The term agroforestry is not widely used in Hungary but traditional silvopastoral systems, grazed fruit orchards, shelterbelts and other woody components on arable lands were typical in the older times. Silvopastoral systems such as wood pastures and grazed forests have always been an integral part of land use in Hungary. The name “Glandifera Pannonia” (meaning ‘acorn bearing Pannonia’) refers to their economic and social value.
The significance and operation of silvopastoral systems has reduced substantially in the past 100 years and common ownership of pastures in forested areas has vanished almost entirely (Varga et al. 2015). In recent years traditional wood pasture and wood meadow systems (Bölöni et al. 2011; Varga et al. 2016) can be found mainly in hilly and mountainous areas of the country.
As regards arable agroforestry field and farmstead shelterbelts have been common practice in Hungary over recent centuries. The number of shelterbelts increased significantly in the 1960-70s, but their numbers fell again during the following 30 years, and are currently still declining. Nowadays arable agroforestry – excluding windbreaks, shelterbelts and homegardens – have almost disappeared from the Hungarian countryside.
Some data of the extent of agroforestry are available in the literature (Bölöni et al. 2011; Frank and Takács, 2012; Varga et al. 2017) and according to the assessment of the current state of agroforestry made within AGFORWARD project there are about 38 000 ha agroforestry in Hungary, ~95% of which is livestock system.
Recently, the number of recognised traditional or modern agroforestry systems - eg. alley cropping established mainly for experimental purposes - is increasing.
Although there is significant and constantly increasing interest in agroforestry, there is a lack of basic knowledge about relevant practices and little information about existing systems. Therefore there was a strong a need for a national agroforestry network in Hungary to disseminate information and set the basis for cooperation between agroforestry stakeholders (Vityi and Varga 2014).
Preparation of this national network began within the participatory research project AGFORWARD and resulted in its formation within AFINET project. In order to strengthen the cooperation and have common representation the Hungarian Agroforestry Civil Association (ACT) has been established in 2016. Its members – mostly farmers, advisers and researchers - are expanding the EURAF community and taking part in several agroforestry activities both on national and international levels.
Within the 2007-2013 CAP, Hungary was the only country in Central Europe to implement the EU Measure 222 (First Establishment of Agroforestry on Agricultural Land). The measure contributed to the establishment of agro-forestry systems for grazing purposes with a view to maintaining a sustainable land management and facilitate protection of soils against erosion. These systems were to be maintained for a minimum period of 5 years (support only for the establishment of tree elements), maximum density 250 trees/ha. (Szedlák, 2006.)
In the new CAP 2014-2020 agroforestry is promoted through Article 23 of the new Rural Development Regulation 1305/2013. Hungary implemented sub-measure 8.2. ”Support for establishment and maintenance of agroforestry systems”. Current national Rural Development Program supports the implementation and maintenance of the following types of agroforestry systems:
- Grassland management (mowing or extensive livestock production) combined with agro-forestry system
- Field-protective afforestation (eg. shelterbelts or woody spots)
- Innovative Agroforestry Systems (Forestry Innovation Operative Groups - cooperation projects)
Thanks to the agri-environment subsidies, nature conservation management practices, and the rising demand for organic food the number of newly established agroforestry systems are increasing, as well as some formerly abandoned areas are now farmed again as wood pastures. Forest grazing which was prohibited before, is now legally allowed under certain conditions.
Detailed information are available in the following papers:
- Bölöni J, Szmorad F, Varga Z, Kun A, Molnár Zs, Bartha D, Tímár G, Varga A (2011). Egyéb erdők és fás élőhelyek – P 45 – Fáslegelők, fáskaszálók, legelőerdők, gesztenyeligetek [Wood pastures, wooded meadows, grazed forest and chestnut orchards] In: Bölöni J., Molnár Zs., Kun A. (szerk.): Magyarország élőhelyei – Vegetációtípusok leírása és határozója ÁNÉR 2011. MTA ÖBKI, Vácrátót, pp. 359−362.
- Frank, N., Takács, V. (2012). Hó- és szélfogó erdősávok minősítése szélsebesség-csökkentő hatásuk alapján [Windbreaks and shelter-belts examination by their effect on decreasing the windspeed]. Erdészettudományi Közlemények 2(1): 151-162.
- Varga A (2017). Innovation from the Past: Silvopastoral systems in Hungary in the light of Hungarian ethnographic literature. Acta Ethnographica Hungarica, 62:135-162.
- Varga A, Molnár Zs, Biró M, Demeter L, Gellény K, Miókovics E, Molnár Á, Molnár K, Ujházy N, Ulicsni V & Babai D (2016). Changing year-round habitat use of extensively grazing cattle, sheep and pigs in East-Central Europe between 1940 and 2014: Consequences for conservation and policy. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 234: 142-153.
- Varga et al. (manuscript): From farm scale to country scale: investigation of the high nature and cultural value wood pastures in Hungary, Central Europe.
- Vityi A, Varga A (2014). Initial Stakeholder Meeting Report Wood pasture in Hungary. AGFORWARD, https://agforward.eu/index.php/hu/fas-legelok-magyarorszagon.html
- Andrea Vityi (2014). Initial Stakeholder Meeting Report: Alley Cropping Systems in Hungary. 23 October 2014. Report for the AGFORWARD project. 11 pp. https://www.agforward.eu/index.php/en/alley-cropping-systems-in-hungary.html
- Vityi A, Varga A (2015b). System Report: Wood Pasture in Hungary. AGFORWARD, https://agforward.eu/index.php/hu/fas-legelok-magyarorszagon.html
- Szedlák T., 2006: EU Rural Development Regulation No 1698/2005 and its forestry relevant measures, Tamas Szedlak
- Vityi Andrea, Marosvölgyi Béla, Szalai Zita, Varga Anna: Agroforestry Research and Development in Hungary in: Joao HN Palma (ed): 2nd European Agroforestry Conference: Integrating Science and Policy to Promote Agroforestry in Practice. Cottbus, 2014.06.04-06. Cottbus: Brandenburg University of Technology, 2014. pp. 201-204.(ISBN:978-972-97874-4-7)
- Szalai Zita, Radics László, Divéky-Ertsey Anna: Erdőkert (Forest garden) kialakításának megalapozása az Ökológiai és Fenntartható gazdálkodási rendszerek tanszék Soroksári kísérleti üzemében Kertgazdaság: 44:(2) pp. 79-82. (2012)
- Keserű Zsolt, Borovics Attila, Honfy Veronika: Agrárerdészet, a klímatudatos és fenntartható gazdálkodás módja Agrárerdészet, a klímatudatos és fenntartható gazdálkodás módja
Authors: Andrea Vityi, Zita Szalai, Anna Varga
Contacts: vityi [dot] andrea [at] gmail [dot] com, varga [dot] anna [at] gmail [dot] com, szalai [dot] zita [at] kertk [dot] szie [dot] hu