Using spatial metrics to assess the efficacy of biodiversity conservation within the Romanian Carpathian Convention area

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Abstract

The alpine region is of crucial importance for the European Union; as a result, the Carpathian Convention aims at its sustainable development. Since sustainability implies also conservation through natural protected areas, aimed at including regions representative for the national biogeographical space, this article aims at assessing the efficiency of conservation. The methodology consisted of using spatial metrics applied to Romanian and European data on the natural protected areas, land cover and use and their transitional dynamics. The findings show a very good coverage of the Alpine biogeographical region (98% included in the Convention area, and 43% of it protected within the Convention area) and of the ecological region of Carpathian montane coniferous forests (88% included in the Convention area, and 42% of it protected within the Convention area). The dominant land cover is represented by forests (63% within the Convention area, and 70% of the total protected area). The main transitional dynamics are deforestation (covering 50% of all changes area within the Convention area and 46% from the changed area within its protected area) and forestations – including afforestation, reforestation and colonization of abandoned agricultural areas by forest vegetation (covering 44% of all changes area within the Convention area and 51% from the changed area within its protected area) during 1990-2000 and deforestation (covering 97% of all changes area within the Convention area and 99% from the changed area within its protected area) during 1990-2000. The results suggest that the coverage of biogeographical and ecological zones is good, especially for the most relevant ones, but deforestations are a serious issue, regardless of occurring before or after achieving the protection status.

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