Volume XVII |

Indicators for evaluating the role of green infrastructures in sustainable urban development in Romania

Abstract: Urban green infrastructures are now considered key elements in improving residents’ quality of life and creating an appropriate framework for the development of sustainable cities. One of the most efficient method to evaluate the state and performance of urban green infrastructure is using different types of indicators. The indicators for evaluating the benefits, ecosystem services and the role of green infrastructures for the process of sustainable development represent important tools for decision and policy makers. Indicators provide information that can be easily interpreted by decision and policy makers and they facilitate the process of planning, monitoring and evaluation of green infrastructure in urban areas. The focus of our study is to establish which indicators are used for underlining the structural and functional diversity of urban green infrastructures. This paper aims to highlight the indicators and indices being used in Romanian urban areas for measuring their sustainability that include green infrastructures, in the wider understanding of the concept. Throughout the paper, different examples of indicators and indices are provided, emphasizing that by using the proper set of indicators and indices, city authorities can tag a sustainable development label for certain areas. However, an unbiased assessment using some sets of indicators and indices are not always providing unbiased or realistic outcomes.

Volume XIII |

The environmental impact of arable land in a protected area of community interest. Case study: ROSCI0123 Măcin Mountains, Romania

Abstract: Plant cultivation activities represent the widest form of environmental agression at global scale. Their sustainability influences the stability of natural ecosystems at local, regional and global level. In this context, the aim of this study is to assess the sustainability of arable land in ROSCI0123 Măcin Mountains using the Pimentel- Eulenstein model. The model takes into account as input data various parameters characterizing the agricultural activities in the whole area occupied by six administrative units (mechanization, chemical treatment, irrigation etc.), this way assesing the energy efficiency and sustainability of crop plants. The results show that the exploitation of arable land in ROSCI0123 Măcin Mountains is done unsustainably in terms of energy efficiency, leading to a medium risk of affecting the valuable environmental components. Under these conditions, improved farming management is a key component in the management of ROSCI0123 Măcin Mountains.

Volume XII |

Hierarchical analysis of the threats for Species of Community Interest in the Iron Gates Natural Park, Romania

Abstract: Threats to biodiversity are diverse and the management of these threats is a major research direction in the conservation of biological diversity. Determining the status of a species is essential in identifying those in danger of becoming extinct and also to establish conservation priorities. For the management of all types of threats that manifest themselves for certain species of community interest in the Iron Gates Natural Park, we must first understand their causes and effects. Conservationists are increasingly interested in determining threats to biological communities, this being an important part of territorial and environmental planning strategies. The analysis undertaken for some geographical areas showed that the most important threats are the socio-economic and demographic variables, the fragmentation, destruction and degradation of habitats through various practices, the introduction of non-native species, illegal hunting or overfishing. In this context, for elaborating sustainable patterns of habitat management we must analyze and prioritize the threats that we are dealing with. The method requires an inventory of the main threats in the Iron Gates Natural Park, the threats for certain Species of Community Interest (Tulipa hungarica, Colchicum arenarium, Pulsatilla grandis). We have also applied a method used by WWF in order to achieve a hierarchy of the main threats and to establish logical and efficient actions that can be locally applicable.

Volume X |

Land Use Change in the Bucharest Metropolitan Area and its Impacts on the Quality of the Environment in Residential Developments

Abstract: The Bucharest Metropolitan Area (BMA) is undergoing a major and alert phase of reorganisation as a response to changes in the political, institutional, administrative, economic and social environment. Over the last 20 years land use has profoundly changed in the area under study, mainly by means of agricultural land conversion and the subsequent formation of residential and commercial areas. These two kinds of land uses were also expanded over industrial spaces in the Bucharest Metropolitan Area. Residential areas are showing a large quantitative increase and extremely non-concentrated dispersion, as well as complex and diverse typology. The present study analyses the possible direct and indirect consequences of land use change regarding the quality of the environment in the residential areas of the Bucharest Metropolitan Area (focusing on new residential districts). The results show that agricultural and forested areas are decreasing in surface and suffer from fragmentation, while residential areas are expanding in a chaotic manner, thus indicating the possible areas of conflict regarding the quality of the environment. The lack of coordination in the numerous institutional or private projects in real estate is the main cause of this situation. Public authorities administered the real estate projects between 1947 and 1990 (Communist Era) as the majority of the land and the constructed property were state-owned by law. After 1990, in the era of private property, in absence of legislation and convenient decision-making, the consequences of the privatization were difficult to manage (spreading of residential districts, overused and insufficient infrastructure in many areas, poor accessibility and waste management problems).

Volume X |

Quantifying Forest Ecosystems Fragmentation in the Subcarpathians between the Râmnicu Sărat and the Buzău Valleys, Romania, Using Landscape Metrics

Abstract: The Romanian Subcarpathian space has been the subject of continuous transformation during the last 2 centuries under the double impact of human activities and disruptive natural factors. Time and spatial dynamics of land use and coverage determined a major impact on the structure and functionality of the Subcarpathian landscape. In the Subcarpathians between the Râmnicu Sărat and the Buzău, the main tendencies in land use changes are highlighted by the decrease of forestry areas and increase of agricultural terrains, especially pastures and orchards, a consequence of the deforestation undertaken to answer local human needs. The fragmentation and the pronounced decrease of forestry ecosystems has been quantified by calculating and analysing landscape metrics, using land use and coverage maps derived from the Corine Land Cover 1990 and 2006 database. In the Subcarpathians between the Râmnicu Sărat and the Buzău, there has been registered a deforestation rate of 10.09% in the analysed period, but also an increase in landscape fragmentation. Thus, the number of forest patches increased by 10.96% and their average size decreased by 13.73%, while the shape remained unchanged. Landscape patches became more isolated, as the value of the average proximity index decreased by 42.07%. The study underlines the necessity of elaborating a strategy of protection and preservation for these ecosystems, aimed at increasing the reforestation rate and decreasing the fragmentation degree. A sustainable planning system of land use must be enforced in order to increase forest productivity and the uniformity degree of the Subcarpathian landscape.