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  • Is desertification a problem in Hungary?

    The term of “desertification” refers to a land degradation processes of arid, semiarid and sub-humid areas. Although the concept originates from Sub-Saharan Africa, desertification threatens also the area of Hungary. The greatest desertification risk is in the central part of the country, in the Danube-Tisza Interfluve where drought has always been a huge problem for the local society. Aridification processes are mainly due to climate change. Temperature increase and precipitation decrease as well as the increase of the frequency and amplitude of extreme events contribute to the acceleration of desertification risk. Severe or moderate droughts occur in Hungary nearly every year. Drought frequency has increased, primarily in the last decades. Main findings of several research projects of MEDALUS II and III EU Framework projects (experiments on the effects of climate change on vegetation, soils and ground water level) are summarized in the paper.

  • Sentinel-2 satellite-based analysis of bark beetle damage in Sopron Mountains, Hungary

    Sopron mountains were affected by bark beetle (Ips typographus) damage between 2017 and 2020, which was surveyed on high-resolution ESA Sentinel-2 satellite images for the period 2017 and 2020 using Mosaic Hub, Anaconda, and Jupyter Notebook web-based computing environments. Biotic forest damage was detected based on vegetation (NDVI) and moisture (MSI, NDWI) indices derived from satellite images. The spatial and temporal change of damage was observed in the image series, resulting in information about the level of degradation and regeneration. In pursuance of GIS processing, 84 forest compartments were compared, which showed in most of the cases (97%) negative interannual change in the index mean values (MSI = - 0.14, NDWI = - 0.2, NDVI= - 0.19) when years compared to each other. The remote sensing-based survey was marked out and validated based on the forest database of the Hungarian Division of Forest of National Land Centre and forest protection damage reports of the Hungarian National Forest Damage Registration System.

  • Long-term analysis of River Tisza water level data with regard to the ecological water demand of floodplain water bodies

    One of the main threats of our time is the increasing water demand not only globally, but also locally. These are often met at the expense of ecological water demand, jeopardizing the structural and operational conditions necessary to maintain good ecological status in aquatic and wetland habitats. This is why it is of great importance to explore possible water retention options. In 2019, based on the long-term data series on the water level of River Tisza, we studied the frequency and extent of flooding in the floodplain between Tiszabercel and Gávavencsellő, where there are valuable wetlands, including a ‘sanctuary’-type backwater. This was necessary because recently the floodplains have undergone negative changes. Their water volume has gradually decreased, their valuable wildlife has become rarer, some of them have completely dried out in the autumn and even one of them has burned out. From the analysis of the examined 48-years data, it could be concluded that flooding was relatively frequent in the sampled area, but the extent of water coverage had no significant effect either in space or time. It was also found that only water levels above 700 cm (based on the water meter of Tiszabercel, 98.36 mBf) could adequately ensure that the water bodies are filled up and flushed out. However, there is little chance of this, because of four reasons: (1) water levels of this height are becoming rare; (2) the duration and height of high water levels are mostly short in time; (3) water levels of several water bodies are artificially decreased; (4) the drainage effect of the River Tisza – which has been significantly incised after the river regulation – prevails in the area. Due to all, in the future, there would be a great need to maintain the water levels in the floodplain wetlands as efficiently as possible after the floods – for which we have made specific proposals for the places and methods to preserve the ecologically necessary amount of water.

  • Land use change detection along the Pravara River basin in Maharashtra, using remote sensing and GIS techniques

    In the past few decades there has been an increasing pressure of population all over the world, especially in India, resulting in the utilization of every available patch of available land from woodlands to badlands. The study area represents a basin which is economically growing fast by converting the fallow lands, badlands and woodlands to agricultural land for the past few decades. IRS (Indian Remote sensing Satellites) 1 C – LISS III and IRS 1 C PAN and IRS P6 – LISS III and IRS 1 D PAN Images were merged to generate imageries with resolution matching to the landscape processes operating in the area. The images of the year 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2007 were analyzed to detect the changes in the landuse and landcover in the past ten years. The analysis reveals that there has been 20% increase in the agricultural area over the past ten years. Built up area also has increased from 1.35% to 6.36% of the area and dense vegetation also has marginally increased. The remarkable increase in the agricultural area occurs owing to the reclaim of the natural ravines and fallow lands. Presently the area looks promising, but it is necessary to understand the sedimentological and geomorphological characteristics of the area before massive invasion on any such landscapes because the benefit may be short lived.