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Innovative forest state evaluation methodology

Forest-state evaluation methodology and why do we need it

The area of Börzsöny Mountains in Hungary is mostly forested. If one wants to conserve this area efficiently, it is important to understand both the processes and trends within such forested ecosystems.  

In the period between 2014-2017, the Börzsöny Mountains were already evaluated under the Swiss Found project SH4/13. As a result, the forest-state describing methodology was developed and introduced in both the workshop (D.T2.1.1) and the toolkit (D.T2.1.1).

This methodology collects data from multiple variables and records different types of forests within it. Moreover, it also helps to monitor numerous forest-related variables such as natural disturbance, forestry interventions, etc.

New methodology for the Centralparks project

Although the suggested benefits are useful, they still, however, have to be simplified in order to be more effective, less time-consuming, and more goal-oriented. For this reason, Centralparks is currently developing a similar but a more updated methodology version, led by the Danube-Ipoly National Park Directorate.

Our new methodology will aim to capture an extended list of changes occurring in the forests and influencing their ecosystems in general. Moreover, it will also be extended to include a more populated list of species, so that it can be easily used in most of the mountainous forests in Central Europe.

Overall, within the framework of the Centralparks project, some additional completing components will be developed. Primarily, those will be the receiving database-structure alongside the survey sheet. The former will be PostGIS – SQL based. The latter, on the other hand, will be available on Android operating systems (especially Android 4.2) and will be compatible with ForestDataCollect application. Finally, the protocol on the forest state evaluation will also be developed to capture these mechanisms and propose the efficiency of the new methodology as such.

When are we piloting the methodology?

The methodology will be tested during the vegetation period of 2021. Altogether 4.000 points will be monitored based on the points of the previous project (SH4/13). 

The field test under the previous project within the Börzsöny Mountains has been promising which is why we hope that with our proposed changes and new Centralparks methodology we will be able to get an even better outlook on a) the effect of the different forest management and treatment types and b) their effect on the naturalness and nature conservation status of the forest units. 

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Grassland state evaluation methodology

Habitats under evaluation and aim of the methodology

In the administrative area of the Danube-Ipoly National Park Directorate in Hungary, there are many diverse grassland types. The key concern of these areas is that they are extensively turning into the shrubs, despite the fact that in the past some of the locations were already treated against such plants. 

To understand the natural dynamic processes-based succession as well to assess the effects of the existing treatments/management that leads to the further growth of shrubs, Centralparks is implementing an innovative monitoring methodology. This methodology is based on the analysis of the previous treatment/management activities, such as: nature conservation management, grazing, mowing/stalking, shrub cutting/removal, control of invasive alien species (by mechanical or chemical methods). Furthermore, it is also

The methodology will aim to answer the following questions:

  1. To what extent the existing management practices ensure viability, regeneration, and possible extension of the habitats/communities and species of nature conservation interest (protected, Natura 2000, etc.) in this area?
  2. Does the state of the surveyed habitats/population remain sustainable (if the treatment was sufficient and there is sustaining management) or is it not improving to the desired level? If the improvement is not noticeable, what shall we change within the current management practices (its methodology, mosaic, intensity, etc.)

The methodology

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Further steps

The introduced method will be tested on the selected priority grassland habitat types of the Börzsöny Mountains. At the moment, the involved partner Danube-Ipoly National Park is selecting the priority grasslands habitat types. The goal is to represent the most diverse, and natural grassland types as well as to be able to compare the new methodologies and evaluate them, how useful they were in the term of nature conservation management planning.