Faculty of Forestry

The Faculty of Forestry is one of the faculties that cherishes its roots going back to the Selmec era. Its two hundred years of history is described in detail in the chapter entitled “The History of the University.” From that it is important to mention here Hungary’s pride in its students of forestry, mining and metallurgy who offered armed resistance in the Ágfalva fights in 1921. They defended the Western border of the country, when the dictated peace of Trianon wanted to separate Sopron and the neighbouring settlements from Hungary, in addition to the other enormous losses of territory.

The victorious fight of the students led to the referendum, where the citizens of Sopron and the area revealed that they wanted to belong to Hungary. The National Assembly conferred the honourable title “Civitas Fidelissima” on the city out of gratitude. Owing to the forestry students of that time Sopron remained a Hungarian city.

 

At the Faculty of Forestry there are five B.Sc. programs in natural sciences, agriculture and technology. The present three M.Sc. programs will soon be increased to five.

The education of forest engineers at the faculty is unique in Hungary. Its characteristics stem from its origin as a companion course to the technical training of mining engineers.

For a long time, students of mining and forestry studied basic and technical subjects together. By keeping this tradition, particular emphasis is placed on the teaching of technical subjects. Forestry students acquire technical, scientific, ecological and economic knowledge, and gain experience in forest and wildlife management and nature conservation.

In 1993 the Faculty of Forestry was the first in Hungary to start a Wildlife Manager training program, which prepares students for game protection and nature conservation tasks, while making them committed to preserving the stock of game as a national asset. The 1,166 hectare University Hunting Training Area, established under the direction of the Institute of Wildlife Management and Vertebrate Zoology, provides practice oriented education where students gain practical experience in monitoring and managing wildlife.

In 2003 the Faculty of Forestry was the first in the country to start a full time program of Nature Conservation Engineering. Students are trained in ecology and biology and acquire profound knowledge of natural processes, living organisms and communities, protected and vulnerable natural resources. Graduating students are prepared to preserve the natural environment.

The training of Environment Engineers prepares students for environment protection and development, environmental damage prevention, rational utilization of natural resources and developing low-waste technologies.

The Environmental Science program educates applied environment researchers in the scientific areas of this multidisciplinary environmental science. They have an up-to-date scientific attitude and a good command of foreign languages to be able to examine the tasks of the environmental science in Hungary in a European and global framework.

Practice oriented training at the faculty is assisted by collections belonging to the institutes.

The 300 piece mineralogical collection and the 100 piece petrographical collection, at the Department of Forest Site Survey, were founded in Selmecbánya. They present the most important domestic minerals and rocks in a taxonomic order. These collections acquaint the students with the characteristics of the minerals and rocks they study.

There is also a 56 piece monolith exhibition, which shows the Hungarian soil types and classifications based on genetics and soil geography.

The herbarium at the Institute of Botany and Nature Protection is the basis of botany education. Its earliest parts originate from Selmecbánya. Today it comprises the historical collections of plants, the plant species of the Carpathian Basin, collections of woody and non-woody plants, seed, fruit and bud collections, wood block collections and a photographic archive of plant species.

The vertebrate zoological collection brought to Sopron from Selmecbánya forms the basis of the collection of the Institute of Sylviculture and Forest Protection. Its first specimens were bought by the academy in 1842. After World War I, it was one of Hungary’s most extensive and best quality collections. The collection, which is still growing today, presents 1,105 specimens of 106 vertebrate species. The collection comprises 1,227 eggs of 92 bird and reptile species and the characteristic bones or skeletons of 93 vertebrates. A plant pathology collection also belongs to the institute.

The vertebrate zoological collection belonging to the Institute of Wildlife Management and Vertebrate Zoology has the skulls, bones and preparations of domestic species, and a unique collection of eggs. Practical hunting training is aided by a collection of more than 50 firearms and a complete ammunition collection. A manifold wildlife management collection presents preparations, trophies and track and droppings samples of the huntable bird and mammal species, and several protected species, models of tools, traps and equipment, as well as the dioramas of the most characteristic domestic habitats.

The bulk of the insectarium’s insects, butterflies, Hymenoptera and Neuroptera,

originates from the collection of Dr. János Győrfi (1905-1966), an internationally recognized forest entomology professor.

 

The Faculty of Forestry has a significant scientific capacity; 80 percent of the lecturers have advanced degrees. Its research areas are: the natural and economic conditions of forest management, wildlife management, the forest as an ecosystem, population and ecological genetics, impact assessment of climate change, nature conservation, environment protection, molecular bases of the physiological processes of forest trees and dendro-chemistry. Research is done in the fields of forest management, forest protection, forest management planning, opening-up of forests, water management, big game research, small game and waterfowl research, flora research and mapping, vegetation research and mapping, environmental monitoring, geophysics, hydrogeology, geomatics, planetology, landscape research, nature conservation, development of forestry mechanization and noise-vibration analysis.

The concentration of the research, development and innovation activities of the institutes and the utilization of the faculty’s intellectual capacity for the industry is managed by two independent organisational units, ERFARET (Forest and Timber Utilization Regional Knowledge Centre) and KKK (Environmental Cooperation Research Centre Non-profit Ltd).

The bulk of research consists of long-term monitoring research activities. The faculty operates several research stations in compliance with the specific research areas. The forest hydrology research station of the faculty is at Hidegvíz Valley, where the Institute of Geomatics and Civil Engineering does forest hydrological monitoring in cooperation with other institutes. Field research aims at investigating the crown and litter interception, the evapotranspiration of riparian forest ecosystems, the water regime and sediment transport of forest streams. The aim of the research is to explore the hydrologic cycle of the forest covered catchment in hilly regions and to calculate and model the relations of their water budget elements.

The impact of climate change on tree stands is examined at the meteorological station in the beech forest of Hidegvíz Valley. The movement of the climate frontiers is explored at the Somogy meteorological station set up close to the climate frontier. Observation was restarted at the meteorological station in the botanical garden of the university in the 1980s. From 1925 it operated as the meteorological station of the city for half a century.

The Breuer György Research Station at Lake Fertő, operated by the Institute of Wildlife Management and Vertebrate Zoology, was completed in the summer of 2007. The project was accomplished with the support of the Forest and Timber Utilization Regional Knowledge Centre program (ERFARET). The research base is surrounded by the Fertő-region biosphere reserve, a landscape-protection area. This is a water habitat of international significance for nesting and migration of waterfowl. As a cultural landscape it is part of the World Heritage. The research house, made of natural materials (wood and reed), fitting into its environment, is the site of wildlife and marine biological observations, nature conservation research and bird ringing camps. The research station does bird ringing in the reed belt and muddy shallows of Lake Fertő, long-term wildlife biological monitoring and ecological status assessment. It is equipped for doing laboratory work and for teaching small groups of students.

The Studinka László Research Station is at Irénmajor adjacent to Mosonszolnok. Its eponym was a famous wildlife manager and ornithologist of the region. In 2007-2008 it was renewed with the assistance of the MEZORT Company. It is an important centre of small game, great bustard and nature conservation research.

The hunting lodge, built in the 1920s by the legendary professor Gyula Roth, stands in the hunting training area of the Sopron hills. It is the ideal site for students’ field training and for vertebrate zoological and big game research.

The Faculty of Forestry operates a research station and an educational centre at the Sümeg Mogyorós Hill Nature Conservation Area. Mogyorós Hill is rich in scenic, natural and cultural-historical values, and is one of Hungary’s most significant geological assets. Forest open-air school programs, folk dance camps and camps for preserving cultural traditions, creative art camps and scientific conferences take place in the educational centre organised by the Forestry Museum. Visitors can learn about the wonderful natural resources of Mogyorós Hill in the open-air museum at the sites of the original exposures equipped with information boards. The faculty is planning to further develop the area by establishing an ecopark and by operating a well equipped forest open-air school.

 

With the modernization of education, the building of the Institute of Chemistry and Soil Science was renovated in 2007. Educational and research laboratories were renewed and new analytical and soil-testing laboratories were brought into use. The instrument park of the institute was also extended significantly. In the past years the main building of the university, which houses the Institute of Botany and Nature Protection, the Institute of Wildlife Management and Vertebrate Zoology and the Institute of Geomatics and Civil Engineering, was also renovated. In the course of renovation new laboratories and tutorial rooms were built. The new educational centre in Erzsébet Park was inaugurated in 2007. The building houses the Institute of Environment and Earth Sciences and the Foreign Language Centre.

 

The Faculty of Forestry maintains relations with German, Slovenian, Czech, Romanian, Canadian, Austrian, Slovakian, Polish, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian and Chinese universities. It has close relations with universities and professional institutions at home and abroad, including IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organisations), EFI (European Forest Institute), CIC (International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation), ERTI (Forest Science Institute), OEE (National Forestry Association), MEGOSZ (Association of Hungarian Private Forest Owners), FAGOSZ (Hungarian Federation of Forestry and Wood Industries), Hungarian Chamber of Engineers, OMVV (Hungarian Hunters’ National Society) and OMVK (Hungarian Hunters’ National Chamber).