Posts Tagged ‘Tokaj’

Retaining walls of abandoned vineyard terraces on Tokaj Nagy Hill

04:11 PM

Tibor József NOVÁK, József INCZE

(From previous issue No.35)

Dry constructed stone built terrace retaining walls are characteristic landscape elements in historic vine regions of Europe. Since the cultivation of these terraced slopes is mostly very expensive and labor-intensive they were abandoned in large extension during the last century. On abandoned vineyards trees and shrubs overgrow the walls, which failure and collapse without further management and corrections. Collapse of terraces and walls means not only loss of cultural heritage and destruction of soil archives, but has also environmental consequences as inducing increase of erosion and nutrient fluxes and cause slope failures. We investigated dry built stone terrace walls on abandoned vineyards on Tokaj Nagy-Hill, which is one of the most famous vine-producing region of Hungary, and a World Heritage site as cultural landscape as well. On the hill altogether 1.16 km2 terraced slopes were mapped and 90.9 km long stone walls were delineated.

Extension of slopes transformed by terraces and retaining walls on Tokaj Nagy Hill

Extension of slopes transformed by terraces and retaining walls on Tokaj Nagy Hill (source: Tibor József NOVÁK – József INCZE)

Based on the substructure of the walls four types of lithological constitution could be specified. In the first case walls are built on loess or redeposited loess material. In the second type lithological discontinuities could be observed, in which lay directly below the wall colluvic material, settled over weathered volcanic rocks. In the third case the walls were built directly on rock outcrops. The fourth type’s construction is initiated by digging a ditch at lower part of the parcels, and stones emerging due to cultivation were removed and putted in the ditch, since they fill the ditch and raised in form of a wall. In all wall construction types also soils on level of reference groups according to WRB were classified, and Cambisols, Regosols, Calcisols, Leptosols, Luvisols and Phaeozems were found. The further management and protection of this heritage is currently legally unclear. In the absence of legal protection e.g. in form of nature conservation areas, there are no any guarantees for persistence of walls, and implied natural and cultural values.

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