Kiskunság National Park
Founded in 1975, the Kiskunság National Park is the second national park in Hungary. Its main mission is to preserve the centuries old coexistence of people and nature in the Danube-Tisza Interfluve. According to archaeological findings, there have been pastoral cultures in the region since the Late Copper Age (3rd-4th millennia BC), and later on the invading Hungarians as well as the Kuns kept on this lifestyle.
Gradual and sometimes abrupt changes in history have brought about changes in the landscape as well. Just think of the events of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin, the devastation accompanying the Turkish occupation, the large-scale animal husbandry of the Kuns and the town of Kecskemét, the anthropogenic destabilization of sand dunes in modern times, and the viniculture, fruit production and gardening related to the farmland lifestyle.
This lowland landscape, despite its homogeneous appearance, hosts a variety of different habitats. It carries the legacy of the perpetual changes of nature, the effects of water and wind and the footprint of humans having inhabited the area for centuries. The Kiskunság is now a cultural landscape; therefore, the habitat fragments of soda lakes, the ragged surface of sand dunes and the wetlands that still possess the ecological complexity of old times preceding the hydrological changes of the region can provide surprizes and refreshing experience when visited.
Due to the fragmented configuration of natural habitats, the Kiskunság National Park, unlike other national parks, is not a contiguous territory but a mosaic, composed of nine distinct units, covering all the characteristic habitat types of the Kiskunság. The area of the National Park was 30,628 ha when it was founded but, owing to the expansion of protected areas, its total area now amounts for more than 50,000 ha (500 km2). Two thirds of its area is biosphere reserve. The Upper Kiskunság Lakes, the Upper Kiskunság Steppe and Lake Kolon are recognized by the Ramsar Convention as wetlands of international importance. Furthermore, Lake Kolon is the only biogenetic reserve of Hungary.
Habitat fragments surviving the turmoil of landscape modifications were saved by the creation of the National Park in the final hour. The conservation, management and public presentation of the scattered habitat islands is more difficult and cost and time intensive, and requires more expert knowledge than it would be in a confluent area.
The diverse landscape features of the region lend high species diversity to the National Park. More than 12,000 species have been recorded here, of which lower plants account for 1800 species, while higher plants are represented with 1300 species. The number of animal species exceeds 8800.
Core areas of the Kiskunság National Park:
- Upper Kiskunság Steppe
- Upper Kiskunság Lakes
- Peszéradacs Meadows
- Lake Kolon
- Fülöpháza Sand Dunes
- Orgovány Meadows
- Szikra and the Alpár Meadow