Natura 2000 is a network of protected areas in the territory of the European Union. It is made up of Areas of Special Conservation Interest (SCI) for the protection of listed habitats (Habitats Directive) and Special Protection Areas (SPA) for the protection of birds (Birds Directive).
Within Romania, 148 areas with a total surface of 3,7 million hectares are declared as SPA, and 383 areas with a total surface of 4,14 million hectares as SCI. Within the FCC area of interest, there are four Natura 2000 sites:
Leatoa ROSCI0102 – 1,393 ha
Piatra Craiului ROSCI0194 – 15,867 ha
Muntii Fagaras ROSCI0122 – 198,495 ha and Piemontul Fagaras ROSPA0098 – 71,256 ha, but both sides overlap and have a total size of 243,610 ha
Raul Targului – Argesel – Rausor ROSCI0381 – 13,213 ha
According to the national legislation, these Natura 2000 sites are being rendered for administration to government or non-government organisations through a public tender.
FCC has won the tenders for the Leaota and the Raul Targului – Argesel – Rausor Natura 2000 sites. Click on the links to see what’s happening there.
The Fagaras Mountains represent the highest mountain range of the Southern Romanian Carpathians and total almost 200,000 ha. They are designated as Natura 2000 site (both as SCI and as SPA) and include some of the most important areas of pristine forests in Europe.
The steep slopes, especially on the North side, have prevented development and preserved many important forest and alpine habitats. The Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 sites host further a number of plants and animal species with the status of endemic, vulnerable or rare. With very few exceptions, the complete original flora and fauna is still present.
The Fagaras Mountains are covered by 27 localities from four counties. Forests and meadows cover over 70% of the area, unproductive rocks cover the rest. Private land-owners associations, city halls and private individuals are the main owners of the land, and forestry still represents a significant source of income for local communities. Thousands of sheep and cattle are brought to the alpine grasslands to graze during the summer months. This, in fact, can locally represent problems for wildlife as diseases are often transferred from domestic livestock to wild ungulates, and direct competition for food creates problems for chamois and red deer as well.
For further information about site regulations, activities, approval procedure or management plan, please contact The Arges Environmental Protection Agency (http://apmag.anpm.ro/)
Raul Targului Argesel
Râul Târgului-Argeșel-Râușor represents the southern part of Iezer-Păpușa Mountains and covers a total area of 13,000 ha. The site is situated in the north-eastern part of Argeș County, and stretches over 4 localities. 80% of the site is covered with forests, and Râul Târgului-Argeșel-Râușor was mainly designated as Natura 2000 site because of its natural beech forests.
The remaining surfaces of the site are meadows and pastures. Since 2014, FCC is custodian of this site. Together with the owners, forest administrators, and local authorities we developed a set of rules for the site, which we have submitted to the Ministry of Environment for approval. The land is mainly owned by private land-owner associations and individuals, neither communes nor the state have significant properties inside the site.
Motorised tourism and illegal forest logging have been identified as the main threats for its conservation status, FCC consequently kept a close eye on the logging and managed to stop with the help of the Gendarmerie and the local Police these illegal activities. Currently, we prepare the development of a management plan for the site, which we would like to do together with local stakeholders.
Piatra Craiului (King’s Rock) is one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the Romanian Carpathians. This 22 km long limestone ridge is situated to the East of the Fagaras Mountains and received its first protection status as a natural reserve in 1938. In 1990, Piatra Craiului was declared National Park and later on Natura 2000 site on a surface slightly larger than the park and covering almost 16,000 hectares.
Main reason for its protection under national and European laws is its unique flora and fauna: 30 % of all Romanian superior plant species have been identified in Piatra Craiului, out of which 181 are included into the “Red List of superior plants in Romania” as endemic, rare or vulnerable species. Further, 40% of all Romanian mammal species are present and 35 invertebrate species are endemic to Piatra Craiului, which means they exist only here.
Piatra Craiului raises from 750 m up to 2,250 m and due to its steep slopes, rocky peaks and spectacular abysses, it contains some of the best chamois habitat in Romania. Piatra Craiului has a number of picturesque villages with a well preserved, local architecture on the South, East, and North side and, consequently, the area is important as a tourism destination.
Leaota Natura 2000 site was established in 2011 and has a surface of 1,393 ha. It is made up of 35% alpine meadows with species-rich Nardus grasslands and Alpine and boreal heaths, and 65% subalpine spruce forests. The site is named after Leaota Mountain, which is situated between Bucegi Mountains Natural Park and Piatra Craiului National Park and represents an important corridor for large carnivores (bears, wolves, lynx) and herbivores (red deer, chamois).
Most of the alpine areas of Leaota are heavily grazed through livestock, which, due to overgrazing, is a major threat to the ecological integrity of the alpine grasslands. Leaota is not a touristic attraction, and only few marked trails cross towards Bucegi. Leaota also doesn’t contain any settlements and consequently is an important refuge for wildlife. A management plan for the site has been developed and submitted for approval to the Ministry of Environment.