Landscape changes in a 19th century wood pasture and grazing forest

  • Petra Bartus Szent István University, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Department of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology
  • Csaba Baráz Bükk National Park Directorate, Department of Education and Nature Studies
  • Ákos Malatinszky Szent István University, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Department of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6388-9191
Keywords: wood pasture, grazing forest, landscape change, forest use, landscape history, Bükk Mountains

Abstract

The Bükk Mountains were covered by continuous forests even in the 18th century. First plans for exploitation originate from the late 1700’s; thus, this is the time when planned forest management in the Bükk Mountains started. Our aim is to shed light on land use and historical land cover changes of the grazing forest and wood pasture on the Magas Hill Forest (Ózd–Egercsehi Basin, NE-Hungary) since the 18th century, describe its current state (based on ethnographical data, maps, and field research), and give suggestions on its reconstruction and conservation management. The hills around Egercsehi and Mikófalva villages were once covered by 808.5 ha continuous grazing forest. This forest has almost totally disappeared, and one-time oak forests show no continuity with today’s black locust stands, despite for a 35.3-ha patch in the southern slope of Magas Hill. This remnant is a various mosaic of closed forest, degraded grazing forest, wood pasture, clearing, and grassland, with old (150–200 year) veteran trees. As a consequence of no management (abandonment of forest grazing), original vegetation has almost totally been abolished by invasive alien species. Area of mowed, open grassland is 5.3 ha, while 20.1 ha commemorates on the one-time wood pasture, the remaining is shrubby (spontaneously) with afforestation. The area is not listed in the Hungarian cadastre of wood pastures. This register lists 6 wood pastures in Heves County; this current one is the 7th. The unique stand of veteran trees is still visible and the process of scrub encroachment might by stopped by adequate management, therefore, valuable habitats can be conserved. In favour of reconstruction of the wood pasture – grazing forest mosaic and maintenance of the desirable state, we suggest beef and sheep grazing, combined with mowing, depending on the state of afforestation.

Published
2018-03-31
How to Cite
Bartus, P., Baráz, C., & Malatinszky, Ákos. (2018). Landscape changes in a 19th century wood pasture and grazing forest. Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, 67(1), 13-27. https://doi.org/10.15201/hungeobull.67.1.2
Section
Articles