Biró, Molnár, Horváth & Révész (2008) Measuring habitat loss in the Kiskunság ...

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Biró M., Molnár Zs., Horváth F., Révész A. (2008): Measuring habitat loss in the Kiskunság based on historical and actual habitat maps. In: Kovács-Láng E. Molnár E., Kröel-Dulay Gy., Barabás S. (eds.): The KISKUN LTER: Long-term ecological research in the Kiskunság, Hungary, pp: 13-14.


One of the biggest threats to biodiversity is the loss and fragmentation of (semi) natural habitats. Based on a site condition map (developed from the AGROTOPO database, TAKI), the botanical interpretation of historical maps (I. Military Survey, III. Military Survey), and the actual vegetation map of the region (D-TMap, MÉTA database), we calculated the loss of area for the main habitat types. In 1783 sand dunes and wet habitats were mainly in a semi-natural state, while only about 4% of the landscape was covered with (semi) natural woodlands. Compared to their natural, potential area at present, 99% of the steppe grasslands, 93–94% of the open sand vegetation (incl. juniper-poplar thickets), 82% of the floodplain vegetation, 56% of the alkali vegetation, and 55% of the fen vegetation was destroyed by human activities. The habitat loss is an on-going process which continues. By comparing the Gauss- Krüger topographic map (1985), and a satellite image (SPOT4, 1999), we have documented the loss of 40 074 hectares of (semi) natural habitat in the last 15 years (18% of the total). Of the destroyed habitats, 60% were fen vegetation, 25% alkali vegetation, 8% dry sand vegetation, 1.3% steppe vegetation, and 6% flood-plain vegetation (see maps in the inside covers). The detailed evaluation of landscape changes between 1883 and the present, respectively, have also began.