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The total area of forests has grown and their condition has improved in recent years. Otherwise, no significant improvement can be observed in other sectors of conservation work. Reducing the status of National Parks and obfuscating the duties of conservation authorities are definitely signs of negative trends. Forced changes in regulations concerning the management of lands by the National Parks are especially worrying phenomena. The “land war” waged against the Kishantos Organic Farm demonstrated that serving the interests of farmers loyal to the government overrides ecological considerations. Though its practical relevance has been modest, the government's "freedom fight" against invasive Acacia trees also clearly shows how strongly conservation has been pushed to the background in the past years.



The size of forests is growing slowly; the extraction rate is smaller than the increment, but the naturalness of the forest stock remains unsatisfactory. The health condition of forests has improved in recent years. 22 percent of Hungarian forests are located in nationally protected conservation areas. This proportion has remained largely unchanged since the designation of protected areas in the 1990s.The largest protected forest area - in line with the size of the total forest area - is in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county (72.4 thousand hectares), whereas the smallest area is located in Békés county (2.3 thousand hectares).The mid-2000s saw the designation of the Natura 2000 areas, involving a further 420 thousand hectares. Today 42 percent of the forests enjoy some kind of conservation protection status.



As far as natural capital and biodiversity are concerned, the country was in a better condition at the time of joining the EU, than were older member states, but the trends cannot be termed positive at all. We have lost a significant majority of natural habitats, and forest naturalness can only be deemed acceptable in the low-lying mountain ranges of the country. 


Protection of species and habitats

The conservation status of habitats of community interest is unfavourable or bad in the case of four-fifth of the total area. In the case of protected species, the negative rating affects about 60 percent of the species concerned. Between 2007 and 2013, conditions improved for both habitats and species (with a favourable status currently for 19.6 and 36.5 percent, respectively), the share of unknown condition was reduced - in fact to zero in the case of habitats.

It is, however, a fundamental problem that the majority of the areas are lacking the necessary management and conservation plans needed to achieve good ecological status, and the monitoring of habitats and species has practically not been implemented.


Areas under Natura 2000 regulation

Over and beyond land protected by dedicated Hungarian conservancy regulation, a total of 1.2 million ha of land has been placed under Natura 2000 protection. There is an overlap of 42.4% between the two categories. Protected areas cover a total of 1.99 million hectares (21.4%). Though the designation of the Natura 2000 network was completed in the period 2009-2013, there is still no management plan in place for many pieces of land, and land users operate without the bare minimum of professional expertise. There are 479 special nature conservation areas (1.44 million ha) and 56 special bird protection areas (1.37 million ha) located in the country.