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Assessment of Environmental Susceptibility/Vulnerability of Soils
Published December 10, 2002

Soils represent a considerable part of the natural resources of Hungary. Consequently, rational land use and proper soil management – to guarantee normal soil functions – are important elements of sustainable (agricultural) development, having special importance both in the national economy and in environment protection.
The main soil fu...nctions in the biosphere are as follows: conditionally renewable natural resource; reactor, transformer and integrator of the combined influences of other natural resources (solar radiation, atmosphere, surface and subsurface waters, biological resources), place of „sphere-interactions”; medium for biomass production, primary food-source of the biosphere; storage of heat, water and plant nutrients; natural filter and detoxication system, which may prevent the deeper geological formations and the subsurface waters from various pollutants; high capacity buffer medium, which may prevent or moderate the unfavourable consequences of various environmental stresses; significant gene-reservoir, an important element of biodiversity.
Society utilizes these functions in different ways (rate, method, efficiency) throughout history, depending on the given natural conditions and socio-economic circumstances. In many cases the character of the particular functions was not properly taken into consideration during the utilization of soil resources, and the misguided management resulted in their over-exploitation, decreasing efficiency of one or more soil functions, and – over a certain limit – serious environmental deterioration.
Soil resources are threatened by the following environmental stresses:
– soil degradation processes;
– extreme moisture regime;
– nutrient stresses (deficiency or toxicity);
– environmental pollution.
Environmental stresses caused by natural factors or human activities represent an increasing ecological threat to the biosphere, as well as a socio-economic risk for sustainable development, including rational land use and soil management.
The stresses are caused by the integrated impacts of various soil properties, which are the results of soil processes (mass and energy regimes, abiotic and biotic transport and transformation and their interactions) under the combined influences of soil forming factors. Consequently, the control of soil processes is a great challenge and the main task of soil science and soil management in sustainable development.
The efficient control of these processes necessitates the following consecutive steps:
• registration of facts and consequences (information on land and soil characteristics, land use, cropping pattern, applied agrotechnics, yields, with their spatial and temporal variability);
• evaluation of potential reasons (definition and quantification of soil processes, analysis of influencing factors and their mechanisms);
• assessment of the theoretical, real, rational and economic possibilities for the control of soil processes (including their risk-assessment and impact analysis);
• elaboration of efficient technologies for the „best” control alternatives (best management practice).
Scientifically based planning and implementation of sustainable land use and rational soil management to ensure desirable soil functions, without any undesirable environmental side-effects, require adequate soil information. In the last years such data were organized into a computer-based GIS soil database in Hungary, giving opportunities for the quantification, analysis, modelling and forecasting of the studied environmental stresses and for the efficient and scientifically based prevention, elimination or reduction of environmental stresses and their unfavourable ecological and economical consequences.
Special attention was paid to the assessment of various soil degradation processes, as: (1) soil erosion by water or wind; (2) soil acidification; (3) salinization and/or alkalization; (4) physical degradation (structure destruction, compaction); (5) extreme moisture regime: drought sensitivity and waterlogging hazard; (6) biological degradation; (7) unfavourable changes in the plant nutrient regime; (8) decrease of natural buffering capacity, (9) soil (and water) pollution.
The actions against undesirable environmental stresses and their unfavourable consequences are important elements of sustainable, efficient, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound crop production and agricultural development. These are joint tasks of the state, decision makers on various levels, the land owners, the land users and – to a certain extent – of each member of the society.

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Correlations of the global, regional and local factors of the anthropogenic effects on the water reserves of the Earth’s crust
Published July 18, 2012

The decrease in Earth's drinking water resources and the degradation of its quality has become a critical problem. Our planet's total water supply is estimated to be around 2 billion km3s. This is only 1% of Earth's own weight. Of this small amount only a tiny 3% is fresh water, of which 79% is forzen in glaciers and 1% is present as surface wa...ters.The ratio of water stored in soil is around 20%. This is 0.2% of the total water supply. Our study aims to summarize the layered groundwater aquifer systems and its changes which are the results of anthropogenic effects in both global and hungarian respects and also for the region of Debrecen.In particular with regard to the geological and ecological level where irreversible
processes take place. All this is discussed in the context of cause and effect. Pointing out the dangers of excessive deep groundwater extraction and the contamination caused by toxic substances that are the byproducts of modern life. In addition we discuss the Water Directive of the European Union which gives a policy for community action concerning the goal to achive the status of „in good condition” for our waters till 2015.

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GC-MS studies to map mechanistic aspects of photolytic decomposition of pesticides
Published February 23, 2008

Transformation of pesticides in the environment is a highly complex process affected by different factors. Both biological and physical-chemical factors may play a role in the degradation, whose ratio depends on the actual environmental conditions.
Our study aims to reveal specific details of photolytic degradation of pesticides as important... soil contaminants. Significance of these studies is enhanced by the fact that pesticide decomposition may contribute to soil degradation, and have harmful biological effects by degrading to toxic products. The toxicity of the examined pesticides is well known, however very little information is available regarding their natural degradation processes, the quality, structure and biological impact of the degradation products.
The photolytic degradation of frequently applied pesticides of distinctive types (acetochlor – acetanilide, simazine – triazine, chlorpyrifos – organophosphate, carbendazim – benzimidazole) was investigated. A special, immerseable UV-light source was applied in order to carry out photodegradation. The degradation processes were followed by thin layer chromatography (TLC) and mass spectrometry coupled with gas chromatography (GC/MS). EI mass spectrometry was used to identify the degradation species.
Each of the studied pesticides underwent photolytic decomposition, and the detailed mechanism of photolytic transformation was established. At least four degradation species were detected and identified in each case. Loss of alkyl, alkyloxy, amino-alkyl and chloro groups might be regarded as typical decomposition patterns. Deamination occurred at the last stage of decomposition.

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Effects of cultivation methods on some soil biological parameters of a meadow chernozem soil (Vertisols)
Published November 3, 2010

The effect of extended drought conditions on soil, the unfavourable cultivation technologies and the application of chemicals have been enhancing the processes of physical and biological soil degradation, so the fertility of soil is gradually declining. 
The effects of two cultivation methods – traditional ploughing (TP) and conservat...ion tillage (CT) – on the biological activity of a meadow
chernozem soil were examined in a long term experiment. Different parameters of the biological activity of soil were determined. These are
the numbers of total bacteria, microscopic fungi, aerobic cellulose decomposing bacteria, as well as the activities of some important soil
enzymes and CO2 production.
Conservation tillage seemed to be a more favourable cultivation method for the majority of microorganisms, the activities of urease and
dehydrogenase enzymes and CO2 production, compared to the traditional ploughing system. These parameters increased significantly,
especially in the upper layer of conservation tillage plots. Concerning the plant cultures, the majority of microbiological parameters were
higher in the soil of vetch (Vicia sativa L.) depending on the cultivation methods, so involving the pulses to the crop-rotation seems to be
very important in this soil type.
According to the ninth year’s results, the importance of conservation tillage as a means of protecting the soil biological activity in meadow
chernozem (Vertisols) can be established; it was proven by microbiological investigations.

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Soil – Environment – Sustainability
Published November 13, 2012

The future and life quality of human society depends primarily on the success of the sustainable use of natural resources: the geological strata–soil–water–biota–near surface atmosphere continuum. Soil is the most significant conditionally renewable natural resource in our Earth’s system, with three unique properties: multifunctionali...ty; fertility/ productivity; resilience. In the case of rational land use and precise soil management soil does not disappear, and its desirable „quality” does not decrease considerably, irreversibly and unavoidably. Its renewal, however, requires continuous care and permanent activities.
Consequently, the prevention, elimination or moderation of soil degradation processes and extreme hydrological situations (the two main factors limiting desirable soil multifunctionality) with rational land use and soil management are the key factors and priority tasks of sustainable development on each level and in each phase of the decisionmaking process.

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Comparative examination of the tillage systems of maize on meadow chernozem soil
Published July 24, 2014

Maize production plays a major role in the agriculture of Hungary. Maize yields were very variable in Hungary in the last few decades. Unpredictable purchase prices, periodical overproduction, the increasing occurrence of weather extremities, the uncertain profit producing ability, the soil degradation processes (physical, chemical and degradation) and the high expenses are risk factors for producers. Due soil tillage, there is an opportunity to reduce these risks. Based on the experimental database of the Institute of Land Utilisation, Regional Development and Technology of the University of Debrecen, Centre for Agricultural and the KITE Plc., various cultivation systems were examined with maize (Zea mays L.) as indicator plant in Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok country in 2012 and 2013. The sample area can be found in the outskirts of Kenderes on a meadow chernozem soil. On the examined plot, strip-tillage, subsoiling and moldboard ploughing were performed, each on 4.5 ha, respectively.

In general, our findings show, that strip-tillage and subsoiling can be alternative tillage systems beside moldboard ploughing on meadow chernozem soils in Hungary.

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