The Role of Mining Ponds in the Landscape Character



Publication Date

August 2022


Landscape character has played an important role in landscape analysis plans of landscape architecture works for decades. Mining ponds – depending on their size – are prominent landscape features both locally and regionally, which define and influence the landscape and landscape character, and often enrich it. The aim of this research is to analyze the international and Hungarian landscape character methodologies to reveal how they deal with the presence of mining ponds, and to analyze the role of mining ponds in landscape character based on the Hungarian landscape character methodology. During this research, a comparison of mining ponds and landscape character type areas was carried out for the whole territory of Hungary, both in terms of the area and the number of mining ponds, using GIS and statistical methods.

A review of international landscape character methodologies showed that the role of mining ponds in shaping landscape character is not found in any of the analyzed methodologies. Landscape character methodologies consider both the mined areas and the presence of water surfaces as indicators of landscape character, but do not distinguish between natural and artificial ponds within water surfaces, nor between water-filled mining ponds within mined areas, therefore do not specifically address mining ponds. In the Hungarian landscape character methodology, mining ponds are mentioned at the level of landscape elements or landscape mosaic units, but at an upper level of the landscape character units (landscape character sub-type, landscape character type, landscape character main type, landscape character area) mining ponds are not mentioned.

This article reveals which landscape character type areas contain the largest number and the largest extent of mining ponds. The so-called 'Water-dominated mosaic plain landscape' and the 'Pond landscape' landscape character-type areas abound in the presence of mining ponds. 14.5% of the 'Water-dominated mosaic plain landscape' landscape character type areas are covered by mining ponds (mostly gravel mines). In these areas, the role of mining activity and the role of mining ponds in shaping the landscape and determining the landscape character is particularly significant. The analysis of the surface area ratios of mining ponds (in hectares) revealed that 67% of the total area of mining ponds is located within or intersects a water-dominated landscape character type area, i.e. the ’Watery landscape’ main type. The majority of these are just a few (in number of pieces) but large within size (over 400 hectares) mining pond systems in Hungary. This result supports the dominant role of large mining pond systems in the landscape character. However, the analysis of the quantity of mining ponds shows that 83% of the total number of mining ponds – a large number of small (in size), single mining ponds – is located in such landscape character type areas which are not influenced by water.

We have analyzed the role of mining ponds in the hierarchy of landscape character areas, depending on their size, and the relationship between average mining pond size and landscape character type. The results show that although the presence of small mining ponds does not affect the landscape character type classification, the presence of mining ponds and pond systems larger than 10 hectares affects the landscape character type of a given area. Thus, most of the mining pond systems from gravel and peat pits in Hungary have been classified within water-dominated landscape character types based on the landscape character classification.