HCV3:

  • Forests that include rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems, (Forest management plans, scientific
    studies, expert consultation)
  • Natural forest ecosystems with a high compositional and structural complexity (Forest management
    plans, scientific studies, expert consultation)
  • Forests with primary structure (PINMATRA layer from Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests, The
    Catalogue of Virgin and QuasiVirgine Forests)

Occurrence

HCV 3 occurrence in Romania is one of the highest in Europe, as mentioned in the literature (Giurgiu et al., 2001, Biris et al., 2001). The HCV toolkit provides a list of equivalences between forest types (recorded in the forest management plan stand description) and rare or threatened ecosystems. This represents a basis for identifying potential HCV 3, as long as the forest type inventory is done properly and based on a thorough site condition analysis.

For the case of RTE identified in the FMP – an assessment of the management measures required is needed, as in many cases there is little awareness on the conservation status needed in such cases (e.g. Forests of Alnus incana, Alnus glutinosa, Populus nigra on river banks).

A specific case is the identification of the primary (old growth) forests in Romania conducted at national level for the first time within the project PIN-MATRA. The project resulted in a GIS layer, available online at http://www.mmediu.ro/categorie/paduri/25. The PIN-MATRA layer was included in a re-evaluation process within a project coordinated by WWF Romania. The criteria for primary forests identification have been included in the Ministerial Order no. 3397/2012 and are mandatory for any forest management plan to include them as strictly protected areas. The ministerial Order 1417/2016 created the basis for the
inclusion of forests with primary structure in the National Catalogue of Virgine and Quasivirgine Forests in Romania, according to the details specified in the OM 3397/2012. The start point for the verification and inclusion of these forests is the PIN-MATRA layer, but is not restricted to this data set (any other forest area that meets the criteria can be included in the catalogue by authorized specialists). Once included in the Catalogue, the forest areas are included in type I of functional categories – total exclusion from any intervention.

HCV3 values do not occur in biomass plantations in Romania thus HCV 3 are not applicable for this material source type.

Threats & Safeguards identification and evaluation

The HCVF Toolkit for Romania (Vlad et al., 2013, eng.) includes in Annex 4 (HCV 3 Rare and endangered ecosystems), the list of forest types and the codes used in the description of compartments in the forest management plan and the equivalence with the habitat codes (Habitat Codes acc. EU 27). In some cases, the identification of a forest type is not accurately done. The forest compartment system sets a threshold for compartment sizes of 0.5 ha. This can lead to some marginal ecosystems being
included in the compartment under the dominant compartment stands, and thus can exclude those particular areas from the list of potential HCV3. The forest management of these areas, especially in bottom of valleys, could represent a threat of habitat removal/fragmentation/damage due to low awareness levels from FME personnel and forest management planners regarding the importance of such ecosystems.

The management plans of parks and Natura 2000 sites include lists of RTE ecosystems, their location, equivalence to forest types and management measures. The forest management plans of the areas included in the mentioned sites have to be updated to these requirements within one year from the approval of the protected areas management plan. This measure reduces the threat to this HCV in national, natural parks and Natura 2000 sites, as long as they have an approved management plan and an updated forest management plan for the forest areas included.

The old growth forests with primary structure, as defined by the OM 3397/2012 and by HCVF Toolkit for Romania, are excluded from any intervention, except in cases of very high infestation and only with the approval of the Commission for Natural Monuments Preservation, within the Romanian Academy (http://www.acad.ro/comisiiAR/comisii_CMN.htm). The polygons in the existing national database (GIS layer available online at http://www.mmediu.ro/categorie/paduri/25), developed within the PINMATRA project are mandatory to be integrated in any new forest management plan as areas excluded from any
intervention (OM 3397/2012). Within the last years, the PINMATRA GIS database is under revision by WWF Romania, with the objective to verify these areas, as well as other potential areas of old growth forests against the criteria from OM 3397/2012.

Until the finalization of this process, additional areas of old growth forests (other than PINMATRA) can be subjected to silvicultural cuts, as it is not yet identified as such and included in the corresponding functional categories (type I – exclusion from intervention). The verification of the harvesting plan is done only in the case of primary harvests and accidental cuts (by the Forest Guard) and not in the case of thinning or conservation cuts. This could lead to forest management interventions that would affect significantly the structure of such forests and exclude them as HCV3.

Aside from management operations, the old growth forests could be subjected to illegal logging, as previous assessments done by WWF Romania (map of illegal logging risk – http://www.mmediu.ro/categorie/paduri/25) show overlaps between primary forests and the illegal logging risk areas (See also Category 1, 1.9).

The achievement of Aichi targets is analysed in the CBD report (2014), where the main efforts in  achieving the targets and the most important gaps are identified. The main positive aspects mentioned are the widespread protection areas within the Natura 2000 network, the increased funding for biodiversity preservation accessed in the last years, the increased awareness for biodiversity preservation issues. Target 11, which refers to the percentage of land that is conserved through special
measure, is achieved in Romania since the total area included in Natura 2000 sites represents approx.
24% of the total territory of Romania and 45% is located in forest areas (as presented in the GIS databases from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests (http://www.mmediu.ro/articol/dategis/434). As important gaps in the achieving of the targets are mentioned: target 4 sustainable production and consumption, target 7 sustainable managements of agricultural, forestry and aquaculture areas (in the case of forestry, there are still issues of watershed management, landslide mitigation, sustainable management practices) and target 9 alien species (legislation is still incipient). In case of protected areas
included in parks and Natura 2000 sites, around 90% of them have an approved management plan (as presented in the list available on the site of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests, dated 8th of August 2016). In the absence of a valid management plan, the custodian of the site has only the standard form for Natura 2000 sites that includes the list of RTE species and ecosystems, with very few management measures for conservation.

Low risk

Conservation forest with valid forest management plan

Specified Risk
Conservation forest without valid forest management plan

Specified Risk

Production forest and forested pastures

Biomass plantation:
Not applicable for HCV3

Country Specific

  • Material shall not originate from areas where HCVs are present, unless specific measures that are designed to protect the HCV inherent in the ecosystem (e.g. logging in areas of rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems is designed to protect the extent and values of these ecosystems) are in place.

Expert consultation on the issues of rare, threatened or endangered ecosystem identification and mapping

  • A Forest management plan that integrate the polygons of PINMATRA or other forest reserves as areas of strict protection
  • Adapting the management according to the recommendation of the toolkit in case of identified RTE in the Forest management plans
  • Periodic consultation of the published version of the National Catalogue of Virgine and Quasi-virgine forests in Romania (www.mmediu.ro)

Generic:

It is important to remember that the appropriate way to maintain or enhance each value will depend on the value itself. There are a variety of possible options to maintain or enhance various HCVs, which include:

  • Conservation set-asides (e.g. appropriately designed protected areas, buffer zones, habitat corridors)
  • Reduced impact harvesting operations (e.g. reduced impact logging techniques or continuous cover forestry)
  • Infrastructure planning (e.g. improved road building)
  • Scheduling of operations (e.g. planning logging coupe schedules to benefit wildlife)
  • Control of hunting and fishing (e.g. managing access and methods, providing affordable protein alternatives)
  • Community development and livelihoods projects (e.g. employment and healthcare)
  • Local government and NGO support (e.g. extending or renewing leases, preventing inappropriate development, supporting company conservation initiatives).