A detailed national habitat mapping took place in Hungary between 2003 and 2006 which can be considered as a preliminary study for MAES-HU. Quality of natural and semi-natural habitats (ecosystem state) were also assessed and mapped.

In the framework of the Environment and Energy Efficiency Operational Program for 2014-2020 the "Strategic Assessments supporting the long term conservation of natural values of community interest as well as the national implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020” project has been launched, consisting of four main elements: Natura, Green Infrastructure, Landscape characteristics and Ecosystem services. The "Ecosystem services” element includes the mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services, as required in Action 5 of the Biodiversity Strategy 2020, and is also referred to as MAES-HU. The project’s beneficiary is the Ministry of Agriculture (later MA, responsible governmental body for Nature Conservation), along with its partners from academic sector. The management team was set up at the Nature Conservation Department MA in August 2015. The total budget is: HUF 1,07 billion (EUR 3,45 million) (85% ERDF + 15% national funding). The project consortium includes the following institutes and organisations: Centre for Ecological Research; Lechner Non-profit Ltd.; Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry, Centre for Agricultural Research; and the Research Institute of Agricultural Economics.

The project follows the cascade framework of ecosystem services (ES), laying great emphasis on:

  • creating a detailed ecosystem type map (basemap);

    • assessing a set of condition indicators that will be included in the ES capacity maps;
    • developing ES capacity maps based on expert knowledge at national scale, including steps of validation at case study level where possible;
    • assessing actual flow of services based on national datasets;
    • and relating the ES to different aspects of human well-being.

Participatory features have been included from the beginning of the project (stakeholder analysis, workshops for selecting ES to be assessed, National MAES Board - advisory board serving as a science-policy interface that supervises the work of the project at each level of the cascade) (Fig. 1.).

Scenario planning is going to complement the mapping and assessment procedure and help to integrate results into sectoral policies.

1. Preparatory phase (Oct. 2016 - Oct. 2017)

The project started with preparatory phase of 1 year. In 2016 the National MAES Board of 25 stakeholders was set up including representatives of different sectors - science (30 %), civil society (30 %) and government representatives (40 %).

Semi-structured interviews were made with representatives of selected stakeholder groups (23 people). The information was analysed, and resulted in a list of ecosystem service items that were categorized according to the customized CICES 4.3_HU. These were prioritized in a series of workshops according to the six main ecosystem categories: forests, water bodies and wetland areas, grasslands and arable fields (in a joint workshop but with separate evaluation) and urban ecosystems. Experts from different fields were invited to prioritise and a shortlist of ES was compiled based on expert consensus on their perceived societal importance in Hungary.

After the participatory prioritization process, 12 ecosystem services were selected for mapping and assessment (Fig. 2.):

Provisioning ES:

  • Cultivated crops for human nutrition

    • Reared animals for human nutrition
    • Cultivated plants for energy resources

Regulation & Maintenance ES:

  • Filtration/sequestration/storage/accumulation by ecosystems

    • Mitigation of surface degradation and erosion control
    • Hydrological cycle and water flow maintenance
    • Flood control and management of rainwater
    • Pollination
    • Global climate regulation by reduction of greenhouse gas concentrations
    • Micro and regional climate regulation

Cultural ES

  • Use of nature for recreation

    • Cultural heritage

The selected services are assessed by 6 thematic expert working groups (Food production, Climate and Energy, Hydrology, Pollination, Urban and Cultural ES WGs). Horizontal workshops across all ecosystem types ensure consistency in the evaluations.

  1. 1.      Implementation phase (Nov. 2017-Dec. 2020)

The MAES Board renewed in 2018.

1.1.   Mapping of ecosystems in Hungary

In support of the development goals a multi-level National Ecosystem Map of Hungary was created in 2019. Fine thematic detail is represented in 56 third level classes reflecting land cover and habitat types. The reference year is 2015 (with 2016-2017 extension due to the Copernicus data). The Ecosystem Map was created with an iterative combination of national thematic GIS layers (detailed vegetation and habitat maps, soil maps and data, national forestry database, data from the Land Parcel Identification System) as well as several Copernicus layers supported by semi-automatic classification of remote sensing data with random forest modelling. The applied bottom-up methodology demonstrates a new concept in the use of geospatial data. The Ecosystem Map was finalized in November 2019, and it is available with view service (Fig. 3.) and for download at:

1.2.   Ecosystem condition

Ecosystem condition indicators were included in two different parts of the project, both as ’general’ indicators (related to the concept of ecosystem integrity and human impact on ecosystems) and as ’specific’ indicators to be included in the cascade model for certain ES or groups of ES. The original minimum set of general ecosystem condition indicators planned to be mapped on the national level was: naturalness/degradation, habitat type diversity, soil productivity. The final set consists of indicators at the landscape level (e.g. habitat diversity, proportion of semi-natural areas, etc.), and aggregated indicators for each major ecosystem type (agricultural land, grasslands, forests, water, wetlands, urban areas). The project did not include the primary collection of new data, so the mapping and assessment relies on existing databases. As the maps were planned to cover the entire area of the country (not only Natura 2000 sites or other protected areas), the aggregated condition indicators were compiled mostly using indirect indicators of anthropogenic pressure. The six thematic working groups selected and developed the specific ecosystem condition indicators relevant for their ESs in addition. The maps are planned be finalized by early 2020.

1.3.   Ecosystem services capacity

The potential of the landscape to provide services was assessed by the six thematic working groups regarding the selected services. Expert based tier 1-2 models (spreadsheet models, extended with rules) were targeted, and - as far as possible - supplemented with further data, fine-tuned with models that can be calibrated with actual biophysical measurements.

1.4.   Flow of ecosystem services

The actual use of ecosystem services was based on statistical data as far as available, or substituted with modelled data. For three selected services an economic valuation is also under development (flood protection ES, recreation/tourism and carbon sequestration).

1.5.   Human well-being

The selected ES are to be connected with different groups of stakeholders, experiencing different aspects of human well-being.

Scenario planning, quantification and evaluation are planned for 2020.

Synthesis of results and input towards policy will also take place in 2020.



Rozália Szekeres dr. Érdine – Head of Department –

Livia Fodor Kisné Dr. – project manager –

Örs Marczin – desk officer for nature conservation development –

András Attila Takács Dr. – MAES expert –

Fig. 1. - Participatory features have been included from the beginning of the project

Fig. 2. - Ecosystem services selected for mapping and assessment in Hungary

Fig. 3. - Ecosystem base map of Hungary

Date: 20/11/2019


Research projects in Hungary targeting Ecosystem Services

2018 - 2022 Developing SUstainable PERmanent Grassland systems and policies (Super-G - Báldi András)

2018 - 2021 IPBES 2.0: A további sikeres magyar részvétel biztosítása az Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services munkájában (ED_18-1-2018-0003 (2116) - Báldi András)

2017 - 2019 Ecosystem services of karst protected areas – driving force of local sustainable development (Eco Karst - Aszalós Réka)

2017 - 2021 Inváziós növényfajok jellegspecifikus hatásai az őshonos növény és beporzó közösségekre, és méhészek általi használatuk különböző tér- és időskálán (NKFI FK123813 - Kovács-Hostyánszki Anikó)

2016 - 2020 Közösségi jelentőségű természeti értékek hosszú távú megőrzését és fejlesztését, valamint az EU Biológiai Sokféleség Startégia 2020 célkitűzéseinek hazai szintű megvalósítását megalapozó stratégiai vizsgálatok (KEHOP-4.3.0-VEKOP-15-2016-00001 - NÖSZTÉP, ZÖLDINFRA - Török Katalin, PhD)

2016 - 2020 Ökoszisztémák fenntartható működtetése – felfedezésekkel a klímaváltozás, a tájhasználat és az inváziók hatásának mérsékléséért (GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00019 - ÖSZ-GINOP - Báldi András)

2015 - 2018 Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking (ESMERALDA - Czúcz Bálint)

2013 - 2017 LInking farmland Biodiversity to Ecosystem seRvices for effective ecofunctional intensificATION (2013-2017) (LIBERATION EU FP7 - Báldi András)

2011 Lendület Projekt - A biodiverzitás hatása egyes ökoszisztéma szolgáltatásokra (Lendület - ökoszisztéma szolgáltatások - Báldi András)

Publications related to Ecosystem Services research in Hungary

National Ecosystem Map in Hungary (2019). International Cartographic Exhibition Catalogue. 29th International Cartographic Conference. 16 – 19 July, 2019 Tokyo, JAPAN.

Kovács-Hostyánszki A., Földesi R., Báldi A., Endrédi A., Jordán F. (2019): The vulnerability of plant-pollinator communities to honeybee decline: A comparative network analysis in different habitat types Ecological Indicators 97: pp. 35-50 Tovább ››

Ulicsni Viktor, Babai Dániel, Vadász Csaba, Vadász-Besnyői Vera, Báldi András, Molnár Zsolt (2019): Bridging conservation science and traditional knowledge of wild animals: The need for expert guidance and inclusion of local knowledge holders AMBIO: A JOURNAL OF THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 48 : 7 pp. 769-778. , 10 p.

Czúcz, B ; Arany, I ; Potschin-Young, M ; Bereczki, K ; Kertész, M ; Kiss, M ; Aszalós, R ; Haines-Young, R (2018): Where concepts meet the real world: A systematic review of ecosystem service indicators and their classification using CICES ECOSYSTEM SERVICES 29 pp. 145-157. , 13 p.

Díaz, S., Pascual, U., Stenseke, M., Martín-López, B., Watson, R.T., Molnár, Z., Hill, R., Chan, K.M.A., Baste, I., Brauman, K.A., Polasky, S.S., Church, A., Lonsdale, M., van Oudenhoven, A.P.E., van der Plaat, F., Schröter, M., Aumeeruddy-Thomas, Y., Bukyareva, E., Davies, K., Erpul, G., Failler, P., Guerra, C.A., Hewitt, C.L., Keune, H., Larigauderie, A., Lavorel, S., Leadley, P.W., Lindley, S., Demissew, S. and Y. Shirayama (2018): An inclusive approach to assess nature's contributions to people Science 19 Jan 2018, Vol. 359, Issue 6373, pp. 270-272

Fischer, C., Gayer, C., Kurucz, K., Riesch, F., Tscharntke, T. & Batáry, P. (2018): Ecosystem services and disservices provided by small rodents in arable fields: effects of local and landscape management Journal of Applied Ecology 55: 548-558.

Kőrösi Á, Markó V, Kovács-Hostyánszki A, Somay L, Varga Á, Elek Z, Boreux V, Klein A, Földesi R, Báldi A. (2018): Climate-induced phenological shift of apple trees has diverse effects on pollinators, herbivores and natural enemies PeerJ 6:e5269

Winter, S., Bauer, T., Strauss, P., Kratschmer, S., Paredes D., Popescu, D., Landa, B., Guzmán, G., Gómez, J.A., Guernion, M., Zaller J.G. and Batáry, P. (2018): Effects of vegetation management intensity on biodiversity and ecosystem services in vineyards: a meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology 55: 2484–2495.

Kovács-Hostyánszki A., Espindola, A., Vanbergen, A.J., Settele, J., Kremen, C. and Dicks, L.V. (2017): Ecological intensification to mitigate impacts of conventional intensive land use on pollinators and pollination Ecology Letters 20: pp. 673–689.

Mihók B, Biró M, Molnár Zs, Kovács E, Bölöni J, Erős T, Standovár T, Török P, Csorba G, Margóczi K, Báldi A (2017): Biodiversity on the waves of history: conservation in a changing social and institutional environment in Hungary, a post-soviet EU member state. Biological Conservation. 211: 67-75

Soltész Z, Erdélyi K, Bakonyi T, Barna M, Szentpáli-Gavallér K, Solt Sz, Horváth É, Palatitz P, Kotymán L, Dán Á, Papp L, Harnos A, Fehérvári (2017): West Nile virus host-vector-pathogen interactions in a colonial raptor PARASITES AND VECTORS 10: 449.