Landscapes and habitats of the Lower Dniester
Lower Dniester Ramsar Site possesses a remarkable biological variety and from this point of view, it is an area of European importance. The totality of its ecosystems generates a vital space for an immense number of species that live here permanently and for endangered and vulnerable cross-border migrants in a global, European and national context. This territory has preserved landscapes and valuable elements of the landscape.
Old-growth forests of poplar that are unique for Europe maintain many protected bat species. Ash meadow forests are an ecosystem of pan-European concern, and high-grassy meadows are very rare ecosystems in the region. The specific and numerical abundance of flora and fauna is determined by the exceptional diversity of natural and semi-natural biotopes, including aquatic, lowland and upland forests, steppe biotopes.
Lowland forests are represented by all forest formations of the Lower Dniester region including those unique for Moldova (Fraxinus-dominant communities). The Talmaza Meadow is the most valuable sector from biological and landscape diversity point of view.
Upland forests are predominantly represented by artificial plantations or forest of pubescent oak and pedunculate oak. Many of them are degraded, and there is almost no seed reproduction in them. But there are also some valuable sectors of ”gyrnet” – a complex of fragments of pubescent oak (Quercus pubescens) partially with seed reproduction and picturesque steppe glades, where rare plants have been preserved.
The primary floodplains and steppes in the country have almost been destroyed, except for a few insignificant fragments; however, more than 60 grassland formations, including some primary ones, have recently been found on the territory. There is a high potential on the territory to restore meadows on the arable land, where the active soil cultivation became unprofitable, due to the rising of fuel prices or due to soil and humidity conditions.
Very valuable are the old river beds of different ages of the Dniester, important to birds and other fauna of wetlands. Old river bed called „Nistrul Orb” or „Nistrul Chior” is a monument of nature that supports important flora and fauna including species of international concern and numerous migratory birds and is an aesthetic element of the landscape (rare water and wetland ecosystems in the country), which is of high interest to tourists and scientists.
Upland forests are protected in the „Copanca” (167 ha) and „Leuntea” (30 ha) natural reserves. The Talmaza Meadow includes a reserve of soil resources (200 ha). „Olanesti forest” (108 ha) and „Mlasina Togai” (50 ha) lowland natural reserves are located in the meanders of the main course; “The Turkish Garden” landscape occupies two meanders of the old river bed. There are also three geological and paleontological monuments (Rapa de Piatră” from Tudora, „Rapa lui Albu” from Olanești and „Rapa din Purcari”). All these reserves are protected by the state. The territory includes some areas that can be designated as habitats of European importance in accordance with the European Union’s NATURA 2000 program.