INTERNAL ZONATION: A DELICATE ISSUE – THE CASE OF NERA GORGES–BEUșNIțA NATIONAL PARK (S-W ROMANIA) PUBLISHEDNICOLIN, A.-L., ARSENE, G.-G., PRUNAR, F.V., IMBREA, I.M., ARDELEAN, M., STĂNESCU, D., DUMA, I., BĂDESCU, B., BĂNĂȚEAN-DUNEA, I.
We present considerations about zoning protected areas and the algorithm of zonation of the Nera Gorges – Beușnița, a remarkable national park in S-W Romania. Functional zones of national parks in Romania are established by the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 57/2007 adopted by the Law no. 49/2011. Incidentally, no juridic text gives indications about how to proceed to delimit internal zoning of protected areas, nor an envoi to technical guides or scientific references. Based on field research carried on during the period 2012-2015, we confine the habitats for high conservative important species (large carnivores, bats, rapacious birds). Another criteria we considered are the existent nature reserves within the national park (Nera Gorges -Beușnița, Valea Ciclovei-Ilidia, Ducin, Șușara Gorges, Izvorul Bigăr, and Lisovacea) and the necessity to ensure corridors and connectedness with two neighbouring protected areas: the Semenic – Caraș Gorges National Park, at N, and the Iron Gates Natural Park, at S. Overlapping different thematic maps, we obtained a first variant of the internal functional zonation. Giving the fact that the Nera Gorges – Beușnița National Park is also a Site of Community Importance (with minor differences in their limits), the proposed functional zonation was submit to a public consultation in May 2015, an opportunity for the National Forestry Régie employees in territory to express their opposition; some representatives of local communities disagreed with the internal zonation, invocating vague development projects which could be blocked by the existence of functional zones within the national park. Taking into consideration some interests of local economic agents, we slightly reduced the extent of the integrally protected zone (the second in terms of restrictions imposed to human activities, behind the strictly protected zone) and accordingly increased the area of the sustainable management zone; the sustainable development zone of human activities is limited to human facilities already implanted within the national park. Finally, we proposed a concentric zonation, with a central strictly protected zone (11% of the national park total area), a surrounding integrally protected zone (44.6 % of the national park total area), embeding all nature reserves excepting Nera Gorges - Beușnița which is included in the strictly protected zone, a sustainable management zone and sustainable development zone of human activities. At this moment, the Administration of the National Park itself blocks the approbation of the management plan (including zonation) by the Environment, Waters and Forest Ministry, on the pretext of its „inaplicability”, its capacity to generate conflicts with forest users, and some minor form defaults. Public consultations and subsequent appeals of the proposed management plan revealed deficiencies of Romanian legislation, bareness of technical national guides for nature conservation, poor awareness of local representatives about the potential of the national park for local sustainable development, and finally and unfortunately, the heaviness of short term economic arguments compared to ecological ones.
Nera Gorges – Beușnița, national park, management plan, conflicts, public acceptance