Report on the Nimfea symposium
„Nature conservation measures for plant species and plant communities”

   In November the István Fekete Educational Center hosted the next round of the symposium series organized by Nimfea Environmental and Nature Conservation Association on practical nature conservation measures – this time the focus was on plant species and plant communities, following earlier occasions dedicated to invertebrates and vertebrates.
   The main idea of the symposium series is to concentrate on practical measures and interventions with a nature conservation benefit. The conference gave an overview on the currently implemented nature conservation programs in the country, targeting plant species or plant communities. Among the lecturers the representatives of National Park Directorates, NGOs and academic institutions were present from all over Hungary.
The event started with a horse-cart excursion to the neighboring grasslands, presenting the Landscape Rehabilitation and Regional Development Program of Nimfea Association. This program is quite complex, including among others the creation of employment opportunities, the development of local products, the preservation of natural and cultural values and the revival of traditional animal-grazing practices. The program is far from being exclusively conservation-oriented; however an important element is the rehabilitation of the valuable flora and fauna of these grasslands, through the increase of grazing livestock. The on-site excursion was completed by a bird-watching session, observing a wintering flock of Great Bustard males.

   The following two days were loaded with high-quality, useful and interesting lectures, giving a snapshot of all current trends and tendencies of practical nature conservation measures. Some of the conclusions are summarized here:
- several of our most precious plant species require constant human management and interventions (fencing, burning, flooding etc.) for their survival, because of the significantly changed landscape-use patterns, ignorance or intentional damaging
- these management actions are often not sufficient, ex-situ protection is also needed, due to our limited knowledge on certain species, or simply because the positive result of in-situ conservation is not guaranteed
- ex-situ protection is often rather experimental, therefore recording and documentation is essential; however the existence of an “accidental good year” or an “accidental bad year” cannot be denied, and success often depends on external and uncontrollable factors
- the relocation and replantation of plant species and communities requires great efforts and significant financial resources, nevertheless their success rate is extremely low: this solution should never be a viable option to in-situ conservation (this statement concerns especially infrastructure developments and constructions, where the implementing body often assumes that a protected spot of vegetation can simply be transported to another location, without any environmental or ecological damage)
- nevertheless it is important to document and publish all initiatives regarding ex-situ propagation experiences or any attempts to relocate certain species; the lack of success can be as important as any positive result
- artificial nature conservation measures, like induced fire or flooding, can only be poor and temporary substitutes for traditional land use and farming practices
- with regards to forests, nature-friendly forest management should be promoted as soon as possible, at least in protected forests
- larger and more wetlands should be restored, and restoration should not mean the development of infrastructure requiring constant management and operation, such as dams, dykes or flood-gates; instead restoration should enable the natural or semi-natural functioning of hydrological systems
- the spreading of invasive alien species should be terminated, by restarting the cultivation of abandoned land on the one hand, and by stopping the plantation of such species (e.g. Robinia pseudoacacia, Amorpha fruticosa, Ailanthus altissima)
   According to the received feedbacks, all participants were satisfied and left with useful thoughts and new inspirations to continue with their work, even though the financial and moral support of nature conservation is continuously decreasing.

For photos of the event please click here.

For your information, please find below the titles of the lectures held during the symposium:
Zsolt MOLNÁR , Ferenc HORVÁTH, Ildikó PÁNDI, Zoltán BOTTA-DUKÁT et al:
State of domestic vegetation, threatening factors and opportunities for regeneration based on the Landscape Ecological Vegetation Mapping of Hungary (MÉTA database)

Katalin MARGÓCZI, Gábor TAKÁCS, Elemér SZALMA:
Botanical assessment of the management and restoration of wetlands

Biological considerations for the effective preservation of forest communities

The role of traditional farming practices in the preservation of botanical values through examples in the Hills of Putnok

Sándor BARTHA:
Microcoenological methods for the monitoring and evaluation of nature conservation management of grasslands

László PAPP, István GYARMATHY:
Experiences on community rehabilitation, the reintroduction of protected plants and the environmental background in the Nyírség region and its surroundings

Szilvia GŐRI, István KAPOCSI:
Rehabilitation of alkaline grasslands and wetlands in the Hortobágy National Park

Balázs SZABÓ:
Conservation of Pannonic grasslands – the presentation of a LIFE program

Melinda HALASSY, Katalin TÖRÖK, Rebeka SZABÓ:
Opportunities for the restoration of open sand steppes – failures and successes

Orsolya MILE:
Conservation of Danthus diutinus in Hungary – presentation of a LIFE Nature program

József SULYOK:
The species protection program of the Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus L.)

Activities in the framework of the species protection program of Transylvanian Adonis (Adonis transsylvanica) and nodding sage (Salvia nutans) in the Körös-Maros National Park

Balázs LESKU:
Protection programs for plant species with a high protection status (Pulsatilla patens and Pulsatilla pratensis subsp. Hungarica, Iris aphylla subsp. Hungarica, Angelica palustris) in the Hortobágy National Park

Attila MOLNÁR:
Measures for the benefit of protected plant species in the Hortobágy National Park

Gergely GULYÁS:
Experiences of the relocation and propagation attempts of Bulbocodium versicolor

Éva Irán BŐHM:
Reconstruction of steppes damaged by anthropogenic impact

Zsolt NAGY:
Management options of the floodplain forest along the Tisza river

Habitat and species management in the Gömör-Tornai karst relief

Experiences of the translocation of protected plant species around Győr

Restoration of the bog meadows of Kistómalom

Viktor Gábor PAPP:
Nature conservation management in the Zemplén Landscape Protected Area, with special attention to the conservation of Crambae tatarica, Adenophora liliifolia and Carex hartmanii

Szabolcs LENGYEL:
Restoration of marshland and grassland habitats in the Hortobágy National Park

András MÁTÉ:
Management of orchid-rich grasslands with grazing

Judit HAZI, Ambrus TARJÁN:
Species protection plans in theory and in practice through the example of Ferula sadleriana

Tamás TÓTH:
The role of hedges and creeks in the conservation of the Southern part of the Trans-Tisza region

Habitat management for the conservation of protected plant species in the Szatmár-Bereg region

Results of the translocation of a vegetation spot in Tétényi-fennsík

Katalin SIPOS, Zsolt BARANYAI, Annamária CSÓKA:
The problem of invasive plants on the Natura 2000 sites of the Duna-Ipoly National Park

Technological experiences with the chemical suppression of invasive plants


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