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Tourism and Biodiversity in Natura 2000 Sites. Case Study: Natura 2000 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) Site, Bihor County, Romania

Tourisme et biodiversité dans les sites Natura 2000. L’exemple du site de Valea Rosie (Bihor, Roumanie)
Dorina Camelia Ilieș, Grigore Herman, Alexandru Ilieș, Ștefan Baias, Olivier Dehoorne, Sorin Buhaș, Răzvan Dumbravă, Raluca Buhaș, Ioana Josan, Horia Carțiș and Mihaela Ungureanu

Abstracts

The paper focuses on investigation of the importance of nature and development of tourism in protected areas. Therefore, in this context a new challenge is emerging: the need to conserve and protect bio and geo diversity, as well as the economic valorisation of these areas based mainly on tourism and leisure. At EU level, Natura 2000 protected areas have developed, implemented and cultivated the need to practice sport and recreational activities in these areas both for spending leisure time and also as stress antidote. The recreational and sporting practices that can be undertaken within the ecological network Natura 2000 sites adapted to the specificity of each protected area, in close connection with the environmental conditions. For the preservation of the natural environment should develop and maintain a close collaboration with tourism and sports associations that organize such activities in those areas.

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Introduction

1As a sustainable economic activity with implications for the preservation, promotion and valorisation of biodiversity, tourism has been relatively recently imposed worldwide due to the transition of the European society from an economic structure focused on primary activities to one based on tertiary sector activities (Herman et al., 2017, Ilieș et al., 2017; Masteikiene and Venckuviene, 2015; Pekarskiene and Susniene, 2014; Simonceska, 2012). Economically advanced societies put a great emphasis on tourism activity, as an important feature of the social life and as a part of the consumer culture (Watson and Kopachevsky, 1996; Holden, 2006). Tourism choices, in terms of destinations and type of accommodation, point out the differences between social classes (Seaton, 1992; Urry, 1995; Holden, 2006). The evolution of the contemporary society had an impact also on the way tourism is approached. Due to the rapid development of the tourism activity, a new form has emerged quite recently: social tourism – settled mainly for people with low socio-economic status (Minnaert and Miller, 2009). On the other hand, sports with all its ways of manifestation, has spread worldwide in economic, social and cultural terms (Jarvie, 2006). The increased level of living standards and income have directed daily activities also towards the improvement of physical performance through sports and recreational activities. Moreover, according to various research in the field, as well as tourism activities (Gard Mc Gehee et al., 2010), sport may contribute to the construction of cultural and social capital (Bourdieu, 1990; Putnam, 2000; Skinner et al., 2008); in the last century sports such as golf or sailing were an attribute for people in middle and upper social classes (Bourdieu, 1990). Sporting practices have begun to transcend urban areas, represented mainly by fitness centres, sports halls, stadiums or even sports parks, and to be closer to nature, in harmony with environmental requirements and respect for nature. New sports and recreational activities have emerged and some of them have been adapted to natural requirements of the area in which they are practiced, respecting also the environment.

2The concept of biodiversity defines after Wilson, 1992, the variability of Earth's living organisms and their «biological diversity»; the concept was extended in order to include «the diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems» (United Nations, 1993; Butler, 2006). Gray (2004, p. 8) gives a simple definition of the concept of geodiversity: «the natural range (diversity) of geological (rocks, minerals, fossils), geomorphological (landforms, physical process) and soil features. It includes their assemblages, relationships, properties, interpretations and systems».

3The need to preserve and protect biodiversity within Nature 2000 sites in Romania, as well as the large areas on which they lie (5 555 854.13 ha, respectively 23% of Romania's surface) impose sustained efforts in order to identify optimal connections between man and nature. Starting from the premise that man is nature`s main beneficiary and product, it is necessary to identify the economic activities that have a minimal impact on the biodiversity of Natura 2000 sites. The activities that can be carried out within Natura 2000 sites in Romania were established according to «Birds» 79/409/CEE regarding wild birds` conservation and «Habitats» 92/43/CEE regarding the conservation of natural habitats and species of wild plants and animals within OUG 57 / 2007:

  1. scientific and educational;

  2. ecotourism activities that do not require constructions-investments;

  3. the rational use of grassland for moving and/or grazing, only with domestic animals, property of community members who own pastures or have the right to use them in any form recognized by the national legislation, on the surfaces, in the periods and with the species and herds approved by the park management, and not affect the natural habitats and flora and fauna species;

  4. identification and operative extinction of fires;

  5. interventions for habitats maintenance in order to protect certain species, groups of species or biotic communities that are subjected to protection, based on the approval of the central public authority for environmental protection, the provisional action plan elaborated in this sense by the scientific council, valid until the management plan takes effect;

  6. interventions for the ecological reconstruction of natural ecosystems and rehabilitation of inadequate or degraded ecosystems, at the proposal of the administration and with the scientific council approval, based on the approval of the central public authority for environmental protection;

  7. actions for removing the effects of certain calamities, based on the proposal of the protected natural area administration, with the approval of the scientific council, and based on the approval of the central public authority for environmental protection. In case the calamities affect forest areas, actions for removing their effects shall be made at the proposal of natural protected area administration, with the approval of the scientific council, based on the approval of the central public authority responsible for forestry;

  8. actions to prevent the mass multiplication of forest pests that do not require trees extraction, and monitoring actions;

  9. actions to combat the mass multiplication of forest pests that require the removal of wood material from the forest, in the case of propagation outbreaks, at the proposal of the protected natural area administration, with the approval of the scientific council and of the central public authority responsible for forestry» (OUG 57/2007, art 21, alin. 8).

4In this context, the implementation of a sustainable and responsible tourism in accordance with the environmental protection and sustainable development, through the involvement and co-involvement of local communities in what regards the development of specific activities in this sense, is becoming more and more present within sites` management plans (Kusakabe, 2013; Pravalie et al., 2014; Pintilii et al., 2016). An important contribution in this direction is the role and importance of nature as a tourism attraction, which led worldwide to the emergence and development of tourism in protected areas (Eagles, 2007; Balmford et al., 2009; Siikam€aki et al., 2015; Tolvanen and Kangas, 2016). At the same time, we cannot ignore both positive and negative impacts of tourism on the environment (Cole and Landres, 1996; Ballantyne and Pickering, 2013; Rankin et al., 2015; Liddle, 1997; Hammit and Cole, 1998).

5Therefore, a new challenge is emerging: the need to conserve and protect biodiversity, as well as the economic valorisation of these areas based on tourism and leisure. As a consequence, the protection, preservation, promotion and management of Natura 2000 sites in Romania encloses the knowledge of system components, their functionality, interdependence and interconditioning, as well as their relation with the environment (Serrano et al., 2007: 140; Ilieș et al., 2017: 50-58; Ilieș et al., 2016).

1. The Ecological Network of Natura 2000 Sites in Romania

6«Nature 2000 is a European Union network of protected areas aiming to improve the conservation status of species and habitats of Community importance» (Niculae et al., 2016: 29). «Lately, as a result of an increased anthropogenic impact on the environment, some species of plants and animals in Europe, and beyond, are on the verge of extinction. To counteract this phenomenon, the European Union through its directives, «Birds» 79/409/CEE regarding wild birds` conservation and «Habitats» 92/43/CEE regarding the conservation of natural habitats and species of wild plants and animals, created Natura 2000 network consisting of Avifauna Special Protection Areas (SPA) and of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) » (Herman et al., 2016a: 58) [SCI = Sites of Community Importance]

7The legislative documents based on which a part of the Romanian territory (17.89%) was introduced into Natura 2000 network were: GEO no. 57/20.06.2007 regarding the regime of natural protected areas, the conservation of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna, Order no. 1284/2007 regarding the declaration of avifauna special protection areas as an integral part of Natura 2000 European ecological network in Romania; Order no. 1964/2007 of the Romanian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development regarding the establishment of protected natural habitat regime for areas of Community importance, as an integral part of Natura 2000 European ecological network in Romania; Law no. 49 of April 7, 2011 for the approval of Government Emergency Ordinance no. 57/2007 on the regime of natural protected areas, conservation of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna. Government Decision no. 971/2011 for the modification and completion of Government Decision no. 1284/2007 regarding the declaration of avifauna special protection areas as an integral part of Natura 2000 European ecological network in Romania; Order 2387/2011 amending the Order of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development no. 1964/2007 regarding the establishment of protected natural habitat regime for areas of Community importance, as an integral part of Natura 2000 European ecological network in Romania and Government Ordinance no. 20 of August 26, 2014 for the amendment of Government Emergency Ordinance no. 57/2007 regarding the regime of natural protected areas, the conservation of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna.

  • 1 http://www.anpm.ro/natura-2000

8Having a legislative support in the previously listed documents, established under the directives of “Birds” 79/409/CEE regarding wild birds` conservation and «Habitats» 92/43/CEE regarding the conservation of natural habitats and species of wild plants and animals, the ecological network Natura 2000 sites was created in Romania, identifying and declaring, on scientific basis, 383 Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and 148 Special Protection Areas (SPA)1. The purpose of Natura 2000 network is to conserve the species and habitats listed in the annexes of both directives: “Habitats” 92/43/CEE and “Birds” 79/409/CEE.

9In order to create a current picture of the ecological network Natura 2000 sites in Romania, and based on the information from specific legislative documents, a time-based (the numerical and spatial evolution of Natura 2000 sites and also its evolution on typological categories) and a space-based analysis (the spatial evolution of Natura 2000 sites, and also on typological categories, according to the following indicators: site area, number of sites, number of sites with custodians and number of sites with management plans) was undertaken. ArcGIS 9.10 software was used for these analyses.

10The evolution in time of the number and surface of Natura 2000 sites in Romania has an open character, being marked by two distinct moments, in 2007 and in 2011 (Fig. 1). In 2007 the ecological network Natura 2000 sites was structured on 381 sites (273 SAC sites, 108 SPA sites), while in 2011 their number reached 531 sites (383 SAC sites, 148 SPA sites). The open character of their evolution in time is based on current proposals (53 SAC sites), that need to be validated by a new legislative act.

11The analysis of the spatial distribution of the number and surfaces of Natura 2000 sites reveals the existence of major oscillations at biogeographical region, morphological unit and county level (Fig. 2-5).

Figure 1.The evolution of areas included in the ecological network Natura 2000 sites in Romania

Figure 1.The evolution of areas included in the ecological network Natura 2000 sites in Romania

Source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Form

Figure 2. The spatial distribution of Natura 2000 sites in Romania at biogeographical region level

Figure 2. The spatial distribution of Natura 2000 sites in Romania at biogeographical region level

Source: http://www.anpm.ro/​natura-2000

Figure 3. The surface distribution of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in Romania

Figure 3. The surface distribution of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in Romania

Source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms

Figure 4. The surface distribution of Special Protection Areas (SPA) in Romania

Figure 4. The surface distribution of Special Protection Areas (SPA) in Romania

Source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms

Figure 5. The distribution of Natura 2000 sites in Romania

Figure 5. The distribution of Natura 2000 sites in Romania

Source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms

12As regards the distribution of Natura 2000 sites, on the first places we find counties like Tulcea (1 278 751.16 ha, of which 659 806.81 ha of SAC type, 618 944.35 ha of SPA type), Caraş-Severin (454 633.5 ha, of which 264 884.96 ha of SAC type, 189 748.54 ha of SPA type) and Constanța (403 175.95 ha, of which 122 552.72 ha of SAC type, 280 623.23 ha of SPA type), while the smallest areas are owned by counties like Ilfov (15 391.76 ha, of which 3 267 ha of SAC type, 12 124.76 ha of SPA type), Dâmboviţa (25 491.07 ha, of which 24 894.07 ha of SAC type, 597 ha of SPA type) and Prahova (34766.5 ha, of which 32 717.74 ha of SAC type, 2 048.76 ha of SPA type). In total, Romania has an area of 5555854.13 ha included in the ecological network Natura 2000 sites, of which 4 076 693.943 ha are SAC type (52%) and 3 694 397 ha are SPA type (48%) (Fig. 3-5).The overlapping of the two categories of sites represents 2215236.813 ha (Fig. 2).

Figure 6. The numerical distribution of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in Romania

Figure 6. The numerical distribution of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in Romania

Data source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms

Figure 7. The numerical distribution of Special Protection Areas (SPA) in Romania

Figure 7. The numerical distribution of Special Protection Areas (SPA) in Romania

Data source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms

Figure 8. The distribution of the number of Natura 2000 sites in Romania

Figure 8. The distribution of the number of Natura 2000 sites in Romania

Data source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms

Figure 9. The distribution of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) custodians in Romania

Figure 9. The distribution of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) custodians in Romania

Source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016

Figure 10. The distribution of Special Protection Areas (SPA) custodians in Romania

Figure 10. The distribution of Special Protection Areas (SPA) custodians in Romania

Data source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016

Figure 11. The distribution of Natura 2000 sites custodians in Romania

Figure 11. The distribution of Natura 2000 sites custodians in Romania

Source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016

13The analysis of the numerical distribution of Natura 2000 sites at county level shows that the largest number of sites are located in counties like Teleorman (89 sites, of which 83 SAC sites, 6 SPA sites), Constanța (41 sites, of which 21 SAC sites, 20 SPA sites) and Bihor (37 sites, of which 29 SAC sites, 8 SPA sites), while at the opposite pole are counties like Ilfov (4 sites, of which 3 are of SAC type, 1 SPA site), Dâmboviţa (6 sites, of which 5 SAC sites, 1 SPA sites) and Sălaj (6 sites, of which 5 SAC sites, 1 SPA site.In 2016, Romaniahad 531 sites registered within Natura 2000 network, of which 383 are SAC sites (72%), respectively 148 are SPA sites (28%) (Fig. 6-8).

Figure 12. The numerical distribution of management plans for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in Romania

Figure 12. The numerical distribution of management plans for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in Romania

Data source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016

Figure 13. The numerical distribution of management plans for Special Protection Areas (SPA) in Romania

Figure 13. The numerical distribution of management plans for Special Protection Areas (SPA) in Romania

Data source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016

Figure 14. The numerical distribution of management plans for Natura 2000 sites in Romania

Figure 14. The numerical distribution of management plans for Natura 2000 sites in Romania

Source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016

14The custodians of Natura 2000 sites are «physical and juridical persons who have the quality of custodian and are under the methodological coordination of the National Agency for Protected Natural Areas» (GEO 57/2007, Art. 18, paragraph c). According to Article 20, paragraph 2, «the quality of custodian is established based on conventions between parties, according to the law, where their obligations and rights are stipulated. The custody convention and the custody card are valid documents in front of the public authorities and other interested parts» (GEO 57/2007, art 20, paragraph 2). So far, 160 such conventions have been established in Romania, 131 for SAC sites (82%) and 29 for SPA sites (18%). According to the distribution of sites that have custodians at county level, Bihor is placed first with 22 sites. Following are the counties of Suceava (17 custodians), Constanța (16 custodians) and Arad (15 custodians). The lowest number of custody conventions was concluded in Ilfov and Caraș-Severin (1 convention), followed by Dâmboviţa and Vâlcea (with 2 conventions) (Fig. 9-11).

15The management plans for Natura 2000 sites are official documents that provide a series of information regarding their purpose (site management for biodiversity conservation and protection), general information regarding the site (the description of protected natural area), the assessment regarding the species conservation status, types of habitats, and also activities that can be undertaken (activity plans, activity monitoring plan) etc. In Romania, the number of sites with management plans is clearly superior to those with custodians;282 such documents have been approved so far, while only 160 custody conventions have been concluded. The 282 management plans (204 management plans for SAC sites, 78 management plans for SPA sites) were differently distributed at county level. Thus, the largest number of such documents was approved for counties like Constanţa (24), Suceava (22) and Braşov (19), while the fewest ones were approved for counties like Sălaj (2), Giurgiu, Satu Mare, Bistrița, Teleorman and Călărași (2) (Fig. 12-14).

16From the comparative analysis of Nature 2000 sites, it emerged that only 73 sites that have concluded custody agreements have approved management plans, while 87 of them (67 custodians for SAC sites, 20 custodians for SPA sites) do not have such documents.

17The spatial distribution analysis of the previously analysed indicators for Natura 2000 sites (area, number, number of concluded custody conventions, number of approved management plans) by typological categories (SAC and SPA) reveals the existence of some oscillations at county level (fig. 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12 and 13).

18Taking into consideration the wide surface of Natura 2000 sites, the need to ban the economic activities has not been called into question; but on the contrary, a number of activities are encouraged to be developed but in the spirit of sustainable development such as agriculture, forestry, tourism, in line with biodiversity protection and preservation. A detailed situation in this sense will be highlighted in our case study –Natura 2000 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) site ROSCI 0267.

2. Case Study: Natura 2000 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) Site - Rosci 0267

19«The study area is located in the north-east of Romania, in Bihor County, in close proximity to Oradea City. From an orographic point of view Nature 2000 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) site is located in the morphological subunit of Oradea Hills in the Western Hills unit of Romania, North of the Crișul Repede River» (Herman et al., 2016 b, p. 26; fig.15 and 16).

20In what regards the altitude, Valea Roșie (Red Valley) Natura 2000 site ROSCI 0267, having an area of 819 ha (93% deciduous forests, 4% transition forests and 3% pasturelands), is located between 158 m (minimum altitude) and 291 m (maximum altitude) in the continental biogeographic region. This was reflected in the development of an Asperulo-Faggetum forest habitat, that hosts three species of amphibians «Triturus cristatus, Bombina variegata, Bombina bombina» included in Annex II of Council Directive 92/43/EEC and other important flora and fauna species: «Bufo bufo, Ranaridibunda, Aster sedifolius ssp. canus, Cimicifuga europaea, Dianthus guttatus, Leontodon croceus ssp. rilaensis, Potentilla norvegica, Rumex thyrsiflorus ssp. thryrsiflorus, Viciasparsi flora» (Valea Roșie ROSCI 0267 site Standard Data Form).

Figure 15. The tourist map of Valea Roșie (Red Valley) Natura 2000 site, Bihor County, Romania

Figure 15. The tourist map of Valea Roșie (Red Valley) Natura 2000 site, Bihor County, Romania

Source: Herman et al., 2016 b: 30

Figure 16. The tourism map of Valea Roșie (Red Valley) Natura 2000 site, Bihor County, Romania

Figure 16. The tourism map of Valea Roșie (Red Valley) Natura 2000 site, Bihor County, Romania

Source: Herman et al., 2016b; Mihók-GécziIános-Mátyás-Tamás, 2016: 60

21Six routes that follow the existing forest roads were identified (Ilieș et al., 2017a; Herman et al., 2016, p. 30, fig.15, fig.16) and mapped (fig.15) in the frame of tourist map and interactive tourist map (http://www.arcgis.com/​apps/​MapTools/​index.html?webmap=f54ec5bf01fa4660be159c5d29b2bbcb), which will be synchronized with the site`s management plan (it will be available), very adapted for environmentally friendly sports activities and entertaining activities; in one of the proposed tourist routes, were performed the tests, after focus group discussions and results, being completed in four modes: walking, running, cycling and nordic walking; this kind of activities, are accessible regardless of the intensity of physical preparation and effort of people who go through it, generate health benefits and in harmony with the environment (Ilieș et al., 2017b; Dragoș et al., 2017).

22Within the project «The impact of ecosystems from protected areas - in the custody of Bihor County Council and Muzeul Țării Crișurilor (Criș Country Museum) - on the main economic sectors», based on a detailed biodiversity assessment report, a series of proposals for specific measures have been developed in order to maintain or improve the conservation status of the habitats and species of Community importance within the protected natural area ROSCI0267 Valea Roşie (Red Valley) regarding: the operational and efficient administration and management of Natura 2000 site, the provision of 9130 habitat preservation - Asperulo-Fagetum forests and the conservation of amphibians species (1188 – Bombina bombina, 1193 – Bombina variegata and 1166 – Triturus cristatus).

23General recommendations for an operational and efficient management of Natura 2000 site concerned the following: the update of Natura 2000 Standard Data Form (adding information in the IBIS application) by mentioning some Community interest species and types of habitat as being certainly present within ROSCI0267 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) (Annexes no. 6, 7, 9 and 10); the elaboration of the Organizational Regulation for the protected natural area ROSCI0267 Valea Roşie (Red Valley); conducting additional investigations for the biodiversity inventory (identifying all phenological aspects of the annual development cycle for each species of Community interest); establishing a monitoring protocol for conserved species and habitats (of both Community and national interest); identifying financial funds and starting the elaboration of the Management Plan for ROSCI0267 Valea Roşie (Red Valey) as soon as possible; increasing the degree of public awareness, promotion and consultation on biodiversity importance within ROSCI0267 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) site.

24Specific recommendations for the conservation of 9130 habitat - Asperulo-Fagetum forests in order to achieve a favourable conservation status: «inspecting forestry activities in the field and ensuring that care works for arboretums are followed and properly conducted (including the control of arboretums composition towards basic forest type and diverse horizontal and vertical structures) in accordance with the plans foreseen in the forestry arrangements; monitoring and limiting activities with a potential negative impact on the habitat (in particular, woodcutting processes based on «razor cuts», except for invasive / extraneous / non-indigenous arboretums);controlling the installation of invasive species from the habitat structure; banning both reforestation with non-indigenous species that are not characteristic of the basic forest type, and reforestation using a single species; banning vegetation burning within and in the immediate vicinity of ROSCI0267 Valea Roşie (Red Valley).

25Specific recommendations for ensuring the conservation of amphibian species (1188 – Bombina bombina, 1193 – Bombina variegata and 1166 – Triturus cristatus), in order to achieve a favourable conservation status: creation of new breeding habitats (ponds with variable areas up to 5sq.m obtained by digging pits and ditches with depths of up to 0.5 m in the immediate vicinity of forest roads, meadows and forests habitats) in areas where natural water accumulation is favoured; diminishing the impact that communal roads connecting Oradea city with neighbouring localities, Husasău de Criş and Ineu, have on the amphibians, by installing longitudinal barriers and underground passage ways; monitoring and limiting activities with potential negative impact on amphibian species; reducing the running speed on all roads within Natura 2000 ROSCI0267 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) site at 20km/h, during the activity period for amphibians; the construction of paths in order to attract tourists to ROSCI0267 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) will be done without any new impacts on amphibians (natural materials will be used, land use will not be changed, water bodies will not be altered); encouraging the traditional exploitation of hay meadows within the site through regular mowing and removing unwanted shrubs.

26After field investigations carried out within the project, it has been established that only two of the three amphibian species are present in the site; (Bombina bombina) could not be identified. However, given that Natura 2000 ROSCI0267 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) site is located at the limit of the distribution area for the two species of Bombina bombina, it is possible that some specimens represent hybrids of these two species. So far, data cannot confirm nor the presence or absence of this species within Natura 2000 site, and further field investigations are required. Studies undertaken within the mentioned project have identified four pressures that have a negative impact on the species and habitats of conservation interest within the site: forest and plantation management, the existence of roads, exploitation roads and paths, and harvesting of mushrooms and berries. Although, these pressures have different intensities, there are no high-intensity pressures that could significantly affect the long-term viability of species and habitats of conservative interest.

27Discussions with stakeholders (UATs, inhabitants) have revealed potential threats that could have a negative impact on biodiversity elements within the site. Thus, three threats could be identified: the possibility of seismic prospecting, the possibility of establishing a bison farm (Bison bison) in the North-Eastern part of the site, and the intention to exploit the touristic potential of the site by creating a cycling infrastructure and some tourism routes. Of the three identified elements that could be a threat for the species and habitat of conservative interest, one was considered to have a high intensity impact (seismic prospections), another could have a medium intensity impact (the bison farm) and one with a low intensity impact (increasing the touristic potential of the site by creating a cycling infrastructure and tourist/thematic routes). Besides the species contained in the standard form, other 44 species and 3 habitats with different protection status were identified within the project. It is important to mention that five bird species and two invertebrate species listed in Annex 3 of GEO 57/2007, as well as two species of amphibians and four bird species listed in Annex 4B, have been identified» (Source: Detailed Biodiversity Assessment Report - Project: «The impact of ecosystems from protected areas - in the custody of Bihor County Council and Muzeul Țării Crișurilor (Criș Country Museum) - on the main economic sectors»).

28Therefore, we can state that tourism, as the main anthropic activity, has an important role in the sustainable valorisation of Natura 2000 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) site.

29In this regard, several studies and research have been carried out; papers were presented at international conferences - Herman Grigore Vasile, Ilieş Dorina Camelia, Buhaş Raluca, Ilieş Alexandru, Baias Ştefan, Măduţa Miron Florin, Gaceu Ovidiu, Josan Ioana, Buhaş Sorin, Gozner Maria (2016), Considerations on the planning interventions in designing Natura 2000 Sites and their importance in students’ education through geography. A case study on the Natura 2000 Site Valea Roşie in Bihor County, to International Conference Perspectives of Geographical Approach on Territorial Development: Theories, Methods and Practices, Timişoara - Romania, 13 May 2016 (http://geografie-uoradea.ro/​/Evenimente/​PDF/​13.05.2016.pdf); International Conference U.A.B.; at B.EN.A. Conference Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Development, 24-26 May 2017, Alba Iulia - Romania, authors: Ilieş Dorina Camelia, Buhaş Raluca, Wendt Jan A., Ilieș Alexandru, Gaceu Ovidiu, Pop Anca, Marcu Florin, Buhaș Sorin, Gozner Maria, Baias Ștefan, the paper entitled: Sport Activities and Leisure in Nature 2000 Protected Area- Red Valley, Romania.

Conclusion

  • 2 http://ec.europa.eu/environment/basics/natural-capital/natura2000/index_ro.htm

30With the emergence and implementation of the ecological network Natura 2000 sites, 26.000 protected areas were delineated at the European Union level, covering one fifth of the EU's land area2.They are governed by a general legislation (Directive 92/43 of 1992 on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Flora and Fauna, Directive 79/409 from 1979 on the conservation of wild birds) and by national specific legislation, which allows and encourages the practice of sports in these areas (Probstl et al., 2010). Due to the fact that these areas are clearly delimited, their activity complies a legal framework, are organized and managed by custodians, they attract more and more visitors who spend their leisure time in nature. The activities practiced by these visitors are mainly related to sports and sporting activity.

  • 3 http://www.metla.fi/julkaisut/workingpapers/2004/mwp002-25.pdf
  • 4 https://www.bfn.de/fileadmin/MDB/documents/presse/16_05_08_Natursport_und_Naturathlon.pdf

31At EU level, Natura 2000 protected areas have developed, implemented and cultivated the need to practice sport and recreational activities in these areas both for spending leisure time and also as a stress antidote. These recreational and sports activities are carried out only if all negative impacts that could affect the protected areas are avoided; these activities are defined also by the specificity and location of the protected area (mountain, hill, plains, etc.).For example, in Germany such sports cover a wide range: canoeing, climbing, kite surfing, mountain biking, nordic walking, diving, surfing, hiking, winter sports, mountaineering, paragliding3; these are all adapted to environmental requirements and to the needs of those who practice them4. Sailing sports are predominant in the Netherlands and they are practiced taking into account the rules of protected areas, in close collaboration with sports associations, which leads to a rational and conservationist exploitation of the environment, while the impact of such activities is minor (OECD, 2011). For example, in Oulanka National Park, Finland such activities are carried out exclusively under the guidance of local guides in order to reduce the environmental impact as much as possible (OECD, 2011). In Strangford Lough, Ireland sailing, windsurfing, diving and sometimes jet skiing are mainly practiced, although, most people come to this area for simple walks or for the landscape (Bruls et al., 2004).

32Currently, the ecological situation of Natura 2000 sites in Romania is defined by: the number of sites (531 sites of which 383 are Community sites and 148 are Avifauna's Special Protection Areas; surface (5 555 854.13 ha, of which 4 076 693.943 ha are Sites of Community Importance and 3 694 397 are Avifauna's Special Protection Areas). The overlapping of the two categories of sites represents 2215236.813 ha (Fig. 2); the number of custodians (160 custodians of which 131 are for Sites of Community Importance and 29 are for Special Protection Areas), and the number of approved management plans (282 management plans of which 204 are for Sites of Community Importance and 78 are for Avifauna's Special Protection Areas).

33In conclusion, the recreational and sporting practices that can be undertaken within the ecological network Natura 2000 sites in Romania must be adapted to the specificity of each protected area, in close connection with the environmental conditions; also, Governmental agencies for the preservation of the natural environment should be preoccupied to develop and maintain a close collaboration with tourism and sports associations that organize such activities in those areas.

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https://www.bfn.de/fileadmin/MDB/documents/presse/16_05_08_Natursport_und_Naturathlon.pdf

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Notes

1 http://www.anpm.ro/natura-2000

2 http://ec.europa.eu/environment/basics/natural-capital/natura2000/index_ro.htm

3 http://www.metla.fi/julkaisut/workingpapers/2004/mwp002-25.pdf

4 https://www.bfn.de/fileadmin/MDB/documents/presse/16_05_08_Natursport_und_Naturathlon.pdf

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List of illustrations

Title Figure 1.The evolution of areas included in the ecological network Natura 2000 sites in Romania
Credits Source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Form
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-1.png
File image/png, 39k
Title Figure 2. The spatial distribution of Natura 2000 sites in Romania at biogeographical region level
Credits Source: http://www.anpm.ro/​natura-2000
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-2.jpg
File image/jpeg, 332k
Title Figure 3. The surface distribution of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in Romania
Credits Source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-3.jpg
File image/jpeg, 92k
Title Figure 4. The surface distribution of Special Protection Areas (SPA) in Romania
Credits Source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-4.jpg
File image/jpeg, 92k
Title Figure 5. The distribution of Natura 2000 sites in Romania
Credits Source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-5.jpg
File image/jpeg, 280k
Title Figure 6. The numerical distribution of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in Romania
Credits Data source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-6.jpg
File image/jpeg, 88k
Title Figure 7. The numerical distribution of Special Protection Areas (SPA) in Romania
Credits Data source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-7.jpg
File image/jpeg, 84k
Title Figure 8. The distribution of the number of Natura 2000 sites in Romania
Credits Data source: Natura 2000 - Standard Data Forms
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-8.jpg
File image/jpeg, 256k
Title Figure 9. The distribution of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) custodians in Romania
Credits Source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-9.jpg
File image/jpeg, 88k
Title Figure 10. The distribution of Special Protection Areas (SPA) custodians in Romania
Credits Data source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-10.jpg
File image/jpeg, 88k
Title Figure 11. The distribution of Natura 2000 sites custodians in Romania
Credits Source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-11.jpg
File image/jpeg, 256k
Title Figure 12. The numerical distribution of management plans for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in Romania
Credits Data source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-12.jpg
File image/jpeg, 88k
Title Figure 13. The numerical distribution of management plans for Special Protection Areas (SPA) in Romania
Credits Data source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-13.jpg
File image/jpeg, 88k
Title Figure 14. The numerical distribution of management plans for Natura 2000 sites in Romania
Credits Source: Anexa 8. Information concerning management plans, 2016
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-14.jpg
File image/jpeg, 252k
Title Figure 15. The tourist map of Valea Roșie (Red Valley) Natura 2000 site, Bihor County, Romania
Credits Source: Herman et al., 2016 b: 30
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-15.jpg
File image/jpeg, 348k
Title Figure 16. The tourism map of Valea Roșie (Red Valley) Natura 2000 site, Bihor County, Romania
Credits Source: Herman et al., 2016b; Mihók-GécziIános-Mátyás-Tamás, 2016: 60
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/11262/img-16.jpg
File image/jpeg, 410k
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References

Electronic reference

Dorina Camelia Ilieș, Grigore Herman, Alexandru Ilieș, Ștefan Baias, Olivier Dehoorne, Sorin Buhaș, Răzvan Dumbravă, Raluca Buhaș, Ioana Josan, Horia Carțiș and Mihaela Ungureanu, « Tourism and Biodiversity in Natura 2000 Sites. Case Study: Natura 2000 Valea Roșie (Red Valley) Site, Bihor County, Romania », Études caribéennes [Online], 37-38 | Août-Décembre 2017, Online since 15 November 2017, connection on 24 April 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/11262 ; DOI : 10.4000/etudescaribeennes.11262

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About the authors

Dorina Camelia Ilieș

University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, University St., 410087 Oradea, Bihor, Romania, iliesdorina@yahoo.com

Grigore Herman

University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, University St., 410087 Oradea, Bihor, Romania, grigoreherman@yahoo.com

Alexandru Ilieș

University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, University St., 410087 Oradea, Bihor, Romania, alexandruilies@gmail.com

Ștefan Baias

University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, University St., 410087 Oradea, Bihor, Romania, baias_stefan@yahoo.com

Olivier Dehoorne

Maître de Conférences, University of Antilles, dehoorneo@gmail.com

By this author

Sorin Buhaș

University of Oradea, Department of Physical Education, Sport and Kinetotherpy, University St., 410087 Oradea, Bihor, Romania, sorin.buhas@gmail.com

Răzvan Dumbravă

PH. D candidate, University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, University St., 410087 Oradea, Bihor, Romania, razvid@yahoo.com

Raluca Buhaș

University of Oradea, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, ralubuhas@gmail.com

Ioana Josan

University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, University St., 410087 Oradea, Bihor, Romania, ioanajosan2012@gmail.com

Horia Carțiș

Ph.D. candidateUniversity of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, University St., 410087 Oradea, Bihor, Romania, horia_cartis@yahoo.com

Mihaela Ungureanu

Ph.D. candidate, University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, University St., 410087 Oradea, Bihor, Romania, umihaela59@yahoo.com

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Copyright

Licence Creative Commons
Les contenus d’Études caribéennes sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale 4.0 International.

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