The Case Study in Bózsva, Hungary

The Case Study in Bózsva, Hungary

László Szemethy (Szent István University, Hungary), Gyula Kiss (Szent István University, Hungary), Gergely Schally (Szent István University, Hungary) and Judit Galló (Szent István University, Hungary)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2824-3.ch013
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Abstract

The case study in 16 km2 around the Municipality of Bózsva surveyed attitudes and mapped an area that had been flooded. Further mapping, to plan a potential cycle route, revealed issues with bureaucracy and a need for training in the use of digital technology.
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Background

Our case study was carried out in Bózsva, which is a small village (206 inhabitants) in the county of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén in the Hegyköz region of Northern Hungary (See Figure 1). The local 16 km2 municipality is directed by five elected representatives and a mayor. Bózsva is bordered by forest and cultivated area, therefore local people are working in agriculture and forestry, and many of them are hunters. A majority of them are private land users, but there is also state forestry and a National Park in the area. In recent years the area around Bózsva has become more and more popular among nature tourists and the municipality has started a long-term program for ecotourism. The most important attraction of the area is the panoramic landscape.

Figure 1.

The location of Bózsva in north-east Hungary

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The Socio-Economic Project

The case study was divided into two parts: a survey of the decision-making processes and two mapping projects.

Decision Making

One of our main objectives was to obtain information on the relation to nature and decision-making processes of different private and state land users. We had personal interviews with the relevant stakeholders about the identified difficulties, problems and also solutions during the project period.

The results showed that local people are interested in natural resources. They have a positive attitude to nature; they feed birds and do outdoor pursuits, etc. However, less than 50% of the local people hunt, due to the strict Hungarian hunting regulations. The local people collect fungi, wild plants, fruits and other plant materials. In spite of their use of biodiversity, they could neither put a value on these natural resources nor on venison.

More than 50% of the respondents engaged in farming, but they had difficulty estimating the number of their decisions related to biodiversity use. Nevertheless, it was clear that there were great differences between employees of state companies and private landowners. While a private forester made a lot of decisions, a state forester had to work to a year plan. We also found differences in access to information. While the employees of state companies were satisfied with the information flow, the private landowners complained about poor access to information.

In relation to information access, we asked the stakeholders about the computer use. Almost all respondents use computers at home and/or at work. They use the Internet, buy things on the Internet and read the news, but they hardly ever search databases or use data necessary for land-management decisions.

After the initial general survey, we focused on two issues: the construction of the cycling route and the impact of the flood. Although the construction of the cycle route is an important project in the local and regional ecotourism development, many problems complicated and hindered planning such a project. The major problem was the over-bureaucratic authorization process. Permissions had to be obtained from many different authorities located in distant cities. They needed to obtain an official position and the opinion of 14 authorities and public suppliers. Moreover the prospect of funding was blocked because of the bad condition of the Hungarian state budget. Later a natural disaster, extensive flooding, made the prospect of construction impossible.

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