Municipalities for local biodiversity protection
01 March 2012 | Article
Many Hungarian cities, towns and villages shelter an unexpectedly rich biodiversity. Municipalities can do a lot to protect biodiversity and to provide healthy and liveable surroundings for their citizens and for future generations.
The Hungarian Capital of Biodiversity project – organized in 2010 and 2011 – was a competition in which municipalities could showcase their activities contributing directly to biodiversity conservation and sustainability.
Hungarian Capital of Biodiversity 2010: Tata
The city of Tata is located in the northern part of Transdanubia. Tata’s Old Lake (almost 700 year old) is regarded as the oldest artificial fishing lake in Hungary. Up to 25-30,000 wild geese can spend the night around the lake during the autumn migration period. The 11 meter high lookout tower on the lake side also helps the observation of migrating birds.
Each year the town is organizing the Wild Geese Festival to make the Old Lake and wild geese popular. The Eszterházy Castle and its park also belong to the tourist attractions of the town. The English garden is one of the most remarkable historic gardens of Hungary.
Hungarian Capital of Biodiversity 2011: Szentes
Szentes is located in the southern part of the Hungarian Great Plain. The area is rich in various bird species. The Kurca River which divides the town into two parts provides ideal dwelling place for water and reed birds along the bank and hosts rich plant diversity. At the Thermal Lake which is 5 kilometres away, ornithologists have observed 172 bird species since 1983.
The Széchenyi Grove, surrounded by the Kurca River, is the biggest park of Szentes and has become a botanical, cultural and historical monument. The diversity and flavour of the vegetables produced in Szentes is unique and well-known in the country. Almost 200 bird species have been identified in the area of which 15 are protected.
The Hungarian Capital of Biodiversity project was part of the European Capitals of Biodiversity initiative coordinated by Deutsche Umwelthilfe in cooperation with IUCN and others and supported by the LIFE Plus Programme of the European Commission.
For more information:
- Ditta Greguss, Ministry of Rural Development
- Zita Egerszegi, Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency