investigated the economic, ecological-environmental and social functions of rural development in communities bordering the Hortobágy National Park, such as in Balmazújváros, Hortobágy, Tiszacsege and Egyek. My purposes focused on four issues: (1) to work out a method on the basis of the examined and cited literatures, which defines the deve...lopment of communities from economic, ecological and social aspects of rural development; (2) to reflect the changes in the role of agriculture; (3) to analyse the effects, advantages and disadvantages of Hortobágy National Park in relation to the economic, ecological and social lives of the examined communities; and (4) to make an economic analysis on the alternative income sources of Hortobágy, such as rural tourism, herb production and bio-farming in a family farm structure. When measuring the development of the communities I concluded that complex indexes hide the real consideration of the three functions of rural development and the possibility for comparing them on a community level. Furthermore, these 19 indicators are not enough to evaluate the situation, thus I raised the number of indicators and handled them on the basis of the three functions of rural areas. I classified the economic, ecological and social indicators into indicator groups within each functions, which make the determination of causes for underdevelopment possible. While only Tiszacsege and Egyek were considered to be backward on the basis of the complex index of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, my investigations showed that even Balmazújváros and Hortobágy proved to be lagged behind from both economic and social aspects. The methodical development justified the hypothesis that few indicators are not enough to establish decisions objectively. New developmental orders emerged. Measuring development of communities may be all-rounded and more established by using this new method, which may result in objective preparation of decisions in rural development and more rational spreading of subsidies.
Agriculture has played a dominant role among the income sources of population living along the Hortobágy just like in any other rural areas. I represent the situations of settlements along the Hortobágy by studying four of them, such as Balmazújváros, Hortobágy, Tiszacsege and Egyek. Big companies having worked in the examined settlements...had significance in ensuring local working facilities, and restraining people from leaving. Acts dating back to the beginning of the 1990’ies, privatisation, transformation of the state farm and co-operatives have decreased the rate of employment in agriculture. Alternative income sources relating to agriculture, such as bio-farming by alternative plants, herb production and rural tourism will determine the future of agriculture in this area due to the closeness of the Hortobágy National Park, the unique but unfavourable natural conditions for agricultural production, financial aids by the National Agricultural Environmental Programme and the imminent EU-membership. In this way supporting these activities may ensure the livelihood of ex-agricultural workers and alternative income for those working in agriculture.
I am going to deal with two issues in this article:
• with the change of the role of agriculture in the examined settlements,
• with economic analyses of alternative income sources by a model of a family farm.
necessary to ensure the livelihoods of those leaving the agricultural sector and to supplement the incomes of those working in agriculture. I research rural development in four settlements in Hajdú-Bihar County, in Balmazújváros, Hortobágy, Tiszacsege and Egyek, all bordering Hortobágy National Park.
There are many alternative income so