Hortobágy National Park Directorate
Bátorliget Pasture NCA

Bátorliget Pasture NCA

 

Bátorliget and its surroundings Nature Conservation Area

“The area of Nyírség conjures up the ancient scene of the Great Hungarian Plain featuring woodland areas with fens and marshes. The centenarian, branchy oak forests tend to be replaced by acacia forest, the various flowery areas on the dunes of the plain turn into ploughlands, grainfields can be found in the place of former marshes and meadows. Nevertheless, the Nyírség preserves the memories of pre-historic scenes, the depths of in-dune marshes, willow and birch forests, open woodlands resembles the past Great Hungarian Plain wildlife.” Nowhere else are these well known lines of Rezső Soó, our famous botanist, the most valid, then here at the South-East edge of the Nyírség area, near the borderline.

The first scientific report on the extremely rich and diverse fauna and flora of the sandy dune area was compiled by János Tuzson in 1914, since then Bátorliget attracts numbers of scientists. There are many reasons of this increased scientific interests.

It struck the first researchers of Bátorliget that several plant species previously known from the northern, cold and the mountainous area live in swampy depressions between the dunes. Their occurrence in the Hungarian Plain is a real rarity, many of them are regarded as relics of cold postglacial times.

Because of the microclimatic and edafic conditions evolved by the dunes species communities with different needs and composition live together forming a mosaic pattern in a relatively small area. The sandy grasslands and sandy oak forests of the dry sandy-hill tops turn into oak forests with lily-of-the-valley and hard-wood riparian forests in the deeper sites.

In the dips between the wooded sand-dunes special wildlife of marshes evolved with tussocks, tall-sedges, marshes and swamps gladed by willow and birch-trees preferring cool and wet climate.

The botanical and zoological surveys have revealed that besides the relics of the cold period, species from the warmer periods live here as well. Not only the presence of these species but the diversity of the rich communities formed are of great value of the area.

In the area of Bátorliget there are three nature protected areas of national importance and several protected marshes and swamps. However, there are more valuable areas worth to be protected.

4. Bátorliget Pasture Nature Conservation Area

4.1. The past and present status of the area

West to the Bátorliget Swamp large sandy grasslands, mainly pastures can be found. These grasslands are formed at the location of wooded-steppe-like sandy oak-forests as a result of deforestation and grazing, preserving lots of elements of the original wild-life. The Bátorliget Pasture (also known as the Great pasture of Bátor) are regarded as "the most splendid Pasque Flower meadow" by the scientific audiences since the beginning of last century. In olden times millions of Pasque Flowers coloured to lilac the dunes in March and April. Nowadays, however, in a smaller number but still a significant population flower in spring.

Unfortunately, in the last few years this large grassland has suffered several damages (plough up and sow, melioration, use of artificial fertilisers, improper grazing). The most valuable parts of the Pasture, 23 ha having the best condition put under protection in 1986. However, further parts, mainly the grasslands of the steep dune slopes, contain unique, endangered communities. For this reason and because of the landscape it is necessary to preserve these grasslands and the enlargement of the protected area is expected in the near future.

4.2. The characteristics and nature conservation designation of the area 

On the pasture three species and the hibrids of Pasque Flower occur, all of them are protected. These perennial plants with a rosette of feathery basal leaves, densely covered with long, silky hairs, flower early spring. After flowering the hairy styles remains on the fruits and forms a special formula help in spreading. The developed hairy fruits are remarkable on the sandy grasslands. Pasque Flowers are easily interbred, that is why lots of hibrids can be found here.

The last known population of the attractive Eastern Pasque Flower in our country lives here on the Bátorliget Pasture. The specimens of this species start to flower in March. It opens its lilac petals in good weather, looking like gasping. The leaves compound trifoliate palmate develop after flowering. In Hungary it regards as the proclamator of the continental Eurasian steppe vegetation. Unfortunately, this species became extinct from other areas, and the population of Bátorliget is also decreasing, that is why it needs the most strict protection.

The Hungarian Meadow Pasque Flower also lives here in larger number. This species is endemic on the sandy region of the North-Great Plain, and lives only here in the world. Its small, nodding flowers are greyish-lilac and the tepals are yellowish inside. Nowadays only a few populations remained even it was common in the wooded-steppe and sandy grasslands of Nyírség.

The third species of Pasque Flowers is the Pulsatilla grandis, characteristic in mountainous grasslands, is very rare in the Nyírség. The status of the Yellow Pheasant's-eye is similar, some old stems grow in the depression of hills.

Having flowered the Pasque Flowers, the other strictly protected, endemic plant, the Hungarian Stool Iris, seen on the back of 20-forint coins, bloom in several plots of the pasture and under acacia forest. The fragile, dark violet-blue flowers are open for only a few days in April-May. On the remaining patches of former rich sandy steppe-lands (Pulsatillo hungaricae-Festucetum rupicolae), mainly on dunes grow the rare Stipa capillata and the Chrysopogon gryllus. TheBloody Crane's-Bill, the Wall Germander, the Hungarian Pink, one of the Buttercup (Ranunculus illyricus), the rare Veronica pallens and the Dianthus arenarius subsp. Borussicus are also relic of the forest-steppe vegetation. The stocks of the poorer sandy pasture communities (Potentillo-Festucetum pseudovinae) cover larger areas and even if they developed due to grazing, they represent a significant natural value. Unfortunately, many of the grasslands among the dunes have been disturbed by virtue of grass improvement and more degraded vegetation can be found there because of this. The pasture is lined with acacia instead of the former sandy oak-forests. The nature conservationists are trying to prevent the spontaneous spreading of the acacia to the detriment of grasses.

The sandy grasslands provide good habitat for many hardly known insects. Among the vertebrates one of the Lizards the Balcan Wall Lizard Balkan Wall Lizard, which becoming rare since the decreasing of its habitat and the characteristic rodent of large sandy grasslands, theEuropean Souslik must be mentioned. The small animals of the grass provide feeding area for many birds of prey. Besides them the Hoopoe is characteristic.

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