Biodiversity in Romania in numbers
In Romania about 3,700 plant species have been identified, out of which 23 are declared natural monuments, 74 are extinct species, 39 are endangered species, 171 are vulnerable species and 1253 rare species. 33.792 animal species have been identfied, out of which 33.085 invertebrates and 707 vertebrates (2).
There are three major well-differentiated relief levels: the highest is represented by the Carpathian Mountains (the highest peak is Moldoveanu at 2544 m) the middle by Sub-Carpathians, hills and plateaus and the lowest are the plains, river meadows and the Danube Delta (the youngest relief unit under permanent formation with an average height of 0.52 m) (1).
The main feature of Romania's relief components is their proportional distribution in the form of an amphitheater. The mountains stretch in the shape of an arch in central Romania and cover 31% of the country's area. The hills and plateaus which descend from them occupy 36%, and the plains and meadows, which extend towards the borders, make up the remaining 33%. Between the Carpathians and the Danube lies the Romanian Plain, the principal granary of the country. To the west stretches the Western Plain, which is crossed by many of Romania's rivers (1).
Mountain regions are covered by coniferous forests (especially spruce fir), mixture forests (beech, fir-tree, spruce fir) and beech forests. Higher peaks are covered by alpine lawns and bushes of dwarf pine, juniper, bilberry, and red bilberry. In the hills and plateaus there are broad-leaved forests, prevailing beech, common oak and durmast oak. The main forest species often met on low hills and high plains are Quercus cerris and Quercus frainetto. The steppe and silvo-steppe vegetation, which covered the areas of low humidity in Dobrogea Plateau, Romanian Plain, Moldova Plateau, Banat and Crisana Plain, has been mostly replaced by agricultural crops (2).
The Danube Delta has a surface area of 580,000 ha – 2,5% of Romania's surface (the 22nd delta in the world and the 3rd delta in Europe). The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, at the end of a 2.860 km long river, is a labyrinth of water and land, made up of countless lakes, channels, islands. The Danube Delta is the largest European wetland which forms Europe's largest water purification system. The area is particularly well known for its abundance of birdlife: 312 important bird species are present in the delta. About 90 fish species are found here, including populations of sturgeon. It is also one of the last refuges for the European mink, the wildcat and the freshwater otter (1).
Climate change might be a threat for Romanian biodiversity in the following ways (2):
- modifications of the species behavior, as a result of the stress induced on their adaptation capacity (shorter hibernation period, the modification of the behavioral physiology of the animals as a result of the hydric and thermal stress or the stress by solar radiation; the impossibility to provide the transpiration conditions at normal physiological levels, negative irreversible influences on the migratory species, disturbance of plants evapo-transpiration, essential changes in the plants rhizosphere which may lead to their extinction);
- modification of the habitats distribution and composition as a result of the change in the species structure;
- increase of the exotic species at the level of the actual natural habitats and the increase of their potential to become invasive;
- modification of the distribution of the ecosystems specific to wet areas, with the possible limitation up to their extinction;
- changes in the freshwater and marine aquatic ecosystems generated by water warming and sea level rise;
- extinction of certain flora and fauna species.
Highest priority for conservation in Romania should be on (2):
- The Danube Delta complex of ecosystems;
- Low attitude, broad-leaved forests on the plains;
- Danube River floodplain ecosystems – especially the shallow lakes;
- Brackish water lagoons.
Adaptation strategies Romania
A selection of adaptation strategies that have been proposed (2):
- Creation of a national monitoring system for the endangered species;
- Management plans of the natural habitats to prevent and limit the degradation process of these habitats as a result of the climate change impact;
- Decrease of the additional pressures which affect vulnerable species;
- Decrease of the agricultural activities in the areas directly affected and the implementation of appropriate measures to protect the natural and semi-natural habitats close to the agricultural areas, including the identification of compensatory measures necessary for the survival of the affected population;
- Reduce the impact of industrial activities on the underground water and air quality, by isolation with forest belts;
- Increase forest areas by the rehabilitation of waste and other areas.
The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Romania.
- Ministry of Environment and Watermanagement (2005)
- Ministry of Environment and Forests (2010)