Hungary: Does Budapest Dream of Metropolitan Sheep?

New bee pastures and a new concept for grazing animals for the capital – The green plans of the chief urban architect of Budapest

Aerial view of Budapest
©Bence Balla-Schottner

If you climb the Castle or Gellért Hills in Budapest, (Not advisable in this weather), then you will see an iconic cityscape unfurl in front of you. The River Danube is a dramatic landmark, with the historic bridges arcing over the wide blue strip of water and the Parliament dominating the Pest waterfront. But the rest of the city is a metropolitan urban jungle stretching all the way to the horizon.

With the advent of the 21st century, new schools of thought appeared in architecture, urban engineering and agriculture that focus on making cities greener, more livable and more sustainable. These clearly influenced the person in charge of the green spaces of the city of Budapest because he recently talked about bee pastures, meadows and even plans for grazing flocks of livestock for the Hungarian capital.

In a recent interview with the news portal Telex, Chief Urban Architect Sándor Bardóczi explained that the metropolitan municipality of Budapest has recently established twenty-two bee pastures over 28 hectares of land – With more being managed by district municipalities.

The maintenance of the new bee pastures has not been easy. Since there has been an extremely high amount of precipitation in May, and since the metropolitan municipality is underfunded, it has been a challenge to maintain green areas and mow weeds. In some assigned bee pastures, invasive weed species won the war against the planted endemic grassland flora. Moreover, these new pastures will need years to reach the aesthetically pleasing outlook of flowering meadows – Which tests the patience of urban citizens. However, despite the initial difficulties, Mr. Bardóczi is glad that the ecologic paradigm of the bee pastures is spreading in the collective mind of the populace.

In another interview with the popular science portal Qubit, Mr. Baldóczi explained that it would be ideal for the city to have its own grazing flocks, primarily for the conservation of the protected grasslands within the jurisdiction of Budapest. The Chief Urban Architect also said that the Budapest Zoo could also be involved in a grassland grazing flock project. In his opinion, grazing would be an excellent recreational activity for the stressed animals of the petting zoo section.

Mr. Baldóczi also highlighted that natural grasslands are very important because they actually have a higher capacity for carbon sequestration and maintaining humidity than woodlands and these grassland areas are constantly growing a natural hummus layer in the soil which stores carbon.

The Chief Urban Architect also talked about the establishment of new protected natural areas in the metropolitan jurisdiction – Including on the Hajógyári island, which is the location of the famous annual Sziget Festival, Central Europe’s largest annual music event. The woodlands on the banks of the river constitute an important refuge for migrating birds and the wetland meadow in the vicinity is a valuable habitat for the protected Scilla vindobonensis flower.

You have not yet reached the end of the Internet. More news follow beyond this point.

The Budapest-Belgrade team brings you curated newsflashes every Friday afternoon. These are quick, digestible, to-the-point briefings about all the latest developments in the Serbian and Hungarian agro sectors.

Today we bring you:

A large wall mural of a bumblebee that landed on a flower. Szeged, Hungary.
©Syngenta Hungary

In this week’s Hungary Newsflash, you can read about the appearance of brown rugose fruit virus on tomato farms, sour cherry harvest delays, ICT solutions for livestock sustainability, a Hungarian organic feed supplement innovation, a fish catastrophe caused by climate change, and a new horticulture expansion.

Close-up picture of a ripe apple.
©Mylene

In the latest Serbia Newsflash, you can find out more about a new IPARD plantation establishment incentive program, the struggles of the sugar industry, why dairy producers are facing hard times, the EU-Western Balkan business platform launch, and the new agricultural market regulation legislation that entered into force.