Within the ROSCI 0351 Tisa Superioară and ROSCI 0358 Pricop Huta-CertezeNatura 2000 sites there were conducted studies for mapping, inventory and conservation assessment of Natura 2000 habitats and priority species. However, the conservational reasons for which the two sites were implemented are very different hence the very different approaches involved in our research.
The Tisa Superioară Natura 2000 site was conceived as an area where ichtyofauna is the main target for conservation (11 species of concern) especially Telestes souffia and Hucho hucho. Certainly, one cannot preserve fish species, which are extremely sensitive to the quality of the riverine water parameters without properly conserving their spawning, feeding and shelter habitats. Therefore, aside a complex program for assessing the quality of physical and chemical parameters of the waters of Tisa river and its tributaries we also conducted a complex ecological research upon the riparian forest along the floodplain. Also the project involved a small sub-team of ethnologists and folklorists in the reason to see what is remained level of traditional rural practices along the river which are all ecological – friendly.
Unfortunately, the riparian forest habitat (91E0*) is very fragmented, subjected to a heavy biological invasion (provided by aggressively extending alien species of plants) and the floodplain adjacent to the river and the riverbed itself affected by a damming project which was conceived in total disrespect for ecological principles and nature conservation despite the fact that the Natura 2000 site was implemented before. The traditional rural lifestyle and practices were reduced along the river to a very low level, but our ethnologists results appreciate that there are still chances for implementing projects to restore them. Hence, the task of the future custodians of this Natura 2000 site will be a very heavy one for this sector, the most important one, of the site.
Much better is the conservational situation in the south-eastern appendix of this protected areas, named „the Ronișoara Lobe” which is an extension southwards to include the Ronișoara Durmast Oak reservation, an older protected area situated in the high hills east in the Maramureș Depression. Here dominating the landscape are the beech forests (9130 and 9110) with a consistent island of Durmast Oak (9170) which are more than 200 years old. Also along the sunny ridge to the eastern limit the Durmast Oak is dominant.
The forest in Ronișoara Lobe are well preserved with the exception of some conifer forest plantations, especially with spruce which is an alien species for the region. Due to their heavy impact upon the whole ecosystem, these plantations should be removed in the future and the natural forestry hardwood ecosystem should be left to restore itself.
There are also some mountain pasture ecosystems on the high slopes of the submountaineous hills in the eastern part of the Tisa Superioară site. Due to sheep overgrazing these are not in a good status of conservation and are subjected to heavy ruderalization and Pteridium aquilinum invasion.
The Pricop Huta – Certeze Natura 2000 site by contrast is a typical corridor / connecting site for large mammals like bear, wolf, lynx and red deer. In fact in between the heavily populated areas of Maramureș and Oaș Depression, the site is implemented on a veritable ecological ”isthmus” which links the large volcanic mountainous massif of Igniș in Romania with the volcanic chain of Oaș Mountains, which are partly in Ukraine and party in Romania. The border between Romania and Ukraine should be a barrier only for humans but not for animals, this is the main aim of this protected area aside from preserving the quality of the forest habitat to maintain their permeability for transiting large mammals. The conservation status of the beech forests around the site (9110, 9130) is yet good with the exception of the interference of some forest plantations of spruce (which are alien for the landscape and destructive for the phytocenoses but not bad for the large mammals) and the presence of a medium sized andesite quarry which should be limited in its future expansion – while the opening of other new ones should be forbidden.
These are just some of the general conclusions included in the Integrated Study on the Contribution of Ecosystems in the protected Natura 2000 areas: Pricop-Huta-Certeze and Tisa Superioara to the Sustainable Development of Local Communities (SIENPHCTS) project, funded by the EEA Grants – jointly financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway,Programme RO02 – Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Call for Proposals no. 1, whose Programme Operator is the Romanian Ministry of Environment.
Territorial Analyst Sabin BĂDĂRĂU