Significant planting programs are underway – István Nagy announced

naThe Ministry of Agriculture (AM) is continuing the forest and tree planting with more significant programs than ever before, and it allows everyone to participate in the greening of Hungary.

This was announced by Minister of Agriculture István Nagy at a press conference of the Ministry in Budapest on Thursday. The Minister urged further support for private farmers, who are the first to be able to afforest poor quality land. He also highlighted the need for afforestation of degraded and difficult-to-use areas, especially abandoned industrial zones. It would cost thousands of billions to clean up tens of thousands of hectares of land nationwide, while contaminated soil can be cleaned by afforestation, he added.

For example, the minister said that forests could be replaced by, for example, aged 50-60-year-old fruitless orchards, if the subsidies would make the owners interested. Producers are better off not growing apple trees but gaining afforestation without labor and processing capacity, and the renewal of forest strips also benefits production and wildlife. The ministry leader sees only thousands of hectares of new forest being planted this way.

Municipalities could apply for grants to support the afforestation of parks and lanes, as planned by the MoD. The portfolio would support the planting of species that tolerate drought and urban air, while not emitting allergenic pollen. The Minister expects not only local governments but also civil and ecclesiastical communities in plantations, as he added that the experience of the programs so far has been positive so that new ones can have significant social and environmental results.

Climate protection has suddenly become one of the top topics in public discourse, prompting many to take action, so programs that are about to begin must harness the will of young people and civil society, the minister said. The consequences of climate change, as he said, are indeed significant, and it is “therefore” irresponsible to create tension in the hope of political gain, citing a climate disaster. The environmental challenges can only be solved by professional cooperation, and those who really want to do so can attend community events and open days that are expected to start next spring or launch new competitions, the minister stressed.

The importance of environmental challenges was also highlighted by István Nagy at the international professional conference following the press event. The head of the ministry stated that Hungary is responding to the adverse effects of the climate by increasing the forest area, supporting the renewal of the EU forestry strategy and relying on the experience of afforestation in other states. Forestry is part of agriculture that offers effective and long-term responses to climate change, the Minister of Agriculture emphasized.

According to the MoD Secretary of State for Agriculture, forest management is also facing major changes due to climate change. Péter Zambó called for the preservation and protection of almost 2 million hectares of forests at the press conference, which absorbs nearly 5 million tons of carbon dioxide in Hungary every year. He also called for the continuation of afforestation programs, noting that since the change of regime, 200,000 hectares of inland forests have been expanded and carbon uptake has increased even more. The Secretary of State welcomed the fact that since 2010, more than twice as many, nearly 90,000 children have been enrolled in forest-forestry schools, the Hiking Camp program has been successful, and nearly a thousand educators have been inducted into nature conservation and forestry throughout the country. Experience has shown that hikers are increasingly respecting forests, respecting the rules of the forest, but at the same time they believe that environmental education in schools and beyond must be further strengthened.