Aiming to Develop Our Grassland Habitats

Aiming to Develop Our Grassland Habitats

It is reassuring to see those people at the conference, whose presence is essential to the success of the project – said Mr. Bertalan Balczó, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment at the opening conference of the GRASSLAND-HU LIFE integrated project at the Herman Ottó Conference Centre.

In 2018, the European Commission took the decision to support 12 large-scale environment and climate projects, out of which two projects will be implemented by the Herman Ottó Institute Nonprofit Ltd. It is very rare in EU projects that one organization can coordinate more than one project at the same time.

Dr. András Béres, Executive Director of the Herman Ottó Institute Nonprofit Ltd. explained that the GRASSLAND-HU LIFE Integrated Project (project ID: LIFE17 IPE/HU/000018) has a country-wide scope, and co-operation between partners is crucial to the project’s success. During its 8-year lifespan, the project aims to develop grassland conservation practices into a sustainable system.  

With HUF 5 billion EU funding, the project will help conserving Hungary’s nature and improving the management of grasslands. The experience gained in the project will be useful in the future, since the project will contribute to the effective implementation of domestic and EU biodiversity policies. The project sets out to improve the management of the Nature 2000 network of the protected areas, through a variety of strategies, including pest control, conservation measures and better farm management. In addition to the nature conservation organisation, the National Chamber of Agriculture also plays a significant role in the implementation of the project, through establishing direct relationship with those land managers with whom there had been no connection previously.

GRASSLAND-HU is the first LIFE integrated project for nature conservation in Hungary. It aims to improve the conservation status of grassland habitats and species between 2019 and 2026, said Mr. Mátyás Prommer, project manager. On national level, Herman Ottó Institute Nonprofit Ltd., as project leader will co-operate with the following partners: Balaton-felvidék National Park Directorate, Bükk National Park Directorate, Duna-Dráva National Park Directorate, Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate, Fertő-Hanság National Park Directorate, Hortobágy National Park Directorate, Körös-Maros National Park Directorate, Kiskunság National Park Directorate, Őrség National Park Directorate, Budapest Forestry Company, Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture, Hungarian Natural History Museum, Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society, Green Action Society.

The GRASSLAND-HU integrated project is preparing professional materials to support the development of an overarching and comprehensive grassland management strategy, including conservation status assessment, setting out objectives, drawing up conservation action plans for grassland habitat species and preparing socio-economic analyses. The project also focuses on the restoration of grassland habitats, and on direct conservation actions, including grassland conservation practices such as the elimination of trees and shrubs, and the eradication of invasive species. The project also contains the following aims: stabilizing the water balance of the soil, filling in the channels, protecting endangered grassland habitats species (such as the Hungarian birch mouse and the Hungarian lesser blind mole-rat).

In addition, priority is given to actions raising awareness, to transform people’s perception of grasslands, so that people regard grasslands not only as potential building land but also as land with ecological and conservation value.

Source: Herman Ottó Institute Nonprofit Ltd.