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Vulnerabilities - Fresh water ecosystems

With the predicted changes, due to increased evaporation, the surface area of several smaller lakes will significantly decrease. Several of the lakes in the Great Hungarian Plain can dry up which will decrease the extent of wetland habitats and the loss of natural values of the country. Along with the decrease of the water circulation their saline content and the risk of eutrophication are increasing. These impacts will have a negative influence on biodiversity and economy (1).

One of the most climate sensitive region in the Carpathian Basin, besides Lake Balaton, is the Great Hungarian Plain, especially where small and shallow oxbows are endangered along the river Tisza. Extreme drought events may sometimes result in temporary drying-up of the oxbows (1).

Vulnerabilities - Plant species

Several plant species in Hungary showed significant advancement in flowering onset during the studied period 1952–2000 with an average rate of 1.9 - 4.4 days per decade (3). 

Vulnerabilities - Game

The game stock is unfavourably affected by the changes of the climate. The process of drying might decrease the quality and number of offspring and thus both the small and big game population will suffer from the changes. The habitat of waterfowls is shrinking and the nesting places are especially endangered. Uncertainties stemming from this situation might induces the changes of the behaviour of bird species causing the shifting of migration routes and overwintering places from Pannonia (the Carpathian Basin) to elsewhere. Warming up of shallow waters might cause mass botulism and avian botulism. Field games will tend to leave the extremely dry areas (30).

Adaptation strategies in Hungary

Adaptation strategies for the preservation and enrichment of biodiversity not only refer the conservation of natural conditions, but to water management, forestry, agriculture and traffic as well (2):

Nature conservation

  • Establishment of the priority list of habitats and species that are sensitive to climate changes;
  • Protection of biological diversity at all levels (landscape, species, gene, etc.) and the regeneration of the natural diversity of the sites;
  • Restoration of the water storage capabilities of wetland habitats and the planning of potential water supplementation means for these wetlands;
  • Implementation of the reconstruction of the needed habitats and the continuation of these efforts; Maintenance of the heterogeneity and mosaic character of the habitats along with the maintenance of the various stages of succession;
  • Introduction of management methods that will decrease the expectable danger of the invasive species, aiming at management means that enhance the acceptable (least worse) colonisation processes;
  • Supporting the monitoring of the processes that cause the impacts;
  • Securing options for the migration of species between sites of natural fauna and flora;
  • Evaluation of areas of various level of protection, and of the National Ecological Network, from the point of view of the changing climate and for identifying points of conflicts;
  • Development of nature conservation sites and the sites of Natura 2000 aimed at the migration of species and their communities.

Water management

  • Termination of the enforcement of drainage;
  • Operation of reservoirs in such a way as to consider ecological aspects;
  • Review of the legal procedure of issuing water consents (e.g. permits to use shallow and deep groundwater).
  • Ecologically concerned water management following the requirements of the Water Framework Directive of the EU;
  • Restoration of the water storage capacities of the habitats and the development of options for potential water supplementation. Efforts should be made to establish near natural water regime and water supply conditions with the meaning that the originally water-inundated and excess water ridden areas be returned to nature; Transforming the management of flood prone areas to  letting the flood inundate the wetlands and other depressions, holding the water there, then slowly releasing it through narrow gates, thus assuring good hatching and catch of fish and the watering of grasslands to be grazed afterwards by the cattle), so as to increase the wetland area along the river.


  • The possible widest application of forest management based on natural processes;
  • The maintenance of continuous forest cover and the use of natural forest renewal methods;
  • The conversion of forests that do not suit the given habitat and contain non-native tree species;
  • Maintenance of non-closed canopy in the forest steppe zone;
  • The best possible preservation of the diversity of forests (in terms of the landscape, habitat type, succession, species and gene), along with the preservation of natural values and processes;
  • Assurance of buffer zones around the sensitive habitats;
  • Application of climate change oriented forest research results in the renewal of forests;
  • Propagation of the forest management techniques that ensure continuous forest cover and the reduction of areas where clear cutting is allowed;
  • Afforestation of large areas using suitable native species;
  • Creating a system of “protecting forest strips”;
  • Increasing the area of pastures with trees in both the present forest ranges and in the forest steppe regions of the Great Plain (Alföld).

Forest management should be prepared for securing appropriate watering and feeding of games and for avoiding game damages on both forested and agricultural land. Adaptation strategies of forest management must include the careful and sparing use of all available water resources of forest sites, with the main objective of the storage of water for watering of plants and animals and for water-game habitat preservation purposes. The habitat of small games can be favourably affected by grassing and the planting of forest strips, mosaic woodlots and groves, while forestation will increase the habitat of big games (2).


  • Establishment of buffer zone in the vicinity of sensitive areas;
  • Promotion of less intensive land management techniques in sensitive areas and also in other places, in order to reduce environmental pressure, change of land use forms.
  • Increasing the heterogeneity and mosaic character of agricultural landscape (ridges, hedges, alleys, smaller cultivated lots);
  • Application of soil- and water saving technologies, promotion of extensive and ecological farming methods.

Traffic and transportation

  • Consideration of nature conservation aspects in planning the routes of transportation corridors, enforcement of the relevant existing regulations;
  • Creation of ecological passages (wild game passages) across main roads and motorways, using native species for planting the hedges and forest strips along these passages.


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Hungary.

  1. Hungarian Ministry of Environment and Water (2005)
  2. Farago et al. (2010)
  3. Szabó et al.. (2016)

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