14 October 2013: “Lombardy Region” Award for the documentary about hay meadows

Sondrio Festival The documentary entitled Mountain hay meadows – hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture won third prize at the Sondrio Festival in October 2013.

The film was directed by Ágota Juhász, produced by László Demeter and appeared in 2012. Featured area: Muntii Ciucului (Natura 2000 Site), Eastern Carpathians, Romania.

This authentic, down-to-earth film powerfully connects people to the land they love. Their traditional way of living with the opportunities and limits imposed by their environment shows us that sustainability depends on traditional and cultural values and practices. Their dedication reminds us that some old ways are best and deserves our respect and support. For this the international jury is honored to present the Award to Mountain Hay Meadows.

Official website: http://www.sondriofestival.it/en/news/all-winners-sondrio-festival-2013



12 November 2012: Documentary released on DVD


“Mountain hay meadows: hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture,” a film by Ágota Juhász.


Film synopsis:

Traditional hay meadow management in Transylvania created and maintains outstanding biodiversity and landscape, provides healthy food and sustains rural economies and communities. This award-winning film documents a disappearing lifestyle, local knowledge, and the outstanding natural treasures of our region, and describes the contradictions and challenges in European policies aimed at protecting these threatened habitats and the small scale farmers who manage them.


The film and a video message from Prince Charles was showed in Brussels last week at the European Commission, European Parliament and Hungarian Representation as part of our lobbying activities in support of small scale farmers and biodiverse hay meadows.


Please e-mail Biró Róbert with copy to Barbara Knowles for purchase.



8 November 2012: Policy seminar in the European Parliament


Organized by the Pogány-havas Association with the support of the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism, Sógor Csaba MEP, DG Environment and the Society of Biology UK.


Brussels 2012

Pictured: Gergely Rodics (Pogány-havas Association), Csaba Sógor MEP, Rebecca Barrett (N Pennines AONB), Guy Beaufoy (EFNCP)
and Gwyn Jones (EFNCP). Also speaking: Giovanni Malfatti (Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform).


“Hay meadows provide an immense range of benefits to farming communities and wider society. They create some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery and cultural landscapes. Simply to watch this natural, environmental and cultural heritage disappear before our eyes is, surely, not an option we can consider.” HRH the Prince of Wales


Please click here for a full report about the event!



Europe's hay meadows in decline - what are we losing and what can we do?


A test case for EU agriculture and biodiversity policy


You are cordially invited to this policy seminar in the European Parliament.
Time: Thursday 8 November 09:30 to 11:00 AM.
Place: European Parliament, Brussels.
Summary: Traditionally managed hay meadows full of flowers, insects and other animal life are among the most biodiverse places in Europe and a source of joy, inspiration and beauty to everybody. They are a living part of our shared culture and heritage. They provide many environmental, social and economic benefits. They are protected by EU policy and subsidies. Yet they continue to disappear, through abandonment, intensification or conversion to other uses. This policy seminar will discuss how European institutions can protect these treasures and support the farmers who manage them more effectively. With a video message from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
RSVP:Please send your name and organisation to Richard Kovács richard.kovacs@europarl.europa.eu by 1 November. If you need a badge for entry to the Parliament, you must send your full name, date of birth and nationality, ID type (eg passport, ID card, driving license), number of that ID, postal address (as in the ID) and bring the ID with you.

Organizers and Sponsors: Pogány-havas Association (RO), European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism with support from the European Commission (DG Env), SÓGOR Csaba, MEP, Society of Biology (UK).


We will also be presenting our film at DG Agri in Brussels (places limited).


Mountain hay meadows: hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture


Time: Tuesday November 6 (from 13:00 to 15:00)
Venue: Brussels, DG Agri, LOI 130 - 11th floor room A
Title: Mountain hay meadows: hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture A one-hour film to be followed by a Q&A session with the speakers and a discussion among participants.
Speakers: Gergely RODICS and Laszlo DEMETER of the Pogány-havas Association (RO).
Summary: Traditional hay meadow management in Transylvania created and maintains outstanding biodiversity and landscape, provides healthy food and sustains rural economies and communities. In this seminar we present and discuss our award-winning film which documents a disappearing lifestyle and describes the contradictions and challenges in European policies aimed at protecting these threatened habitats and the small scale farmers who manage them. Copies of the film are available in English and Hungarian.
Contact: Barbara Knowles barbara.knowles@yahoo.co.uk



12-13 November 2010: Cheese making course.



















29 September 2010: Prize for hay meadow project.


A project involving two members of the Society of Biology has received the 2010 project award of the Gesellschaft für Ökologie - the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Róbert Bíró, the project's administrator at the Pogány-havas Association, collected the award in Germany in August on behalf of the team.


The award, for an outstanding project in applied ecology, recognised the efforts of "Mountain hay meadows - hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture", which aims to help and record the sustainable use of hay meadows and to maintain high biodiversity, important ecosystem services and healthy local communitiesin two adjacent but very distinct landscapes of the Eastern Carpathians. "We are delighted to have won this award, which gives international recognition to our research and practical interventions," said Dr Barbara Knowles MSB, senior science policy adviser to the Society of Biology.


László Demeter MSB, an ecologist at Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, agreed: "It's an honour to be recognised for our work. This award encourages us to further work in this novel field in Romania that links biodiversity and traditional agriculture in a multidisciplinary applied research, in an area where flower-rich hay meadows still represent the basis of the livelihood of thousands of families".


Read about the project and its recent conference or contact Barbara at barbara.knowles@yahoo.co.uk The conference papers are shortly to be published in a special volume of Acta Oecologica Carpatica.





10 June 2010: Conference in Gyimes.















15 May 2010: Rains came and wildlife is growing on the fields, forests, ponds and puddles.



Amphibian census / ...continued



Male Alpine Newt



Male Carpathian Newt


Adder / Common Frog tadpole



Dactylorhiza sambucina meadow



Mountain maple, abandoned meadow and view in the Csík Mountains



2 May 2010: Orchards are blooming, the grass is growing, the first corncrakes started to sing, yellow-bellied toads and tree frogs became active. We managed to film the beautiful fairy shrimps that inhabit some temporary ponds.


Female Hankó-shrimp / Male green fairy shrimp


Examining stream creatures


The common stilt is a rare migrant in the Csik basin / Storks on a thermal



15 April 2010: Grass is turning green and tadpoles are growing. Manuring still goes on in some parts. Primula, Hellebore, violets are blooming.


Hillside in Gyimes, the green fields are meadows manured during winter / Spreading manure


Rubbing the manure with a turned harrow and a log / Mountain maple in early spring


Growing frog embrios / Thousands of tadpoles



2 April 2010: A lot of things happened in the last month. The snow is gone and spring has finally arrived. The breeding of the common frog is already over in Csík. This species is an explosive breeder, and as its latin name (Rana temporaria) suggests, it appears for just a short period in the ponds, and then it disappears. Storks and snipes arrived among many other migrant birds. People started the spring agricultural works, for example evening the surface of hay meadows using a horse and harrow.


All the snow melted in two days / Great crested newt on the way to the breeding pond


Moor frog and common frog / Horsecarts with blue mountain background


Moor frogs in amplexus / Packing the harrow


Filming frogs / Getting close to the frogs



28 February 2010: The first common frogs were observed near Delne, emerging probably from a hibernation habitat, a spring. In Hungarian this species is called "gyepi béka" = lawn frog, referring to the importance of grasslands to this frog. Hay meadows are an important terrestrial habitat for this species.


The first common frog in 2010 / View from a frog hibernation place


Stream meander / Temporary stream



26-27 February 2010: the Pogány-havas team participated on a TRINET workshop organized by the Agora Foundation in Székelyudvarhely and Homoródalmás. TRINET is a European network for the conservation and sustainable use of grasslands, which is joined on this occasion by the Pogány-havas MA.




20 February 2010: 20 wooden rakes have been made by a local craftsman for the hay making festival. The rakes are made from three types of wood: the handle out of hazel, the head out of mountain maple and the teeth out of ash wood. Five hand scythes will be made soon. Except the blade that is bought from the market, all is made by hand. The scythe handle is made of three types of wood too: spruce, hazel and ash.




18 February 2010: International Conference on High Nature Value Farmland – policy and practice, Sibiu, September 2010. More information...



15 February 2010: We invite you to participate in our conference about hay meadows, 7-9 June 2010 in the Boros Guesthouse, Borospataka (Wine valley), Lunca de Jos village. More information...