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      Biosphere Reserve Information

Romania / Ukraine


© Photo: DDBRA, Romania.
  General Description   The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, shared with Romania and Ukraine, is a labyrinth of water and land, made up of countless lakes, channels, islands at the end of a 2,860 km long river. The Danube Delta is the largest European wetland and reed bed, forming also Europe’s largest water purification system. The area is particularly well known for the abundance of birdlife: 312 important bird species are present in the Delta, which is an important stopover and breeding area for many bird species. About 90 fish species are fond here, including populations of sturgeon. It is also one of the last refuges for the European mink, the wildcat, the freshwater otter and the globally threatened monk seal. The biosphere reserve was declared as both Natural World Heritage and Ramsar site in 1991.
The Danube Delta is home to a rich mix of Ukrainian, Russian, Lipovan, Bulgarian, Moldavan, Turkish and Gagauz people, scattered around the delta in small villages. Main economic activities in the biosphere reserve are fishing, hunting, livestock raising and subsistence agriculture, reed harvesting as well as tourism. Romania and Ukraine, both countries in economic transition, share many problems, such as a high unemployment rate. The nature of the delta is mainly affected by all land use decisions taken upstream, in any of the nine countries bordering the river. However, also possible intensification of agriculture within Romania and Ukraine is a specific worry since it would lead to increased pollutants in the water. With the creation of the transboundary biosphere reserve, it is hoped that synergy effects will help to resolve the shared socio-economic problems and, at the same time, help to maintain the delta’s ecological processes and biodiversity.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate wetland delta and marine/coastal zone
  Major habitats & land cover types   Romania: Wetlands with reed beds (Phragmites australis) and Typha sp.; deciduous forests on sand dunes with oak (Quercus sp.), Euphorbia seguierana, Medicago falcata etc.; artificial polders with cereals
Ukraine: Shallow fresh-water characterized by Phragmites australis, Carex acutiformis, Trapa natans etc.; shallow coastal waters with Acipenser gueldenstaedtii, Alosa kessleri pontica and Engulis encrasicholus ponticus; sandy ridges, dunes, spits supporting Leymus sabulosus, Argusia sibirica, Artemisia arenaria etc.; riverine forests dominated by Salix alba, Hippophae rhamnoides, Amorpha fruticosa etc.
  Location   Romania: 44°20' to 45°27'N; 28°10' to 29°42'E
Ukraine: 45°13' to 45°34'N; 29°23' to 29°46'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   626,403
  Core area(s)   73,262 (of which marine:1,300) (Romania: 50,600; Ukraine: 22,662)
  Buffer zone(s)   160,673 (of which marine: 136,686) (Romania: 223,300; Ukraine: 19,687)
  Transition area(s) when given   310,154 (Romania: 306,100; Ukraine: 4,054)
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   Romania: -39 to +47 Ukraine: -8 to +4,5
  Year designated   1998
  Administrative authorities   Romania: Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority Ukraine: Administration of the Danube Biosphere Reserve; The Ministry for Ecology and Nature Resources of Ukraine; National Academy of Science of Ukraine

Last updated: 28/02/2007

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