IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and BIOTICA Ecological Society organised the International Conference dedicated to the development and creation of regional sectors of Pan-European Ecological Network (PEEN), on 13-14 October 2011 in Chisinau.
The Conference was organized in frame of project “Development of the National Ecological Network of Moldova as part of the Pan-European Ecological Network, with emphasis on transboundary cooperation”, supported by the Norway Government.
The goal of the conference was to present the project achievements, and also approaches and state of ecological networks development in a broad regional and methodological contexts (including NATURA 2000 and opportunities to use that instrument wider than in the European Union borders), share experience and discuss problems aiming at further implementation.
The conference started with the presentation of the concept of ecological network, done by Kalev Sepp, IUCN Vice-President. After this the current state of developments and plans on the National Ecological Network, as well as economical basis for its creation in Moldova and also information about other important issues in relation with related actions in Moldova were presented.
During the conference pan-European examples were presented, such as state of Ecological Network in Ukraine, implementation of the Pan-European Ecological Network in Russia, experiences with ecological networks development in Romania, Developments of Pan-European Ecological Network in Central Asia. The conference continued with the presentation of regional examples related to development of ecological networks in Moldova and adjacent countries.
Conference presentations can be found here >>>>>>.
Project developing in 2010
Work data of the project, gained in 2009 and accumulated from the all available sources have been analysed and gaps identified with regards to natural areas under consideration (various biodiversity measurements as plants, different animals etc), country and landscape coverage by identified and probable core areas of National Ecological Network and other. Basing on that information and project’s continuous and specified for 2010 tasks,
Excel datasheets on highest plants, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, water invertebrates and vulnerable insects as well as archaeological sites within the identified and probable core areas had been verified with regards to data of 2009, and after updated with the new information obtained during the 2010 field works mainly. Locations of archaeological sites had been geographically sited as possible.
Now database includes data on about 150 areas (versus about 100 areas in 2009) including about 20 areas in Transdniestrian sector (co-financing and synergy section).
Basing on that and other information thematic parts of templates for Directory of the National Ecological Network Key Elements has been sufficiently updated. Structure of draft Directory is improved also. Further compilation of the Directory is in progress.
Contours of all areas under consideration have been added to GIS map, verified using space images, partly orthophotomaps and other information, and improved in the GIS system of National Ecological Network. Concept of the GIS development incorporating the all necessary information in conformity to Concept of the National Ecological Network is developed. Additionally Operational list of plant species was improved by initiative of specialists. Attributes for all databasing objects are determined and the system is ready.
Eight Indicative GIS-maps of are in progress: 1. Core areas of the National Ecological Network (NEN): major biodiversity values; 2. Core areas of the NEN: target species; 3. The NEN core areas in support of landscape diversity; 4. The NEN core areas on the background of anthropogenic pressure upon environment; 5. Pilot zoning of the NEN core areas; 6. Pilot implementation of CORINE BIOTOPS classification within the NEN; 7. Pilot implementation of NATURA-2000: identified pilot sites; 8. Assessment of the integrity of major NEN corridors.
Results of the 2009 year of project implementation
In the first year of the project a lot of work was done.
1. Databasing for GIS
Excel datasheets on mammals, birds, water invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, vulnerable insects, highest plants, forest areas and topographic features within those have been drafted incorporating the all available information and personal data of experts. The datasheet with selected data of forest organisation related to forests in core areas incorporate 21 types of characters (territorial units, altitudes, areas) or groups of features (main species of trees, ages of forests stands). Also, datasheets of archaeological and palaeontological findings in core areas with indication of importance of these findings have been prepared.
These faunal and floral datasheets incorporate lists of species and indications of species presence in previously identified core areas of National Ecological Network (NEN) as well as conservational status of suitable species in:
- IUCN World Red List,
- Lists of strictly protected faunal and floral species of the Bern Convention,
- Lists of animal and plant species of community interest whose conservation requires the designation of special areas of conservation, or strictly protected species of Habitat Directive of European Union (taking into account the governmentally planned approximation of legislation of Moldova to legislation of EU);
- Operational lists of Concept of National Ecological Network of Moldova (NEN);
- Red List of the Republic of Moldova; and
- List of migratory species of wild animals protected be the Bonn Convention (currently indications are done for birds);
- some additional data as status of stay of bird species.
2 Special information prepared for incorporation in GIS
2.1. Operational Checklists of threatened species had been updated for plant, mammal and insect species, drafted and finalised for bird species taking into account the current faunal changes and new findings in Moldova. Operational Checklist of endemic plant communities was revised sufficiently and finalized. Experts concluded there is no necessity to change Operational Checklist of amphibians and reptiles. Operational Checklist of water invertebrates (excluding insects) was not created earlier. It was discussed in the frame of project and new motivation for such the Operational Checklist is revealed: almost all water invertebrates of the Red List of Moldova are distributed very limitedly in geographical sense that prevents to use these species motivating designation of core areas (or parts) in major part of the country. Three species are identified now starting the Checklist in order to complete it using new data and considerations and / or find non-statistical decision how to use it within the NEN criteria system.
2.2. Incorporation of the European tools. Earlier developed (for northern half of Moldova) the List of rare ecosystem types based on the NATURA-2000 classification, updated by biogeographical analogues of habitats from this classification that are specific in Moldova and surrounding region had been finalized regarding the whole Moldova territory.
List of CORINE Biotopes has been revised and biotopes existent in Moldova selected.
These materials are incorporated in the NEN GIS while biodiversity datasheets include indications of species of special concern listed on the EU Bird and Habitat Directives and Bern Convention.
2.3. GIS and Indicative Maps building
GIS structure had been drafted, discussed by GIS expert and project leader and improved. That draft version was c-agreed with IUCN coordinator and finalized.
Developing information basis of ecological network, the basic geographical layers of GIS (hydrological network, roads, settlements, forests, and also grasslands in pilot areas) are prepared at scale 1:100000. Basing on forest organization maps, some available ortophotomaps, Google-Earth system, available contours of protected areas earlier gained from the Ministry of Environment, low-scale maps available for the GIS experts and other relevant sources were used and almost all identified earlier core areas drawn in relevant layer.
Layer of landscape territorial contours was created basing on existent classification and list of landscapes in Moldova. Testing of crosscutting the basic landscape classification and bioregions of the NEN Concept was done and justified further on the background of core areas placement. That analysis shows clearly strong deficit of core areas in some groups of landscapes while core areas create the major contribution to conservation of landscape diversity.
The biodiversity datasheets are incorporated in the newly created GIS of the National Ecological Network and new contours of probable core areas drawn also.
Pilot implementation of CORINE Biotopes classification has been successfully done within Unguri-Holosnita Ramsar Site 1500; that showed possibility to implement CORINE Biotopes classification in the most studied areas of Moldova. Also conclusions on probable strategy to combine information system of the NEN of Moldova with CORINE Biotopes tool are done.
3. Preparation for Inventory of the Key Identified Areas of the National Ecological Network
Template for Inventory of the Key Identified Areas of the National Ecological Network (NEN) of Moldova have been developed. Templates filled by all involved specialists. Combining of these primary templates into the united first draft of the Inventory was carried out and compilation sent to experts who updated it by new information obtained as the result of the field studies, and further the skipped items were improved. Current version is ready for analysis, translations, design and development during 2010.
4. Field expeditions
During 2009 there were investigated 18 prioritized sites among earlier identified core areas with data deficit and 8 probable new core areas including 6 areas within Prut River boundary zone with prohibited free access for public.
New data indicate preliminarily the possibility to recognize 5 new core areas.
5. Planning of corridors
A template for the NEN elements other than core areas – main corridors and geosystemic buffers – is drafted.
Other project tasks related to corridors are planned for 2010 and 2011. Nevertheless the project provided with first assessment of connectivity of corridors of the international importance. The next results are calculated:
- Dniester Corridor:
- linear integral sectors – 337.6 km,
- sectors of stepping stones – 113.1 km,
- problem areas for planning – 178.3 km;
- Prut Corridor:
- linear integral sectors – 465.6 km,
- sectors of stepping stones – 191.6 km,
- problem areas for planning – 26 km;
- northern Prut-Dniestrian corridor:
- stepping stones only – 95.5 km.
6. Information and seminar
Bi-language (Romanian-Russian) brochure “Natural biological diversity and Ecological Network of Moldova in the international context” has been prepared, translated and published. The brochure is addressed to decision-makers and wide public aiming at more awareness about valuable biodiversity of the country in spite of its modest size and high transformation. The brochure includes:
- ranking of Moldova’s biodiversity among other European countries;
- explanation of economical value of biodiversity, of notion of ecological network, biodiversity values of the identified core areas and the project developments;
- brief on international legislation related to ecological networks and PEEN; and
- brief on national legislation related to ecological network of Moldova.
The planned national seminar on the ecological network was held successfully on 30 November 2009 and became the regional seminar in essence, gathered 29 participants from Moldova, Transdniestria and Ukraine who represented governmental bodies, universities and research institutes, and NGOs.
During the seminar the state of art of the project was presented, the main findings were revealed to the public. The importance of National Ecological Network development was emphasised again for the Republic of Moldova. The experience in the same field of Ukraine was presented, showing the learn lessons in the field of ecological networks creation that can be taken into consideration during the project implementation.
Presentation in Russian of the project can be found here and the brochure in Russian and Romanian can be found here.
For further information on the project can be found in BIOTICA office or can be requested be e-mail email@example.com.