It has long been the subject of empirical researches to examine the technical efficiency on farm (micro) level. Two main methods are most often used in the empirical literature: the non-parametric Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) based on linear programming, and the Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) introduced by Aigner, Lovell and Schmidt (1977). The present study aimed to investigate the technical efficiency of farms involved in agricultural activities in Hungary using the DEA-method and the data from the Hungarian FADN database. The technical efficiency was examined based on legal forms, farm size categories and the type of farming between 2001 and 2013.
The alluvial development of the Great Hungarian Plain has greatly been determined by the subsidence of different areas in the Pannonian Basin. The temporal variation of subsidence rates significantly contributed to the avulsion and shifting of main rivers. This was the case in terms of the Hungarian Lower Danube when occupying its present day N-S directional course. The considerable role of tectonic forcing is also supported by the presence of different floodplain levels. Although, several channel forms are identifiable on these the timing of floodplain development has been reconstructed up till now mostly by the means of geomorphological analysis, and hardly any numerical dates were available. The main aim of this study is to provide the first OSL dates for palaeo-channels located on the high floodplain surface of the Hungarian Lower Danube, and to determine the maximum age of low and high floodplain separation on the Kalocsa Plain. For the analysis two meanders were sampled close to the edge of the step slope between the two levels. According to the results, the development of the investigated palaeo-meanders could be rapid. The formation of the older meander was dated to the Late Atlantic, while the possible separation of the high and low floodplain surfaces could start in the beginning of the Subboreal Phase.
Freshwater carbonates are unique depositions in the centre of the Carpathian Basin, with debated origin and age. Their formation on the sand covered area of the Danube-Tisza Interfluve is mainly related to lakes appearing in low lying interdune areas from time-totime. Carbonate deposition is governed by various processes, but in general it can be traced back to climatic and concomitant surface and subsurface hydrological variations. Therefore marl, limestone and dolomite layers can be a marker of environmental change. To identify the type of environmental change they may indicate absolute or numerical ages are needed. In previous studies this issue has been addressed by the means of radiocarbon dating. In the present study we attempted to bracket the age of freshwater carbonate formation with the help of optically stimulated luminescence dating and compared our results to radiocarbon data from the literature. In general, the luminescence properties of the investigated samples proved to be suitable for determining the age of the bedding and covering sediments. OSL dates confirmed previous interpretations that freshwater carbonate formation in the area could have a peak around 10,5 ka. However, the termination of the deposition could not be unambiguously determined at the present stage of the analysis. The compound geomorphology and sedimentology of the study area call for further investigations.
During the Late Pelistocene-Holocene transition the fluvial landscape of the Great Hungarian Plain changed considerably as a consequence of tectonic, climatic and geomorphological factors. Geochronology, and especially luminescence dating, is a very important tool in reconstructing these changes. The present study focuses on the Lower-Tisza region and addresses the timing of the development of different floodplain levels. In the meantime the luminescence characteristics of the investigated alluvial sediments were also assessed, with a special emphasis on the comparison of silty fine grain and sandy coarse grain results, as in the given medium and low energy environment fine grain sediments are more abundant, however, based on the literature, coarse grain samples are more reliable in terms of luminescence dating. Measurements were performed on 12 samples originating from the point bars of two large palaeo-meanders, representing different floodplain levels along the river. Results indicate the applicability of both grain size fractions for dating purposes, though fine grain subsamples overestimate in average by 1.5 ka the ages yielded by coarse grain subsamples. Consequently, fine grain samples can be used for outlining only general trends, and results need to be controlled by coarse grain measurements where possible. Based on the ages received, the upper floodplain was actively formed until 13-15 ka, when incision and the development of an intermediate floodplain level started. The meander on the intermediate flood plain level developed then very actively until 9 ka. As indicated by the received age information the intensity of meander formation could be highly affected by climatic and especially vegetation control. However, reconstruction can be refined later by further sampling and the application of the results of the present paper.
Reliable OSL dating of fluvial sediments requires an assessment of incomplete bleaching and consequent residual dose in samples. A well-established way of this is determining the equivalent dose of modern samples from similar sedimentary environments as in the case of palaeo-samples. Meanwhile, relatively low, or close to zero doses are also greatly affected by the thermal transfer phenomenon, which can also lead to a palaeodose overestimation. The present study attempts to quantify both factors in coarse and fine grain modern sediments along the Hungarian section of the Danube River, with the aim of determining their significance when dating both young and palaeo-sediments. Investigations were performed at 30 sites along a 417 km long river section with varying morphological and erosive character. The studied samples were deposited during the record flood of 2013, mobilising and relocating a vast amount of sediment in the system. Tests have shown that thermal transfer can be minimized successfully by choosing preheat temperatures below 200°C, however it remains a significant factor when dating young or modern sediments. Based on equivalent dose measurements, coarse grain samples proved to be relatively well bleached, and residual doses showed only a minor spatial variation. Although in terms of fine grain samples residual doses were obviously much higher, results can enhance the reliability of dates retrieved later from fine grain palaeo-samples. In the meantime, the higher spatial variability of fine grain residual doses may also allow the assessment of the erosive character of different river reaches.
Prehistoric mounds of the Great Hungarian Plain often function as refuges for relic loess steppe vegetation and their associated fauna. The Zsolca mounds are a typical example of kurgans acting as refuges, and even though they are surrounded by agricultural land, they harbour a species rich loess grassland with an area of 0.8 ha. With a detailed field survey of their geomorphology, soil, flora and fauna, we describe the most relevant attributes of the mounds regarding their maintenance as valuable grassland habitats. We recorded 104 vascular plant species, including seven species that are protected in Hungary and two species (Echium russicum and Pulsatilla grandis) listed in the IUCN Red List and the Habitats Directive. The negative effect of the surrounding cropland was detectable in a three-metre wide zone next to the mound edge, where the naturalness of the vegetation was lower, and the frequency of weeds, ruderal species and crop plants was higher than in the central zone. The ancient man-made mounds harboured dry and warm habitats on the southern slope, while the northern slopes had higher biodiversity, due to the balanced water supplies. Both microhabitats had different assemblages of ground-dwelling invertebrates.