Climate change and land use conflicts in the Hungarian-Serbian cross-border region

Authors and Affiliations: 

Zsuzsanna Ladanyi, Department of Physical Geography and Geoinformatics, University of Szeged

Viktoria Blanka, Department of Physical Geography and Geoinformatics, University of Szeged

Karoly Fiala, Lower Tisza District Water Directorate

Gabor Mezosi, Department of Physical Geography and Geoinformatics, University of Szeged

Minucer Meszaros, Department of Geography, Turism and Hotel Management, University of Novi Sad


Sustainability of water resources is endangered by the increasing problem of drought on long-term in global scale. In the last decades many studies recognised its regional ecological and economical consequences in the South-eastern part of Europe as well. On the basis of former studies Southeast Hungary and North Serbia were seriously affected by drought even at present and it is expected to increase in the future. Thus, land use conflict in relation to the present and possible future drought hazard was analysed in this region.

For the numerical characterization of water shortage, PaDI (Palfai Drought Index) were used, which characterises the strength of drought for an agricultural year with one numerical value, thus having strong correspondence with crop failure. It expresses the evaporation (temperature) and precipitation relations (the last one with time-varying water demand of plants), and is in consideration of groundwater level state. For the estimation of future drought hazard, regional climate model simulations (REMO and ALADIN) were used. On the basis of the model data PaDI were calculated for two future periods (2021-2050 and 2071-2100) and the changes in the drought hazard were estimated and the most affected areas were allocated.

The vulnerability to drought was assessed using land cover data (Corine LandCover Database) and soil properties (European Soil Database) on subregional scale. Land use conflict mapping will be carried out by overlapping analysis of the vulnerability and exposure to climate stimuli on a regional scale. With these assessments, climate sensitivity, downscaled to subregions, and inadequately used areas can be allocated, where the future strategies and landscape planning have to pay increased attention. With this method, using not only the climate data in drought hazard assessment, but local modifying factors were also taken into consideration, a more detailed and accurate definition of the drought hazard could be obtained.

Preparing for prospective drought by developing a more optimal land use and water management should be a key objective of the spatial planning to mitigate the damages of droughts.