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Biogeography

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.

Volume XVIII |

Estimating the tourist carrying capacity for protected areas. A case study for Natura 2000 sites from North-Western Romania

Abstract: The estimation of the tourist support capacity for three Natura 2000 sites located in North-Westerm Romania and the appropriate use of a quantitative methodology adapted to the current working techniques are the main objectives of this scientific approach. In this respect, parameters were determined for obtaining the physical carrying capacity, then the resulting value was modified by the coefficients related to the correction factors. They also consider CAV_NDVI, a factor reflecting the abundance of vegetation and the value of the NDVI spectral index at pixel level, used to quantify the state of vegetation health, as a measure of the ecological status of the sites. The obtained results highlight the sensitivity of the algorithms used for the correction factors and the possibilities of converting these results into elements with practical possibilities for the sustainable sites management.

Volume XVI |

Conservation Status of Habitat Types of European Community Interest in the Alpine Biogeographic Region of Romania

Abstract: The Habitat Directive (HD) is the main strategy for nature conservation in the European Union aimed at stopping biodiversity loss. In this paper, we present the conservation status of those habitat types designated at the European level that occur within the Alpine biogeographic region (ALP) of Romania. The conservation status (CS) of habitats was assessed using data that were acquired as a result of the first national monitoring of species and habitats. This monitoring was completed during the 2007-2012 period following the mandatory requirements that arise from Article 17 of the HD to report the results to the European Commission in 2013. The ALP, which is one of the five terrestrial biogeographic regions that were demarcated within Romania on European criteria, comprises the Carpathian Mountains and covers an area of 46,800 km2. Following the official European methodology, all parameters were evaluated and combined to give the CS of each habitat type. The results show that, out of the 51 habitat types belonging to 6 classes that were identified of European Community importance within the Carpathian part of the ALP bio-region, only 17 habitat types occurred solely in the ALP bio-region. The conservation status of the habitat types was assessed as: ”Favourable” (FV) for eleven types (1 freshwater, 3 temperate heath and scrub, 4 natural and semi-natural grassland formations, 1 rocky habitat, and 2 forest habitats), ”Unfavourable inadequate” (U1) for four types (1 freshwater, 1 temperate heath and scrub, 1 Sphagnum acid bogs habitat, and 1 forest habitat), ”Unfavourable bad” (U2) for one (Sphagnum acid bogs type), and ”Unknown” (XX) for one (Calcareous fens habitat). These are results of the first national assessment in Romania of the CS of species and habitats protected by the HD and the first report to the European Commission.

Volume XV |

Faunistic Study of the Tsibar Danube Island

Abstract: Tsibar Island is situated on the Bulgarian part of the Danube River, at 680 m of the Bulgarian and about 100 of the Romanian coast from 716 to 719 km along the river, with an area of 1.3 km2. The territory is covered mainly by riparian woodland. Because of its European importance to the protection of rare and threatened habitats, plants and animals, including birds, the island falls within the borders of proposed Natura 2000 sites under both the Birds and the Habitats Directives.
Part of the island is placed under strict protection as a menaged reserve “Ibisha”. In 1997 the territory was designated as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. In 2002 the reserve has been declared as a Ramsar site according to the international convention for the conservation of wetlands. Tsibar Island is of international importance defined by one of the largest mixed colony of herons and cormorants in Bulgaria. It is a site of global importance for the nesting Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus) and White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and one of the most important sites in Bulgaria for the nesting of the Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) and Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia). There have been identified more than 100 animal species: 42 terrestrial and 16 aquatic invertebrates, 5 fish species, 1 amphibian and 1 reptile species, 30 birds (including 22 breeding), 16 mammalian species (including 8 species of bats). Ascertained are the Medicinal leech (Hirudo verbana), which is a rare species at the European level, endangered Thick-shelled river mussel (Unio crassus), protected fish Asp (Leuciscus aspius) and Great raft spider (Dolomedes plantarius), included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria in the category “extinct”. A management plan for Ibisha Menaged Reserve was developed in 2015.

Volume XV |

Floristic composition and functional zones pattern of the beach-dune system along the Danube Delta coast – Romania

Abstract: This paper presents the floristic composition of vegetation for each feature on a beach-dune system sector from the western Black Sea coast, Romania. The studied site is a relatively small fragment of the 10 km shore on the southern part of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (DDBR) that may be susceptible to anthropogenic pressure in the coming years. Out of the 38 identified species, ten are threatened species according to the national Red List of endangered plant species. Compositae and Poaceae are the families with the highest number of species. The analysis of floristic spectrum shows a mixture of elements of plant communities, but Pontic and Ponto-Caspian elements are prevalent.
Physiognomically, the foredunes in the Danube delta coast have a typical morphology, with a smooth profile and do not exceed 2 m high. They are vegetated by herbaceous annual and perennial plants, but in terms of abundance the native dune builder rhizomatous grasses are rare.
The fore dunes from this Black Sea coast sector serve as vital habitat and refuge for Convolvulus persicus L. within the western limit of its geographical range. This endemic Ponto-Caspian element defines a particular habitat type within the Black Sea biogeographic region: “Pontic shore dunes with Convolvulus persicus L.” Currently, the main threats of this habitat are cattle grazing and the increasing touristic activities (human trampling, horse riding and all-terrain vehicle riding).