Forum Carpathicum 2016

Effectiveness of Natura 2000 network in Romanian Alpine Biogeographical Region: an assessment based on forest landscape connectivity

Mihaiță Iulian Niculae, Sorin Avram , Gabriel Ovidiu Vânău, Maria Pătroescu

Mihaiță Iulian Niculae
University of Bucharest, Centre for Environmental Research and Impact Studies, 1st Nicolae Balcescu Blvd., Sector 1, CP 010041, Bucharest, Romania
Sorin Avram
University of Craiova, Department of Geography, A. I. Cuza 13, CP 200585, Craiova, Romania & National Institute for Economic Research “Costin C. Kirițescu” of Romanian Academy, Romanian Academy House, Calea 13 Septembrie, no. 13, Sector 5, Bucharest, Romania. Email:
Gabriel Ovidiu Vânău
University of Bucharest, Centre for Environmental Research and Impact Studies, 1st Nicolae Balcescu Blvd., Sector 1, CP 010041, Bucharest, Romania
Maria Pătroescu
University of Bucharest, Centre for Environmental Research and Impact Studies, 1st Nicolae Balcescu Blvd., Sector 1, CP 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Online First: May 05, 2017
Niculae, M., Avram, S., Vânău, G., Pătroescu, M. 2017. Effectiveness of Natura 2000 network in Romanian Alpine Biogeographical Region: an assessment based on forest landscape connectivity. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2016.793

Maintaining and increasing landscape connectivity, especially of forest landscapes, are some of the main concerns regarding biodiversity conservation. The connectivity of protected areas for different species represents an indicator for evaluating the effectiveness of the Natura 2000 network. Our research aims to evaluate the connectivity of forest landscapes in the Romanian Alpine Biogeographical Region (ABR) for various terrestrial species. We analysed the distribution of forest patches and Sites of Community Importance (SCI), as part of Natura 2000 network, in the Romanian ABR. We evaluated the connectivity of forest patches for terrestrial species with different dispersal distances, identifying those patches with significant contribution to maintain the forest landscape connectivity, through the graph theory approach. To quantify the importance of each node, we evaluated the dPCconnector fraction derived from the dPC index. Of the 125 SCIs in the Romanian ABR, 71 protected areas have over 1000 ha, four of them have more than 100,000 ha. The total protected surfaces cover ~35% of the Romanian ABR, and the forest surfaces, protected in SCIs, cover 26% of the total Romanian ABR. Regarding the connectivity scores, we found that the forest surfaces across the ABR are well connected (0.89 or 1 for different dispersal distances) in comparison with the Natura 2000 forest patches. The forest patches are well connected especially for the species with large dispersal distance in both cases (d = 25 km). For the species characterized by a small dispersion distance, the connectivity is lower (0.46) in the case of protected forests. Our results evidence that the connectivity objective of the forest surfaces protected through the Nature 2000 network is not totally achieved. Furthermore new protected areas are needed where the forest are still present for increasing landscape connectivity for species.

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