General description of project area
Name of the project area: Esztergom-Strázsa-hegy
Surface area (ha): 375.760
EU protection status SPA: NATURA 2000 Code HUDI10002
EU protection status SCI: NATURA 2000 Code HUDI20039
Other protection status according to national or regional legislation: National Park, Nationally Protected Area
National Park and biosphere reserve 98% is strictly protected, 91,1% is the National Park’s natural area, 8,6% is the nature friendly management zone, 0,3% is the presentation area
The ownership status: Sate property 100%
Scientific description of project area
The project area was utilized as military drill-ground from the 19th century until 1990. The management could be characterised with grazing and occasional logging beside the military usage. On one hand military activity made the area devastated (the creation of trenches, bunkers, artificial hillocks and roads), but on the other hand nature was protected from other harmful activity such as intensive agriculture, building operations, planned forest management. Between the bunkers and roads, natural processes had freely made their way.
During the First and Second World War most of the forests were clear-cut and then revived naturally on their own (from seeds or offshoots) without any human intervention. From 1956 to 1990 the occupying Soviet army utilized the drill-ground. During this period significant human intervention did not happen on the project area – with the exception of road utilization, occasional (military) littering, irregular, small amount of logging (camp-fire), hunting.
Under the project area underground coal mine was opened which entrance was far from the actual area, but the remains of surface facilities, ventilate shafts, water extraction equipment could be found in the actual project site. After the termination of the exploitation of the mine some tunnels collapsed,
causing landslides and ground rents on the surface.
After the retreat of the Russian army, scientific researchers investigated the area. Knowing the results the area became protected in several steps. The present level of protection was reached when the Danube-Ipoly National Park was established. The area was being state property and from 2004 it is under nature conversation trusteeship.
To sum up it can be said, that on the planned project area purposeful management activity did not happen in the last 70 years and in general natural succession processes took place freely. However, due to the low scale human disturbances alien invasive species have appeared partially in the forests as associate tree species, partially in grasslands formed in the place of indigenous (oak forests) forest associations where they constitute contiguous patches. The natural reforestation of formerly grazed grasslands (nowadays clearings and shrubs) which are part of forest compartment have started. As the results of natural processes generally nature-like mixed forest types formed with great amount of stands and dead trees, but of the same age from which certain tree species – because of the inaccessibility of propagationsources – are missing. Because of the former clear-cuttings only a few large, hollow tree can be found, which is not favourable for certain species living in cavity.
Within the framework of the project, during the planned interventions we would like to improve the age class composition of the forests, the horizontal and vertical diversity of the stands’ structure and their composition by species. Alien invasive species will be removed. Forests with such indigenous species will be planted in the place of contiguous acacia grove, which can become a Natura 2000 marker habitat (91H0, 91I0, 91M0) by natural processes. Because of the lack of large, aged, hollow trees, bat and bird boxes will be set out. The remnants of mining will be recultivated.
Within the scope of the project, development will be carried out on a strictly protected, exclusively nature conservation areas, which will improve the structure of the forests, the conditions of habitats, their naturalness and biodiversity. The maintenance of the results of the management will be ensured long-term.
The larger surroundings of the project area is also in the trusteeship of the Duna-Ipoly National Park with nature conservation treatment going on, therefore the results of the developments are guaranteed. Significant remaking of nature will not be expected, alien invasive species will be removed from the adjacent grasslands, basically their reappearance wil be prevented by systematic grazing.
Eastward, the neighbouring forest area, managed by state forestry, is also part of the planned National Park natural zone (A-zone), therefore forestry management that disturb the nature conservation developments will not be expected.
The habitats of the area are 91G0* – Pannonic woods with Quercus petraea and Carpinus betulus (36%), 91H0* – Pannonian woods with Quercus pubescens (33%), 91M0 – Pannonic-Balcanic turkey oaksessile oak woods (11%), 91F0 – Riparian mixed forests of Quercus robur, Ulmus laevis and Ulmus minor, Fraxinus excelsior or F. angustifolia, along the great rivers (Ulmenion minoris) (2%), 6210* – Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites) (5%). There are about 13 % invasive Robinia pseudoacacia in the area.
Some of the typical protected and strictly protected botanical species: Ophrys apifera, Orchis purpurea, Anacamptis pyramidalis, Iris variegata, Iris graminea, Adonis vernalis, Pulsatilla grandis, Lilium martagon, Galanthus, Helleborus purpurascens, Aconitum vulparia, Aster amellus, Cotoneaster niger, Cotoneaster integerrimus Medic., Spiraea media, Sorbus domestica, Sorbus danubialis.
Mammals: Erinaceus concolor, Felis sylvestris, Martes foina, Talpa europaea
Birds: Accipiter gentilis, Accipiter nisus, Asio otus, Buteo buteo, Circus aeruginosus, Circus cyaneus, Circaetus gallicus, Corvus c. corax, Dendrocopos major, Dryocopus martius, Dryobates minor, Emberiza calandra, Emberiza cia, Falco tinnunculus, Falco peregrinus, Lanius collurio, Leiopicus medius, Musicapa sp., Phoenicurus ochruros, Saxicola ruberta, Sitta europaea, Sylvia nisoria, Strix aluco and Turdus viscivorus.
Beatles: Morimus funereus, Aegosoma scabricorne, Rosalia alpina, Cerambyx cerdo, Hericium erinaceus.
Importance of the project area for biodiversity and/or for the conservation of the species /habitat types targeted at regional, national and EU level
The potentials of the area are outstanding to raise the chance to maintain the natural values by the removal of invasive Robinia pseudoacacia and by creating a diversified habitat structure.
Oak forests have a significant potential to maintain the native deciduous forests for a long time. Improving and maintaining the quality of the referred Natura 2000 marker habitats is important even in EU level.
Flagship species in project area
Sorbus danubialis, Anthaxia hungarica, Garrulus glandarius