The Role of Mining Ponds in the Hungarian Greenway Network



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The aim of our research is to present the current state of mining ponds, wetlands (created by mining activity in Hungary) and to give support to the mining ponds’ nature protection importance and their role in green infrastructure.

This research topic is very important, partly because of the lack of data related to mining ponds, but also because wetlands and their connecting blue and green infrastructure are playing a more important role today in reducing the effects of climate change.

A GIS analysis was made using data from the national mining register, the CORINE Land Cover and Agricultural Parcel Identification System base map, non-motorized vehicular route data, and maps of the national nature protection areas.

As a first step of the GIS analysis, we selected those wetlands in Hungary that were created by mining activity. With the help of density-analysis, we visualized the national distribution of mining ponds. As a second step, we compared these identified mining ponds with the protected natural areas of Hungary, and then we analyzed their exploration with greenways. We investigated the connection between size, raw material type, age, and the potential for tourism, religious pilgrimages, horseback riding and bicycling, as well as nature protection.

Mining activities represent a paradox among environmentally-destructive land use activities. In most cases, the extraction of raw materials below the water-bearing level causes huge damage to the landscape. As a result of this, natural resources have been lost and continue to be destroyed. At the same time, these constructed mining ponds represent significant landscape value and recreational potential. Their natural value is demonstrated by the results of our research, which found that 21.85% of mining ponds are part of some nature protection designation (National Parks, Protected Landscape Areas, National Nature Reserve areas, Natura 2000 Areas and the National Ecological Network). According to our GIS analysis, 34% of mining ponds are incorporated into greenways in Hungary.

In the case of proper usage and landscape rehabilitation, mining ponds – due to their nature protection values and beneficial landscape features – are mostly suitable or can be made suitable for being destination areas and stopping points of greenways.