The first priority in the area has been that of the military for more than 100 years, and this determined the formation of the present landscape. Hundreds of years of extensive use and mowing have kept the vegetation in the same state in the lower areas. On a more than a 100 year-old map of the III. military survey, wet forest patches and clearings are in the same location as they are presently. Only real change has started from the beginning of the 1970s, partly because the effect of drainage has begun to show, and partly due to intensive fertiliser use in grassland management.
Significant changes happened in the higher sandy areas. The dry sand steppes and the poplar-juniper thickets have remained in smaller patches, but every effort was made in the last 200 years to stop sand from moving. The main tool was black locust. Later on, black pine and Scots pine was used in between, and recently non-native poplars as well. Thus most the former sand dunes are now non-native plantations on the shooting range. In the lower areas between sand dunes were probably oak forests, which have also been cut out, and transformed into black locust plantations.
The Dabas Turjános Nature Conservation Area is part of the Turjánvidék, and has been under protection since 1965. The size of the protected area is 146 ha. There are “ex lege” protected fens on the Táborfalva Military Shooting Range and Training Area. Most of the area belongs to the core area of the National Ecological Network. The habitats and species of community importance can be found in large numbers, therefore part of the shooting range got admitted into the Natura 2000 network under the name ‘Turjánvidék’ (HUDI20051).
Ownership rights, management and use
Most of the project area (approximately 75%) is owned by the Hungarian state. Trustees are the Ministry of Defence (HM) and its certain boards in the Táborfalva Military Shooting Range and Training Area, and the Danube-Ipoly National Park Directorate in the Dabas Turjános Nature Conservation Area.
Military use is the primary function of the Táborfalva Military Shooting Range and Training Area. Gunnery practice (land and aerial), demolition trainings, navigation field exercises are frequent. Forest management is done in the area by the Ministry of Defence Forestry Company. A small part of the shooting range is leased to private farmers for mowing and arable farming. Usually wheat, corn, alfalfa, and rapeseed are grown on the lands. The whole project area is a hunting area.
There is some illegal land use because of the large size and difficult defensibility of the area, for example illegal material extraction, waste disposal, quad and motocross, and illegal logging.
The Danube-Ipoly National Park Directorate is responsible for conservation management aspects in the whole Turjánvidék. The conservation authority in charge is the Middle-Danube-Valley Inspectorate for Environmental Protection, Nature Conservation and Water Management. Present conservation activity in the area of the Turjános NR of Dabas is the gentle, time-limited mowing of fens rich in valuable orchids to prevent shrub succession as a result of drying-up.