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All over the world, rural communities developed mainly stable and sustainable, traditional (extensive) land use systems to manage natural resources. Resource management and related traditional ecological knowledge based on understanding of the functioning of the ecosystem help local communities to maintain important resources, like forests. Forest plays an important socio-economic role in the life of rural communities. Wood is one of the most elemental raw materials used in households, but its non-timber benefits play just as important a role.

We examined sustainable use of forests in a Csángó community in Gyimes region (Eastern Carpathians, Romania), providing insights into attitudes within folk forestry towards natural resources, driving forces, and changes in human relations with the forest.

Wood as a raw material is a resource that largely determines the daily life of the Csángó community, while non-timber products (e.g., forest grazing, forest fruits, herbs) play a complementary, yet important role in Gyimes life. The survey of forest flora and vegetation confirms that Gyimes farmers are familiar with the plant species that reach significant coverage in the canopy, shrub and herbaceous layers, they are well versed in the forest types occurring in the landscape, their dynamics, their most characteristic stages in the succession after felling. Overuse is an undisputed and acknowledged part of the forest-management, threatens social-ecological system-flexibility. As long as natural systems are able to renew themselves (forests can regenerate), there is chance for the further use of this important resource and in a broader context there is chance for the survival of the local community as well.

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Ecological Anthropological Research in Hungary. Foreword
Authors: Dániel Babai and Balázs Borsos
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The multi-faceted relationship of society and wildlife is partly shaped by local perception determined by cultural or economic factors and resulting in positive or negative attitudes. The approach taken may influence the survival and the range of species and speciesgroups, in particular species associated with extremely negative emotions.

Connections between local communities and wild vertebrate species were studied in four regions within the Carpathian Basin (Gömör/Gemer — Slovakia, Szilágyság/Sălaj — Romania, Gyimes/Ghimeş — Romania and Drávaszög/Baranja — Croatia). During the work, spontaneous manifestations obtained in semi-structured interviews aiming at the exploration of the locally known fauna were taken into account.

Reviewing the five generally known families of vertebrates it can be stated, that — similarly to the global trends — the perception of amphibian and reptile species is extremely negative in the Carpathian Basin just as well. Most positive attitudes are related to bird species but due to presumed or true economic reasons some birds also include less favoured species. As to mammals, large predators are seen as harmful pests for husbandry and fearful for humans. The antipathy felt for bat species is an interesting phenomenon, mostly explained by their special physical constitution and mysterious lifestyle.

The perception of local communities originating from cultural or economic factors and resulting in varying signs may have an impact on the size of the populations of certain species or species-groups. Ethnozoological research provides significant help to deeper knowledge about background of connections between local communities and species of wildlife, motivations behind the activities of society has become of paramount importance for development of conservation strategies.

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Reviews
Authors: Veronika Lajos, Gábor Máté, Lajos Balogh, László Gy. Szabó, Dániel Babai, Judit Farkas and Dóra Czégényi
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Complex Ethnographic Research Methods for the Study of Protected Areas and Border Communities at the Slovenian-Hungarian Border1
Authors: Ágota Lídia Ispán, Dániel Babai, László Mód, Viktor Ulicsni and Csaba Mészáros

Abstract

The history of the Hungarian-Slovenian border region is to be understood as socio-natural history: two co-evolving entities, society and nature have always been entangled in a web of connections and reciprocal influences. It is particularly true in this border area, where ecological diversity is the result of a century-long cultivation and correlating local lifestyles and economic strategies depend heavily on the ecological and climatic conditions of the region. In view of this interdependence, we aim to provide an in-depth analysis of both human and non-human agents in a region where ethnic, national, and state relations create a thickly interwoven fabric of human network with a background of a fairly uniform and intensively cultivated environment. By doing so, we would like to challenge the idea of Anthropocene as an overarching model and bring local images to the forefront. We argue that instead of Anthropocene, members of the local communities in this border region have entered an era in which they face difficulties acting as independent agents in their environment, since they have to rely on the mediation of state-funded institutions, such as the National/Regional Parks.

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