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Natural environment improves on 180,000 hectares under KEHOP

Natural environment quality has improved on 180,000 hectares in Hungary with the help of 101 projects supported with some 39 billion forints (EUR 102m) worth of funding under the EU's the KEHOP operative programme for environmental and energy development, the agriculture ministry's state secretary for nature protection said on Friday.

Utilisation of funds under the framework’s current cycle coming to a close has been 107.5 percent, Andras Racz said, adding that two-thirds of the projects were aimed at the rehabilitation of habitat and the rest at the rehabilitation of wetland.

He noted that over 21 percent of Hungary’s territory, 2 million hectares, is protected Natura 2000 area and more than 9 percent, about 850,000 hectares, is a protected natural area of national importance. “This is a good ratio compared with other European countries, but continued intervention is still required since those areas are fragmented,” said Racz.

Hungary’s national parks attract on average 1.6 million visitors per year, 500,000 of whom visit sites with caves, Racz said. The country has two Global Geoparks listed by UNESCO and 4,000 caves, he said.

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