Original paper

Intensity of the anthropogenic effects on a small landscape unit in North Hungary

Horváth, Gergely; Karancsi, Zoltán

Abstract

The Medves Region is a small landscape in North Hungary along the Slovakian border, in the vicinity of Salgótarján city, where the level of alteration of the natural environment caused by human activity is above average and the landscape has suffered greatly due to strong anthropogenic effects. The first great human impact was deforestation, which was partly caused by agriculture and partly by the demand for wood for heavy industrialization (included mining activity). By the end of the 19th century, the region was playing an important role in the Hungarian industry, especially due to its major fossil fuel, brown coal, and to basalt mining. Not only the mines but also the related infrastructure altered the landscape significantly. Based mainly on coal-mining, great industrialization took place in three different waves. Many industrial plants (iron refining plant, engineering works, ferro-alloy factory, glass factories etc.) were established. Simultaneously, the city of Salgótarján, the centre of the area, was totally demolished and a new “socialist city” built with high rise blocks of prefabricated houses. These changes resulted in a great load on the environment, which can be characterized by the level of hemeroby. In order to summarize the anthropogenic effects on the landscape, a map was made representing the hemeroby levels of the region. The map was based on land-use data and another map representing the results of long-term field investigations and observations, showing different types of anthropogenic effect on the landscape. It is important that the great intensity of certain effects does not at the same time mean strong hemeroby level, because the level of naturalness also plays an important role in determining categories. As regards the categories, ahemerobe levels are already no longer to be found, the recent “natural” forests belonging rather to the oligohemerobe category. All levels can be observed in the Medves Region, from this type up to the metahemerobe category. This paper details the grounds for such classification and the characterization of certain categories.

Keywords

antropogenic effectshemerobyland-use changingdeforestation