extended by 2,734ha in March 2007. Ramsar site no. 187. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Upper Kiskunság alkaline steppes (Felsö-Kiskunsági szikes puszták). 29/09/06; Bács-Kiskun, Pest; 13,632 ha; 47°04'N 019°10'E. National Park, Natura 2000 SPA, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The intermittent sodic-alkaline marshes and meadows of Kiskunság are a special example of continental saline ecosystems which are characteristic, unique wetland habitat types of the Pannonic biogeographic region. The site presents a high variation of marshes, sodic meadows, grazing lands, sodic terrace and barrens with a typical vegetation consisting of various salt-resistant and halophyte species. The site is important for birds as a nesting, feeding and roosting site and supports more than 20,000 Anseriiformes and Charadriiformes during migration period, and it is one of the Hungarian strongholds for Otis tarda and Himantopus himantopus. The area is used for traditional Hungarian extensive farmland lifestyle with special regard to domestic semi-nomadic animal grazing. Water regulation, extensive agricultural pollution has been followed by a decreasing groundwater level, drying the area and contributing to succession caused by decreasing grazing pressure and the invasion of alien species. About 2,000 hectares of wetlands have already been restored under the management of the Kiskunsági National Park and Biosphere Reserve, to which most of the site belongs. Ramsar site no. 1646. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Velence and Dinnyés Nature Conservation Area. 11/04/79; Fejer; 965 ha; 47º11’N 018º33’E. Nature Conservation Area. The site is composed of a lake area and an alkaline marshland with surrounding meadows supporting extensive reed and Scirpus beds. The area is important for breeding, wintering and staging numerous species of waterbirds. The site is also important botanically, supporting several notable plant species. Human activities include reed harvesting, wild boar (Sus scrofa) hunting, and recreation. Severe drought has caused problems. There are strict controls on public access and a visitor’s centre and research facility are available. Ramsar site no. 183. Most recent RIS information: 2006.