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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Romania : Danube Delta (1991)


The waters of the Danube, which flow into the Black Sea, form the largest and best preserved of Europe's deltas. The Danube delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.


The waters of the Danube, which flow into the Black Sea, form the largest and best preserved of Europe's deltas. The Danube delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.
The reserve is vast in European terms with numerous freshwater Lakes interconnected by narrow channels featuring huge expanses of aquatic vegetation. This is the largest continuous marshland on Europe and the second-largest delta (the Volga being the largest), which includes the greatest stretch of reedbeds in the world. The marsh vegetation is dominated by reeds which form floating or fixed islands of decaying vegetation Reeds cover some 1,700 km2 and the floating reed islands (plaur ) 1,000 km2 , whereas the total area not inundated is only 148 km2 . The Razelm-Sinoie complex to the south comprises several large brackish lagoons separated from the sea by a sandbar. The overall basic hydrological and ecological system of the delta, although strongly degraded, is intact.
The higher ground supports stands of willow, popular, alder and oak. There are also sandy areas covered with feather grass and other steppe species. Forest elements are best observed in Letea Forest where a series of bands occur along dunes up to 250 m long and 10 m wide. The delta has been classified into 12 habitat types as follows: aquatic, lakes covered with flooded reedbeds; 'plaur', flooded islets; flooded reeds and willows; riverine forest of willows and poplars; cane-fields; sandy and muddy beaches; wet meadows; dry meadows (arid); human settlements; sandy and rocky areas; steep banks; and forests on high ground.
Over 300 species of bird have been recorded, of which over 176 species breed, the most important being cormorant, pygmy cormorant, white pelican and Dalmatian pelican. There are numerous multi-species heron colonies and raptor species including white-tailed eagle. The marsh tern colonies are especially notable. The delta holds huge numbers of geese in the winter white-fronted geese, red-breasted geese (a globally threatened species with almost all the world wintering population present), teal, mallard and pochard. The delta is very important for fish, with 45 fresh water species present. Otter and weasel are to be found on the floating islands. The Danube Delta is a remarkable alluvial feature constituting critical habitat for migratory birds and other animals. It is the major remaining wetland on the flyway between central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean and Middle East and Africa. It is exceptional for its contiguity of wetland ecosystem and currently supports endangered flora and fauna. The threats remain numerous and include intensive fish farming, shooting, canal and dyke construction and pollution and eutrophication.
Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC

Historical Description

In 1938 the Council of Ministers passed Decision No 645 declaring 'Letea Forest' as a nature reserve. In 1961 it passed Decision No 891 declaring Rosca-Buhaiova (14,60Oha), St George-Perisor -Zatoane (16,40Oha), Periteasca-Gura Portitei (3,900ha) and Popina Island (98ha) as nature reserves. In 1971 the Management of Forestry declared the Caraorman Forest (840ha) and Erenciuc Forest (41ha). In 1975 the Council of Ministers passed the Decision No. 524 extending the Danube Delta protected areas to cover 41,500ha. In 1979 an area of 18,145ha combining Rosca-Buhaiova Reserve and Letea Forest was designated as Rosca-Letea Biosphere Reserve.
An area of 500,000ha including all previous designations was declared a biosphere reserve under National Decree No. 983 with supporting Articles 5, and 6 on 27 August 1990. Further legislation is under preparation. This area was further enlarged in early 1991 to cover 547,000ha. International recognition is imminent with submissions in May 1991 to Unesco for biosphere reserve nomination and to the Ramsar Bureau for nomination as a Ramsar site.
The latest legislation gives patrimony of the biosphere reserve to the Delta Authority. Decree 264/91 passed on 12 April 1991 places all institute, agency and inspectorate staff under the administration of the biosphere reserve. The environment agency for Tulcea Judet is also subordinate. All public domain and aquatic and natural resources generated are the ownership of the biosphere reserve authority. Further legislation will significantly strengthen the administration of the site.

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