Introduction of the Dél-Nyírség Bihari Landscape Protection Society


The Dél-Nyírség Bihari Landscape Protection Society (in Hungarian Dél-Nyírség Bihari Tájvédelmi Egyesület) is an environmental Non-Governmental Organization in Debrecen dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Nyírség and Bihar region, located in Hajdú-Bihar County between Debrecen and the Roumanian border.

The area is an irregularly-shaped one, composed of stepp-forests, wetland habitats and open plains interspersed with traditional Hungarian farms, small towns and willages .

The largest population center is Vámospércs with approximately 5000 people. The area is home to important (and some endangered) species of flora and fauna, notably the Pulsatilla hungarica, Iris aphylla hungarica and the Bulbocodium vernum.

The Dél-Nyírség Bihari Tájvédelmi Egyesület (DTE) was founded in 1995 in response to a growing concern over the preservation of natural resources in the area. Beginning in the early 1980s, local conservationists and biologists began an informal series of species surveys, inventories and re-plantings; summer camps were organized to promote interest in the area. These efforts resulted in the founding of the organization which now numbers abut 30 members, most of whom are professional conservationists, biologists and botanists; 5 are members of the staff of the Hortobágy National Park. The membership has successfully applied for small grants, for example from the Ministry of Environment, the Duna Program at the Regional Environmental Center, Econet Action Fund and the ÖKOTÁRS Fund. This money has been utilized for habitat acquisition, resource inventories, informational signs, presentations and a photo exhibitions on the area and a summer camps for children, etc. A small amount of funding for the group's activities also comes from membership dues.

The goals of DTE, as stated in their application for official Hungarian NGO status, are as follows :
- to contribute to the protection of landscapes in the Nyírség-Bihar region.
- to contribute to the protection of the environment.
- to survey and cultivate natural and cultural resources in the region.
- to participate in the documentation of these resources in protected and unprotected areas.
- to prevent further damage to these resources.
- to educate people in the natural and cultural resources of the area
- to pursue legal action against any threats to these resources.

To achieve these goals, DTE has established the following objectives:
- to help private landowners preserve and improve wildlife habitats, environmental quality and to protect important landscape areas.
- to protect and improve drinking water supplies, fishing resources and hay and food crop production for the human population in the area.
- to promote a land ethic among the private landowners, business people and municipal governments located in the area.
- to introduce the benefits of democracy to a segment of rural Hungarian landowners and business people by explaining and exploring landowners' rights and options concerning the future of their property.

To address these objectives, DTE initiated a Stewardship Program (Legyünk Társak a Természet védelmében or "LTT"). The Program modelled on American programs such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "Partners for Wildlife".

Most recently the Society started an amateur astronomical educational program and a public awareness campaign in light pollution.