There has already been a change in average annual temperature and precipitation in Hungary and projected changes are expected to pose new threats to the Körös-Maros National Park. Projections indicate an increase in average anual temperature of 2°C for 2021-2050 for the area. These changes will have diverse impacts on the Park’s habitats and biodiversity, the extent and timing of which will depend on individual sensitivities to climatic changes, as descfribed below.
Pannonic salt steppes and salt marshes (1530)
These habitats are very dependent on the duration of wetting and temperatures, both of which affect salt accumulation and other soil characteristics. Periods of low or no rainfall result in drying of the steppes and marshes (note that there is already a regular trend of drying), while excess summer rainfall may increase leaching of the soil, leading to reducing salt characteristics and thereby degradation of the salt steppes and marshes. Sodic habitats are among the most endangered as they provide special, complex soil conditions that can support both steppic meadow species (due to humus content) and meadow species (due to groundwater effects) and sodic species (due to sodium-salt accumulation at around 1 m depth). If any of these processes/conditions change (becomes stronger or weaker), the habitat composition will change. Variable circumstances and climate extremes, including those as a result of projected climate change, can be beneficial for habitats such as dense and tall Puccinellia swards or Annual salt pioneer swards of steppes and lakes.
Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation (3150)
As a projected impact of climate change, decreasing rainfall harms hydrophyte vegetation with its levels simplifying as a result of horizontal and vertical degradation. Species number may fall as species with tight ecological tolerance disappear. Species requiring high naturalness state of habitat (Myriophyllum verticillatum, Ceratophyllum demersum, C. submersum, Utricularia australis, Salvinia natans) will be at risk of disappearing. The increase of less sensitive species is expected.
Pannonic loess steppic grasslands (6250)
As species composition is dependent on annual rainfall; this may be sharpened with projected changes in climate. Decreasing water from wet areas during summer threatens species composition as a result of lowering groundwater table.
Alluvial meadows of river valleys of the Cnidion dubii (6440)
As a consequence of lowering groundwater table, these meadows are at risk of drying out and, in parallel, becoming weedier. Several of their stands rely on a shorter spring inundation.
Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (91E0)
These habitats are extremely endangered as the water scarcity due to projected climate change might impede the renewal / regeneration of tree and shrub species.
To address these risks, a climate-adapted management plan (CAMP) has been elaborated with the involvement of experts and local stakeholders. General and specific recommendations include: management strategies and measures, restrictions, barriers, indicators and methods for stakeholder engagement.