Volume XXI |

Geodiversity Assessment by Application of Geoinformation Approach (on the Example of Golo Bardo Mountain, Western Bulgaria)

Abstract: Geodiversity is considered as a complex indicator of the abiotic environment. On the example of information about Golo Bardo Mountain (Western Bulgaria), the article emphasizes the need to develop methods for quantitative assessment of the geodiversity of an area to minimize the subjective nature of the assessment by defining clear criteria that can be quantified. The complex geodiversity assessment of the investigated area was made based on the analysis of lithology, soils, topographic features and drainage network. The analysis is done in a GIS environment. Topographic settings are analysed on the base of digital elevation model with a cell size of 30 m using Spatial Analyst Tools. The elevation model is used for calculating the terrain roughness, slope gradients and aspects of the slopes. Geological component is evaluated considering the petrographic composition of the area. The variety of the abiotic components is calculated by application of grid method (cell size 1000 x 1000 m), using Focal statistics tool, neighborhood type “Variety”. Fuzzy logic is suggested to be used for comparison of areas located in different regions and with different landscape conditions.
The results of the geodiversity assessment show that most of the area of the Golo Bardo mountain has moderate geodiversity index. The method used in the article gives reliable results with minimal subjectivity, that can be used for assessment of the distribution of the geodiversity on a particular area and allow to compare different territorial units. The results obtained in the current study show good correlation between areas with high and moderate geodiversity index, and areas with high biodiversity values. The applied methodology and the visualization of the geodiversity index allow for easy understanding of geodiversity by a wide range of stakeholders, even non-geoscientists, and can be successfully applied in the planning of geotourism activities.

Volume XX |

Phylogenetic diversity and EDGE approach in conservation of birds of prey in Europe

Abstract: Biodiversity of our planet is rapidly eliminated, at rates much higher than ever observed in human history. The birds of prey, among others few groups of bird species in Europe, have the highest proportion of threatened and near threatened species per taxonomic group and also, 25% of birds of prey species are experiencing population decline. Today, more than never in our modern life, we have to fight for nature conservation. Our understanding of biological diversity has broadened due to the fact that the use of phylogenies in ecology is increasingly common. If our conservation efforts are directed to maximize the preservation of biodiversity in a broad sense, we have to think beyond species. If we treat the species as evolutionary units, and not like types, our conservation efforts will preserve not only the organism, but the organism capacity to responde to environmental changes. In this paper I aimed to highlight the importance of phylogenetic information in conservation of birds of prey species in Europe through the EDGE approach. This metric has been implemented to prioritise species, beeing the only global initiative to focus on conservation of threatened species with significant amount of unique evolutionary history. Using this approach in conservation, we can be more confident that we will have the potential to preserve more functional trait diversity than expected. The top five birds of prey EDGE species in Europe are: osprey (Pandion haliaetus), the black-winged kite (Elanus caeruleus), the egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), the european honey-buzzard (Pernis apivorus) and the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), according their EDGE scores.

Volume XX |

Comparative analysis on the role of vegetation in controlling the potential effects of gas stations on residential areas

Abstract: When considering human activities with potential negative effects in urban environment, gas stations are a hot topic. For over one century their presence increased associated to the number of vehicles used in cities, and frequently they are associated with residential areas – where the highest number of users are present. Acknowledging their potential effects, gas stations are a response to a high demand in cities – that of mobility. This is especially relevant in Central and Eastern Europe cities (such as Bucharest), which continue to be dominated by cars and alternative models of transportation are present in lower proportions. In the present study we started from extracting with field observations the present characteristics of gas stations in Sector 4 of Bucharest. We applied 31 field observation sheets using Survey 123, containing information about their emplacement and accessibility, the presence and structure of vegetation, etc. We compared results to those of 120 questionnaires applied to the population. Our results revealed the important role the presence of vegetation has on reducing the negative effects of gas stations (both observed and perceived), the differences between populations living in the proximity of gas stations and other residents, and also the fulfilment of legal requirements. We consider our results to be extremely relevant and useful instruments for urban planners and decision-makers in their efforts of improving the quality of life and wellbeing in cities.

Volume XX |

Analysis of the Relationships Between the Phreatic Aquifer and Natura 2000 Habitats from ROSCI0224 Scroviștea

Abstract: The analysis of the relationships between groundwater and terrestrial ecosystems contributes to the conservation of biodiversity and the quantitative and qualitative status of the aquifer.
The main goal of the paper is to analyze the relationships between the phreatic aquifer of ROIL16 (Vlăsia Plain) and the six Natura 2000 habitats from the Site of Community Importance (SCI) ROSCI0224 Scroviștea.
This work is based on hydrogeological, geological data, mathematical modeling of the phreatic aquifer (October 17-19, 2017), and the methodology used for study the relationship between groundwater bodies and terrestrial ecosystems, developed by the R.A.H. (2015).
The evaluation of the dependence (high – A, medium – B, nule – C) relations, between the phreatic aquifer and the habitats, is made mainly by correlating the depth of the hydrostatic level with the depth of the root system of plant and tree species.
The main findings based on the hydrogeological, ecological criteria, and analysis algorithms highlight the fact that most habitats and later the Scroviștea site are dependent on groundwater. The six Natura 2000 habitats (3150, 3160, 91M0, 91F0, 91E0 și 92A0) are analyzed individually concerning the depth of the groundwater level. In the evaluation of the degrees of dependence of the habitats, two other criteria are applied, maximum and arithmetic mean about their extension surface. Thus, four habitats (91M0, 91F0, 91E0, and 92A0) are identified with high dependence on groundwater, and two habitats (3150 and 3160) with nule dependence. Considering only this stage of analysis, it was considered that the SCI Scroviștea has a high dependence on the phreatic aquifer.
For a correct assessment of the dependence relations between groundwater and habitats, analyzes related to the hydrodynamic and hydrochemical regime of the groundwater aquifer and the correlation of this information with analyzes from specialized studies performed for plant and tree species are required.

Volume XVIII |

In search of the last remaining giants. Modelling the conservation potential of century old trees within the Continental and Steppic Biogeographical Regions of Romania

Abstract: The present paper aims to model the potential for conservation of some very large specimens of either indigenous or human introduced tree species located within the Continental and Steppic Biogeographical Regions of Romania, areas characterized by considerable natural diversity. Centuries of human intervention have resulted in the major replacement of the natural vegetation with semi natural forests in the highlands, pastures and permanent crops at the hills and arable land in the lower areas. The once pristine landscapes present numerous remains in the form of old trees, while other exotic introduced species are common. In order to assess their conservation potential, we applied an encyclopedically approach centered on numerous field observations, measurements, scientific literature research, historical maps analyses and discussions with locals. The results certify the existence of different species characterized by a medium and high potential for conservation. Some of them are the subject of numerous researches and possess favorable conservation status while many are poorly or virtually unstudied and not protected. Such findings are usable in complex domains, mainly biodiversity conservation, durable ecosystem management and ecotourism.