Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Continued loss of temperate old-growth forests in the Romanian Carpathians despite an increasing protected area network

  • JAN KNORN (a1), TOBIAS KUEMMERLE (a1) (a2), VOLKER C. RADELOFF (a3), WILLIAM S. KEETON (a4), VLADIMIR GANCZ (a5), IOVU-ADRIAN BIRIŞ (a5), MIROSLAV SVOBODA (a6), PATRICK GRIFFITHS (a1), ADRIAN HAGATIS (a7) and PATRICK HOSTERT (a1)...
Summary

Old-growth forests around the world are vanishing rapidly and have been lost almost completely from the European temperate forest region. Poor management practices, often triggered by socioeconomic and institutional change, are the main causes of loss. Recent trends in old-growth forest cover in Romania, where some of the last remaining tracts of these forests within Europe are located, are revealed by satellite image analysis. Forest cover declined by 1.3 % from 2000 to 2010. Romania's protected area network has been expanded substantially since the country's accession to the European Union in 2007, and most of the remaining old-growth forests now are located within protected areas. Surprisingly though, 72% of the old-growth forest disturbances are found within protected areas, highlighting the threats still facing these forests. It appears that logging in old-growth forests is, at least in part, related to institutional reforms, insufficient protection and ownership changes since the collapse of communism in 1989. The majority of harvesting activities in old-growth forest areas are in accordance with the law. Without improvements to their governance, the future of Romania's old-growth forests and the important ecosystem services they provide remains uncertain.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Dr Jan Knorn Tel: +49 30 2093 6846 Fax: +49 30 2093 6948 e-mail: jan.knorn@geo.hu-berlin.de
References
Hide All
Achard, F., Eva, H., Mollicone, D., Popatov, P., Stibig, H.-J., Turubanova, S. & Yaroshenko, A. (2009) Detecting intact forests from space: hot spots of loss, deforestation and the UNFCCC. In: Old-Growth Forests, ed. Wirth, C., Gleixner, G. & Heimann, M., pp. 411427. Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
Anfodillo, T., Carrer, M., Valle, E.D., Giacoma, E., Lamedica, S. & Pettenella, D. (2008) Report on current state of forest resources in the Carpathians. INTERREG III B CADSES Programme Carpathian Project, Dipartimento Territorio e Sistemi Agro-Forestali, Università Degli Studi Di Padova, Legnaro, Italy.
Barbier, E.B., Burgess, J.C. & Grainger, A. (2010) The forest transition: towards a more comprehensive theoretical framework. Land Use Policy 27 (2): 98107.
Biriş, I.-A. & Veen, P. (2005) Inventory and strategy for sustainable management and protection of virgin forests in Romania. Extended English summary (PIN-MATRA / 2001 / 018). ICAS and KNNV, Bucharest, Romania: 61 pp.
Biriş, I.A., Doniţă, N. & Teodosiu, M. (2010) Forêt vierges en Roumanie. Braun-Blanquetia 46: 139144.
Bizikova, L., Nijnik, M. & Kluvanková-Oravská, T. (2011) Sustaining multifunctional forestry through the developing of social capital and promoting participation: a case of multiethnic mountain communities. Small-Scale Forestry: 1–19.
Börzel, T. & Buzogány, A. (2010) Environmental organisations and the Europeanisation of public policy in Central and Eastern Europe: the case of biodiversity governance. Environmental Politics 19 (5): 708735.
Bouriaud, L. (2005) Causes of illegal logging in Central and Eastern Europe. Small-Scale Forestry 4 (3): 269291.
Brandlmaier, H. & Hirschberger, P. (2005) Illegal logging in Romania. Report. WWF European Forest Programme and the Danube Carpathian Programme (DCP): 17 pp. [www document]. URL http://assets.panda.org/downloads/finalromaniaillegallogging.pdf
Brook, B.W., Sodhi, N.S. & Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2008) Synergies among extinction drivers under global change. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23 (8): 453460.
Burrascano, S. (2010) On the terms used to refer to ‘natural’ forests: a response to Veen et al. Biodiversity and Conservation 19 (11): 33013305.
CBD (2010) Global Biodiversity Outlook 3. Montréal, Canada: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity: 94 pp.
Coppin, P., Jonckheere, I., Nackaerts, K., Muys, B. & Lambin, E. (2004) Digital change detection methods in ecosystem monitoring: a review. International Journal of Remote Sensing 25 (9): 15651596.
Cristea, V. (1993) Fitosociologie si vegetatia Romaniei. Cluj Napoca, Romania.: Babes-Bolyai University Press.
Donita, N., Ivan, D., Coldea, G., Sanda, V., Popescu, A., Chifu, T., Paucă-Comănescu, M., Mititelu, D. & Boşcaiu, N. (1993) Vegetation potentielle de la Roumanie. Braun-Blanquetia 9: 79.
Donita, N., Popescu, A., Paucă-Comănescu, M., Mihăilescu, S. & Biriş, I.A. (2005) Habitatele din România. Bucureşti, Romania: Editura Tehnică Silvică.
Dragoi, M. (2010) Compensating the opportunity cost of forest functional zoning: two alternative options for the Romanian forest policy. Annals of Forest Research 53 (1): 8192.
Ehrlich, P.R. & Pringle, R.M. (2008) Where does biodiversity go from here? A grim business-as-usual forecast and a hopeful portfolio of partial solutions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105 (Suppl. 1): 1157911586.
FAO (2011) Global forest land-use change from 1990 to 2005. Initial results from a global remote sensing survey. Report, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
FAO (2012) Forest management and climate change: a literature review. Working Paper Series, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
Feurdean, A., Wohlfarth, B., Björkman, L., Tantau, I., Bennike, O., Willis, K.J., Farcas, S. & Robertson, A.M. (2007) The influence of refugial population on Lateglacial and early Holocene vegetational changes in Romania. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 145 (3–4): 305320.
Foster, D.R., Orwlg, D.A. & McLachlan, J.S. (1996) Ecological and conservation insights from reconstructive studies of temperate old-growth forests. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 11 (10): 419424.
Frank, D., Finckh, M. & Wirth, C. (2009) Impacts of land use on habitat functions of old-growth forests and their biodiversity. In: Old-Growth Forests, ed. Wirth, C., Gleixner, G. & Heimann, M., pp. 429450. Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
Franklin, J.F., Lindenmayer, D., MacMahon, J.A., McKee, A., Magnuson, J., Perry, D.A., Waide, R. & Foster, D. (2000) Threads of continuity. Conservation in Practice 1 (1): 817.
Fraser, R.H., Olthof, I. & Pouliot, D. (2009) Monitoring land cover change and ecological integrity in Canada's national parks. Remote Sensing of Environment 113 (7): 13971409.
Gancz, V. & Pătrăşcoiu, N. (2000) Cartografierea ecosistemelor forestiere din România prin mijloace GIS şi de teledetecţie. Revista Pădurilor 2: 3540.
Gibson, L., Lee, T.M., Koh, L.P., Brook, B.W., Gardner, T.A., Barlow, J., Peres, C.A., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Laurance, W.F., Lovejoy, T.E. & Sodhi, N.S. (2011) Primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity. Nature 478 (7369): 378381.
Griffiths, P., Kuemmerle, T., Kennedy, R.E., Abrudan, I.V., Knorn, J. & Hostert, P. (2012) Using annual time-series of Landsat images to assess the effects of forest restitution in post-socialist Romania. Remote Sensing of Environment 118 (0): 199214.
Healey, S.P., Cohen, W.B., Yang, Z.Q. & Krankina, O.N. (2005) Comparison of Tasseled Cap-based Landsat data structures for use in forest disturbance detection. Remote Sensing of Environment 97 (3): 301310.
Holeksa, J., Saniga, M., Szwagrzyk, J., Czerniak, M., Staszynska, K. & Kapusta, P. (2009) A giant tree stand in the West Carpathians. An exception or a relic of formerly widespread mountain European forests? Forest Ecology and Management 257 (7): 15771585.
Howard, M.M. (2003) The Weakness of Civil Society in Post-communist Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Huang, C., Goward, S.N., Schleeweis, K., Thomas, N., Masek, J.G. & Zhu, Z. (2009) Dynamics of national forests assessed using the Landsat record: case studies in eastern United States. Remote Sensing of Environment 113 (7): 14301442.
Ioja, C.I., Patroescu, M., Rozylowicz, L., Popescu, V.D., Verghelet, M., Zotta, M.I. & Felciuc, M. (2010) The efficacy of Romania's protected areas network in conserving biodiversity. Biological Conservation 143 (11): 24682476.
Ioras, F. & Abrudan, I.V. (2006) The Romanian forestry sector: privatisation facts. International Forestry Review 8 (3): 361367.
Irimie, D.L. & Essmann, H.F. (2009) Forest property rights in the frame of public policies and societal change. Forest Policy and Economics 11 (2): 95101.
Keeton, W.S. (2006) Managing for late-successional/old-growth characteristics in northern hardwood-conifer forests. Forest Ecology and Management 235 (1–3): 129142.
Keeton, W.S. & Crow, S.M. (2009) Sustainable forest management alternatives for the Carpathian Mountain region: providing a broad array of ecosystem services. In: Ecological Economics and Sustainable Forest Management: Developing a Trans-disciplinary Approach for the Carpathian Mountains., ed. Soloviy, I. & Keeton, W.S., pp. 109126. Lviv, Ukraine: Ukrainian National Forestry University Press.
Keeton, W.S., Chernyavskyy, M., Gratzer, G., Main-Knorn, M., Shpylchak, M. & Bihun, Y. (2010) Structural characteristics and aboveground biomass of old-growth spruce–fir stands in the eastern Carpathian mountains, Ukraine. Plant Biosystems. An International Journal Dealing with all Aspects of Plant Biology 144 (1): 148159.
Keeton, W.S., Kraft, C.E. & Warren, D.R. (2007) Mature and old-growth riparian forests: structure, dynamics, and effects on Adirondack stream habitats. Ecological Applications 17 (3): 852868.
Keeton, W.S., Whitman, A.A., McGee, G.C. & Goodale, C.L. (2011) Late-successional biomass development in northern hardwood-conifer forests of the northeastern United States. Forest Science 57 (6): 489505.
Kennedy, R.E., Yang, Z. & Cohen, W.B. (2010) Detecting trends in forest disturbance and recovery using yearly Landsat time series: 1. LandTrendr. Temporal segmentation algorithms. Remote Sensing of Environment 114 (12): 28972910.
Knohl, A., Schulze, E.-D. & Wirth, C. (2009) Biosphere–atmosphere exchange of old-growth forests: processes and pattern. In: Old-Growth Forests, ed. Wirth, C., Gleixner, G. & Heimann, M., pp. 141158. Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
Knorn, J., Kuemmerle, T., Radeloff, V.C., Szabo, A., Mindrescu, M., Keeton, W.S., Abrudan, I., Griffiths, P., Gancz, V. & Hostert, P. (2012) Forest restitution and protected area effectiveness in post-socialist Romania. Biological Conservation 146 (1): 204212.
Knorn, J., Rabe, A., Radeloff, V.C., Kuemmerle, T., Kozak, J. & Hostert, P. (2009) Land cover mapping of large areas using chain classification of neighboring Landsat satellite images. Remote Sensing of Environment 113 (5): 957964.
Kozak, J., Estreguil, C. & Ostapowicz, K. (2008) European forest cover mapping with high resolution satellite data: the Carpathians case study. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 10 (1): 4455.
Kuemmerle, T., Chaskovskyy, O., Knorn, J., Radeloff, V.C., Kruhlov, I., Keeton, W.S. & Hostert, P. (2009) Forest cover change and illegal logging in the Ukrainian Carpathians in the transition period from 1988 to 2007. Remote Sensing of Environment 113 (6): 11941207.
Lambin, E.F. & Meyfroidt, P. (2010) Land use transitions: socio-ecological feedback versus socio-economic change. Land Use Policy 27 (2): 108118.
Lambin, E.F., Turner, B.L., Geist, H.J., Agbola, S.B., Angelsen, A., Bruce, J.W., Coomes, O.T., Dirzo, R., Fischer, G., Folke, C., George, P.S., Homewood, K., Imbernon, J., Leemans, R., Li, X. B., Moran, E.F., Mortimore, M., Ramakrishnan, P.S., Richards, J.F., Skanes, H., Steffen, W., Stone, G.D., Svedin, U., Veldkamp, T.A., Vogel, C. & Xu, J.C. (2001) The causes of land-use and land-cover change: moving beyond the myths. Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions 11 (4): 261269.
Luyssaert, S., Schulze, E.D., Borner, A., Knohl, A., Hessenmoller, D., Law, B.E., Ciais, P. & Grace, J. (2008) Old-growth forests as global carbon sinks. Nature 455 (7210): 213215.
MA (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis. Washington DC, USA: Island Press: 86 pp.
Macovei, C. (2009) The wind as a climatic risk factor for the forestry fund of Suceava county. Present Environment and Sustainable Development 3: 275286
Main-Knorn, M., Hostert, P., Kozak, J. & Kuemmerle, T. (2009) How pollution legacies and land use histories shape post-communist forest cover trends in the Western Carpathians. Forest Ecology and Management 258 (2): 6070.
Mantescu, L. & Vasile, M. (2009) Property reforms in rural Romania and community-based forests. Sociologie Românească VII (2): 95113.
Marin, G., Bouriaud, O., Marius, D. & Nitu, D. (2010) Romania. In: National Forest Inventories. Pathways for Common Reporting, ed. Tomppo, E., Gschwanter, T., Lawrence, M. & McRoberts, R.E., pp. 473480. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
MCPFE (2007) State of Europe's Forests 2007. The MCPFE Report on Sustainable Forest Management in Europe. Warsaw Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe and UNECE/FAO [www document]. URL http://www.foresteurope.org/filestore/foresteurope/Publications/pdf/state_of_europes_forests_2007.pdf
Mihai, B., Savulescu, I. & Sandric, I. (2007) Change detection analysis (1986–2002) of vegetation cover in Romania. A study of alpine, subalpine, and forest landscapes in the Iezer Mountains, Southern Carpathians. Mountain Research and Development 27 (3): 250258.
Mollicone, D., Eva, H.D. & Achard, F. (2006) Ecology: human role in Russian wild fires. Nature 440 (7083): 436437.
Muica, E.C. & Popova-Cucu, A. (1993) The composition and conservation of Romania's plant cover. GeoJournal 29 (1): 918.
Nagel, T.A., Svoboda, M. & Diaci, J. (2006) Regeneration patterns after intermediate wind disturbance in an old-growth Fagus-Abies forest in southeastern Slovenia. Forest Ecology and Management 226 (1–3): 268278.
Nichiforel, L. (2010) Forest owners’ attitudes towards the implementationof multi-functional forest management principles in the district of Suceava, Romania. Annals of Forest Research 53 (1): 7180.
Nichiforel, L. & Schanz, H. (2011) Property rights distribution and entrepreneurial rent-seeking in Romanian forestry: a perspective of private forest owners. European Journal of Forest Research 130 (3): 369381.
Niedziałkowski, K., Paavola, J. & Jędrzejewska, B. (2012) Participation and protected areas governance: the impact of changing influence of local authorities on the conservation of the Białowieża Primeval Forest, Poland. Ecology and Society 17 (1): 2
Nijnik, M. (2004) To an economist's perception on sustainability in forestry-in-transition. Forest Policy and Economics 6 (3–4): 403413.
Nijnik, M., Nijnik, A. & Bizikova, L. (2009) Analysing the development of small-scale forestry in Central and Eastern Europe. Small-Scale Forestry 8 (2): 159174.
Olofsson, P., Kuemmerle, T., Griffiths, P., Knorn, J., Baccini, A., Gancz, V., Blujdea, V., Houghton, R.A., Abrudan, I.V. & Woodcock, C.E. (2011) Carbon implications of forest restitution in post-socialist Romania. Environmental Research Letters 6 (4): 045202.
Pal, M. & Mather, P.M. (2005) Support vector machines for classification in remote sensing. International Journal of Remote Sensing 26 (5): 10071011.
Panayotov, M., Kulakowski, D., Laranjeiro Dos Santos, L. & Bebi, P. (2011) Wind disturbances shape old Norway spruce-dominated forest in Bulgaria. Forest Ecology and Management 262 (3): 470481.
Popa, I. (2008) Windthrow risk management: results from Romanian forests. In: Disturbi in foresta ed effetti sullo stock di carbonio: il problema della non permanenzai, Pubblicazionedel Corso di Cultura in Ecologia, Atti del 44° corso, ed. Anfodillo, T., Dalla Valle, E. & Valese, E., pp. 7788. Padova, Italy: Università di Padova.
Price, M.F., Gratzer, G., Duguma, L.A., Kohler, T., Maselli, D. & Romeo, R. (2011) Mountain forests in a changing world: realizing values, addressing challenges. Report,.FAO/MPS and SDC, Rome, Italy.
Rozylowicz, L., Popescu, V., Pătroescu, M. & Chişamera, G. (2011) The potential of large carnivores as conservation surrogates in the Romanian Carpathians. Biodiversity and Conservation 20 (3): 561579.
Savulescu, I. & Mihai, B. (2011) Geographic information system (GIS) application for windthrow mapping and management in Iezer Mountains, Southern Carpathians. Journal of Forestry Research 23 (2): 175184.
Schelhaas, M.J., Nabuurs, G.J. & Schuck, A. (2003) Natural disturbances in the European forests in the 19th and 20th centuries. Global Change Biology 9 (11): 16201633.
Schneider, A. & Ingram, H. (1990) Behavioral assumptions of policy tools. Journal of Politics 52 (2): 510529.
Schulze, E.-D., Hessenmoeller, D., Knohl, A., Luyssaert, S., Boerner, A. & Grace, J. (2009) Temperate and boreal old-growth forests: how do their growth dynamics and biodiversity differ from young stands and managed forests? In: Old-Growth Forests, ed. Wirth, C., Gleixner, G. & Heimann, M., pp. 343366. Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
Smith, K.J., Keeton, W.S., Twery, M.J. & Tobi, D.R. (2008) Understorey plant responses to uneven-aged forestry alternatives in northern hardwood–conifer forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38 (6): 13031318.
Splechtna, B.E., Gratzer, G., Black, B.A. & Franklin, J. (2005) Disturbance history of a European old-growth mixed-species forest: a spatial dendro-ecological analysis. Journal of Vegetation Science 16 (5): 511522.
Svoboda, M., Janda, P., Nagel, T.A., Fraver, S., Rejzek, J. & Bače, R. (2012) Disturbance history of an old-growth sub-alpine Picea abies stand in the Bohemian Forest, Czech Republic. Journal of Vegetation Science 23 (1): 8697.
Thompson, I., Mackey, B., McNulty, S. & Mosseler, A. (2009) Forest Resilience, Biodiversity, and Climate Change. A Synthesis of the Biodiversity/Resilience/Stability Relationship in Forest Ecosystems. Montreal, Canada: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Toader, T. & Dumitru, I. (2005) Romanian forest - national parks and natural parks. Bucharest, Romania: National Forest Administration ROMSILVA.
Turner, M.G., Wear, D.N. & Flamm, R.O. (1996) Land ownership and land-cover change in the southern Appalachian highlands and the Olympic peninsula. Ecological Applications 6 (4): 11501172.
Turnock, D. (2002) Ecoregion-based conservation in the Carpathians and the land-use implications. Land Use Policy 19 (1): 4763.
UNDP (2004) UNDP Project document: strengthening Romania's Protected Area system by demonstrating public-private partnership in Romania's Maramures Nature Park. Report, Government of Romania and United Nations Development Programme, Romania.
UNEP (2007) Carpathians environment outlook. Report, United Nations Environment Programme, Geneva, Switzerland.
Veen, P., Fanta, J., Raev, I., Biriş, I.-A., de Smidt, J. & Maes, B. (2010) Virgin forests in Romania and Bulgaria: results of two national inventory projects and their implications for protection. Biodiversity and Conservation 19 (6): 18051819.
Wirth, C. (2009) Old-growth forests: function, fate and value. A synthesis. In: Old-Growth Forests, ed. Wirth, C., Gleixner, G. & Heimann, M., pp. 465491. Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
Wirth, C., Gleixner, G. & Heimann, M. (2009 a) Old-growth forests: function, fate and value. An overview. In: Old-Growth Forests, ed. Wirth, C., Gleixner, G. & Heimann, M., pp. 310. Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
Wirth, C., Messier, C., Bergeron, Y., Frank, D. & Fankhänel, A. (2009 b) Old-growth forest definitions: a pragmatic view. In: Old-Growth Forests, ed. Wirth, C., Gleixner, G. & Heimann, M., pp. 1133. Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
Wulder, M. (1998) Optical remote-sensing techniques for the assessment of forest inventory and biophysical parameters. Progress in Physical Geography 22 (4): 449476.
Young, J.E., Sanchez-Azofeifa, G.A., Hannon, S.J. & Chapman, R. (2006) Trends in land cover change and isolation of protected areas at the interface of the southern boreal mixedwood and aspen parkland in Alberta, Canada. Forest Ecology and Management 230 (1–3): 151161.
Żmihorski, M., Chylarecki, P., Rejt, Ł. & Mazgajski, T. (2010) The effects of forest patch size and ownership structure on tree stand characteristics in a highly deforested landscape of central Poland. European Journal of Forest Research 129 (3): 393400.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed