Alkaline soda wetland restoration in Apaj-Puszta on the World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on 2nd February to raise awareness about wetlands. This day also marks the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted as an international treaty in Ramsar, Iran, on this day in 1971. To mark this occasion, the Ministry of Agriculture organised a celebration event in Dömsöd on 2nd February 2023, jointly with the Szomor Eco-Farm and the Hungarian National Committee of the Ramsar Convention.
The Centre for Ecological Research was represented by Dr. Emil Boros, Senior Research Fellow of the CER Institute of Aquatic Ecology and member of the Hungarian National Committee of the Ramsar Convention. In a joint presentation with Dezső Szomor, – ecological farmer and head of Szomor Ecofarm (who is also a member of the Ramsar Committee), – he evaluated the reconstruction over the past 30 years of the Apaj alkaline soda wetland of international importance, which is part of the Kiskunság National Park and registered as a Ramsar site and presented the related LIFE Nature project.
Based on his decades of research the ecologist presented in detail the results of the 500 ha experimental wetland restoration project established and run by Szomor Ecofarm in the Lower Szúnyogi Meadow in the Apaj Basin.
“The essence of this scheme is to reconstruct the functioning of the floodplain wetland system of the ancient Danube valley plain in accordance with the current landscape conditions, where sustainability is ensured by the fish pond system connected to the water system and operated by Szomor Eco-farm. The conservation-ecological specificity of the water system is that the fishponds and natural wetlands fed by the Danube water are directly supplied with water through local gravity flow systems below the surface, which indirectly ensures the adequate quality and quantity of water supply for the alkaline soda wetlands. The Apaj-Puszta wetland restoration project is therefore an important reference site in the region for the restoration of alkaline soda wetland habitats, which are unique on a global scale. In addition to flooding, the Szomor Eco-farm is implementing the conservation management of the temporary alkaline soda wetland through extensive grazing of buffalo and Hungarian grey cattle,” said Emil Boros.

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