Meeting Aichi Target 15: efforts and further needs of ecological restoration in Hungary.
Aichi Target 15 aims to enhance the resilience of ecosystems through the restoration of 15% of degraded land by 2020. Compliance with the target is still insufficient, partly due to the lack of appropriate baselines and knowledge of restoration efforts. The four-level model of ecosystem condition was suggested to set the baseline and support the estimation of progress. This study is the first to assess the condition of MAES ecosystem types at a country scale, using the suggested approach. Altogether 613,000 ha of land is in close to natural condition (Level 1), 893,000 ha in a slightly degraded state (Level 2), 1,907,000 ha in moderately degraded condition (Level 3), and 5,890,000 ha of land is in highly modified category (Level 4). An inventory of ecological restoration interventions was created based on the reports of the national park directorates and EU LIFE projects. The findings of the restoration database of 634 interventions were compared to the need for restoration of nine habitat types. Restoration efforts were focused at habitat types with the most extended degraded area, except for dry forest restoration and the fight against invasive species in all three forest types. This study provides a more reliable estimate of habitats in natural state than Habitat Directive reporting can achieve, and is therefore better suited for estimating compliance with the 15% target. Only 1% of degraded land was the target for restoration in the period of 2002-2016. The details of the survey regarding habitat and degradation types can support further restoration planning.