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2009 Cent, J. — Mertens, C. — Niedzialkowski, K. (2013): Roles and Impacts of Non-governmental Organizations in Natura 2000 Implementation in Hungary and Poland

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Frick, A. 2005. Evaluation of Natura 2000 habitat types through very high resolution satellite imagery. In: C. Kleinn, J. Nieschulze and B. Sloboda (eds), Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems for Environmental Studies . Göttinger

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Dimitrakopoulos, P G., D. Memtsas and A. Y. Troumbis. 2004. Questioning the effectiveness of the Natura 2000 special areas of conservation strategy: the case of Crete. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 13:199–207. Troumbis A. Y

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Even if the establishment of nature reserves is to date a reality and the increase of protected areas is going to grow year after year, monitoring programs aiming to assess the effectiveness of the established protected areas for biodiversity conservation are still needed. That is the case for the Natura 2000 network in Europe, for which monitoring methods and programs are not yet well-established. A probabilistic sampling procedure is proposed and tested for quantifying and monitoring plant species diversity within a local network of protected areas, namely the Natura 2000 network in the Siena Province, Italy. On the basis of a sampling strategy of one 100 m 2 plot randomly located in each 1 km × 1 km cell, four Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) were investigated in 2005. The gradients in species composition at the plot scale were largely related to elevation and forest cover. The species richness values of the four SCIs were compared by means of sample-based rarefaction curves. Then, additive partitioning of species richness was applied to determine the most important spatial components in determining the total species richness of the network. Compositional differences among the plots within each SCI were the most responsible of the total species richness. These methodologies can be adopted for assessing plant species richness within a large region or within a reserve network and, if combined with additive partitioning, they can be used as a set of large scale indicators of species diversity.

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In this paper, we present regional differences in pond area by focusing on species — pond area relationships between two groups of vertebrates differing in life cycles and ecological requirements: amphibians and birds. The study was conducted in two regions of Romania: the Târnava Basin and the Fizeş Valley. Ponds from Târnava were more vegetated with emergent aquatic plants ( Phragmites australis and Typha sp.). The amphibian species richness in ponds was higher in Târnava than in Fizeş and, conversely, Fizeş contained a higher number of bird species. The diversity of the amphibian species is not related to pond area, however, there was a positive relationship in both regions between amphibian species richness and the percentage of emergent vegetation cover. Bird’s species richness, on the other hand, was positively related to both pond area and vegetation cover in Târnava whereas only to vegetation cover in Fizeş. The z values of the species-area relationship for amphibians were low in both regions and slightly negative in Târnava. In case of birds, the z value was larger in Târnava than in Fizeş, suggesting that the number of species increased more with pond area in Târnava than in Fizeş.

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Research on wild bees (Apiformes) was conducted in the Lower Oder Valley (NW Poland) at Natura 2000 sites near the border between Poland and Germany. The analysis involved 3 landscape types with xerothermic and sandy grasslands, differing in the proportion of woody vegetation. In total, we collected there 4158 specimens of Apiformes, representing 180 species. We have proved that mid-forest grasslands with a high proportion of thermophilous broad-leaved forests and xerothermic shrub communities are equally attractive to wild bees as open habitats (sandy grasslands, xerothermic grasslands/heaths). We observed varied responses of wild bee species with specific functional characteristics to increasing proportion of woody vegetation. The grasslands surrounded by forests were characterized by the highest number of cleptoparasitic species. In contrast, solitary and social bee species preferred forest-steppe habitats. However, in open habitats, solitary bees were the most abundant. Moreover, open habitats were distinguished by the highest number and abundance of rare species. Active protection of thermophilous grasslands is crucial for biodiversity conservation, also with respect to the natural resources of Apiformes. Preservation of biodiversity in threatened xerothermic and sandy grasslands should be one of the key objectives of nature conservation in European countries. Currently, more and more actions are undertaken to improve their condition and to restore those particularly valuable and threatened habitat types.

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This paper presents the phytosociological description of a drained swamp community, Veratro albi-Fraxinetum angustifoliae, so far found only in the Nyírség at Nyírábrány “Kis-kőrises”, “Mogyorósi-erdő”; Vámospércs “Jónásrész-Kőrises”; and Vámospércs “Jónásrész-Buzita”. The habitat of the community is transitional between that of alder swamps (Fraxino pannonicae-Alnetum glutinosae), and hardwood riparian forests (Fraxino pannonicae-Ulmetum). The community is characterised by high proportions of character species of Alnion glutinosae and Molinion coerulei as well as Quercetea pubescentis-petraeae s. l. whereas character species of the order Fagetalia are almost completely absent. It hosts several rare, often threatened species, such as Angelica palustris, Ophioglossum vulgatum, Trollius europaeus and Veratrum album.

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Community Ecology
Authors: T. Standovár, F. Szmorad, B. Kovács, K. Kelemen, M. Plattner, T. Roth, and Zs. Pataki

A new forest state assessment methodology to complement existing conservation and forestry data has been developed. The aim is to provide tools for strategic planning including spatial distribution of conservation priorities. The method is point-based using a dense systematic sampling grid and provides more detailed information than vegetation maps or forest subcompartment descriptions, but requires less effort than forest inventories. Indicators include canopy composition and structure, deadwood, herbs, microhabitats, disturbances, shrubs and regeneration. The results can inform managers about the structural and compositional diversity of forest stands in the form of thematic maps and can provide the basis for analysis of habitat suitability for forest-dwelling organisms. A smartphone application has been developed to enable electronic data collection. PostGIS and Python scripts were used in the data flow. In this paper, we outline the development of the assessment protocol, and present the sampling design and the variables recorded. The main advantages of the survey methodology are also shown by case-studies based on data collected during the first field season in 2014. The protocol has been designed for low mountain forests in Hungary, but it can be modified to fit other forest types.

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The selection of reserves for biodiversity conservation involves the evaluation of multiple criteria, ranging from representativeness of ecological features to anthropogenic interests and spatial configuration. Among the principal spatial attributes to be considered, connectivity has received particular emphasis in response to the escalating threat of habitat loss and fragmentation. Connectivity is an intrinsic property of networks. Consequently, we have observed the gradual development of the concept of reserve networks, enlisting also tools from the mathematical branch of network theory. Here, we first outline three key aspects of reserve selection for connectivity conservation based on network analysis. 1) It may be based on the application of topological indices, which take into consideration only the geographical position of the habitat patches, or area-weighted indices, which add a premium to larger patches. 2) It may be done through single-node analysis, where the relative importance of patches is evaluated individually, or with the more efficient multi-node analysis, where we search for the optimal group of patches that best complement each other in the role of maintaining connectivity. 3) The goal of the selection may be to avoid fragmentation of the population into isolated portions, or to ensure that reachability is maintained to all habitat patches, including peripheral sites. In previous studies, we had introduced multi-node analysis to the prioritization of reserves, using fragmentation and reachability indices, but these were limited to topology only. Here, we present an improved approach where multi-node prioritization is performed with area-weighted fragmentation. We apply it to 20 bird species in Catalonia, Spain. In comparison with single-node and/or topological fragmentation, we observed here a decentralization of the selected reserve sets: they included not only the main core population, but also secondary clusters of well-connected habitat. This may potentially bring two added advantages to the reserve network: spreading of risk, and inclusion of a wider variety of local genetic profiles. We propose combining this approach with topological reachability, to account for peripheral populations and maximize accessibility to the entire network.

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Abstract

Iberian lynx distribution is currently restricted to the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Nevertheless, there is evidence of the presence of several small groups in the peninsular centre that have been forgotten by management and conservation actions. In this research, we gathered evidences of Iberian lynx presence along 21 transects located in the southwest of the Madrid province. In these transects lynx DNA was identified in 47 scats, which scientifically proves the presence of the species in that location. Using these locations (presence-only data) we built a maximum entropy model (MaxEnt) to estimate the suitability of the study area for the species. Our results show the existence of an almost continuous area that is approximately 744 km2 that is suitable for the Iberian lynx. Seventy-eight percent of this area is within the Natura 2000 network and, therefore, it falls under regulations to preserve and restore habitat types, flora and fauna. This study shows the suitability of this territory has for the Iberian lynx.

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