Invasive Species in Protected Areas – Workshop

Demonstration of the recent invasive plant management actions in the Hajdúság Landscape Protection area

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„Managing invasive plant and animal species in the protected areas of Central and Eastern Europe”

Invasive species are a common problem faced by many protected areas face. Learning how other Parks, in neighbouring countries, manage and control them can definitely help you implementing better strategies in your area. 

europarc centra eastern europe, invasive species, Hortobágy

Director of the Hortobágy NP Directorate, Dr. Zita Kovács and the head organiser of the event, Dr. Dávid Bogyó

On the 2-6 May, 40 experts from 15 institutions within the EUROPARC Central and Eastern Europe Section gathered in Hungary for an intensive workshop on the management of invasive species. The workshop was host and organised by Hortobágy National Park, with the collaboration of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture.

This was the first workshop organised within EUROPARC’s most recent Section, following an interesting decision taken by its members: to organise annually a cost-effective workshops for “their own” experts. The idea is to gather in a Park member, to collect, share and discuss relevant experience on nature conservation practices.

Participants came from Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Croatia, representing Protected Areas, Ministries, research institutes and universities, to share their main challenges and solutions implemented in their protected areas. In total, 25 presentations were made. Technical information and best practices were  discussed, and practical experience was shared during the two field trip days, where they visited sites in the Hortobágy NP and other protected areas (State level protection and Natura 2000 sites). In Hungary, their main focus is on the eradication of invasive tree species and restoration of grasslands, however, methods against herbaceous plants were also shown, while invasive fish species were also demonstrated in some of the wetlands.

europarc centra eastern europe, invasive species, Hortobágy

Eradication of the last invasive milkweed individual with international joint effort at the Jónás rész Natura 2000 site

europarc centra eastern europe, invasive species, Hortobágy

Invasive managers – Hungarian grey cattle in the Hortobagy NP

Sharing experiences with peers through workshops as considered a valuable  experience by the participants, who are willing to organise similar workhops, involving Section members and other key persons.  The technical results shared will help protected area’s staff to better manage invasive species, by replicating models implemented by ther areas, and to develop further methods to prevent their expansion. Future topics suggested by the participants were species reintroduction (good and bad examples), sustainable tourism, protected areas in and around cities (urbanisation), cross-border cooperation and effective communication with the public.

Download  below the complete programme and the presentations.

europarc centra eastern europe, invasive species, Hortobágy

Group photo by the visitor center of the HNPD

About the Hortobágy National Park

The Hortobágy is an 800 km2 national park in eastern Hungary, rich with folklore and cultural history. The park, a part of the Alföld (Great Plain), was designated as a national park in 1973 (the first in Hungary), and elected among the World Heritage sites in 1999. The Hortobágy is Hungary’s largest protected area, and the largest (semi-)natural grassland in Europe. Until recently it was believed that this alkaline steppe was formed by the clear cutting of huge forests in the Middle Ages, followed by measures to control the course of the Tisza River, allegedly resulting in the soil’s current structure and pH. However, Hortobágy is much older, with alkalinization estimated to have started ten thousand years ago, when the Tisza first found its way through the Great Hungarian Plain, cutting off many streams from their sources in the Northern Mountains. The formation was finished by grazing animals during the Ice Age, followed by domesticated animals