The aim of the LIFE Endemic Panalp project is to improve the conservation status of six – mostly- endemic plant species and five species of insects as well as the condition of their habitats in Hungary and in Slovakia. Although all of the project sites are grassland habitats, they are facing different threats, including for instance, invasive species, pressure of game, trampling. In order to ameliorate the condition of these habitats, the project plans to clear shrubs, eradicate invasive species, reduce wildlife pressure and trampling damage, enhance grazing and plant ex situ cultivated plants – among other things.
To monitor and understand the impact of the project, we conducted an ecosystem service assessment for six Hungarian Natura 2000 areas (managed by the Duna-Ipoly National Park) and a socio-economic impact assessment for all of the seven affected project sites in Hungary. The specific purpose of our baseline evaluation was to assess the current condition of the chosen ecosystem services located in the project areas as well as to analyse the socio-economic effects of the project. For this purpose, we selected relevant ecosystem services mainly affected by the project and socio-economic indicators to be measured within the framework of the project.
We assessed the biomass as provisioning service, the carbon sequestration and habitat maintenance (including biodiversity) as regulation and maintenance services. Tourism, recreation, aesthetic function, cultural heritage, research and educational potential as well as spiritual connection as cultural services were additionally evaluated as cultural ecosystem services. We also analysed the attitude and opinions of the two main stakeholder groups (local inhabitants and land users e.g. tourists, hikers, cyclists). We conducted this assessment before the project actions took place (2022) and we assess the above mentioned ecosystem services and socio-economic indicators in 2023 and at the end of the project to comparably map the project impacts.
In the framework of the same project, we carried out a similar ecosystem service assessment in the Pilis mountain. We assessed the current condition of the same ecosystem services (biomass as provisioning service, the carbon sequestration and habitat maintenance (including biodiversity) as regulation and maintenance services. Tourism, recreation, aesthetic function, cultural heritage, research and educational potential, as well as spiritual connection as cultural services but for only one project site in the Pilis mountains (managed by the Pilisi Parkerdő Zrt.). Pilis is a popular destination for tourists, hikers, cyclists, paragliders, etc. where we assess the impact of the planned projects actions (removal of invasive species and native shrubs, regulation of tourist traffic, relocation of a paraglider starting point) on the chosen ecosystem services.