1. Pressure on the environment
in other CEE countries, air pollution is considered a major
environmental threat in Hungary. Although emission of certain
gases has decreases substantially since 1990 (e.g. sulphur
oxides and carbon dioxide) the amount of nitrogen oxide
has not changed significantly due to road transport emissions
pollution is another serious problem. A significant factor
is the insufficient waste water treatment plants needed
to meet the demands in water supply. Water quality is also
affected by pollution from the energy industry and illegal
waste storage. The pollution and landuse in the neighboring
countries also has a considerable effect as 95 percent of
surface water originates comes from other countries. For
example, in January 2000 a toxic spill reached the Tisza
river from a gold mining site in Romania. The cyanide and
other heavy metal pollution caused serious ecological damage
and economic loss (Environmental Indicators of Hungary,
total amount of waste has decreased from 106 million tons
(1990) to 87 million tons (1995), due to the considerable
decline in industrial waste (agricultural waste has increased,
the most important direct threats to biodiversity are: habitat
loss (agriculture, urbanization and development of infrastructure),
habitat fragmentation, pollution and illegal hunting (e.g.
of protected birds). Threats to biodiversity can also have
secondary and complex effects on the natural state, especially
in the case of invasion by alien species and homogenization
of the flora.
State of the biota
spite of the agricultural and industrial threats, Hungary
still possesses a high habitat and species diversity. The
wide variety of Eurasian flora and fauna (there are over
3000 plant and 43000 animal species) is partly due to a
diversified geomorphology and a transitional climatic zone
(Environmental Indicators of Hungary, 2000).
the important natural habitats (wetlands, dry grasslands,
forests) valuable secondary habitats can also be found (e.g.
hay meadows and alkaline grasslands). There are five endemic
habitats, numerous endemic species and eight plant species
that can be found only in Hungary, for example Dolomite
flax, Hungarian moorgrass and Long-lasting pink (Haraszthy,
privatization, profit-oriented methods forced the plantation
of quick-growing species. On the Great Hungarian Plane mostly
black locust trees and non-native poplars have been planted.
In some instances valuable indigenous oak forests have also
been replaced. Numerous rock grasslands are threatened by
the expansion of formerly planted pine species (GRID ENRIN).
Invasive species is a problem in most habitats, for example,
in dry, sandy grasslands the cover of Asclepias syriaca
increases every year; in waterside habitats the Solidago
canadensis causes problems; on fallow lands Ambrosia
artemisiifolia (ragweed) has spread over the country
and caused allergic reactions in the human population.
Four major new environmental laws have recently
been adopted which provide for full or partial compliance
with EU legislation. These laws relate to chemicals, genetically
modified organisms, good laboratory practice and limits
to the emission of air pollutants from combustion. Progress
has also been made in the area of eco-labeling. A new law
regulating the scope of activities and competence of Environmental
Inspectorates, and National Park Directorates has also been
passed. Effectively, it is designed to improve efficiency,
and the enforcement of legislation (REC
are five biosphere reserves and ten national parks in Hungary.
Regional environmental inspectorates and numerous research
institutes deal with problems of the environment and biodiversity.
Ecological restoration experiments are carried out to improve
the regeneration of degraded lands and models and experiments
are developed to study climate change.
monitoring of the state of the biodiversity is a requirement
of the Convention on Biological Diversity (ratificated by
Hungary in 1994) and also of the European Union directive,
the Ministry of Environment has established the Hungarian
Biodiversity Monitoring System. The main principles of this
system is to monitor the state of protected and threatened
natural values; measure a number of key indicators to assess
the general state of ecosystems; and study directly or indirectly
the effects of certain human activities.
to some of the national parks:
4. Institutional background - links
of Ecology and Botany
Research Institute for
Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry