Habitat Reconstruction in the forests of the Körös Valley, Hungary

National Id
Site name
River Fekete-Körös, Town Gyula,
The fragments of floodplain forests (Fraxino - pannonicae -Ulmetum) along the River Körös were cut from the river by dykes during the river regulation works in the 19th century. The deteriorated groundwater conditions were worsened in a drought period during the 1980-1990’s that triggered action of the forestry service. Restoration of the river connection and the floodplain watercourse network provide surface water supply from the backwater of flood waves to the 2000 ha forest. The result of the habitat reconstruction work is a 38.8 km long water-flow and a water surface of 15.7 hectares, cc 400 hectares of the forest has a direct positive ecological impact.
The water supply of the floodplain channel network has another source as well. A smaller volume comes from a fishery. In case of this second source the nutrient content of the fishery is assimilated in the forest as an additional service. Previously this load were let back into the river directly.
The in-depth description of the case study
RBD code
Data provider
Gábor Ungvári, REKK
NWRM(s) implemented in the case study
Climate zone
warm temperate dry
Mean rainfall
Mean rainfall unit
Mean runoff
Mean runoff unit
600 - 750 mm
Actual Test Site
Light or indepth?
Average slope range
Vegetation class
Broad-leaved forest
Monitoring impacts effects
Monitoring location
Performance impact estimation method
Application scale
Field Scale
Installation date
Performance timescale
Area (ha)
Area subject to Land use change or Management/Practice change (ha)
Size unit
Design capacity description
Maximum quantity of water derived from the river depends on the water level. During a year there is cc 180 days for water supply. During this period cc 2 million m3 water arrives into the area
The high cost of a previous attempt to pump water for the area proved prohibitively expensive and made it clear that only gravitational supply can provide sustainable solution.
Favourable preconditions
This is a state owned forest, that consists of one forest body. Also it is inside a temporary flood storage reservoir in a band of the River Fekete-Körös. The isolation of the area and lack of the risk of flooding further areas made it an easy case from the water directorate's point of view
The landscape relief that has the former river branches in the territory
Design contractual arrangement
Arrangement type Responsibility Role Comments Name
The use of the funds were approved by the owner, but it was the element of the normal protocol.
No specific contractual arrangement
During the first period of the operation there were several attempts to create a standalone water governance protocol for the regional water directorate to use, but an adaptive method that is based on the event by event communication between the forestry and the water authority became working the solution.
No detailed protocol about the operation of the water supply
Design consultation activity
Activity stage Key issues Name Comments
Design phase
There were consultation with the private land owners of the area
There were no details provided
Design land use change
Land use change type
Design authority
Authority type Role Responsibility Name Comments
Forest owners
Initiation of the measure
DALERD Rt (South-Alfí¶ld Forestry Ltd.
The organisation has a key role in initiating, design and application as well
Regional / sub-national water authority
Determination of design details of the measure
Kí¶rí¶svidéki Ví­zí¼gy Igazgatí³ság
Details that belong to the design of the dyke crossing of the water supply channels. It also has role in the operation of the locks.
Determination of design details of the measure
íllami Erdészeti Szolgálat Kecskeméti Igazgatí³ság
Regional Forestry Directorate, it approves the forestry management plans in its district
íllami Privatizácií³s és Vagyonkezelési Ügyní¶kség - íPV Rt.
Formally owner of state forestries
Key lessons
Surface water supply is an effective way of recharging groundwater storage capacity of forest soil in order to reduce droughts risk by enhancing the natural inter-seasonal allocation of water.

The key difference of this application compared to an area with generally the same problems is the possibility to sort out the transaction costs that emerge from in an area with multi-party ownership.

If the suitable complex knowledge happens to be at the right place, no further incentive is needed to take advantage of an upcoming possibility. †“ It highlights the fundamental need of education about the complex nature of the water-land use-ecosystem nexus.
Success factor(s)
Success factor type Success factor role Comments
Attitude of relevant stakeholders
main factor

The main success factor was the forestry management's unequivocal understanding of the structural problem what threatens the sustainable operation: the lack of inundations. They grasped the first occasion to finance and negotiate such a development. The financial consolidation/restructuring process of the state forestry organizations provided financial sources that were used to improve fundamental production conditions.

Financing type Comments
National funds
Reorganization subsidy from the owner the (the state owned) National Privatization and Asset Management Ltd. (Regional Forestry Organizations were formed into state owned joint stock companies.
Transfer from the (that time existed) national Forest Regeneration Fund
Barrier type Barrier role Comments
Existing institutional framework
main barrier
Implementation required the reconciliation of forestry and water management interests. The main issues were:
- Should the forestry pay for the water (resource)? It was resolved as ecological water supply
- No water inlet at the front side of the flood waves because of flood safety reasons.
- The forestry resign to demand compensation for damages what the water that remains out in its territory can cause.
Driver type Driver role Comments
Organisation committed to it
main driver
Financing share
Financing share type Share Comments
Policy description
River regulation works of the 19th and 20th century resulted in degraded living conditions for the river valley forests (declining groundwater levels, lack of inundations). A 12 year long dry period in the 1980-1990 pushed the remaining forests into critical status. The insufficient available water quantity had to increase.
Part of wider plan
Policy target
Target purpose
Groundwater Recharge
Increase Water Storage
Policy pressure
Pressure directive Relevant pressure
Policy area
Policy area type Policy area focus Name Comments
Policy impact
Impact directive Relevant impact
Policy wider plan
Wider plan type Wider plan focus Name Comments
Policy requirement directive
Requirement directive Specification
Direct benefits information
Biomass production
Wildlife management, the area provides higher animal carrying capacity
Assimilation of nutrient load of incoming water
Ancillary benefits information
Amenities: This area is the Forest School of the nearby Gyula town, education and recreation facilities for school programs with regional importance. Total education activity 3-4 thousand education day per year (counted like workload in the person month). 3-6 visitor nights.
Costs investment
Costs investment information
Planner's estimation of the development cost in 2014 prices of the same work volume, 200-300 million HUF (650.000 - 970.000€)
Costs operation maintenance
No significant operation or maintenance cost were identified
Costs total
Costs total information
Planner's estimation of the development cost in 2014 prices of the same work volume, 200-300 million HUF (650.000 - 970.000€)
Ecosystem improved biodiversity
Ecosystem provisioning services
Ecosystem impact climate regulation
No information available
Retained water
Retained water unit
Information on increased water storage
Previously it was zero
Information on runoff reduction
No outflow from the area
Water quality overall improvements
Positive impact-WQ improvement
Information on Water quality overall improvements
The forest assimilate the nutrient overloaded water from the near-by fishery
Soil quality overall soil improvements
N/A info
Information on Soil quality overall soil improvements
N/A info


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