Abstract: Armored mud balls that form in fluvial environments were observed on the river bed of two small streams from South-East Subcarpathians Bend, in the area of Miocene deposits with salt dia-pirs. Pieces of well-rounded clay mate-rial but with coarse surface were found on the gravel banks as well as partially submerged into stream channel and embedded in soft sediments of stream banks. The surfaces of mud balls, nearly spherical and ranging from 5 cm to 17 cm in diameter, were studded with sand grains and gravel that collected during flash floods as a result of bedload transport. The main source material of the armored mud balls consists of dark clay material detached from the cap rock of the salt massif that is crossed by the two streams. The newly formed armored mud balls, which were found among the gravels on the stream bed following the summer flash flood event from June 2019, supports the fact that these particular sedimentary features form during exceptional floods when pieces of clay material are rolled by the high-energy water flow, which results in acquiring of their spherical shape and the pebble shell. This paper represents the first report on the occurrence of modern armored mud balls formed in a fluvial environment, located in the Curvature Subcarpathians, Romania.
Abstract: In the karst areas, the epikarst system is a very sensitive environment, due to its position at the interface between soil and vadose zone. The epikarst is a weathered zone that develops as a result of both abiotic and biotic processes. In this paper we present the result of the complex investigations of epikarst zone which overlap dolines within two typical karst areas (Gömör-Torna and Tapolca) from Hungary, based on multicriteria analysis techniques (microbiological activity assessed as biomass amount and CO2 production, seasonality of air and soil microclimate, slope orientation and exposition), in order to reveal control factors of karst processes, the territorial and local distinctions of karst dissolution that occur in the epikarst zone. The data were compared, taking into account the human activities’ impact on both sampled study areas. After four years of monitoring, the results show that there are significant seasonal and diurnal variations of physical, chemical and biotic parameters of soil that cover and affect the epikarst zone. Spatial variations of these parameters were recorded as well.
Abstract: The caves in Hungary have been protected for a long time. The current national legislation on nature conservation states that all known and unknown caves are under ex lege protection but the karst areas above them are not. The territories above the caves can be owned by the state but also some of them belong to private owners, thus a great diversity of economic activities are conducted on them. Anthropogenic activities endanger both directly and indirectly the caves environment and the karst ground waters. The damages and pollution of caves take place through the epikarst systems which are in direct connection with the topographic ground surface. Therefore, it is of special significance to emphasize the natural processes taking place in epikarstic systems as well as to analyze the changes within epikarst terrains caused by human impacts. The effects of human impacts on epikarst system in the area of the Tapolca karst were analyzed both by field and laboratory methods. The historical evolution of land cover and land use was assessed related to the impact on the abiotic elements (soil and karstic cover-deposit, water) in Tapolca area. The intrinsic vulnerability was assessed using the semi-quantitative COP Method. The results show high resource vulnerability in all analyzed epikarstic sites.
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.
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).