WWF Magyarország

The WWF is run at a local level by the following offices...

 

  • What is there to know about our forests?
  • What dangers are they threatened by?
  • What does WWF Hungary do?
  • What are the recent news?
  • How can I help?

What is there to know about our forests?

One fifth of Hungary’s territory, approximately 2 million hectares of land, is covered with forests and tree plantations.

Half of the forests includes native tree species, such as oak, beech, and glen forests known from the mountain and hill areas or floodplain forests along rivers.

The other half of the forests was planted on abandoned agricultural areas and pastures in the past hundred years by foresters - it includes mostly poplar plantationsplanted pine forests, and locust forests

At least 60% of species of our domestic wildlife is connected to natural forests. Some groups of animals, for example, most of birds of preywoodpeckersbatslarge beetle species; one part of seed plantsmosses and mushrooms can be found almost only in the forests of their natural habitat. 

Besides maintaining biological diversity, forests provide such basic so-called ecosystem services for the society like clean drinking water, fresh air, climate control, timber, or relaxation possibilities. 

The role of forests is appreciated particularly near settlements. At the same time, their biggest, most valuable, connected pieces can be preserved in the national parks.

 

What dangers are they threatened by?

Forest management

In more than 90% of our forests - on protected and Natura 2000 lands, too - traditional, so-called clear-cutting (e.g. also applying complete felling) forest management is run. The consequence of clear-cutting is that the forests of natural origin are of the same age, consist of few tree species, have few old trees, shrubs, little dead wood which is the immune system of the forest, few lairs and we could keep going, which decreases the profusion of wildlife. The more impoverished the wildlife becomes, the less the forest is able to maintain the ecosystem services (see above), thus, its resistance also decreases. 

The appearance of alien plant and animal species

The multitude of plant and animal species brought from foreign continents has poses threat to forests for many decades. One part of them spreads by itself on natural areas, transforms the soil and supersedes native tree species along with the majority of the wildlife connected to them. Ailanthus, common hackberry, green ash, ash-leaved maple, or desert false indigo are examples of alien woody plant species. 

Climate change

Climate change is a serious challenge for the whole wildlife, including forests, as well. Forests respond to the effects of climate change with a change in species composition if we let it. In the past centuries, forest management changed the composition of species and age structure almost on the whole forest area to suit economic goals and still maintains them. Due to their present condition, forests are especially sensitive to numerous threats caused by climate change (more frequent storms, hot days), which increases the risk of wind storms, fire, plague of insects etc. 

Other risks

Besides climate change, the survival of lowland forests is threatened by river regulations and reduced ground-water level caused by the water management which is based on the canalization of inland waterHigh wild game density causes problems in the regeneration process of forests in most parts of the country. Effects of human origin - mostly illegal ones - effecting forests are typical of the surroundings of settlements: buildings, roads, landfills, technical sports which cause erosion etc.

 

What does WWF Hungary do?

Undisturbed forests

The goal of the Forest project of WWF Hungary is to keep the biggest part of forests on protected and Natura 2000 territories undisturbed, that is, to exclude it from timber production of economic purposes

Through policy negotiations with decisionmakers and professional communication, we try to achieve the abolition of logging in one part of the forests so only natural procedures would form the landscape. Only nature conservational forest management can happen in undisturbed forests, which mostly includes the removal of alien tree species and the reparation of the structure of the forest. Undisturbed forests (wilderness areas) represent outstanding values not only from a nature conservation but also from a touristic aspect. Wilderness areas could be created primarily in the inner territories of national parks. 

An important goal is the introduction of the zone system in the national parks. The territory of the national parks, according to the international recommendations, has to be divided into developmental, sustainable management and natural zones, where the latter one serves the purposes of the preservation of undisturbed nature.

WWF Hungary started a campaign in 2012 in order to keep Csarna-valley, which belongs to the planned natural zone of the Duna-Ipoly National Park, undisturbed. Due to the minister’s decision, the planned logging was taken off the agenda. As a result of our further policy work, the Ministry of Agriculture which is responsible for nature protection has started the creation of the zone system in national parks.

Eternal forests

 WWF Hungary supports the spread of the so called continuous cover forestry (CCF) (selection cutting, eternal forest mode). In this case, the forest manager cuts down the trees one by one or in small groups which does not really differ from the natural disturbance. Forests which are cultivated this way provide better quality timber and are more resistant to various forest damage than those which are cut down in the traditional way, that is, where a bigger territory of trees are cut down at once. The continuous forest cover is favorable in protected areas from a nature protection, around settlements from a public welfare point of view. 

As WWF Hungary proposed, the new forest act, passed in 2009, includes the eternal forest mode or excluding forests from the wood production management instead of traditional clear-cutting on one part of national forests. 

Restoring forest habitats

Natural forests can be revived by suitably transforming forests in deteriorated conditions. WWF Hungary participates in so-called habitat-rehabilitation in many locations throughout the country, the most important elements of which are the removal of alien tree species and planting native tree species which are part of the original landscape. The restoration of forests are especially needed in some areas of the Great Plain; most of our field projects are realized there.

Our field projects:

Eternal forests in the Buda Hills (since 2003)

The Buda Hills are the sample area of the so-called eternal forest management as they are continuously covered with woods. Educational trails, which can be found around Budapest at approachable tourist spots, were created with the help of WWF Hungary and Pilisi Parkerdő Ltd. 

Researching the wildlife of our Carpathian forests (2013-2016)

Researching thoroughly the forests, birds, bats, and insects of the North Hungarian Mountains with the participation of universities, national parks, and forest managements.  The most important result of the project is that we got a very detailed picture of the natural state (the combination of tree species, structure, traits of the habitats) of the forests in the North Hungarian Mountains to which the occurrence data of the animals living in the forests can be added.

Learn more about the project: http://karpatierdeink.hu/

The Turján region (2011-2016)

It deals with the restoration of the diverse forests and grassland and the preservation of values of a 7300 ha shooting range on the Great Hungarian Plain which has not been used for a hundred years. 

Learn more about the project: http://turjanvidek.hu/

Life in the forests (2014-2019) 

The aim of the project is to create a theoretical and an empirical knowledge base of the field of nature friendly forest management and, with this, to support the policy of the program Natura 2000 so it can be realized more effectively. The most important result of the project is that it strengthened the cooperation between the experts of forestry and nature protection of the sectors involved.

Learn more about the project: https://lifeinforests.eu/

LIFE4OAKFORESTS project (2016-2026)

The aim of the project is, based on the examples which still can be found in nature, to contribute to the improvement of oak forest habitats by the intervention of forestry and nature protection treatments. The intervention territory is 1555 ha in Hungary and 550 ha in Italy. The aim of the project on the long run is to develop such forest management solutions which can be applied widely when treating forests belonging to Natura 2000 and other protected areas from a conservation point of view. 

Learn more about the project: http://hu.life4oakforests.eu/

 

What are the recent news?

Everything you wanted to know about wolves

It’s more and more common to hear about the reappearance of large carnivores in Hungary. There may be questions concerning their presence, to which so far the answers have often been anecdotic, sentimental or based on beliefs. The new issue of WWF Hungary “Coexistence is possible – questions and answers about wolves”, is here to answer those questions. The informative publication is available online on the website of WWF Hungary (in Hungarian). 

2020-10-26 More »

The VELUX Group commits to capture its historical carbon footprint and become Lifetime Carbon Neutral in partnership with WWF

The VELUX Group commits to reduce its future carbon emissions and capture its historical carbon footprint since it was founded in 1941 – totalling 5.6 million tonnes of CO2.

2020-09-01 More »

 

Together we saved Csarna Valley!

Campaign a milestone in nature conservation in Hungary.


2018-12-19 More »

Hundred-year-old forests in Hungary

The older a forest is, the more it is expected to be rich in flora and fauna. Aged forests’ touristic attraction should not be undervalued. Who would not prefer visiting romantic landscapes during their trips; landscapes whose most colourful scenes are old forests with their trees sized and shaped just as in a fable? Concerning our international project that supports the conservation of oak forests, we hereby report on Hungary’s “hundred-year-old” forests.


2018-06-21 More »

 

WWF urges Slovak government to protect Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians

Continuing inappropriate management, extensive logging and hunting in the Slovak part of the site is threatening the outstanding universal value of the whole UNESCO site, which includes areas located in Ukraine and Germany.


2017-07-11 More »

Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians at risk

Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany are at risk and UNESCO expresses concern about inappropriate management, logging and other threats within the Slovakian part of the World Heritage Site. WWF urges the government to take steps.


2017-05-23 More »

 

 

How can I help?

  • If you live next to protected or Natura 2000 forest territory, report your observations to the personnel in charge, that is, to the national park directorate or to the forest manager. There is an opportunity to improve the methods of forest management in almost all cases, for example, instead of complete or final felling, the application of the eternal forest mode is more environmentally friendly.
  • The forest is our common value, protecting its natural assets is important to all of us and if it is needed, we have to call the attention of the national and local decisionmakers to this.
  • When hiking, abide by the basic rules of taking a trip in the forest: don’t light fire, don’t take away anything that is part of the forest, don’t litter, don’t leave the paths.