Protecting the nature



  • We completed a research at the request of the Bükk National Park Directorate titled “Monitoring the habitat choice of the specially protected European copper skink (zoology, coenology) within two specific 20x20 metre sample areas in the Mátra Mountains. ”The purpose of the research is to examine the following - within 6 different 20x20 metres sample areas completed in January, 2018 and in the related, open control areas without fence - over a longer period of time: 

    • How do the skinks use their territory in the actual condition? (the areas had been closed off for one year) 

    • Do the open (control) areas serve as adequate habitats for the skinks? 

    • The two areas will show significant structural differences with time. Will this mean a change in the way the skinks use their territory?

    • Is it advantageous to keep out larger game with the help of fences in the long run?

    • Is there a possible relation between the presence of the European copper skink and their territory use with any specific flora structure (species composition or structure)? 

The aim with the botanical survey of the European copper skink habitat is to keep track of change in the structural setting of flora (species composition or structure). The research was carried out at the Pipis hill in Domoszló and at the oak scrub forest of Tarma in Gyöngyössolymos, some of our permanent sampling areas. We managed to examine and analyse in detail plants found both within the sample and the control areas, the species density of reptiles, specifically the density of European copper skinks. It turned out that closing off areas from larger game was advantageous for plant diversity and made the area an adequate habitat for reptiles at the same time. Obviously, the aim is not to completely keep out wild game life from the rocky steppes and grasslands of the Mátra Mountains, the goal is instead to achieve a balanced and ideal condition.  


  • We won a sum of 4 million Hungarian forints in financial support to complete a film about the protection of springs, marsh areas and related habitats within the area of Bükk National Park, titled “Improvement of habitat and species conservation, presentation of nature conservation and infrastructure improvement” within KEHOP 4.1.0. The film was completed and we handed in the final version on 27 March, 2021.  



    • At the request of the BNPD we completed the species habitat map and the botanical survey of significant plant species of the Kerek hill in Bükkzsérc within the ”LIFE IP GRASSLAND-HU (LIFE17 IPE/HU/000018) project. This task was carried out by one of our team members, Zsuzsa Kalmár. The southern hillside of the Bükk Mountains is a location especially rich in wildlife. 

    • We carried out the analysis of small mammal communities at the Eastern part of the Bükk Mountains Nature Reserve (Cserépváralja, Kács, Tard, Tibolddaróc). The research was also initiated by the BNPD. As a result of our research we managed to register 16 different species of smaller mammals in the sample area which is considered a good result in the specific region. 

    • We also carried out a research at the Eastern part of the Bükk Mountains Nature Reserve, titled  “Botanical survey in the area of KbTT”.

    • Our organisation carried out the actual tasks of the successful tender of the LEADER organisation Tudomka Network.

    • We signed a cooperation agreement with the municipality of Tard related to activities of our association, namely: Helping to improve the life quality of people and protecting biodiversity in Hungary through nature conservation. Protecting and conserving the cultural and intellectual legacy of Hungary by treasuring and conserving the colourful and diverse folk traditions in the Carpathian basin with the help of documentation and educational programmes. 


    • The “Graduation 2018” programme was produced by M5 television. In the geography part about lakes they used an excerpt from our short film series, with András Kleszó speaking about water habitats. 

    • The Szalakóta Association made a successful application for the Green source 2017 grant. The working title was: “A survey of 22 kV electric lines in specific areas of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and Heves counties (also in Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county) causing the death of bird species of European interest (protected and threatened species). ”The detailed report can be downloaded from here: LETÖLTÉS Pályázati azonosító: PTKF /719/2/2017

    • One of our members, Zsuzsa Kalmár, carried out a GIS analysis of grasslands in the Bükk Mountains within the EcoKarst Interreg project at the request of the BNPD. This important work included the survey and comparison of forestry records, land registers, habitat data records and their geoinformatic analysis. The data was made available to our client in digital form. The resulting data serves as a basic document for the maintenance of mountain grasslands and is also a documentation of their actual condition. 

    • At the request of the BNPD we carried out a survey describing rare snail species found in the Kácsi spring. The significance of this work was the specification of the habitat and condition of the endemic river nerite (Theodoxus fluviatilis) population. Future plans on utilisation of the stream and the spring have to be made by taking the presence of these rare species and their ecological needs into consideration - this is going to serve as a basis for any work done by the authorities in the future. 

    • At the request of the Kiskunság National Park Directive, within the project titled “Long-term conservation and improvement of environmental values of public interest and the implementation of strategic research in Hungary with respect to the EU 2020 Biological diversity strategy“ we took part in a sub project titled “Survey of bird species of public interest” where we managed to examine - according to the given protocol - the bird population within 12 different 2,5x2,5 km UTM quadrat areas. According to the protocol we monitored each quadrat at least three times, twice during the day and once during the night. The monitored areas can be found in Borsod and Heves counties and in the Bükk Mountains. The work resulted in compensatory data regarding the region's avifauna, territorial distribution of the species and condition of their population. It is also important reference data for the European Breeding Bird Atlas Program in progress, where the distribution, population and vulnerability of certain species is analysed by country. We also uploaded the results to the MAP programme coordinated by the Monitoring Centre of BirdLife Hungary. The research was carried out by three of our members. 

    • We applied for financial support connected to the Leader project  „Development of Tudomka Villages” within a Hungarian government tender for local municipalities, non-governmental organisations and associations in the Bükk region. Within the programme we were to organise an environmental and cultural festival in Cserépfalu titled “Little America festival”. The tender is currently pending. In the meantime we have signed agreements and cooperate with several local organisations and institutions.  

    • At the request of the BNPD, we undertook a work titled “The registration of the white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) population in the Felsőtárkányi Forestry district”. We made a map of the sightings during breeding season - we were aiming for and partly succeeded in mapping the specific nests. With the knowledge of specific territories we were able to make suggestions to the BNPD regarding certain restrictions in forest use. The zoological research data results were processed for the biotic data basis of the BNPD. 

    • At the request of BioAqua Pro Szolgáltató és Tanácsadó Kft. we undertook the task of a botanical survey for an environmental impact assessment and contributed in obtaining the proper authority permits at the motorway connecting Debrecen and Békéscsaba.

    • At the request of the BNPD, we carried out botanical surveys at the Eastern Bükk Mountains Nature Reserve. 

    • We won a sum of 4 million Hungarian forints in financial support to complete a film about the protection of springs, marsh areas and related habitats within the area of the Bükk National Park, titled “Improvement of  habitat and species conservation, presentation of nature conservation and infrastructure improvement” within KEHOP 4.1.0. This is a two year project and we started laying the groundwork. 

    • We made a film titled “A world carved in stone at the foot of the Bükk Mountains - the unique relationship between nature and humans” ordered by the Bükk region’s LEADER organisation, where I took part as the regional director of the Bükk team of BirdLife Hungary. Csaba Sándor had an important role as the organiser and producer of the film.  




      • Our next assignment was similar to the previous one, this time at the Forestry of Eger in 2017. 

      • At the request of the BNPD we carried out a research within 8 different 2,5x2,5 km quadrat areas. These areas had to be monitored twice during the day and once during the night in order to record a complete species list according to the MAP protocol. The results were uploaded to the BNPD biotic database and will serve as further basis for the sustainable maintenance of these habitats. 

      • At the request of the BirdLife Hungary Monitoring Centre our association undertook local tasks of the Bird Atlas programme (MAP). The Hungarian programme is part of the European periodical organised and published by the IUCN. The aim is to present the distribution, population conditions and vulnerability status of certain bird species. There is an active civil basis in Hungary that cooperates with the Monitoring Centre. Our assignment was mostly carried out by members of the local group of BirdLife Hungary in the Bükk Mountains, Borsodi-Mezőség, Bükkalja and Hevesi-Sík areas. We monitored the bird population and uploaded data from 15 different 10x10 km UTM quadrat areas.

      • At the request of the Garamond Kiadványszerkesztő Stúdió Kft. we completed a smaller illustrated study. The publication was edited by the BNPD and was made into a manual from an environmental view point, mainly for forestry personnel, dealing with tree markings in Natura 2000 areas. 

      • We gathered faunistic records of protected and significant birds found in the Eger forestry at the request of the BNPD in 2017. 

      • The Bükk National Park made a survey of Areas of Special Natural Resources Interest according to the Agricultural Ministry’s document. The locations were the following: Heves Plain Area of Special Natural Resources Interest (MTÉT). The goal of the survey: examination of plant cultures in patches and the tracking of changes in the great bustard (Otis tarda) population within the Heves Plain Area of Special Natural Resources Interest.

      • Our volunteers took part in the preparations of a field practice training held for forestry professionals and forest managers as part of a LIFE+ Information and Communication tender titled “Improvement of communication, cooperation and capacity as part of the conservation effort of biodiversity in Natura 2000 forests” /LIFE13 INF/HU/001163. 



      • In September 2016 a scientific paper was completed about the Hungarian owlet moth  (Dioszeghyana Schmidtii) where the impact of forest management on this specific species was summarised based on available data. The paper was written by one of our members, Tamás Korompai as a result of his field work.

      • Our association completed a paper as part of a BNPD assignment: “Bird monitoring tasks related to forest habitats pilot project in 2016”. The project is a research of the Szent István University financed by the Swiss fund, and its main goal is to coordinate nature conservation with forest management. The basis of the survey was our work of previous years, with the following tasks: (output: research report) visual and/or acoustic monitoring in April/May 2016, once in 3 different sample areas (Gyöngyös, Gyöngyössolymos, Parád), with the re-inspection of previously monitored nests. It was a great joy to take part in this work as it resulted in important findings about the occurrence of rare bird species in differently managed forests. This will most probably be a long-term project, so similar tasks can be expected.

      • We received our next assignment directly from GATE, and it was based on our previous project mentioned above, regarding “Foundation of sustainable nature conservation in Natura 2000 areas in Hungary'' within the Swiss-Hungarian Cooperation programme. Together with the Bükk National Park the university organised a two day “tree marking” practise in Garáb, where we presented the results of our work of the past three years, and we also had to take part in field work. The participants of this small conference were researchers and environmentalists who were actively interested in our research and encouraged us to continue. 

      • At the request of the BNPD we gathered faunistic records of protected and significant bird species with special regard to the prevalence of the highly protected white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) in the Felsőtárkányi Forestry in the National Park. We carried out the work on three larger sample areas gathering a significant amount of data for the region’s biotic database. We hope that our results can actively contribute to the sustainability and conservation of these forests. 



      • There was a sensational sighting of a larger flock of vultures in the southern part of Heves county on sept 24, 2015. Vultures are one of our largest predatory birds that once bred in large numbers in Hungary. As the extent of free-range farming decreased and the potential nesting places became redundant or disturbed, while at the same time modern animal health regulations and other “blessings” of civilization were introduced - this group of animals almost completely vanished from the region's fauna. The appearance of even one or two specimens of this bird has been an important event in the past hundred years. Good news is that in the past couple of years sightings of the Eurasian griffon vulture - which is the most common among vultures in the region -  have become more and more frequent. This scavenger bird is easily recognised by its bald neck and has a wing-span of more than 2 meters. It is mostly breeding in certain Southern European countries and is protected everywhere.  

      The most significant part of the protection programme is that animal carcasses,  previously gone through veterinary inspection, are placed in the fields for the vultures to eat in order to counteract the unwanted phenomenon that is present in Western countries and in Hungary as well. This is why it was considered a great sensation when one of the coworkers of the Bükk National Park, during a red footed falcon watch, sighted at least 15 Eurasian griffons. Several Hungarian environmentalists and bird watchers were curious to see this rare phenomenon at early dawn, on 24 September, 2015. These huge birds utilise the upthrust for flying. This was exactly what the birds did this time as well,  soaring in circles, when they took to the air in the morning, and thus their numbers could be established. This was how we learned that 19 birds had spent the night in that area and some of them had identification marks on their wings. We don’t know yet where these birds had come from and why, but we do hope that they will continue to visit the legal feeding places in Hungary, and we will hopefully meet them more often in the future. As these are very remarkable birds many people may notice them and the data of the sightings is always welcomed by the experts. 

      • According to our contract with the Bükk National Park (BNPD) we completed a final report titled:  “Developing and testing a method for mapping and monitoring the population growth of hamsters”. The results could be very useful in the protection of this little-known animal that is considered a pest in Hungary. We hope to be able to participate in protection centred research regarding this species in the future as well.

      • At the request of the BNPD, we carried out the technical and administrative tasks of the project called  “ Survey of rare bird nesting colonies” within the national park area.  

      • We participated in another major project of the BNPD, where we completed a task in 2015: “Bird monitoring related to forest habitats pilot project”. We surveyed Natura 2000 indicator species in three different forest areas of the Mátra. We hope that our work will contribute to reconsideration of a more sustainable maintenance of forest habitats. 

      • Our organisation also took part in the monitoring of the Hungarian owlet moth (Dioszeghyana schmidtii) at a Natura 2000 area (Slovakian project). 

      • We completed a scientific paper for the Municipality of Pálosvörösmart. Our task was to examine an area within the Natura 2000 network and to give professional advice regarding a different utilisation of the area. 

      • At the request of the Bese Nature Conservation Organisation we organised and documented one of their projects in both Hungary and Transylvania. The topic of the project was sustainable horticulture, fruit cultivation and fruit festivals. 

      • We also completed a couple of educational films for the MAGHÁZ project regarding conservation of traditional varieties of cultivated plants. The members of MAGHÁZ use, maintain and share the plant reproductive material of certain old or regional open-pollinated varieties (field crops, vegetables, decorative plants, herbs and fruits). They also share their knowledge about these plants with each other.


      • We managed to complete two projects this year with BirdLife Hungary, our regular partner. These projects were carried out by members of a local group (consisting partly of our own members) with the administrative and practical support of our organisation. One of the projects dealt with the survey and protection of the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) that returned around the millennium.  

      • The “Survey of woodpeckers and flycatchers” project was coordinated by BirdLife Hungary according to the protocol of the Monitoring Centre of the organisation. It was carried out by members of our organisation in the Bükk and Mátra Mountains. These projects have significantly contributed to a more thorough knowledge about the region’s birdlife, serve as the basis for the mandatory EU reports regarding Natura 2000 areas and contribute to nature conservation work in the specific region. 

      • We were asked by the ESSRG and the Bese Nature Conservation Organisation to make a short film about the “Sustainable Délborsod Programme” which you can watch here: 

      • We successfully completed a project within the tender of the local Leader organisation. Our project was to present some interesting and actual topics of nature conservation through 12 short films, e.g. game management, wildlife protection programs, the ecological role of dead trees in the forest ecosystem, etc. The successful implementation of the task was based on the many hours of valuable film material recorded by BirdLife Hungary in the past decades, which was also digitised within the frame of this cooperation. 

      • We also completed an educational material - based on the finished short films - which is being used in the educational projects of the Leader. We are also distributing it in regional educational institutions and online. (The educational material can be ordered by the following email address: or can be downloaded from our website with the download menu point) 

      • The winner of “The bird of the Year” programme this year was Europe's largest flying bird, the Great bustard. 2014 was also the 40 years anniversary of the foundation of BirdLife Hungary. The famous bird of the puszta, the Great bustard was chosen as the symbol of the organisation. The following short film was produced for this occasion with the contribution of the Szalakóta Association with material recorded by Tamás Szitta.