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The tasks of the Fertő-Hanság National Park Directorate are assigned by the Hungarian legislation. We try to introduce hereinafter the manifold activities of the directorate.
Conservation management, nature conservation
Most important part of the work done by the directorate includes activities for the conservation of the known natural treasures. Active intervention happens mostly on sites owned by the Hungarian state and managed by the directorate, but on several occasions we cooperate with other state trustees (e.g. water authorities, forestries) or individuals, municipalities to secure the long-term conservation of natural values. On the areas not managed by the directorate the Hungarian state secures the conservation of natural heritage with authority means or diverse subventions (e.g. tenders).
Most important characteristic of interventions aiming at the conservation of habitats and species is that they are non-profit. Their only goal is to provide the circumstances necessary for the conservation of protected values.
In the simplest cases conservation management stands actually for conservation activities, optimally there is no need for intervention to conserve natural heritage. However, on habitats degraded slightly or created due to human activity there may be need for active intervention (e.g. grazing or mowing). This is done by the experts, machines and livestock of the directorate. Areas fully destroyed or heavily degraded need massive intervention, so-called habitat reconstruction (e.g. on the site Nyirkai-Hany).
Intervention happens in many cases not to conserve habitats but one single species (e.g. Yellow Lady’s Slipper, White Stork, Saker Falcon, Scarce Large Blue etc.). Measures done to protect a species on several occasions need special intervention (e.g. the installation of artificial nests or hangouts.) Species conservation programs aiming to protect a single species in most of the cases contribute to the conservation of other rare species as well.
Research is needed first of all to support the management of habitats, provide data for management plans, measure the effectiveness of conservation work, support the declaration of a species as protected and to provide data for Hungarian and international databases. One part of conservation research is monitoring work where investigation is done regularly with the same or similar methods. Another group of research includes individual assessments (e.g. start-up surveys) or investigations to solve a special problem (e.g. how to get rid of an invasive species).
On the range of the Fertő-Hanság National Park Directorate conservation research is done by our own staff, volunteers and research groups of universities. Results of research are published in Hungarian and international scientific journals.
Keeping conservation records
Data needed for conservation authorities – at present ca. 1 Tb – are stored in the so called Nature Conservation Information System (TIR).
Guarding and protection
The protected sites are guarded by the Ranger Service which also acts as authority (in the case of offences). The rangers also guard archaeological fund sites.
As a basic task the directorate gives opinion about regional, county-level and small-scale development concepts and programs, plans etc.
The directorate acts from 2005 on as an expert during nature conservation procedures when asked to. The number of such cases varies from year to year but usually exceeds 200.
As environmental education we organise programs primarily for children (nature school, nature kindergarten, summer camps, etc.) during which they can get to know the natural values of the area and natural processes in a playful manner and even learn how to use some important herbs or take part on handicraft programmes.
Beside the children’s programs the ones designed for older children and grown-ups gain more and more space. Students of several universities arrive to spend their summer practice or even a semester or a whole year in the service of the national park. We also offer postgraduate courses for teachers.
An important part of the conservation management activities is the introduction of natural values to the public. The directorate maintains nature trails and introduction sites as well as visitor centres where visitors can get familiar with the natural treasures of the given region and with everyday conservation work. Beside the introduction sites numerous brochures, maps help our guests. They can, of course also ask for professional guidance.
The directorate provides counselling for various organisations and individuals. Counselling includes several areas, not only conservation but also agriculture and several others.
Nature has no boundaries, so conservation doesn’t stop at country borders. The directorate maintains close relationships with the neighbouring countries, with Austrian and Slovakian governmental and non governmental conservationist organisations. In the case of governmental organisations the common work – primarily conservation research and management – is supported by cooperative agreements. During the last years even common summer camps were organised. Cooperation is aided by transboundary tendering (Interreg tenders) which we have succeeded to take advantage of.