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Covering almost 36.500 ha, the Szigetköz region is the largest semi-natural flood area in the entire Danube Valley today.

The region situated in the northwest of Hungary, is a typical floodplain, interspersed with rivers, with small sandbanks. The region has one of the richest areas of flora and fauna in Hungary, but it is also a region of significant agricultural activity, both on a large and small-scale. Today it is a largely agricultural landscape with patches of forests, meadows, swamps, backwaters and watercourses. The whole Szigetköz region is a Natura 2000 site.

The Szigetköz region has an exceptionally high ecological and landscape value even on a European scale. Despite previous human activities, all the landscape mosaics (and habitats) were still governed by the dominating dynamics arising from periodic and episodic floods with associated fluctuating levels of surface and groundwater. Besides the natural heritages, intensive agricultural production is also carried out in the Szigetköz region. The crop yield of wheat, corn, sunflower, and alfalfa, major crops for Hungary is normally about 15-20% higher in the Kisalföld region, including Szigetköz, than nationally, and often of higher quality. In the areas near the reservoir, where the groundwater level is extremely high, shallow rooting crops are grown because only the top layer of the soil is suitable. In the areas where the groundwater level decreased substantially, deeper rooting crops are grown. Only 8-13% of the farmland in the Szigetköz is currently irrigated. Irrigation not only would be costly, but it has a range of potential disadvantages including adverse effects on soil structure.

Hungary - nbs site


Climate change has a growing effect on agriculture. Extreme heat, rainfall events and reductions in precipitation and water availability are expected to hamper crop productivity. Crop yields are also expected to vary increasingly from year to year due to extreme weather events and other factors such as pests and diseases. Changes in temperatures and growing seasons might also affect the proliferation and the spreading of some species, such as insects, invasive weeds, or diseases, all of which might, in turn, affect crop yields. Agriculture needs to be adapted more and more to extreme weather conditions. We cannot always use the same trends, and agricultural practices which were connected to the previous weather conditions. The traditional/conventional practice does not always give adequate answers for the actual challenges. We need to understand the actual processes and trends to cope with new challenges.

Hence, the actual fast in-site field information, like data about soil, nutrient state of the soil, water content, meteorological data and data of the crop has increasing importance. We need to understand the processes. For adequate answers, we need actual experiences, the actual measurement for making fact-based decisions.

If we have real-time information, and if we can understand the trends then we can change farming practices towards nature-based solutions. A part of the potential yield losses can be offset by different farming practices. For example, using the right amount of input materials based on data, adjusting soil works dates to temperature and rainfall patterns, using crop varieties better suited to the new conditions.

NBS test site

  • trans4num will conduct experimentations in three replications comparing the NBS innovations with conventional intensive farming systems.
  • The trials will be conducted on a 20 ha land with three years rotation: durum wheat, sorghum and soya.
  • trans4num will conduct the experimentation together with practice partners and local stakeholders on Mecsér experimentation sites.
  • Soil quality after application will be tested using fast sensor-based technology to examine the effect of the NBS introduced on soil structure and organic matter improvement as well as yield improvement


  • Testing nature-based solutions and comparing them with conventional farming system
  • Monitoring the effect of nature-based solutions
  • Developing monitoring and decision support system that helps farmers to manage NBS solutions
  • Testing the existing monitoring systems and their applicability to NBS
  • Preparing a practical handout (online, paper) for farmers to raise awareness and emphasize the economic advantages of NBS and to cope with the challenges of NBS.

Trial objectives:

  • To examine the effects of tillage methods (tillage without rotation vs rotary tillage)
  • To investigate the effect of variable seeding in the aspect of NBS
  • Examining the effect of different cover crops
  • Investigating the effect of green manure

Monitoring methods:

  • Soil sampling and analysis with fast sensor-based technology
  • Plant sampling and analysis
  • Digging soil profiles to examine the effect on soil structure and life
  • Using remote sensing technologies for crop health monitoring: NDVI measurements, drones, satellite images
  • Yield monitoring - Yield meter on the combine
  • Monitoring the effect on biodiversity (bird monitoring)


  • Creating a fact-based decision support system to implement NBS solutions
  • Minimizing the negative environmental impacts of the production with NBS
  • generating evidence for integrating nature-based solutions in national and local policies and agricultural development strategies.
  • Optimizing the use of input materials based on monitoring data
  • Changing the attitude of farmers in the Szigetköz area towards nature based solutions


Zsolt Kovács-Csomor
Veronika Rapp

Zoltán Fűzfa

Dr. András Vér