Fanatele Miclosoarei meadow-steppe habitat

These fragmented and scattered areas of meadow-steppe grasslands are placed in the charming luxuriant floodplain of the river Olt in the Brasov Depression, a region which geographically belong to the Oriental Carpathians and not to the Transylvanian Depression. However, from a historical and a biogeographical point of view the area is closely related to Transylvania

In 1877 J. Freyn wrote that Serratula wolffii is abundant along the railway between Apata and Augustin. Immediately when we read this we imagined the large area between the two villages still covered by meadow-steppe hayfields containing a large uninterrupted population of this species and many others. it was certainly a naivity at the beginning of the XXist century to think like this and so it was - the landscape is fully anthropised there. Can you imagine what a huge ecosystem of meadow-steppe grassland was lost here with its entire biodiversity? The distance between Apata and Augustin is almost 10 kms. And this passed unnoticed by the Transylvanian naturalists of the XXth century.

In 2006 we investigated the place situated on the western bank of the river Olt and we found nothing but in the very last minute spent there - a small compact population of Serratula wolffii in the middle of a quite degraded ruderal patch of vegetation. It was a surprise, both pleasant and unpleasant at the same time and it was for the first time when we found the species surviving in a 'ruderal misery' (the ruderal vegetation here is tall, ungrazed, opportunistic and luxuriant so therefore probably the species accidentaly survived here).Some patches of grasslands dominated by Calamagrostis epigeios were found upper on the slope. This was all that remained from the meadow-steppe grasslands with 'abundant' Serratula wolffii mentioned in the XIXth century here.

Much to our surprise in 2008 dr. A.M. Csergo who worked for a while at the Agency for Environmental Protection of Covasna county informed us that meadow-steppe grasslands with abundant Serratula wolffii grow luxuriantly on the other side of river Olt not far from Miclosoara village. We went there in september 2008 following her indications and we found a rich population and a nice patch of meadow-steppe grassland. Again to our full surprise it was proven that our site was unknown by A.M. Csergo and when we compared our spatial data to hers we found out that her patches are different from ours. This can mean just one thing - that on the eastern bank of Olt river there are many scattered patches of well preserved meadow-steppe grasslands with abundant Serratula wolffii and probably other valuable species, scattered among the numerous cropfields, pastures and patches of old poplars. The local landscape there is also charming.

The importance of the site is also huge from another point of view, this links the Transylvanian populations of Serratula wolffii and the Transylvanian patches of meadow-steppe grasslands to the similar populations and ecosystems situated on the other side of the southern Oriental Carpathians, in the Curvature Subcarpathian Hills, that means in the pontic steppes and forest-steppe in a large sense, proving the migration of the steppe and forest-elements from their 'motherland' that means from Pontic regions  to Transylvania through the large sink of Brasov Depression. We refer here to 'Fanatele Odobascai' site described by I. Prodan in 1939 from this region where he mentioned from an area with very active landslides (including mounds of 'glimea' type like in Transylvania) - this is very common there - large areas of grasslands 'similar to those from Fanatele Clujului' and with Serratula wolffii and Serratula lycopifolia. In 2006 we unsuccessfully tried to recover the position of this site but we had only a short amount of time to spend in the region. However in the external border of the Curvature Subcarpathian Hills, in Vrancea, Buzau and Prahova counties we found out in our short investigations there, there are huge areas of meadow-steppe grasslands in a beautiful well preserved forest-steppe lamdscape. They should be investigated and properly protected in the future. Here in many areas only the small oil exploitations disturb the vegetation but at a very low extent.

A .kmz file with points placed in the four locations of the well preserved meadow-steppe with abundant Serratula wolffii known until now south of Miclosoara village can be downloaded here. Points no. 1-3 were discovered by dr. A.M. Csergo in august 2007 while the one from point no.4 by Al.S. Badarau, C. Malos and A. Alec in september 2008. The point  no.5 indicate a small populationsituated on the other bank of river Olt north of Ormenis village but there the former meadow-steppe grassland is virtually completely degraded. It was discovered by Al. S. Badarau in august 2006. The contour of the surface of the meadow-steppe grassland habitats from here was not yet mapped and we think that on the right / eastern / Covasna county of the river Olt there are more than the ones pinpointed here. Unfortunately seemingly the chances to find the same type of ecosystems of the left / western / Brasov county bank of the river apart from the one pinpointed with no.5 are very slim in our opinion.



The location of the five meadow-steppe grasslands with Serratula wolffii from around Miclosoara and Ormenis at the border between Brasov and Covasna county provided by the river Olt.















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