The site is covered by mosaic of broad-leaved deciduous forests, plantations and grasslands. A part of the project area is located in the Kiskunság National Park covering 41.3 ha. The ’Kunpeszéri Szalag-erdő’ is a protected area of national importance covering 118.8 ha. There are five ex lege protected fens (covering 71 ha in total), which are protected sites of national importance.
There are three separate protected sites of local importance covering approx. 360 ha in total. Altogether, 591 out of 1628.46 ha (36.3% of the project area) are protected at national or local level. The project focuses exclusively on lands which are state-owned. These and are registered as forests or grasslands in the Hungarian land registry system. Management rights are wielded by KEFAG ZRt. and KNPD, these two state organizations are the exclusive property managers of these forests. KEFAG ZRt. manages 920.20 hectares, and KNPD manages 141.86 hectares.
The Peszér-forest is clearly the most valuable representative of the calcareous sand forest steppe habitat complex in Hungary, acting as a regional hotspot of biodiversity, hosting extensive habitats of Community interest and several populations of species of Communitiy interest.
The conservation status of the overall project area (especially those parts, which does not fall under national protection, therefore the most of this site) shows expressed ambiguity. While the habitats located at the lands registered as ‘grassland’ in the Hungarian land registry system can be characterized by favourable conservation status, the habitats located at lands registered as ‘forest’ (which, in fact, include not only the wooded habitats, but clearings, i.e. meadows, as well) show unfavourable and still declining conservation status.
The reason for this ambiguity is, that in the case of grassland we could have introduced and have promoted the adequate utilization method/management system (i.e. extensive cattle grazing) which contributes to the sustenance of favourable conservation of natural habitats. Unfortunately, similarly effective utilization/management system has not been found the forests. According to this phenomenon, this project focuses exclusively on the local habitats types with unfavourable conservation status. The project area – notwithstanding the undoubtable negative effects of several threatening factors – still hosts one of the most species-rich habitat complex of the Pannonian biogeographical region.
The project area is located at the Danube-Tisza interfluve region, at the north-western border of the Sandhills of Kiskunság. From public administration perspective it is located within the periphery of Kunpeszér village, Bács-Kiskun County. The area lays approx. 35 kms far from the closest town (Kecskemét). The area is bordered by the appendices of the Peszér forest (form the North), the virtually treeless steppes of the Peszéradacs Meadows representing extremely high natural value (form the West), forest steppes of high natural value covering the sandhills of Tatárszentgyörgy (from the South) and the mosaic landscape of forests, meadows and arable fields (form the East).
Edaphic properties and surface morphological characteristics
The area is located on the bunch of sandhills of Kiskunság penetrating into the wetlands of ‘Turjánvidék’, forming a 15 km long and 2 km wide peninsula. Sandhills and depressions form a landscape-level mosaic of morphological structures. Based on the morphological characteristics the area can be divided into three parts. The northern part is characterized by high sandhills and deep depressions. According to paleobotanic and palynologic data it has been covered by forest-steppe vegetation during the last 12,000 years. The middle part of the area is the most uniform unit, it has been covered by forest during the Holocene. The southern part is characterized by not too high sandhills with mild slopes, which has been covered by forest-steppe vegetation, like the northern part. The altitude of land surface ranges between 97.0 and 106.2 meters (above the average level of Baltic Sea). This landscape (together with the other landscapes of the Hungarian Great Plain) was formed on the sediments of the former sea bottom. The upper layer of the soil was formed from the sediments of the ancient Danube by the wind. The direction of the hill backs follows the typical wind direction (from north-west to south-east). The basic rock bed is formed by the Precambrian metamorphosed rock (Palaeozoic granite, streak porphyry and Mesozoic sediment rocks) which is covered by Pannonian sediments in 1,500 m height, and the upper 100 m is formed from Holocene sediments. The lower layer of the soil is made of fluvial sand, while the upper layer is usually made of wind-carried sand. The soils of those parts, which have been covered by forest vegetation for a longer period, are characterized by humus-rich brown sand, while the upper bands of the sandhills are characterized by calcareous sand rich in coarse granules. At deeper altitudes, gleysoils can be found, and at certain locations organic soils (peat soils) are present, also.
The water supply of the region is based on both the local precipitation and the ground water. The water supply is heavily influenced by the amount of annual precipitation (at regional scale). Hydrological conditions are influenced by the difference in altitude between locations, the heterogeneous structure of soils, and the stratification of soils. The ground water level lies in 0.0-3.5 m depth (on average). The decline of ground water level is measurable at this site as well as in the whole region. Chemical composition of the ground water is characterized by the dominance of calcium-magnesium-hydrogen carbonate, although the hardness of water seldom exceeds 25 °dH (German hardness). The area lies on the western watershed of the Danube-Tisza interfluves region, with waters flowing towards the Danube. The amount of natural water supplies are determined by the bights of the ancient Danube located at Dabas and Peszéradacs, and also by the water level artificially regulated in the Danube Valley Chanel.
The climate of the Danube-Tisza Interfluve region is dominated by continental effects. The relatively small ratio of cloudy conditions, the amount of sunny hours exceeding 2100, the expressed daily and seasonal fluctuation of temperature are characteristic of this region. During the summer the amount of sunny hours exceeds 840. The average annual temperature is about 10.2-10.3 C°, the average temperature of the vegetation season is 17.2 C°. The average of the daily maximum temperature of the hottest days is about 34.0-34.4 C°. The average of the daily minimum temperature of the coldest days is about -16.0 C°. The average amount of annual precipitation is 550-570 mm. During the vegetation period the amount of precipitation is about 330 mm. The amount of days with snow cover is 32 on average. The average of maximal snow cover is 19-20 cm. The index of aridity is 1.24-1.28. The characteristic wind direction is northwest.
From phytogeogrpahpical perspective, the area is located in the Praematricum within the Eupannonicum, in the centre of the Pannonian phytogeographical region (Pannononicum).