by Ovidiu C Banea,
Ecology Department of Crispus NGO Sibiu Romania participated to WWF International Conference on connectivity and green corridors in Baia Mare.
On both sides of Tisa River, Ukrainians and Romanians established brown bear core areas of species habitat and green corridors were proposed to be protected with the aim of securing the species conservation in Maramures region as an important part of Carpathians Mountains.
People involved in the "Open borders for bears in the Carpathians of Romania and Ukraine" wich covered Maramures in Romania, and Ivano-Frankivsk and Zakarpatska in Ukraine, were invited to expose their experience and results. Specialists from Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy and Spain participated and shared their experience in habitat connectivity problems.
Habitat fragmentation, reconstruction of migration corridors and securing sustainable use of natural resources were the main problems to be assessed during 2 year project period.
Dr. Bohdan Prots, WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme, Ukraine and State Museum of Natural History, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine showed the Maramuresh Ecological Network for Brown bear during the closing session on 25th of April 2014.
It is clear how narrow are the corridors proposed in Romanian territories (bottom half of the picture) and how large and healthy seems to be on the right side of the Tisa river, in Ukraine (upper half). The anthropogenic pressure and the new development of rural areas in Romania with increasing tourism and forest fragmentation or deforestation could be the responsible factors of critical situation observed in Romania.
During "Connectivity and ENA in jackal specific ecological systems. Approximation to cultural semiotics of jackal species in overlapped territories with brown bear in Romania" we explained the importance of separated concepts of structural connectivity (relation between forested patches and their connections) and functional connectivity which permit us to draw networks for different species according to their habitat requirements (alfa, gamma indexes, matrix permeability). The missing corridor on the western part of this brown bear ecological network (habitat use) was explained by Mr Roman Kiss (Ukraine).
Mihai Pop, Ramon Jurj, Vasile Timur Chis, Cristian Remus Papp sharing their experience in LC studies
Participants were guided to the Cavnic corridor between Lapus-Tibles and Ignis core areas. The brief trip organized on bear specific habitat showed to participants the main problems which can lead to habitat fragmentation and critical coridors in the areas: deforestation, antropogenic pressure. Poaching is also a big problem in the area, the first brown bear specimen collared by the project team being captured by poachers two years ago.
Small mammals and mesocarnivores are active in this semiforested habitat.
Nine participants went further to "Cei Trei Apostoli" Peak (Vf. Gutaiul Mic1392) guided by Eng Vasile Timur CHIŞ.
Magor Csibi, Director Program of WWF Romania, pointed on the beginning of the conference, that "even if we know how important for nature and for people is environment protection we do not do nothing if we cannot share this to the human factors responsible of nature protection, to translate this importance to public and every actor directly involved in environment conservation".
As every specialist who talked on brown bear ecological network, based on basic principles of connectivity (patches, matrix - non habitat, protected areas) we added the importance of network mechanism as baseline to understand connections: we can not talk on connectivity without understand what do we need to connect (PDF). Beside this, on our presentation, we focused on Ecological Network Analysis which comprises an hollistic approach to species including humans (different of ecological network of brown bear realted to habitat). We invited people to make an exercise of socio-economic impact of two species with parapatric boundaries: brown bear and the golden jackal. 1590 Eur/pers costs a photo-tour to see Bears and Jackals in Romania (ppt. presented during Baia Mare WWF conference).
Semi-Caducifolius Forest was visited in Maramures during Closing Conference of "Open Border for Bears in the Carpathians of Romania and Ukraine" project.
Anthropogenic pressure on forest specific habitat of Brown bear in northern part of Romania
Corridors bewteen core areas were identified by WWF, Ramon Jurj reporting the main problems he found on the field. It was proposed a new stepping stone area between Maramures Mountains, Rodnei Mountains and Tibles core areas. The corridors are crossing matrix with different permeability.
The critical size of recognized corridors represents, even if they will be used by wild species, source of pollution and stress with increased consumption of energy for those species. On the right side of Tisa River, Ukrainian team showed large corridors in which the mentioned pressure is not evident. But here, an increased poaching and hunting was reported.
Prof Dr Djuro Huber, University of Zagreb, Department of Biology, Croatia explained on a very useful oral communication the importance of a well assessed connection of wildlife habitat through human infrastructure, especially highways and he gave to audience important clues on how to work with authorities and even how to participate in direct decission or during the proper building of bridges or tunels. He added that at least 300 m large visible bridge by boths slopes is a useful corridor. The problem of missing data on Carpathians in Ukraine, between Slovakia and Romania was also addressed bewteen comprehensive Carpathians connectivity network.
Radu George Vlad explained the importance of High conservation value forests (HCVF), which have a specially high ecological or social value. In other words, HCVF are such forests which are more valuable in terms of biodiversity values, ecological values and importance for local people than in terms of industrial timber.
Dr Bohdan PROTS, project manager in Ukraine
Overlapped Natura 2000 to core areas and green corridors for Brown bears in Maramures
The conference venue was Mara Hotel in Baia Mare, Romania
After WWF Conference on Brown bear functional connectivity in Baia Mare, we went to Vurpar Sibiu Romania, to visit the Brown bear interest zone for Ecology Department of Crispus NGO Sibiu.
This area of semi-forested hills, between Visa (Tarnava Mare tributary - Mures basin) and Hartibaciu (Cibin tributary - Olt basin) was visited during Carpenul 2012 wildlife survey, on December 2012 just on the time of bear denning behavior.
Brown bear den
Lynx lynx and Vulpes vulpes footprints
Canis lupus and Lepus europaeus
Brown bear marks on the forest edge
Mesocarnivore den (Vulpes vulpes, Meles meles or Canis aureus)
After continuous surveillance of the active den in this important covered areas between Mures and Olt River basins we will be able to answer to this question.
On that time the strawberries will be ripe, and bears will turn to their open field habitat...
Spinach, polenta, mushrooms and roast lamb at home
Specific habitat, Vurpar, Sibiu Romania
We wait for the conference participants list to be shared by our colleague Cristian-Remus Papp, WWF openborderforbears project coordinator.
Thank you WWF Romania for the invitation to Baia Mare meeting.