Volume XIX |

Sensitivity, Exposure, and Vulnerability to Climate Change of the Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus) in Europe

Abstract: Species response to climate change can be viewed in three main directions: range changes, phenological changes, and genetic selection of different traits to ensure adaptation to new conditions. Climate-niche factor analysis (CNFA) is a tool developed in order to assess species vulnerability to climate change. In order to test the usefulness of CNFA method, we have chosen the long-legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus) as a case study. This species breeds in south-east Europe, from the southern Balkans to north-western Mongolia and China, preferring open areas, arid steppes and semi-desert or mountains. According to CNFA model, long-legged-buzzard habitat receives less precipitation during the warmest period (PWQ), relative to European area, and exhibits less temperature variations during the year (TS). On the other hand, the presence of the long-legged-buzzard is associated with high values for mean diurnal range (MDR) and precipitation variations (PS). The greatest sensitivity of this species came from amount of precipitation during the warmest period (PWQ) and temperature and precipitation variations during the seasons (TS and PS). Long-legged-buzzard shows the most vulnerability in relation to precipitation of warmest period (PWQ), temperature seasonality (TS) and annual mean temperature (AMT).

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 XVIII |

A review of recent studies on heat wave definitions, mechanisms, changes, and impact on mortality

Abstract: Heat waves (HWs) represent a major danger to society and natural environment. The increasing occurrence of high magnitude and impact HWs has raised concerns worldwide and has attracted an increasing interest on this issue among climatologists over the past decade. In this review the research from 2007-2018 period on HWs definitions, driving mechanisms, present changes, future changes, and impact on human mortality is summarized. By reviewing the recent literature, it was found that whilst the atmospheric dynamic is considered to be the primary driver in HW occurrence, the sea surface temperature (SST) and land surface conditions are also essential driving components. The vastness of HW-definitions raises difficulties in selecting the appropriate methodology to identify heat episodes and to compare results from studies which used different definitions. However, by analyzing a sample of 109 papers, a preference for percentile-based definitions was observed. Therefore, 71.6% of the analyzed articles used only percentile-based definitions to identify HWs. Despite the wide variety of definitions, the analysis of changes in HWs converged to similar results. Thus, the existing recent literature provided extensive evidence of significant increase in HWs characteristics across large regions of the planet. Available scientific literature indicated that HWs have been responsible for a considerable increase in mortality in many regions of the world. In the future HWs are predicted to increase in their main characteristics leading to a greater impact on human mortality. Nevertheless, the implementation of rigorous adaptation measures can mitigate the negative impact on mortality. In conclusion, it was noted that a substantial progress has been done in the HW research, but there are still important gaps in this issue which need to be addressed.

Volume XVIII |

Human impact due to the capitalization of water resources within the Jiu Gorge National Park

Abstract: Within the Jiu Gorge National Park, there was a project, which almost draws to an end, for the hydro-energetic capitaliza-tion of the river, which implies a potentially negative impact of this investment on the aquatic sector of the Jiu river in this sector. The current study analyses the hydrological regime of the Jiu river within the gorge sector (natural flow and controlled flow for the technical-economic capitalization parameters) and the impact on natural landscapes due to building and construction sites, bringing arguments and solutions for meeting the declared objective of conserving the aquatic ecosystems within the Jiu Gorge National Park. Thus, there must be ensured a minimum discharge (ecological discharge) on all rivers within the national park and Natura 2000 sit, to provide for this mere purpose of this category of protected areas.

Volume XVIII |

Aridity risk in the west of the Oltenia Plain: natural factors and human impacts on land degradation

Abstract: The lands of southern Oltenia had different evolution stages in the last century being influenced by the climatic factor but especially by the anthropic factor. From the extensive areas of ponds and marshes in the pre-war period to drainage, embankments, irrigation systems and planting of the windbreakers and shelterbelts in the 50s – 60s (reflected in the agricultural peak of the 70s – 80s) and to the present day, we are witnessing the aridization of the lands and the extension of the predominantly sandy areas, impracticable to the current type of agriculture.
After 1990, agriculture in the southern part of the Oltenia Plain had an accelerated decline caused by the destruction of the irrigation systems, the deforestation of the windbreakers and shelterbelts, the situation of land ownership and the failure of the adaptation of the crops to the soil types. In 2012 the percentages of irrigated areas reached 0% capacity used out of 76,820 ha in the Blahnița Plain and 1% capacity used out of 299,621 ha in the Oltenia Plain. All these have led to land degradation and amplification of geomorphological processes, especially on sandy surfaces, where the lack of vegetal layer together with the wind process lead to destabilization and movement of sand dunes. This article aims to conduct a spatial-temporal analysis of several types of lands exposed to drying, whose surface has increased considerably to almost 50,000 hectares. Another 50,000 hectares are predisposed to this phenomenon in the Oltenia Plain, on the western part of Jiu. An environmental management strategy for a sustainable development could be made for the protection of the lands against the winds by planting windbreakers and shelterbelts of fast growing species (acacia, hybrid poplar, wild pine, walnut tree). The research methodology involved the processing of the annual average data on temperature, precipitation and wind direction from the weather stations in south-west Oltenia, the processing of the data from the Landsat, Corine maps, as well as the analysis of the data provided by the examination reports on the occupation of land offered by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration. In the analysis of land degradation as a result of the aridization process, the situation of the current vegetation layer was taken into consideration using the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and data taken from Corine Land Cover between 1990 and 2006 regarding the change of the land use in the Oltenia Plain.