Volume XX |

Identifying gaps in conservation and habitat management – Natura 2000 site Târnovu Mare-Latorița

Abstract: The study aims to identify the main gaps in conservation and proposes objectives in the management of protected areas. The physical characteristics of the protected area, the land use, the identification of current pressures and future threats are analyzed. Geomorphological and geological analysis is the component that highlights the correlations between relief and the distribution of habitat types. Among the features that make it unique in the Carpathian landscape, the protected area consists of a very rugged calcareous ridge with calcareous rocky slopes and chasmophytic vegetation, alpine calcareous grass-lands and a habitat of community interest consisting of forests with Larix decidua (the largest larch area in the Romanian Carpathians). The site is also home to a viable population of large carnivores (Ursus arctos, Canis lupus, Lynx lynx).
The main current pressures that are also mostly identified as future threats to the site are intensive grazing, the extension of access roads, poaching, creating of conditions for invasive species, reduction of habitat connectivity due to anthropogenic causes, antagonism with domestic animals, and off-road driving of the motor vehicles.
Future threats are anticipated due to growing forestry activities, with a negative impact especially by complete deforestation, which is favoured by the restitutio in integrum of forests to the private domain without any conditionality for those that lie within the protected natural areas.
Intensive grazing leads to grassland degradation (impoverishment in species, changes in plant association). Among the proposed conservation measures, we mention: strict control of grazing livestock and grazing period, payment of compensation for private forests with high conservation value, limitation of buildings and access roads in the high areas.

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 |

Role of media in managing environmental conflicts in Rovinari Thermal Power Plant area, Gorj County, Romania

Abstract: Thermal power plants currently contribute significantly to global energy production. However, they cause a series of environmental conflicts through pollution and environmental degradation processes. In this context, people, as well as a number of environmental organisations, NGOs, and mainly the media play an important role in managing these conflicts. In this study, we aimed to analyse how the media can contribute to the management of environmental conflicts generated by the Rovinari thermal power plant in Gorj County, Romania. Its impact is highly visible in the village of Rogojel (Farcăşeşti township), which is located in the immediate vicinity of the thermal power plant, owing to the noise produced by the conveyor belts and excavators, as well as the air pollution generated by the coal dust. Residents have submitted a series of complaints to the Environmental Guard, the Government, and the European Commission. As a method of investigating the situation, both local and national media, which have become a real agora where citizens express their dissatisfaction were chosen. Ziare.com was chosen as a news archive, where 20 volunteers read 24 news articles. When asked if the article reflects concerns regarding the environment, a total of 276 affirmative answers were obtained. In addition, when volunteers were asked how much violence and tension does the article convey, a total of 136 responses were obtained for maximum violence and 160 for high violence. The Cronbach Alpha index had values of 0.73 and 0.66 in the first and second cases, respectively. The articles and strong words of the volunteers were analysed using NVivo software to calculate their frequency and the degree of correct results. Currently, the situation is still open to debate, beyond the unlikely solution of relocating the entire locality or closing the thermal power plant.

Volume XX |

Multivariate and spatial analysis of reduced urban air pollution during COVID-19 pandemic in Delhi

Abstract: Towards the end of 2019, a novel contagious virus (COVID-19) came out of Wuhan, China and turned into a disastrous pandemic. Many countries were completely or partially locked down. The ongoing pandemic has greatly affected our society and economy but, on the other side, it had effects upon the natural environment, as it rejuvenated itself. The present study repots the air quality and spatial distribution of air quality parameters (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, O3 and CO) in Delhi, taking into account data from 36 monitoring stations, for the months of January – April 2019 and 2020, respectively before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statistical tools like box plot, Pearson’s correlation, and PCA were used to interpret air pollution data before and during the lockdown period. The results revealed the characteristics of pollutants with respect to location, relationship between pollutants, and monitoring their level in compliance with the limits set by the legislation. The results of multivariate analysis were further spatially analyzed by mapping the distribution of pollutants by using the Inverse Distance Weighted interpolation. The result revealed the gradual reduction in the pollutant concentrations (PM10, PM2.5, CO, SO2) and an increment in ozone concentration was observed, which was due to a drastic reduction in NO2, especially during March and April 2020, immediately after the declared lockdown in the region. The overall study indicated that the interventions for urban air pollution mitigation are crucial in the regeneration of nature.

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).